Ray and Angela Couch around the world travel blog

Insie Winsie

Would a wombat do

Kanga and you

Say no more

More pelicans flown over from the condo

Eats, shoots and leaves

The dingo ate my bambi


Ali was pacing the floor, itching to go to work, so we left Melbourne at 8.30am and headed to the shops to get ready for our 2nd van tour. We couldn't’t buy a decent map so we decided to use the route planner on our laptop. Unfortunately, the battery ran out and woudidn'tcharge in the cigarette lighter. What a stressful drive and it only lasted an hour. We found the campsite and were greeted by a Huntsman spider. Not the best start but we gave it a wide birth and went out to look around the town of Healesville. We had a good walk through the town and ended up in a fantastic winery/cellar door, restaurant, pizzeria , cheese room and artisan bakery called Innocent Bystander. We started on the cheeses and had a great chat with a cheese maker who got us to taste several local cheeses. The Australian palate is not ready for strong cheeses but they like to try different cheese so the cheese maker buys in cheeses from all over the world. We talked about cheeses from England and it turned out they had just sold the last of the ‘Colston Bassett’ Stilton that we love so much in England and which is made just 20 miles from our house in Lincolnshire. We bought some strong tasting, ash covered, goats cheese and some rustic French bread before enjoying the wine tasting. We started with some blended wines all under the Innocent Bystander or Mule label, then we moved over to the quality wines under the Giant Steps label. What a great time we had in there talking about wines and trying all of them, some 23 different wines. Needless to say I was a bit merry when I got back to the campsite and went and asked the owners about Australian spiders. The one in the campsite is harmless, although huge and is called a Huntsman spider. The ones to be worried about have a red line down their backs and Sydney have some that jump apparently. Anyway, I am lifting up all toilet seats in the campsites just in case. We had a good nights sleep in the van, after chopping a bit off the end of 2 of the mattresses so they would fit in the van. The Healesville Sanctuary is just around the corner so we decided to spend the morning there. What a great place, full of native animals in their own habitats. We sped about to take advantage of the ‘meet the keeper’ timings as they seem to be the best chance to see some of the nocturnal animals. We were really lucky to see the wombat out and about as the keeper said she had not been out for 2-3 weeks. We also went in with the kangaroos and saw the platypus, which had 2 young, the first twins that had been bred at the sanctuary. We saw the Birds of Prey & Parrots show in the flight arena and saw 2 operations in the animal hospital. There were so many birds and animals including koalas, dingoes, emus, pelicans, flying fox bats, kookaburras and all 10 of the most deadly snakes in the world. Thankfully, they were all behind glass as they are all in Australia somewhere. We drove to some cellar doors in the afternoon. One in particular, called Punt Road wines, so Ray could get some cider for the pork casserole he is cooking tonight.



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