Its damn cold at Shepparton(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepparton); there’s a lazy cold breeze chilling the bones as it blows through one’s body as its too lazy to go around. We drove down from Beechworth and at least it wasn’t raining when we left and the sky cleared as we drove along heading down the Hume Highway from the Wangaratta on ramp to the Benalla off ramp. We skirted Benalla via the truck route and arrived in Shepparton about midday.
Margaret had prepared a meal in the Shuttle Chef so it cooked nicely in the car on the journey so after setting up the van in the Victoria Lake Holiday Park (http://www.viclakeholidaypark.com.au/), we enjoyed a hot meal for lunch. Our site in the park is quite nice being the last one of a number backing on to the Lake where water fowl, ducks and pelicans enjoy life on a well-constructed recirculating wetland on the edge of the lake; the lake, and the extensive pathways around the perimeter, is well used as a recreation facility and would be a real bonus to the residents and visitors alike. One drawback to the caravan park is its location adjacent to a train line and the incidence of trains at odd hours of the night.
After lunch we rugged up and took a walk with the chilly wind to the Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre (http://www.discovershepparton.com.au/) to check out what is to be seen in the city. We were welcomed by Robin, a volunteer at the centre, who provided lots of local information and selected a number of useful brochures to guide us during our exploration of the area. Shepparton has developed a pleasant pedestrian mall and we walked through this while in the city.
As we were in the centre of Shepparton we explored the CBD of the city and visited a few local stores. One such store was the SPC Ardmona Factory Sales Outlet (http://www.spcardmonafactorysales.com.au/). We were a little disappointed in the outlet as it had lots and lots of imported products and was not a true factory outlet for SPC Ardmona (as the name suggests). We heard anecdotal evidence later that the SPC Ardmona Company did initially operate the facility but later sold the business with the new owner retaining the name. We did buy some of the products on sale for use in our journey.
Thursday morning found us in the park laundry early catching up on the washing. A minor medical issue had us searching for a medical centre in the city and a trip to the local chemist for appropriate medications was in order. We hadn’t had Pizza Hut pizza for years and we decided to visit the local outlet to test their fare – we’re over it.
That afternoon we invested in some additional supplies at a local supermarket then went in search of the Nut Man (http://www.thenutman.com.au/). This outlet operates from a nondescript shed in an industrial area of Shepparton but behind the galvanised walls of the shed lies a plethora of tasty nuts, dried fruit and many other delicacies; we brought several items.
Our next stop was to another somewhat nondescript location in a room in a large farm shed where delicacies known as chocolate apples are produced. The Chocolate Apple Factory (http://www.chocolateapplefactory.com.au/) is located at Shepparton East about 10 kilometres from the Shepparton CBD.
We visited and sampled the chocolate apples and their range of fresh bottled apple and pear juices. We ogled their handmade chocolates, and the vast array of chocolate products available for sale. The apples are first coated in caramel then in chocolate with a variety of additional coatings added. We purchased a few things including an apple (which we have now demolished) and returned to town to one of the local shopping centres for coffee and fuel for the vehicle.
Late Friday morning saw us heading down the road to Emerald Bank (http://www.emeraldbank.net.au/) to view the motor museum. There are a number of things to see at Emerald Bank, as well as the motor museum there is an antique/collectables outlet, a chocolate shop/café, a bakery, a nursery, pot shop, Adventure Park and a miniature railway which operates at weekends twice a month.
We checked out the very interesting antique shop (http://www.emeraldbank.net.au/index.php/our-shops/barclay-s-antique-collectables) and decided to go straight home and empty the cupboards as it would seem we are in possession of some very saleable items. I didn’t realise that the Coca Cola Yo-Yos that I have in a tin in the cupboard are worth $75.00 each – I nearly gave them away recently.
Next stop the motor museum (http://www.sheppartonmotormuseum.com.au/) where a display of American cars was on display. A number of other vehicles were also on the floor and we spent an hour or so drooling over the gleaming machinery on display. A short visit to the chocolate shop followed the museum then a visit to the large nursery on site followed by the pot shop. Couldn’t buy any plants while we are traveling from state to state and the pots and statues and pots are too heavy to cart around.
