Wednesday October ninth sees our intrepid caravaners depart Melbourne on a blustery spring morning. Venturing forth from the suburban depths of Coburg and out onto the Calder freeway we speed towards the green bush and yellow hills of the Macedon ranges.
The sing-along soundtrack in our car comprises of Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and The Kinks and the van wobbles occasionally as hands depart the steering wheel to execute sweet synchronised dance moves. There are three vans in our convoy thus far, The Fossicker, The Crusader and Rebecca. We cause quite a stir with the locals as we pull into Kyneton for mid-morning refreshments and the purchasing of kitchen implements.
After a slight mechanical hitch is solved (one of the vans wheels wasn’t quite attached properly) it’s onto the leafy hamlet of Castlemaine, which will be our resting place for the night. Several members of the team quickly and efficiently obliterate the town’s op shops, moving with military-like precision amongst the 2 dollar bargain bins. One caravaner emerges with a bizarre relic of kitsch 80’s Australiana, involving a well known pink ostrich puppet from a well known weekend centric variety show. Said ostrich is depicted in a compromising and slightly disturbing pose on the front of what can only be described a children’s night gown. Needless to say it is snapped up immediately.
We set up camp and get ready for an afternoon tea and viewing session for local caravan enthusiasts, catered by the excellent and formidable ladies of the CWA. We promptly stuff ourselves with scones, jam and cream and chat to the lovely people who came to see the vans, hearing stories of long ago holidays and current caravan dwelling. One lady lived in a vintage van as her granny flat was being built, much to the consternation and horror of her grown up children. Another tells a tale of being five years old and travelling to the beach, only to discover an entire jar of honey had spilt all over the caravan on the interim journey.
As we struggle to consume the mountain of orange cake and egg and lettuce sandwiches the CWA ladies have come armed with, the light fades on our pond-side picnic. It is the first properly balmy evening of the year and locals and travellers alike drift away to enjoy the dwindling strains of rosy twilight.