A Day in Ballarat
On impulse, a day trip on a train
Have you ever woken up one morning and decided to just get away for the whole day? I did.
I turned my back on the fridge (which needs cleaning) on my backyard (which needs sweeping) and on the pile of work on my desk (which needs doing)..
Stopping only to pack a scarf and a mystery novel in my shoulderbag, I shut the front door and took off for the day.
.V Line is my respite. Fast, efficient and comfy trains. Cheap too! I took off for Ballarat, about 120 kilometres north west of Melbourne.
There's my Train!
It takes me less than 10 minutes to get to Southern Cross Station - the hub for all metropolitan and V Line country trains. A quick stroll over the concourse and there's my train! The V Line with the big blue engine.
It's almost an hour and a half to reach Ballarat, plenty of time to get stuck into my mystery novel which is titled, appropriately, Murder on the Ballarat Train.
Murder on the Ballarat Train - A Phryne Fisher Mystery
When the 1920s' most glamorous detective, Miss Phryne Fisher, arranges to go to Ballarat for the week, she eschews the excitement of her red Hispano-Suiza racing car for the sedate safety of the train.
The last thing she expects is to use her trusty Beretta .32!
I don't need anything on the Ballarat train except this book to read.
Settled down with my book, I was guilty of not even noticing much of the journey until we reached Ballarat Station. It's a beautiful piece of work - built with gold when you could almost pick up nuggets in the street.
At the height of the Gold Rush some two tonnes of gold flowed out of Ballarat each week.
Inside Ballarat Station
I think Ballarat Station is even more beautiful inside than out.
Beautiful Buildings of BallaratClick thumbnail to view full-size
Time for Lunch
I just love the enormously wide main street of Ballarat and the buildings of the Gold Rush days.
After an hour or so wandering around, I checked out the available eateries. For some inexplicable reason you can't get good Chinese food in Ballarat! Why is that? With such a strong history of Chinese Miners from the goldfields it's a mystery why Asian cuisine is non existent here.
I followed my nose to Oscar's in Doveton St for some old-fashioned English lunch.
Lunch at Oscars - Steak and Guiness Pie!
I had a scrumptious lunch at Oscar's Hotel. Steak and Guinness Pie, nicely arranged with some mashed spuds and veggies.
Washed down with .. ..take a guess.
A short bus ride to Lake Wendouree
I hopped on a local bus for the short ride to the Botanical Gardens. It's good to see them in colour once more, the last couple of years dried, and burned, so much. And Lake Wendouree has water in it again!
Botanical Gardens by Lake WendoureeClick thumbnail to view full-size
What a fabulous day!
I don't how this happened, but the train coming back to Melbourne took under an hour - less time than it took to go up. I was back in town by 6.30 pm and ensconced in my lounge room right on 7.00.
What a great day out! It cost me less than $40 for the whole experience, return travel, bus to the Botanical Gardens, hearty lunch with a glass of Guinness and some coffee (with chocolate cake) for a late afternoon snack.
I must do it again!
How about you?
Have you ever just taken off for a day to another city?
© 2010 Susanna Duffy