Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My Favorite Parts of Victoria ... Bonnie Doon ...

One of my favorite places to holiday is Bonnie Doon, which is located at the northern end of Lake Eildon. It is only a 2 hour drive from our front door. You may or may not know that we have a permanent site / caravan set up in one of the local caravan parks there. We have been coming to Bonnie Doon for almost 15 years, initially as campers, then as "Annuals" (which is what they call people with permanent sites in the caravan park). Prior to regularly visiting this part of Lake Eildon, we used to go regularly to Jerusalem Creek, which is at the southern end of the lake.

A view from Maintongoon Road across to the Maroondah Highway bridge over Lake Eildon at Bonnie Doon, looking approximately South to North

Bonnie Doon is a small town situated in North East Victoria on the edge of Lake Eildon. It is most well known these days as a holiday/weekend destination for waterskiiers, fisherman and boat enthusiasts.

It has a small population, but in holiday periods the population swells to several times its normal size.

The area of Bonnie Doon was first passed through by white man in 1824 by the explorers Hume and Hovell. It was first settled in 1834 and the township originated in the 1860's.

The town was originally called Doon but the name was later changed, in 1891, to Bonnie Doon.

The discovery of gold in the area caused a immense growth of the town, and from this emerged a strong farming community. There was once quite a few Hotels and other shops as well as a butter factory.

In 1955 Lake Eildon was enlarged to store more water for irrigation and unfortunately Bonnie Doon township was going to be submerged. The town relocated nearby further up a hill where it currently stands today. This involved moving the highway and railway and the building of new bridges. Many residents moved elsewhere rather than rebuild in Bonnie Doon.

After the enlargement of the lake, the potential for tourism became apparent and a caravan park was built. Then boat ramps, picnic areas, hotels and motels were built to cater for waterskiers.
Today the Bonnie Doon area contains 3 caravan/camping grounds, 3 Motels, 1 Hotel, numerous housing estates dotted around the lake and is growing in popularity all the time.

A rare photo of the Bonnie Doon end of the lake when it is full !!

Lake Eildon offers wonderful fishing, at various times of the year. Like anywhere, sometimes the fishing is really slow !! We only seem to manage to catch carp, which are classified as vermin fish here in Victoria. There are, however, Redfin, Cod and various other fish ... all of which don't seem to like jumping onto our hooks !!

Unfortunately, with the lackof substantial rainfall in the area for the last few years, the lake levels are extremely low ... currently only at about 23% of capacity (the lake hasn't been "full" since around 1996). We, as recreational users tend to complain about the water levels, however the lake was built and designed for irrigational use. The water outflows into the Goulburn River, travelling for many kilometres, eventually feeding into the Murray River. We are once again hoping for above average rainfall, in order for the lake to come up to at least 50% of capacity. Maybe we all need to do a Rain Dance !!

A map of the lake and surrounds ... Bonnie Doon is at the northern end

When the lake is low, we tend to do a bit of 4WDing, both in the dry lake bed, and up in the nearby High Country (usually only in the warmer months, as the High Country becomes the ski fields in Winter !). It is a beautiful area, with plenty to do and see.

Craigs Hut (photo taken March 2005) ... purpose built for the filming of "The Man From Snowy River" ... in the Victorian High Country

A view of the Mt. Buller ski fields from the top of Mt. Stirling (photo taken in the Australian Autumn ... March 2005)

Bonnie Doon also became quite infamous due to being mentioned quite frequently in a wonderful Australian movie called "The Castle". Don't know if it was released outside Australia, but if you get a chance to see it, it is very very funny !!

So, there you go ... a little bit of background about one of my favorite places ... Bonnie Doon.

We are heading up to Bonnie Doon for the Easter break ... Friday through to Monday. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us. We haven't been since early March, so are really looking forward to getting up there again. I will be sure to get some new photos to share with you all.

Have a great day.

Take care,



Michelle said...

Love that photo of the full lake, the colors are beautiful. Drive safely and have a happy easter :o)

Meow said...

Thanks Michelle ...
Hope you have a Happy Easter, too.
Take care, Meow

Viamarie said...

