Australia: Day 20 – 01.12.18………..Ho, Ho, Ho, It’s Saturday 1st December!
According to TripAdvisor, breakfast at the Ibis was a sorry affair. Not much food, not much selection, once it’d gone it’d gone, that sort of thing. No worries, we’d be our own judge. We went for breakfast at 8.30am, later than expected, but it was fairly quiet. There wasn’t much in the way of selection and it wasn’t laid out very well so people were getting in the way of each other but we managed to cobble together a decent breakfast so it was good for us. We were hoping to squirrel away a few rolls and maybe some cheese or ham but they didn’t have that sort of thing so that scuppered our lunch plans!
Packed up and ready to go with an extra bag to contend with we headed off down Swanston street to the Avis shop. Imagine our surprise to find it was packed. Standing room only! When it was our turn to be ‘called forward’ we were served by Carlos who was very helpful although he tried desperately to sell us an upgrade telling us the car we’d booked was the smallest they had. When we told him we both drove Nissan Micra’s at home he soon shut up. We must have been in there for at least fifty minutes, what an ordeal just to pick up a car. Finally, we were given the key, Carlos told us how to find the highway and we lugged our luggage down the steps into the car-park and found our car which was almost twice as big as our Nissans. With everything squeezed into the boot we walked back to the Ibis for a loo stop, then to Aldi’s for some wine, for the evenings and some nibbles for the car and then we were off, well sort of, the engine was running whilst Maice sorted out SatNav Sheila (SNS) which took ages to get her up and running. Twenty minutes later we were off, again, venturing out of the underground carpark into the bright Melbourne sunshine. SNS kept telling us to turn right here, left there, but Carlos said to keep straight, it was simple to reach the highway he said, and it was, and we did. I have to say SNS is not a patch on SNSteve!!!
A friend of mine had said Melbourne reminded her of England and in some ways she was right, it did. Driving along the Freeway definitely had the look about it with its rolling hills, countryside and place names the same as in the U.K. We drove on, following Sheila’s directions, me driving, Maice clinging onto SNS and telling me where to go, so to speak. And then we were here, the Yarra Valley Lodge. I must say it was a very impressive entrance, it took us at least ten minutes to drive along the driveway, oh yes, we were very impressed. Even more impressive was the fact we could check in immediately, even though we had arrived much earlier than the actual check-in time. Well, what can I say about our room. It’s about three times the size of the Ibis Hotel and the beds are to die for. Two king size beds, very comfortable, wonderful pillows and sheets, a gorgeous view. What more could we wish for?
We had planned to go out and explore in the afternoon but we decided to stay at the hotel and make the most of it and it’s surroundings. We needed a coffee and we needed to study our itinerary so went in search of the bar, which we found and which was the only area that let the hotel down. We plumped for an organic glass of wine, one that doesn’t contain sulphites (they’re the things that give you a headache) and sat indoors, then outdoors in the sun. With a plan of action for the next few days we thought we’d go in search of the spa and have a swim but then decided we’d go back to our room, open the windows wide and sit there in quite contemplation. We were tired and staying at this hotel gave us the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge our batteries. After a little doze we thought we’d go for a walk along the nature trail that went around the grounds and golf course (this being a golf hotel). We may even see some other residents. It was so quite here, like a ghost town, we’d only seen about four other people. On the way out there was a guy on the steps outside reception with lots of cold bottles of water in iced buckets. He told us it was the Targa Florio Vintage and Super Car Australian Rally and all the cars would be arriving at 5.30pm and we should stay and watch them, so that’s exactly what we did. We stood on the steps photographing them as they arrived, I’m sure they must have wondered who we were! It was all very exciting and the cars were amazing.
So the peace had been shattered and an extra hundred or so people had just advanced upon the hotel. It was great. After about an hour, we decided to go for our walk along the nature trail. Apparently the kangaroos come out early evening so we were hoping to see some on the walk. Just as we ventured onto the path, there in front of us were four kangaroos. Of course Maice’s camera battery decided to give up so we went back to the hotel to get her spare one. Whilst sat outside waiting for her one of the car organisers gave me two bottles of water and said we could join them that evening for their soirée and next morning we should mingle with the drivers and get some photos with the cars. A nice gesture but something we decided not to take up.
We set off again on our nature trail, third time lucky and you cannot believe how many wild kangaroos we saw. Literally hundreds of them. They’re a bit like a Meerkat only much bigger in the way they suddenly pop their heads up and just stare at you. In fact we found them to be quite intimidating especially when we got lost on the golf course. We had stuck to the original path then deviated along the paths of the golf course which was like a maze, and everywhere you looked there were kangaroos stood watching us. We were so close to them and we kept telling ourselves not to look at them as we passed by just in case they wanted to pick a fight with us. Most of them would hop away but the bigger ones would stay put and stare at us as we walked past. Some of them even started scratching their bellies and we wondered if this was the sign they were up for a fight! It was all a bit daunting and we still couldn’t find our way off the golf course. We had a map but as we didn’t have a clue whereabouts we were on the map it was a bit useless. After a while we found the nature trail, phew, and made our way back to the hotel, having seen enough Roo’s to last a lifetime. It was 8pm when we got back to the room so it was a quick change and down for supper in the restaurant. We both had the lemon gnocchi and it was delicious. By the time we got back to our room we were exhausted and we hadn’t even had time for our yoga challenge. We’ll just have to do it first thing in the morning!