Monday, 14 May 2018

Bunnehs Dandy in the Nongs!!

Our 2018 adventure to the Dandenong Ranges begins with the Blonde Bunneh (BB) picking up a weary Pink Bunneh (PB), who stupidly stayed up watching music videos until 3am - why?! I manage to keep my eyes open during the flight to watch 'Swinging Safari', then mislead us on the way to the rental car pick-up point due to failing to read instructions... oh well, we need a bit of a walk! We drive straight to our burrow in Olinda, and find the cottage freeeeezing! Dressed in blankets, we try and decipher the heating system before heading out to obtain noms in Belgrave.
Fantastic mushies in Belgrave!
With the weather forecast not looking great, we force ourselves out once more for a walk, and explore the local roads - unfortunately for me, this becomes a road of relentless downhill (knee - ouch!) which can only mean one thing - relentless uphill on the return. Still part dressed in travel gear - dress and stockings - with some extra layers, I soon start to sweat as well as struggle to breathe. Not a good start!
Ear muffs!
We settle into our still-warming burrow, and Jenelle prepares the noms whilst I decorate my tired-looking ear muffs with felt scales. After an early night, we hit the road, stopping at the delightful King Henry for a coffee. Perhaps we can come back for lunch, or even....dinner?! HA! No way these Bunnehs will leave the burrow at night! BB has researched several places to visit, the first being Carribean Markets, which we struggle to find, (both shouting MARKET ENTRANCE when we finally see it) and are then sorry we did.  A few sorry tables of tat in a cold, cold barn... Off next to Market Fair, which was much more enjoyable, although no purchases made. We did see a book called The Bunnies in the Jam - quite fitting as we keep driving through Monbulk (although there is no evidence of jam).
Back to Belgrave for lunch, we head to a place offering 'German Deliciousness', but really appears to be sausage and sauekraut, so we head to The Blacksmith for a Buddha Bowl and Felafel Burger - happy Bunnehs. Time to explore, I ask Jenelle if she is ready, as her face 'noooo look ready'! After exploring Belgrave, we head to Sassafrass, and the rain becomes heavier! Jenelle finds a lovely pair of knee high boots to buy (yes, I was right, the first ones were better!) and some tea before we head back for a welcome shower and time on the couch. Much to my delight, the laptop rises from the dead, after a day of death screen - hurrah!!
On Saturday morning, the sun is shining and the sky is blue - although when I stick my head out the door it feels like I've stuck it in the fridge - and we head to the Dandenong Park to do the 1000 steps.

It is marked as 'steep and slippery', so we do the Lyrebird Track instead - a heck of a lot of relentless ups = Struggle Street for this Bunneh! The backpack wasn't helping, so BB took that, and we made it to One Tree Hill (covered in trees - any particular one?!) and begin the descent. Despite the whinging, this Bunneh's knees prefer ups to downs,  and for a few minutes, protested fiercely, and I thought I may have to send BB back for the car! Eventually it came right, and we picked up a coffee at the base before heading off to the markets at Mont de Lancey. BB started to have doubts, saying, 'um, doesn't it look a bit rural..?' whilst I maintained the faith with 'yes, but it is at an historic home', however, we arrived to a whole lot of nothing..... oh well....... Hangries loom for both, but we hold on for the next one, the Hills Art Market in Emerald. We encounter a sorry, cold field of pathetic stalls - disappointment has a name! Back in to town, we settle into Zest for a delicious brunch of sweet potato frittata and smashed avocado and enjoy both the food and the excellence service. Hangries suppressed, we have a wander into the Fashion Shak, where my appearance garners a  friendly but stupid 'and what are you?' When I reply with 'a Svenja', it is asked again, and starting to lose my patience, I turn to BB and say 'errrr, I'm not sure how to answer this', and she saves the day by saying merrily that 'She is a Pink Lady'. This seems to be acceptable.
This was the look, minus my big, black boots...
Driving to Kallista, we spot a Tardis, many beautiful red and yellow leaves, bark dripping off trees, and a sign for some 'Clip-Clop Plop'!! Passing Kallista, I spy a large felt Octopus in a pram, and am intrigued.

Bunneh searches, and searches for Wombats....
 We walk around the lovely Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, although we do at one stage do our usual wander down a path which peters out into nothing... After visiting the large pigs and some
The Piggery Cafe next to the gardens
newly-shorn llamas, we travel towards 'Seaforth, Shakespeare, Seascape, Sherwood' AKA Sherbrooke, and continue on to Olinda. We wander, PB gets engaged in conversation with crazy lady in craft shop - BB fails to rescue - then we head back to the burrow for the evening and a lovely antipasto platter.
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens

On Sunday, we hope to redeem our market fails of Saturday by visiting the 'Big Dreams' market at Belgrave, however, we are now wary, and prepared for Big Dreams to become Shattered Dreams. And they pretty much were, except for some truffle salami and a ginger sesame snap. OK. We remember the Upper Fern Tree Gully Markets, and as Siri is telling us to u-turn to reach them, we look over and see a coffee cart and a 'Pain Pod' tent. Worst markets EVERRRR!!! OK. Let's go to Lilydale. At least there'll be chickens!! All looks promising as we turn into the packed carpark at the Lake, and BB gets seriously excited as she sees the tents......of the Mother's Day Classic. So not markets, and we can't even walk around the lake. OK again. Let's check out Lilydale itself. Fail again. Back down the road to 'Hunted' - a warehouse of many stalls of stuff - not bad, but not fabulous, and no coffee, so PB is advised to 'eat the muesli bar' - a reference to previous travels where a hangry loomed and a muesli bar was necessary to stave it off! Back to Lilydale to go to Mt Evelyn, which has a total of 2 cafes, and this Bunneh loses her cool, refuses to get out of the car except to go to Wolies to get noms and wine then go home! BB craves exercise, and drives back to the 1000 steps, and PB gets a little therapy moulding some leather, before heading over the road to the Piriana Gardens and being delighted to find some magical-looking mushrooms and beautiful trees.  

I have such a good time moulding leather that I stay up late (also drinking bubbles) so feel a little secondhand when BB brings me coffee in bed on Monday morning!! We begin the plan of the day by driving to Grant's Picnic Ground to do a 7k walk, which soon turns into - you guessed it - relentless ups! However, I survive, and we are delighted to come across a very fat and happy wallaby, as well as a lyrebird, in the magically misty forest - bliss! This success continues as we arrive at Brunch for - brunch! BB struggles to finish her chorizo and beans, but wins in the end! It is freezing cold but I drag BB next door to the William Ricketts Sanctuary, which is cold, dark and not to BB's taste - we stumble upon a video in a hut of the man himself looking quite mad and talking about becoming 'the essence of God'....... perhaps he smoked a few herbs during the 70's?!! I crack myself up by referring to our next stop as 'not a tumour, but it might be Tecoma', and we do a little op-shopping, before I get the major post lunch + I-stayed-up-too-late snoozles. Looking for a sunny grotto, we go to Sherbrooke park - BB strolls to the falls whilst PB snoozles in the car. After a fuel and food stop, it was back to base for yet another delicious antipasto platter, and plans to visit Marysville on our final day.

William Ricketts Sanctuary

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