So here we are. Most of us are stuck in our houses to prevent the spread of disease and the weather is being utterly glorious. Autumn is my favourite time of the year to be out roadtripping and all I can do is sit here and stare out of the window.
Or sit in front of the computer, re-living past roadtrips through the several million photos I’ve taken.
It seems I have but one choice: instead of going on an actual roadtrip, I’m going to take you on virtual roadtrips via my blog.
“But, Katie!” you may declare. “What if you run out roadtrip photographs?”
Quite frankly, I’m more likely to run through my wool and fabric stash before I even get close to reaching the bottom of my roadtrip photograph collection. You have no idea how many roadtrips I haven’t shared on this blog yet!
I’m starting with a Failboats trip to Woodend in January because, with the exception of our visit to the Noojee market (blog post coming soon), it’s my most recent roadtrip.
Let’s go to Woodend!
Why Woodend? Let me list the ways.
- It’s close to Melbourne
- We hadn’t really explored it before
- Why not?
We happily picked a fabulous day for weather. For the first time in ages, the skies were clear of smoke and we could see blue above us. It wasn’t too hot or cold – just perfect for roadtripping with friends.
The trip got off to a slow start with a 40kmh limit along Citylink due to some debris in the left lane, but we eventually hit highways with proper speed limits and we arrived in lovely little Woodend in no time at all.
It was picturesque from the minute we stepped out of the car.
(That wasn’t our car, alas. Although it does give me some good ideas for future roadtripping, vintage-style…)
I love an excuse to play with black and white processing. It’s a skill I want to improve this year, especially now that I’m going to have a whole lot of time at home. I had planned to go on lots of roadtrips and brave the crazy crowds at heritage festivals, but it’s looking like indoor pursuits are the way to go for now.
But let’s return to the picturesque main street of Woodend. Obviously, our first stop was for coffee and cake. This was a more difficult task than you might think, because every other shop was a café and they all looked great. In the end, we made a choice based on whether there was a free table or not.
Fortunately, Woodberry Café delivered on deliciousness as well as an empty table, so it was a happy choice after all.
I resisted the delicious cakes and brownies, so I ate vicariously through Aimee and Emily’s purchases. In the photo above, you can see Emily coming to grips with her brownie in the background. Actually, looking closer, I’m not sure it was a brownie. I do know that she had to put in a great deal of effort to cut it into manageable parts, but she reported that it was delicious, so it was clearly worth the time.
Whatever it was.
Now replenished, we hit the main street of Woodend and wandered into shops that caught our eye.
Seriously, we visited two bookshops and an old wares shop. This is why I keep hanging around with these people: they have the best taste in everything.
Aimee bought one of those books and we’re still waiting for her to report back on it because it looked like it should be a light-hearted romance, but it actually sounded like a descent into nightmares and horror.
As we browsed inside the second bookshop, I arranged an appointment with a horse and carriage. It wasn’t until after we’d agreed everything that I realised I hadn’t left enough time for us to visit the Holgate Brewhouse.
This caused sadness amongst the beer fans of our small party.
Fortunately, the sadness was short-lived because we came up with a fabulous plan while waiting for our lunch burgers: we could come back for a longer stay!
Not going to lie – this plan was mostly inspired by an advertisement for a gin tour in a tourist magazine I picked up in the burger shop. We could come back to the region; the beer people could enjoy the Brewhouse; we could go on a gin tour and do all the other things over a long weekend with some of the interstate Failboats!
(So that was meant to take place this April. It will happen, though. We’re coming for you, gin tour.)
In the middle of planning this amazing weekend of awesomeness, our burgers arrived and they were ENORMOUS.
I think I managed to eat about half of that burger. It was delicious but it was also roughly the size of my head.
The next part of our day involved swapping the car for a more laidback form of transport. We drove to the tiny town of Carlsruhe and stepped back in time in a horse and carriage driven by Rose and the fabulous Patrick from Yesteryear Today Carriages.
It was a ridiculous amount of fun. Carlsruhe is seriously tiny, so there wasn’t too much traffic to worry about. Patrick alternated between an enthusiastic trot and a slow walk when he couldn’t be bothered. At one point, he suddenly decided to speed up and we tumbled towards the back of the carriage from the sudden change in speed.
We kept a firmer grip on the rails after that point, just in case Patrick decided to try something else for his own equine amusement.
What’s to see in Carlsruhe? Here’s a round-up of the major points of interest, including the old school, a bluestone church, and the only real traffic we encountered.
There was also the old hotel, but I wanted to leave you some sense of mystery in case you decide to go on the tour yourself. I highly recommend it! There’s an option for a picnic or a winery visit, too. And you can even ask to dress up in the same style as Rose, so you can genuinely feel like you’ve gone back in time.
As we were saying our goodbyes, Rose mentioned the old railway station on the other side of the highway, so we obviously had to check that out. Some lucky person lives in it now but we could still admire it from a distance.
I love this pic Emily snapped of me. This is the way I always stand when I’m visiting old railway stations.
Our next main stop was the memorial cross on Mount Macedon.
I’ve been to Mount Macedon a few times before, but it’s always worth a wander around. We enjoyed the views and read some of the explanatory signage and then we headed back to Woodend via a massive detour because Elton John was in town.
The place was packed (see my story of finding a café above) and everywhere we went, people asked us: “Are you here for the concert?”
Eventually, we found out it was Elton John performing at Hanging Rock. Thanks for all that traffic, Elton!
Back in Woodend, we completely failed to find any fridge magnets, but I did score a free pie. It’s not the same as having a fridge magnet, but it did deal with my peckishness at the time.
And that bring us to the end of our first visit to Woodend… but not our last! At some point in the future, we’ll be heading back and having many more adventures and I can’t wait.
Although I will have to.
Possibly for quite some time.
What did you think of our day in Woodend? Have you ever gone on a horse and carriage ride? Have you eaten a burger with more red cabbage than mine? Let’s have a chat about it all in the comments!