This morning I caught the train from Southern Cross Station up to Ballarat. It was my first time on V/Line and the nearly hour and a half train ride was a comfortable one. Michelle picked me up at the station and then we headed over to get Tash. Her little cottage house is very cute. After a bit of a chat we hit the road for Hepburn Springs to have lunch at Chowder House. Co-owned by an American chef, we had been wanting to try out this place for a while now, and Michelle thought it would be a good way to celebrate my birthday. They have about six different chowders on the menu. I had a traditional clam chowder, Tash had a seafood chowder and Michelle went with the chicken and corn chowder. All of them came with a piece of homemade cornbread as well. The big bowl of chowder tasted fantastic and although not too thick was quite filling. It definitely met my expectations.
After a quick drive around Hepburn Springs to check out the many mineral spring spas in the area, we went to neighboring Daylesford to have a walk around downtown and visit some of the shops. In one of the first places we went into I spotted this necklace and really liked it, so I bought it as a gift for myself. After a while we ended up finding an ice cream shop and stopped in for some dessert. Once we returned to Ballarat we had a drive around the city and the now dry Lake Wendouree (a victim of the drought). One of the great things about many of the towns in the region is that they still have a lot of their historical buildings from the gold rush era in the mid-1800s. We stopped by Michelle's townhouse so I could have a look at it before she dropped Tash and I off for the train ride back to Melbourne. While Tash went off to watch the Tropfest short film festival at Federation Square, I headed for home.