LE TOUR D?OR CENTRALE ? Cup Day Long Weekend by Anne Irwin

The Glenn and Pam Campbell laid back and relaxed tour of the central Goldfields on mostly back roads was indeed, magical.? You will appreciate why it was a Glenn (minus ?n?) tour as your read on!

On the Saturday of the Cup weekend, we all met up at the Garden of St Erth in Blackwood for coffee/morning tea and the optional wander through the olde world gardens which proved an absolute Spring delight for both the erstwhile ?digger? and ?non digger? types amongst the group.

We, collectively being, The Campbell?s in the Porsche Carrera, The Barnards in the Porsche Boxster, The Mallows in the (45mpg) Lotus Elan, The Budge?s in the Lotus Elise and The Irwins in the WRX and our tail end Charlie and Charlene, The Holdsworths, in the ?Ford Truck? which very kindly tailed the convoy (think of those Top Gear expeditions) in case some backup was required during the weekend.

As luck would have it the ?Ford Truck? was put to excellent use as the preferred carrier for assorted ?must haves? purchased during the course of the weekend.

After gathering at Blackwood for morning tea we then journeyed all of 13kms to the next stop for lunch at Trentham, before covering the final 30 kms via Spring Hill and Glenlyon to Hepburn Springs which was to be our base for the entire weekend.

Now this being only day one, set the scene for a very casual relaxing almost ?grey nomad? like four days of touring, coffee, driving, morning tea, driving, lunch, driving, afternoon tea, driving, dinner and finally sleeping!

The day?s driving was very low key there being no ?white knuckle? driving.? It was happy passenger and comfort touring all the way.? There were certainly no screams heard emanating from a guards red Porsche!

For the majority, our accommodation in the beautiful Oak House and adjoining Cabins at Hepburn Springs made a fantastic base from which to depart each day touring the local surrounds and for the rigours of the daily logistics meeting every morning for breakfast and coffee across the road at the Red Star, which was must do or a must have!

The Saturday evening dinner at the Farmer?s Arms was a wonderful casual affair. The venue was excellent, the locals friendly and the menu proved that ?local? Pub food of excellent quality can be had at a fair and reasonable price.? The Farmer?s Arms is certainly worth a visit if you are in the Daylesford area.

?Sunday Hepburn Springs ? Castlemaine

Sunday didn?t dawn it just sort of emerged from the cold gloom!

The beautiful spring weather of the previous day had deteriorated to clouds, bitterly cold winds and light showers which did nothing to dampen the spirits of those hardy souls from deepest, darkest Gippsland who gathered for breakfast and the first coffee of the day before a 9.00am start from the Red Star cafe.

Funny how good coffee, good company and plenty to discuss makes for a 9.00am start becoming a 10.00am start.? Well, it was Sunday after all!

We plodded off to the Daylesford Market some 5 kms away where we strolled in the wind and rain and gathered ?nut and berries? including honey, bread, olives, pastries, strudel and a couple of hats.? Check out the picture collage in this report and the photos on the web site to see the two very proud owners of two very new hats.

Next stop was north to Castlemaine where antiques were explored and gathered, along with some famous ?Castlemaine Rock? and then dispersing for lunch and coffee at various eateries.

Heading back to Hepburn via Campbell?s Creek, Franklinford, Guildford, Chewton, Metcalfe, Malmsbury, and surprise, surprise, stopping? at Glenlyon General Store where we (the blokes) had the chance to compare the guards red 1989 Porsche Carrera side by side with a 2008 (?) 997 Turbo Porsche Carrera.? A few subtle differences were noted!

It was disappointing that the Glenlyon General Store was almost closed for the day so no afternoon tea!? Sadly for some, the reports provided by those (the ladies) who went to enquire about afternoon tea painted a picture of some extremely good cakes to be bagged.

On the plus side it does leave something to return for in the future.? From Glenlyon we headed home to Hepburn Springs where the evening?s dinner was enjoyed at the excellent local Italian restaurant or as a simple dine in at home.

Monday Hepburn ? Maryborough

Monday heralded another cold, but thankfully fine day.

Following the breakfast and coffee meet up and briefing for the (why fight it) 10.00am departure the day?s touring took us via such places as Yandoit, Mt Franklin which is a volcanic crater, Newstead, Maryborough, Baringhup, Talbot, Clunes, Smeaton, Mine workings at Blampied, Eganstown, then back to Hepburn Springs.

Just past Yandoit we stopped and lined up in front of an old derelict stone building for what would have been a great photo opportunity.

However, we were rather abruptly told to move on by the ?friendly? (sic) owner, who said that his permission was required to ask his permission to be given permission to park adjacent to his old derelict stone building, beside a public road, to take the required photo!

One can only assume some jealously that, a) he did not own a shed full of classic vehicles in which to tour the local area, or b) the old derelict stone building was actually full of rare and old classic vehicles in which to tour the local area, or c) that gold was being mined in the old derelict stone building and we were viewed as ?claim jumpers?, or d) all of the previous.

So not wanting to spoil his ?bad hair day? any further we politely bid our ?friendly local? a ?good day? and headed off to Maldon.

At this point the tour leader was so distracted that he missed the opportunity to travel via Campbell Town!

The Maldon Folk Festival was in full swing at the bottom of Mt Tarrengower but we all slipped through unnoticed for a gentlemanly burst up Mt Tarrengower from where we enjoyed the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside at the top.

The next stop was exploring and lunch in the historic town of Maldon.? On the way out of Maldon we made up for our earlier disrupted photo shoot with one taken in front of one of the many old buildings in and around Maldon.

Monday evening?s dinner was a group eat in at ?home?, consuming our Daylesford Market, Maldon and Clunes ?nuts and berries? and other wonderful goodies enjoyed with a selection of local wine.? As is usual in this situation, there was lots of general chatter and discussion about all number of interesting topics, including the many things automobile (and rotary)!

Tuesday Hepburn Springs ? Kangaroo Ground ? Gippsland

Homeward bound today, Tuesday.

But not before coffee and a very rousing version of Happy Birthday to Pam who was presented with a rose bouquet and birthday greetings and best wishes from her fellow travellers.? Departure time???..yes 10.00am again!

Our destination was to be Yarra Glen for the afternoon return home to Gippsland.

By this stage the Campbell?s had lost their homing ability, so aided by the Irwin?s the touring party took to the secondary country roads though the countryside of Musk, Bullarto, and on, on, generally eastward Ashbourne, Woodend, Newham, Lancefield, (for coffee and birthday cake), and onto Romsey.? Then the fabulous run from Romsey through the hills and valleys of Chintin, Darrawiet, Guim to Wallan and onto Whittlesea, Arthur?s Creek, Wattle Glen and to our picnic lunch spot at the Memorial Lookout at Kangaroo Ground on the Yarra Glen Road.

We bid farewell to The Irwin?s here as they were not far from home, whilst the other 5 cars went on to Yarra Glen, where various routes back to Gippsland were taken with some action packed events along the way such as a spontaneously combusting Toyota Four Wheel Drive.

So given the enormous responsibility of leading the final day?s touring, we hope that our ?Anney, Anney? GPS didn?t let you down Glenn and we managed to find a few more Glens that you can now claim that you have been too!

Be surprising if the Gippsland residents did not have to travel home via Glenburn, Glen Wills, Glenmaggie and Glengarry just to complete Glenn and Pam?s Tor d?or Centrale to bag a few more Glens along the way!

Many thanks, Glenn and Pam, from all of us who just tagged along for a very memorable and enjoyable Cup Day long weekend touring Victoria?s Central Gold Fields.

Pictures by Malcolm Irwin and Glenn Campbell

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