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Yarra Valley Frenzy
13/14 March 2010

The weather proved to be a spectacular. Sunny, 25 degrees both days.

Brian and Jan left Portland in the re-born ’79 at 5 am (without aircon) and experienced intermittent bouts of sun blindness and fog along the way. A tense 400 km later, they were ready to start the frenzy! Iain brought the ’81 (regretfully Susan had to last-minute cancel), Glenn & Catherine were S4 equipped, and Wayne with his beautiful GTS. So, together with our ’83, we had the 4.5, 4.7, 5.0 and 5.4 ltr engines covered A quick coffee to re-boot a few brain cells, Brian checked the oil, and then we were off.

The road to Kinglake showed exactly how much the devastated forests had regenerated in 14 months, how much re-building has yet to be started, and how slowly a group of 928s can be forced to travel. After a photo stop and cautious taste at the beautiful De Bortoli winery (damn … 150m of gravel), we savored the stunning scenery and winding roads through Toolangi to the Healesville Giant Steps complex, for a well-earned lunch stop. Brian checked the fuel and filled the oil.

Later, we reviewed the routine Police cordon up through the Black Spur (which didn’t stop the exuberant bikie demonstrating travel only on his front wheel) to Marysville, where again we noted that some work had been completed but with much, much more yet to be started. After a cleansing coffee at the bakery and a raid on ye olde lolly shop (actually it was a container, but you get the picture), we headed back through the TarraWarra winery / art museum. Meanwhile, Iain in his Tardis elected to spend two hours going back to Mt Macedon, then only one hour to return. Apparently he got an unusually good run of green lights. That evening we had an excellent meal at the Grand Hotel, Yarra Glen, for some curious reason, drinking King Valley reds. Later, someone generously offered the medicinal powers of the single malt whiskey; unusually, I thought Wayne looked a little fragile the next morning.

Sparrows on Sunday saw Wayne & Iain swap cars for a clockwise pass through some great secondary roads. This left Wayne deciding that he could afford to stick a real gearbox in the GTS. Meanwhile, Brian checked the fuel and filled the oil (curiously, only Iain can open the bonnet on the ’79). After a few refreshing coffees for us and a berocca for someone else, we welcomed Simon & Rachel (Guards Red ‘83 with BBS rims) then departed for a beautiful, scenic, back roads drive through Cockatoo, Gembrook, Launching Place and Woori Yallock, back to Healesville for lunch.

While people began to peel off, the remainder reviewed the offer at Balgownie Estate, finishing at the award-winning Coldstream Hills winery. After Brian checked the fuel and filled the oil, off he and Jan headed for Portland, clocking over 1,500 kms for the weekend. Yes there are numerous things to fix …. oh but their new baby is beautiful! Like me, Brian is quite comfortable using whatever gear comes first to hand, and gives new meaning to the term change manager.

Feedback thus far indicates that:

  • The concept is excellent, the time of the year is fine, and it should be considered for 2011.
  • The shops were great and there was enough time to browse!
  • The idea to reduce the cost and evening driving is to locate a chalet-style accommodation with centralized cooking arrangement, if at all possible. Must book early for this!
  • Brian’s oil to fuel consumption ratio was 2:1 (maybe)

Thanks to all who participated, for making it such a great weekend!! - Lynda & Alan Galt.


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