NEIL MURRAY’S GET AWAY.
In 1995 the writer of the iconic song “My Island Home”, ( featured in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics) returned to live in the district where he was born and raised. He acquired an 1875 bluestone cottage with brick extension at Lake Bolac, Western Victoria, a 2 and a half hour drive west from Melbourne.
Over the next 20 or so years, Neil Murray wrote many of the songs that have appeared on his albums Dust, The Wondering Kind, Going The Distance, Overnighter, Witness and Bring Thunder and Rain at this residence. He also inspired and helped instigate the Lake Bolac Eel Festival and associated Healing Walks. ( He received an environmental award for the latter in 2005)
You are invited to enjoy a peaceful country retreat at Neil Murray’s Getaway.
The residence offers 2 Queen bedrooms, 1 double bedroom (with single bunk overhead) heritage lounge reading room with open fire place ( Open lounge room fire only available between June till end of August)
Large light filled family room, with sofa bed, couch and wood heater.
Refurbished Kitchen with full cooking facilities and dining table.
Refurbished shower and vanity with featured outdoor bath on a secluded back porch.
The lake is only a few hundred metres stroll away. As is the Lake Bolac township with its hotel, milkbar, store and café.
Make a day trip to the Gariwerd/Grampians wine region either via Dunkeld, (30mins) or Willaura ( 20mins) or Ararat /Moyston (30mins). Or head to the coast at Warrnambool (1 hour) or east to Ballarat (1 hour) or west to Hamilton (50mins).
Check in after 2pm and check out by 11am. ( Can be varied by arrangement)
Suggested Day Trip
From Lake Bolac, take the main road north towards Ararat. You will pass through Ross Bridge crossing the Hopkins River and come to the railway hamlet of Maroona.
An interesting diversion (from the main road to Ararat) is to take the 2nd gravel road on your right after Maroona. This is Labrador Road and follow it to a T junction with Coopers road and turn left. As you proceed north along Coopers road you will have a good view of “Burrumbeep Hill” with its impressive standing stones that inspired Neil Murray’s song of the same name when he was on the 2008 Healing Walk down the Hopkins River.
At the end of Coopers Road turn left into Langi Logan road then right onto the main bitumen road that takes you into Ararat.
There are numerous attractions in Ararat: shops and cafes (the Vines, or Fred and Betts are recommended), supermarkets, museum and cinema.
To the east of the township you will see the prominent peak of Langi Ghiran (the home of the black cockatoo), it resembles a reclining pregnant woman. This was referenced in Neil Murray’s song “Bring Thunder and Rain”.
From Ararat take the 15min drive west to Moyston. Moyston is the home of Australian Rules football because its founder Tom Wills was raised at nearby Lexington homestead and learnt to play “Marngrook”( an indigenous name for a game played with a ball made of a possum skin stuffed with charcoal) with local Djabwurrung kids. Neil Murray was inspired to write “Tom Wills Would” after reading “The Call”- Martin Flanagan’s book about the life of Tom Wills.
For the wine buffs, check out Clayfield Wines, just a couple of kilometres west on the Moyston - Dunkeld road. Their Shiraz’s and Massif are highly recommended.
From Moyston proceed towards Halls Gap via Pomonal. Halls Gap is the main tourist centre for Gariwerd/ Grampians National Park with numerous attractions. A visit to the indigenous centre of Brambuk is recommended.
If you feel up to it, the Pinnacle walk from the Wonderland car park is a scenic hike with spectacular views from the top of the range. You will need to allow a couple of hours to complete this walk.
Heading south from Halls Gap you will pass by Lake Bellfield on your left and then proceed between the ranges towards Dunkeld.
At Dunkeld, the Royal Mail Hotel provides fine dining.
You may need to book ahead: . Dunkeld also has cafes, an arboretum and an exquisite local museum.
From Dunkeld, take the Glenelg Highway east, passing through Glenthompson. A few kilometres east of Glenthompson the road rises slightly, if safe to do so and if it is still daylight, pull off the highway and walk to the fence line. The Gariwerd range is spread out spectacularly from the west to the north. This vista was the basis for the cover art of Neil Murray’s recent “Bring Thunder and Rain” album. Also his song, “Tjapwurrung Country”, from the “Dust” album, was inspired by the land you’ve been travelling through.
Continuing on you will cross the Hopkins River at the hamlet of Wickliffe. Nearby is the historic bluestone homestead of Narrapumelap, which is sometimes open for visits.
From there it is a short drive east to Lake Bolac. Mid way between Wickliffe and Lake Bolac are a series of swamps and wetlands to the north of the highway. This is the area where Neil Murray was raised on his grandfather’s farm.
In Lake Bolac, the local hotel provides meals as well as the café and milk bar. The business centre has further info on local attractions.
This suggested day drive can easily be done in reverse, by heading west from Lake Bolac to Dunkeld, north to Halls Gap and back through Moyston, Ararat and south to Lake Bolac.