Belinda and Albert gave me a lift to the airport fairly early in the morning, and we just made it in time for me to check in courtesy of the traffic. Of course, there was no need to be worried as the flight was delayed by twenty minutes! My first Quantas flight was enjoyable enough with some decent food, nice staff and good company – a young lady from Brisbane heading to Melbourne to see her sister during the school holidays. I apologise as I’ve forgotten her name (Jen?) – my dodgy old memory again. With any luck, I think I’ve convinced her that Asia is a place worth visiting and hopefully she’ll have had a look at this blog by then, too.
There were no customs or anything to deal with as this was an internal flight, so we collected our luggage and my travelling companion was met by her sister. I got the handy SkyBus into the city ($15 one way) and then sorted out a train ticket to Mooroolbark for $7.20. It was around now I realised I’d now been two four of the Australian states (or territories – there’s a mix of the two): Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria.
The journey into the Yarra Valley is around an hour and I was met by Lyn and Jason, her youngest son. Eventually. It seems that the trains use different platforms on a Saturday, so they waited for me on the other side of the station until they spotted me in the car park by platform 1. On the way back to the house, we stopped off at the Montrose Chocolate Shop for a drink. Guess what we had? Yup, hot choccy. Lovely, it was as well. I had to force myself not to buy one of everything, especially after the free chocolate I got with my drink tasted so nice.
Lyn’s eldest, Daniel, met us at the shop and back at the house I was introduced to Jessica, and Lyn’s husband Adrian. Always happy to show off where she lives, Lyn bundled me and the two boys into the car and we headed into the hills so I could take some snaps. The views from up there are great and we also found an picnic area surrounded by lorikeets and mackaws. Collecting a little food, I managed to get some of them feeding from my hand and also got a snap of a kookaburra on a fence.
Next, we headed further up to where the TV transmitters are but the view into the valley is obstructed by trees these days – no bad thing. Better than being obstructed by buildings and the like.
We drove back to Chez Luxford for dinner (chicken and veggies – yum!) where I did my usual Dr Dolittle trick and picked up the household cat without it biting my face off. Nobody else can manage this, though Blackie isn’t exactly an unfriendly cat.
Darkness fell and Lyn drove me to Steavenson Falls, just over an hour away. I’m glad she did. Despite me nodding off in the car (lack of sleep and my cold getting worse didn’t help – it wasn’t the company, I promise!), it was worth the trip as I managed to get some great night-time shots of the falls. Another hour or so and we were back home. Sofas were unfolded and cold cures ingested before I zonked out for the night.
First impressions here are great. Lyn and the kids are all hugely enthusiastic and knowledgable about where they live and love showing it off to people. The only arguments seem to be over where they’re going to take me next!
I best add here that I have never met the Luxford’s before. Prior to ringing them from the train to say I was almost there, I’ve never even spoken to any of them. Just a few emails kicked off by the amazing Couchsurfing.com website. If you’re looking to travel, check this site out. It’s invaluable.