19 April 2011

Barwon Heads - A Place For Some R&R

While looking for a place for some Rest and Recreation with an emphasis on Rest, we found Barwon Heads just about 100km from Melbourne CBD and 20km from the second largest city Geelong. It is an ideal place for a weekend hideaway.

It is a popular seaside community located on the southern coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, along the shallow and sandy shoreline of the Barwon River that feeds into the Bass Strait. There we stayed at the Barwon Heads Caravan Park, in a one-bedroom converted 1920s boat house on the foreshore.

The boat house features a queen size bed, well equipped kitchen, bathroom, living room with LCD TV/DVD and stereo/CD player, reverse cycle air conditioner, hair dryer, iron and electric blanket. The place gives a very comfy, relaxing atmosphere.

If the name Barwon Heads seems familiar to you, its because it was made popular by the Australian television series, SeaChange in the 1990s. For some Wikipedia write up of the town, click here.

Crossing the Barwon Heads Bridge brings us to Barwon Heads, twin coastal town Ocean Grove, which is another holiday town with a larger commercial centre.

Barwon Heads commercial centre consist of the town’s major hotel just near the river bridge to Ocean Grove, and a strip of shops including cafes and restaurants. There is a small IGA supermarket from which we got most of our groceries for the week-end. It is a small quite town and we liked the place so much so that we actually went there for two consecutive years during the Melbourne Cup week-end.

Not far from the caravan park is the Bluff Lookout, situated on a rocky outcrop at Point Flinders. It has a network of walking tracks and the lookout provides a good view over the town centre, along the Barwon River and the breathtaking views of the Bass Strait. It also overlooks the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, 17 hectares of the sea from the mouth of the Barwon River and around the bluff.

If you fancy walking, the tracks have a number of lookouts along its route and it boast three operational lighthouses along its coastline.  Also the tracks was recently, significantly upgraded by Barwon Coast.

Also the towns of Torquay, Bell's Beach and Lorne are just a short drive along the Great Ocean Road.

But rest being the operative word for the weekend hideaway, we were quite content to just do a stroll along the beach and watch the many other activities that people do in the area, like walking the dog, fishing at the jetty or at the beach, surfing or sort of surfing, boating or just watch the hugh container ships enter or leave Port Phillip Bay, which provides the only shipping access to Melbourne and Geelong.

Imagine sitting at the boat house front porch with a binocular and camera on hand, sipping a glass of wine, munching some cheese or biscuits, reading a book while waiting for the next container ship to appear over the horizon, hoping it might be a navy destroyer instead.

Imagine looking up from the book once in a while to take note of a family or children walking along the trail back to their caravan or tents and occassionally checking out the birds, checking you out.

Below are the views from our boat house porch on a cold windy day.
So, do you feel rested?

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12 April 2011

Carrying Your Cross

Luke 14:27 (NLT)
27 And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me.

Romans 8:17 (NLT)
17 And since we are his children, we will share his treasures--for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering

Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.

------------------- o --------------------

We complain about the cross we bear but don't realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we can't.
Whatever your cross, whatever your pain, there will always be sunshine, after the rain.

Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall, but God is always ready, to answer your call.
He knows every heartache, sees every tear, a word from His lips, can calm every fear.

Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night, but suddenly vanish, dawn's early light.
The Savior is waiting, somewhere above, to give you His grace, and send you His love.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage and you question God -'why me?'

Always look at the bigger picture.
A day without the Lord - Is a day wasted.
God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor.

Do not ignore Him.


Contributor - Anonymous

07 April 2011

Kyneton Farmers Market

Looking for somewhere to go for the day and don’t mind the drive to get there? Do you like open air markets, fresh produces, craft works and don’t mind some freshly cooked hot food on a cold and rainy day? How about meeting and being welcomed by some of the town local characters?

Well, the Kyneton Farmers Market might be just the place to be for the day and there are more to do at your leisure if you are looking for a B&B for the weekend. There are art galleries and the museum, home wares and home furnishing, crafts, books, nurseries, gift shops, clothing, food and wine from the region that would certainly keep your interest. There is also the Kyneton Mineral Springs, 4 kilometres north-west of the town centre.

Kyneton was once a gold rush town and it is 87 km from the Melbourne CBD, about an hour plus travel time via the Calder Freeway towards the city of Bendigo, taking the Kyneton exit. As an alternative, V/Line trains service Kyneton seven days a week and it is only a 15-minute walk from the train station to the town centre. For the local news and events of Kyneton, go to its community web-site. For some historical and background information of Kyneton, click here.

The farmers market is held on the second Saturday of every month. It is the various Farmers Markets and festivals throughout the year that is making the town popular as a day trip destination. The market is located at Piper Street, the town’s original commercial centre but is now a historical precinct with bluestone buildings, cafes, antique shops and galleries. Kyneton's main shopping strip today is around Mollison Street and High Street.

This market showcases the regions wine and produces. It features a variety of fresh goods such as olive oils, the artisan wood fired bread, pastries and muffins, honeys and homemade jams, herbs and spices, in season fruits and vegetables, plants and flower. There are also some handcrafts on display including knitted hats, scarfs and jewellery. But the most popular stores, especially on a cold rainy morning are the stores that provide on-site cooked breakfast and coffee.

As not every Saturday is the second Saturday of the month, for fresh produce the alternative market along Piper Street, is the indoor Ganim’s Market Fresh. It may not be quite the Coles or the Woolworths of a supermarket, but it does have its own charm as an alternative grocer.

For lunch we opted for The Royal George Hotel. Read an article about the place from The Age Good Food Guide and it has been rated One Chef’s Hat for a number of years.

The following are part of a three course lunch menu for the day; all ingredients are sourced from the regions produces. I found the dishes colourful, well presented and interesting in its taste and texture. For example the foam like sauce over the meat with mashed beetroot is said to include champagne or was it the sauce with the prawns.

For the glass of wine or two, to complement your meal, seek the advice of the waiter.

After lunch, we did a little more exploring of the town and found Osabah along High Street, a quaint little homeware shop with a small jewellery section and a little chocolate outlet that also serves good strong latte. Just the place for a little pick-me-up caffeine fixes before the drive back to Melbourne. Yes, we did pack 12 of the delicious chocolate treats for the journey home.

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