Melbourne to Daylesford via Hanging Rock

Dave Hanging Rock

When I rang the caravan park for the long weekend in March I was told that there was a Chillout festival on and I was booking the last powered campsite. I checked with Dave what he thought about going camping at a fully booked campsite because the Chillout festival was on. We both decided it might be a bit of fun. And it was!

We packed up the car with all our camping gear, dropped our puppies off at the kennel on the way and headed towards Daylesford via Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock and a Token Picnic

We parked the car and loaded up a little backpack with a couple of water bottles and snacks ( for a picnic at Hanging Rock) and headed towards the start of the track.

The paths are well maintained and most of the way easy walking. In some parts it is steep and there are steps ( with handrails). The views are magnificent of the rocks and surrounding region.

On the way up to the Summit we went via the steps and saw the “hanging rock” half way up. Before we got to the summit we found a shady spot and sat down and had a “picnic”. (Peanut butter sandwich and juice)

We got to the summit and there were heaps of people scattered around sitting on rocks at the top enjoying the view. We then came back down via the bitumen ramp. The return walk up and back took us 50 minutes – and that was with a leisurely pace and a stop for a snack. We had a look through the discovery centre and Dave had to sit down as his legs were a bit shaky after the walk down. There was quite a bit of pressure on his knee joints and he was in extreme pain most of the way down. After paying  our $10 parking ticket we made our way to Woodend for lunch.

Lunch at Bourkies Bakery

Going by the crowds waiting, Bourkies bakery seemed to be the place to be so we took a number and ordered a not so healthy lunch. Dave had his usual pie and sausage roll and I couldn’t resist the coffee eclair. It was yum!

Seems to be a recurring theme on any of our trips away – Dave loves his pies and sausage rolls and I love an iced coffee or chocolate milkshake and anything sweet.

Set up tent at Victoria Park Caravan Park in Daylesford

There is always a bit of anticipation as to where and what the campsite is going to be like. The individual campsites were all very generous in size and had plenty of room to fit a tent, trailer, or caravan and car in.

We got our code to get past the gates at the caravan park and followed the owner in his golf buggy to our allocated campsite. This is a great way of avoiding any confusion (campsite maps seem to be quite inaccurate) and he explained clearly where our boundaries were. It was a nice fairly flat campsite with a tree that provided some shade. Once the tent was up we then checked out where the toilet block was. Bit of a walk, however rather it be closer than right next to… any day!

Free Chillout bus into town

We noticed at reception a flyer saying for the Chillout festival there was a free minibus you could catch into town.We could also catch it back to the park later in the night. (The walk from the caravan park into town would take around 30 to 45 minutes.) We walked to the Chillout bus sign at the front of the park and there was a bus there waiting for us. We were the only ones on the bus and we asked the driver  where she recommended us go to have a beer and she said to go to the Daylesford Hotel. We got off the bus in the main street in Daylesford.

I’d noticed the Bromley&Co shop when we drove through town earlier in the day and really wanted to have a look. We first came across David Bromely’s work in Eastland Shopping Centre with the colorful Bromley murals hiding construction works as shops were built.

We both love his work and had a look around the gallery. The friendly staff said the back rooms up the steps were open if we wanted to have a look. We were pretty tired but made the effort. So glad we did. There were stacks of artworks in multiple rooms set amongst old furniture. Would be a great place to hold a party or event.

Daylesford hotel and a Bit of a Dance!

We wandered up to the Daylesford hotel around 5pm. There was a little table and two leather armchairs free near the door which we quickly snapped up. Sitting down in the chairs we melted into them – they were so comfy after a very busy day. We ordered a beer which came out in a plastic cup. At this stage of the night we didn’t understand why because it would be much nicer to drink out of a glass. We sat in our comfortable chairs and chatted and watched people coming and going. There were people going past to the bar, and a stream of people heading straight down the hallway somewhere.

We worked out  that with the amount of people going out the back something must be happening. Sure enough there was an outdoor area and a dance area a DJ with music pumping out.

At this stage there were not many people and just a few on the dance floor. I sat on a garden bed ledge and watched. There was an awkward young drag queen with a friend who I started chatting to. The Drag queen had a colorful close fitting dress and told me that a corset and three pairs of tights were pulling her in tight and shaping her. Big dark fake eyelashes and a long wig completed the look. They moved on pretty quickly ( not interested in talking to a 50 year old straight lady dressed in shorts and a t-shirt and no make-up!) and disappeared into the crowd.

A couple of good looking young men sat next to me. Smiling we introduced ourselves and started chatting. They had come down from Brisbane for the Chillout festival. They were just really nice people and we were really enjoying being silly and chatting to them. Knowing that I don’t dance ( it had come up in conversation) one of them took my drink out of my hands and started dancing with me. I couldn’t stop laughing and it must have been very funny to watch. I learnt some new moves and had so much fun. Might have to take up dance lessons!

A bit of a misunderstanding between David and I meant we ended up out the front of the hotel with a big queue that we would have to stand in to get back in. ( I thought he had gone out the front and had had enough – he had just gone to the toilet and didn’t know where I was.) We wandered up the main street and a couple went past with a pizza box and we asked them where they got it. They pointed across the road and said it was the best pizza ever.

We ordered a pizza and it was delicious. Fantastic base and perfect topping. We sat out the front and when we were finished our empty pizza tray was taken away. I could see a sign at the front that talked about lentils. I suggested to the owner that it needed to say “Best Pizza” – as you could walk by this shop without knowing it sold pizza’s ( unless you were a local). Next day the sign was not there. 🙂

With full tummies we caught the free Chillout bus back to the caravan site.

It was only 10pm and we were ready for bed! What an interesting action packed day we had!

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