After a delicious lunch we took a drive out to Dookie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dookie,_Victoria), about twenty five kilometres from Shepparton, as suggested by the staff at the visitor centre in town. We stopped outside an engineering works – Dow Engineering (http://www.dowengineering.com.au/) where some interesting figures were located on the footpath demonstrating skills in precision cutting and specialist welding. There is not a lot to see but the main street is quite interesting with the Dookie Emporium being full of surprises that can be purchased. There is a lot of military paraphernalia available plus many, many, collectible items and knic knacks.
The Gladstone Hotel (http://www.dookiepub.com.au/) is located across the street from the Emporium, and the exterior of the pub looked great and well preserved (or refurbished) (https://open.abc.net.au/explore/20329) but unfortunately it only opened later in the day so we could not have a look inside.
There is a good little park across the road initially started by the CWA and more latterly adopted by the local Dookie Lions Club.
Leaving Dookie we encountered some interesting light cloud formations on a hill to the west of the town obviously influenced by wind in the area.
We drove back toward Shepparton and turned off to Lemnos where the Campbell’s Soup factory (http://www.campbellsoup.com.au/about-campbells/corporate-profile.aspx) is located. There is a factory outlet at the factory but it is currently closed.
On Saturday morning dawn brought a beautiful winter day in Shepparton, very crisp first thing in the morning but very warm as the day progressed. We took a leisurely drive in the Victorian countryside around Shepparton to celebrate the glorious day.
Tatura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatura) is a small town about twenty five kilometres out of Shepparton and has a bakery – Tatura Hot Bread (http://www.taturahotbread.com.au/vanillaslice.html) – which boasts award winning vanilla slices. Since we arrived at morning tea time we decided to test the claim and settled in for a cappuccino and vanilla slice morning tea. The vanilla slices lived up to their reputation but the young lady making the coffee needs more practice.
The town is quite interesting and is also home to a major milk processing plant which boasts of being the largest Australian owned manufacturer of infant formula and cream cheese. Tatura (http://www.tatura.com.au/) is now owned by Bega Cheese Limited but the factory has been in the area for over one hundred years.
Tatura (http://www.greatershepparton.com.au/tatura) has a long and interesting history and housed a number of POW camps during the Second World War. We had a good walk through the CBD and took a number of photos.
Our next stop was Rushworth so we drove south from Tatura past the Waranga Basin (http://www.g-mwater.com.au/water-resources/storages/warangabasin), a large body of water supplying irrigation to a wide area of the Greater Shepparton area. The Waranga Dam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waranga_Dam) as the water body is also known is also used for recreation purposes and boasts fishing, boating, horse riding and other clubs on and around the district.
When we reached Rushworth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rushworth,_Victoria) we found a small market was still operating so we took a walk through the stalls to see what was on offer. Rushworth has many historic buildings dating from the mid-1800s and has quite a picturesque main street which we walked through taking many snaps. It must have been the day for award winning foods as we lunched at the local bakery which proclaimed itself to be “award winning”; there was a good trade being done and the food was quite tasty.
Next we drove along to the small town of Murchison (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murchison,_Victoria) on the banks of the Goulborn River known as the “river bank garden town” (http://www.murchisonvictoria.com.au/). Along one side of the main street the river bank has been developed into an attractive parkland with steps leading down to the river banks at one spot.
There is the obligatory hotel – The Caledonian
– and a number of food stores. We dropped into a gemstone and gift store Lindsay’s Jewels and Gifts (http://www.yellowpages.com.au/vic/murchison/lindsays-jewels-and-gifts-15521617-listing.html) to find the owner originally hailed from Queensland.
Mooving Art (http://www.sheppartonmooovingart.com.au/cms/) is a project of Greater Shepparton Council where the art is displayed on life size models of cows. There were a number of these cows in Murchison as there has been in other locations we have visited.
Leaving Murchison we travelled to the highway and returned to Shepparton where we walked around Victoria Park Lake prior to preparing for our departure for Ballarat tomorrow.