There's nothing like a good, long road trip in the country to clear your head, make some space and get creative. Last November, I did just that. I set out on a two week, 3500 kms round trip to Victoria. That’s a lot of Australian country landscape in a short amount of time. Having lived in Melbourne previously but not venturing any further afield, I was keen to see some of country Victoria.
Accommodation was a small, comfortable 100 year old farm cottage, built in 1907 to be exact, called Lochinver Blue Wren Cottage just out of Carisbrook, near Maryborough. It had all the comforts of home. The hosts Alison and John were more than happy to help and offered information about the local area and events. To my amusement, every morning there was a gorgeous little blue wren tapping at the kitchen window while I cooked my breakfast. The cottage was obviously named after him.
Daily exploration of the area lead to visiting many of the nearby towns, including, Castlemaine, Maldon, Daylesford, Kyneton and Clunes. Castlemaine was hosting it’s annual Garden Festival. There is something for all garden lover's from modern designs, to country to quirky.
Clunes was one of my favourites. A tiny, historic gold mining town with a population of around 900. The buildings are brimming with rustic character. Fraser St, the main street, is famous for being used as a movie set. And (lucky for me) book shops. Lots of books and book shops. I managed to pick up Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Biography, which was a nice find, and some other old books which will come in handy for props. A book festival is held there every year in May, something to put on my bucket list. Clunes also has the most amazing coffee shop called Widow Twankeys, named after a character in the pantomime Aladdin. With it’s hot pink decor, delicious food and an adjoining lolly shop, it’s a must visit for lunch. I dare you to try not going in the lolly shop.
Just down the street from Widow Twankeys on the corner is the local, well known photographer, Neil Newitt. I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet Neil, who regularly freelances for RM Williams magazine. He was very generous with his time and knowledge about photography. His photos depicting Australia and the Victorian countryside are truly inspiring. Neil also teaches workshops locally and provides black and white natural light portraiture. I will most definitely be booking a session with him on the next visit … I think I need something to replace the ‘selfies’ with. His gallery is open Friday to Sunday and is another must visit in Clunes.
I returned home from the trip energised with the creative juices ready to flow. When was the last time you jumped in the car and went for a drive? Could just be an hour out of town or 3500kms down the road and back. Try it. there's nothing like getting out of your own four walls and seeing some of the amazing countryside this world has to offer.
Recently an assignment from my year long Project 52 Pros workshop was sent out. The brief was to shoot a road trip and fill the supplied magazine layout with carefully selected images to tell a story from that road trip. Perfect! I had the images all ready to go from my Victorian adventure and had so much fun creating this photo story and fitting it to the layout. Now all I need to do is write the story.