Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Warburton

Although charming, beautiful and bursting with all manner of interesting and wonderful characteristics, I’m not sure if I’ll ever again be as close to Warburton as I was this week.

When I told one of my friends in Aberdeen that I was going to Australia, his immediate reaction was ‘Dude, you’ve got to go to Hynam!’ Has he ever been to Hynam, the village of around 300 inhabitants nestled roughly halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne? Did he know the secrets of a little gem hidden away in the middle of the countryside? No, his surname is Hynam.

I tried to make his dream come true, but because Hynam is situated on the wrong side of the South Australia/Victoria border (if you happen to be in Victoria at the time), it’s more than a little tricky if, like me, you don’t have your own mode of transport. Firstly, no one in the tourist information office in Melbourne seems to have heard of it. Secondly, it doesn’t have a train station. Thirdly, there’s only one bus to it and one bus out of it every day. The departing bus leaves before the arriving one reaches there, so I’d have to stay overnight. Except I don’t expect there’s much call for accommodation there.

As my second tourist information expert was trying to find me a route there, I was looking at her map of Victoria to find somewhere else for a day trip. Rainbow sounded lovely, but was too far away. Beardmore, in the shadows of Mount Baw Baw, sounded great but was pretty inaccessible without a car. And that’s when I saw Warburton, connected to Melbourne with a big grey line. Success! For those who hadn’t twigged by about the third word, this post is, of course, about Warburton, Victoria, not Warburton, Dave. Although I’ll do my best to pretend I don’t know that.

Reminds me of Dave

From the main Melbourne station, it’s about 45 minutes on the train (to Lilydale) and then 45 minutes on a bus to arrive in Warburton. The bus driver was a very friendly chap and made sure I alighted at the right spot, and then I headed to the tourist information centre.

I’d done a bit of research on what I’d like to see and basically wanted a map to mark them all on. At the start my searching found ‘attractions’ like a trout farm, but gradually I discovered some more exciting options. One of the most interesting looking was a rainforest (in Victoria!) that you can go to see, about 9km away from the town centre.

In the information place, I asked the kindly retired lady what the best way of getting there was. Apparently no buses go that way. And she’s never seen a taxi in Warburton. Which was a bit disappointing. It was also pouring with rain at this time (in Australia! Actually it’s been raining pretty much since Monday. Summer here is meant to be sunny!) and I think she took pity on me. And what did she do? She rang her husband who was at home and asked him if he’d give me a lift up there! Amazing! From my end of the phoneline I could hear ‘I’ve got a young visitor from the UK who’s looking to go to the Rainforest Gallery, could you give him a lift? … No, he doesn’t have a gun’. He came down from whatever he was doing, gave me a lift up to the rainforest, handed me a poncho and we walked around the place. We chatted about the area, the wildlife and whatnot before he gave me some tips on where to eat and what else to see in the area. He was lovely and I felt completely fine going off in his car. Not even when he picked up a hefty looking stick on the walk, when he stopped the car up the mountain to move some wood off the road or when he told me he was taking me on a detour did I feel like I was being abducted or about to be murdered. He also let me keep the poncho. This is the loveliest couple ever.

More from the Rainforest Gallery

I also walked through a eucalypt forest, through the rain and mist, sweating because of the heat and after a couple of hours I got to a waterfall. A few years ago people in Warburton were evacuated over fears of the bushfires getting to them. The town next to them was destroyed. Today people were happy to see the rain. I mainly wanted to go to the waterfall because they were called the La La Falls and even though the lovely information woman told me it wasn’t really worth it. I persevered.

This is my disappointed by the waterfall/I'm a sweaty bojangle look

I should’ve listened. On the way up the final leg I was warned by a returning couple that there was thick undergrowth ahead full of blood sucking parasites and that they’d turned back. I persevered, although I was slightly worried every time I went through any overgrowth and that, combined with the million or so cobwebs I had to plough through, meant that at one stage I’d never been so scared of seeing my own hair out of the corner of my eye for fear it was something icky crawling on me.

Me, Warburton and a life-sapping leach (Are you sure about that spelling? Ed) - just like old times!

I saw my first lyre birds and heard my first wild kookaburras (although I kind of wish that was the other way round, lyres are amazing). I also saw a couple of other creatures: a leech and I don’t really know, something that can only be described, by a meagre writer as myself, as a tiny land lobster.

What IS it?

I also saw Boinga Bob‘s house temple, which I was excitedly told featured on UK television, on some show called the World’s Greatest Homes or something (me neither). The whole thing, apparently, is made from things people have thrown away or donated, which is pretty cool. It’s pretty big, and everyone in the town loves it. Both of the amazing couple wanted to make sure I saw it and the cute but nervous girl in the bakery (yes, the Warburton Bakery) told me to go and also mentioned that he’d built the umpire’s den (she meant chair) at the tennis club.

Probably quite nice on a sunny day

Lots more photos (with captions!) on Flickr, including some of Warburton’s top shops, although most are of the forests or of the recycled timber used in Boinga’s house, so make sure you love trees or you’re gay for wood if you want to go through them all.

I'm sure I'm not the only person to make this observation

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Filed under: australia, ,

2 Responses

  1. Warburton says:

    I announced “WHAT THE F—” at a very loud volume when I spotted the title. I thought we were over 😥

    Warburton is teeming with interesting life! You’ve seen some dead interesting stuff. I’d be proud if I was actually proud of my name in any way. (In my secondary school class of 25, there were 3 unrelated Warbos. Rubbish!)

  2. James says:

    You’re done with Dave Warburton. How is that possible?

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