Nice shots.

Wishing you a Blessed Easter.

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

can I go on vaction with you?..such beautiful places you go too..

Peter said...

Hi Meow, hope you have a great Easter break at Bonnie Doon.
I went for a drive up to Craigs Hut about 12 months ago while on one of my visits, it's been kept in very good order, hadn't been there for about 15 years, still a beautiful place.
Mansfield, Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright are among my favourite places, along with 200/300 others!!!!

LoraLoo said...

What a beautiful place to spend some time. Have a great time!

Tab said...

wow...that was like a little vacation just reading your blog today..! Thanks for the awesome sharing too!!!!!!

Connie and Rob said...

It really looks lovely there. Hope you have a wonderful time. Take lots of pictures.

Hope the Easter Bunny comes to the lake.


Dick said...

Bonnie Doon sounds like a fun place. Arizona has been in a drought condition this year, with no rain from Oct 18th to Mar 11th and they are still way short of where they should be.

What is the elevation of the mountains in the ski region? It looks like the terrain goes pretty quickly from near sea level to ski heights. That is the way we have it here in the northwest part of the US & SW Canada. Our highest mountain, Mt. Rainier, is about 14,204' and just a few miles away is the sea (Puget Sound.) That much difference makes for some pretty dramatic views.

Jamie Dawn said...

I like that movie The Man from Snowy River.

As I read this, I read "boat tramps" instead of "boat ramps." My first thought was, "What's a boat tramp?" Then I realized my mistake. I had a chuckle though.

Granny said...

Very nice. Happy Easter.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hi Meow
I love this post , sharing something you like/love and all the pics , really great , the one of the cabin for the movie is that Chicky? standing on the big rock , she must have alot of fun , all of you must have a great time , I am green with envy!!!! wish I could tag along but will have to wait till photos are posted LOL We have loads of water here , unfortunately is comes in great deals of snow! willing to share :) I hope you have a wonderful time and no squaking birds on this adventure . are you going to video any of the trip ???((HUGS)))and Happy Easter :0)

Meow said...

Viamarie ... thank you.

Bossy Britches ... leaving room in the suitcase for you !!!

Peter ... we try and do a trip up into the high country at least once a year ... I love Craigs Hut and all the other huts, too. It's a beautiful part of the world.

Loraloo ... thank you.

Tab ... thank you, and you are welcome.

Connie ... thank you, and don't worry ... the camera will be hanging around my neck like a tourist all weekend !!

Dick ... I'll have to look up the statistics and get back to you !!

Jamie ... boat tramp tee hee ... It was a great movie, wasn't it !!

Granny ... thank you.

Greeneyes ... yep, that's Chicky on the rock !!! We do have a lot of fun ... we often go away for weekends (as you must have noticed), and really enjoy it. I hope there are not too many squawking birds, too. I may video bits of my weekend, but who knows !

Have a great day, everyone. Take care, Meow

PS. I will be (hopefully) posting an Easter message later today. But just in case I don't, hope you all have a wonderful Easter.

Clare said...

Have a great vacation Meow and Happy Easter. Look forward to seeing more pictures of the lovely places you get to visit :).

ange said...

have an enjoyable time away! i will look out for the pics on your next blog after ur mini break..

Neo said...

Meow - Nice spot. Too bad the fishing isn't better. Looks like a prime spot to roll up with a 30 pack and a couple of fishing poles.

Thanks for sharing.

Peace & Hugs,

- Neo

Meow said...

Clare ... thank you. I will try to take some interesting photos !!

Ange ... thank you, too.

Neo ... yep, it's a bummer about the fishing, but there's nothing stopping anyone from trying, with their slab (carton) of beer !!

Have a wonderful Easter everyone, take care, Meow

True Blue Guy said...

Australia is lovely I always say. I am really contemplating making it the next place I take a holiday

Happy Easter to you and your family


Meow said...

True Blue Guy ... it makes me happy to hear you say that. I hope you do come over for a holiday some time. Make sure you look me up, when you do.
Take care, Happy Easter, MEow