We planned a weekend away in the Grampians, with an Aradale Lunatic Asylum and J Ward visit, so we booked accommodation in Ararat which is close by to use as our base.
Like the fabled Utopia, its out there somewhere, but hidden behind the mists of time and lost travelers. We drove down Roses Gap Road (dirt road all the way) for over half an hour, stirring up a massive dust cloud behind us, and never found the ‘Roses Gap Car park that was on that road (according to the directions printed out) and never found Beehive Falls.
We did see some great views of the Grampians as we drove its length and breadth… but that’s as close as we got 🙁 As it was by now around 2.30 we turned around, headed back to Ararat and after brief but obligatory stop at MacDonald’s for a late lunch we arrived at our cottage around 4pm and loved it on sight.
We were greeted by our very hospitable hosts Merren and Peter, who introduced us to the gorgeous cottage Golf Links Retreat we were staying in. Set in beautiful gardens it’s a Bluestone brick exterior, old exposed brick walls and timber ceilings inside, two storey, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom.. breakfast basket, Coonara heater.. heaven!! We took the princess too and she took to it straight way… it was ‘home’ for three days and that’s just what it felt like..home. We do plan to go back and find those waterfalls next time too!
As Saturday was very wet and rained ALL day we decided to stay in and do some ‘arting’. We had taken supplies with us and spent the day making gazillions of chipboard tiles that we will be adhering to large canvases. Sunday was just as overcast and cool.. but only brief showers so we decided to head off to Aradale Mental Hospital It started life named Aradale Lunatic Asylum and take the tour (link will give you all the info on it)
The outside of it was beautiful.. huge, huge complex of around 70 buildings.. but inside it had suffered from renovations in the 50’s and 70’s and wasn’t what I was expecting. It was more interesting once we got into the older parts.
Saturday we headed back to McKenzie Falls via Stawell for breakfast, was sunny but cool morning but unfortunately it was raining quite a bit up in the hills and I didnt get a shot of them (Lucy did using my tripod which we were sharing but the rain came down in buckets as she finished so we packed it in) and we returned to Ararat for lunch. At least that was the plan. Ararat shuts at 1pm on saturday. Almost nothing open… except McDonalds which we were sick of… no nice cafe’s… so we comprised and had a very nice Subway lunch before returning to our cottage to art for the rest of the day.
Sunday in Ararat… bustling town of 8200 very sleepy people it seems… as Ararat was totally deserted and dead at 11am… few shops were opening but it seems there is very little Sunday trading in Ararat. It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from there.
Sunday night the sun shone so we headed up the road to One Tree Hill… odd name for something that is covered in trees, but thats country folk for you. We had timed our visit to coincide with sunset and the view was beautiful
Monday morning was back on the road home… our art journals had quite a few pages done… we had a lovely time… and made a two new resolutions (never visit somewhere with bad internet access and make sure the town stays open past 1950)