Day 3, Sunday September 8th 2013 Stratford – Melbourne
At sunrise we ride our bikes to the rail bridge, wander the stony riverbed and ride into town. We have another killer breakfast before packing up and driving to Sale, then heading inland to Toongabbie in search of the historic railway station but sadly it is no longer. At Toongabbie there is a charming Common overlooked by the Mechanics Hall and Grandstand. We pile into the Passat and go out to the Cowarr Weir but it is closed for maintenance, there is a caravan park here. We see a dirt road and a sign pointing to Walhalla and only 30kms away which sounds too good not to take via a sealed road. We pick up the rig and head off. As we climb up the ridge there are expansive views over the Latrobe Valley and we count four power stations and a paper mill. After the little town of Tyers we drive through pine plantations before crossing the range.
As we enter the town of Walhalla there is a Nova caravan invitingly parked on the lawn amongst white English daises looking just like an advertisement for caravanning. We have lunch at the Wally Pub sitting on the veranda in the sunshine. There is a flowering plum tree beside the pub and pink petals are floating on the breeze and drifting through the pub door like confetti. Bees are buzzing and black butterflies are alighting on the blossoms. The boys choose a mountainous mixed grill and we girls have an almost as big parma. At bursting point, we waddle off down the road to explore the town. Being late on Sunday there are very few tourists and it feels as though we have the place to ourselves with just a few locals working on their weekender cottages. The gardens are a spring picture with Prunus and Magnolias in full bloom. Stringers Creek babbles over rocks and meanders through stone walls. Crimson parrots are grazing on the lawns, the mountain air is crisp and clean.
494 Kms, Accommodation $54.00
2022 Note: The Cowarr Weir camping facilities have closed. I’m always surprised when I meet a Victorian who hasn’t visited Walhalla as it is like a time capsule. A magical glimpse into the gold rush days hidden in a narrow valley tucked into the Great Dividing Range. Another world and yet so close to Melbourne that it’s ‘picnicable’.