Tag Archives: travel

Travel delays expected this summer

THE STATE Government has announced its Big Summer Build plans, hoping to move a myriad of major infrastructure projects into the fast lane.
While the result is expected to mean shorter travel times and fewer trucks on the road, Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne asks those travelling within Melbourne and across the state to allow for extra time.
“These important road and rail projects will transform the way people travel across Melbourne.
“If you are heading into the city over summer, or travelling around, make sure you leave plenty of time as we continue this vital work.”
Those who use the Eastern Freeway or along Thompsons Road in Bulleen will have already experienced delays as the North East Link Project moves lanes to create space for the new tunnel entrance.
Additionally, speeds have now been reduced to 80km/h during the day between Burke Road and Doncaster Road, and 40km/h at night next to worksites to keep crews safe.
As work continues to complete the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough, with five new lanes that will seamlessly connect to the new tunnels, there will also be overnight lane closures between Greensborough Road and Plenty Road at times during summer.
Buses will replace trains on sections of the Belgrave and Lilydale lines from late January 2024 as work ramps up on the Bedford Road, Ringwood level crossing removal project, with work on this level crossing, which will be replaced by a 380-metre rail trench expected to be completed in 2025.
Buses will replace trains on sections of the Hurstbridge Line from December 1 until December 18, and there will be intermittent weekend closures while crews upgrade tracks, signalling and equipment.
The works will take place between Hurstbridge Station and Heidelberg Station and will allow for the future extension of the rail tunnel beneath Greensborough Highway to facilitate the North East Link infrastructure.
The scheduled rail replacement buses are for:

  • Between Heidelberg and Hurstbridge from Monday, December 4, to the last service on Sunday, December 10.
  • Between Heidelberg and Greensborough from Monday, December 11, to the last service on Monday, December 18.

In addition to this, there will be major works and maintenance on the West Gate Freeway, West Gate Bridge, and around Packenham, and also disruption for tram users travelling on routes 1,3,5,6,16,30,35,64,67, and 72 as Yarra Trams conducts maintenance and renewal works at the intersection of La Trobe and Swanston Streets from January 2 to 11.
The Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Danny Pearson, urged transport users to take the long view this summer.
“Victoria’s Big Build continues to gather momentum with substantial works underway this summer as we move a step closer to completing important projects that will slash travel times and ensure Melbourne is ready to support the largest population of any city in the country.”

Another blitz for Fitzsimons Lane project

AS THE FITZSIMONS Lane project begins another major phase, motorists are warned that major disruptions will be occurring as a section of Porter Street is closed for around six weeks.
Major Road Projects Victoria’s Project Director Dipal Sorathia said creating a more reliable Porter Street junction is one of the biggest priorities for the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade team.
New traffic lights will be installed at a Porter Street intersection in Templestowe to deliver a safer and more efficient crossing for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Removing the Fitzsimons Lane/Porter Street roundabout will ensure better traffic flow for all road users and will help clear a significant bottleneck and improve safety.
Construction crews will work around-the-clock for seven weeks, from 6pm Tuesday, April 26 to 5pm Sunday, June 12, to remove the roundabout and install traffic lights, with associated kerb and channel works, drainage works, build footpaths, earthworks, pavement replacement, line-marking and lighting.
“We thank locals for their patience as we get on with this upgrade and complete about six months’ worth of work over the next seven weeks,” said Mr Sorathia.
He said this intersection is one of the busiest in Templestowe.
“As traffic volumes return to pre-pandemic levels, congestion during the morning and afternoon peaks regularly leads to queuing — causing delays, frustration and distress.”
Mr Sorathia said replacing the Porter Street roundabout with traffic lights will reduce congestion for the more than 60,000 vehicles which use Fitzsimons Lane every day and make the community safer.
Two lanes of traffic will remain open on Williamsons Road/Fitzsimons Lane in both directions when works kick off on Tuesday, April 26.
Temporary traffic lights will guide north-south motorists through the intersection.
During this first phase of these works through to Saturday, May 14 — the eastern leg of the Porter Street roundabout will be closed, meaning traffic will need to detour via Foote Street/Reynolds Road, Blackburn Road and Warrandyte Road.
Access to nearby businesses, Templestowe Reserve and BlueCross Silverwood will be maintained.
Maps describing the detour in place can be found below:
Click on maps below slideshow for large-scale version

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

A second stage of works will be carried out over the remainder of May and into June, with one lane to re-open for those travelling from Eltham turning left into the eastern leg of Porter Street towards Warrandyte.
With restrictions on traffic movements throughout the entirety of the major works period, motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.
Delays of approximately 20-minutes are expected along detour routes although access through the closed road will be maintained for emergency vehicles and public transport.
Pedestrian and cyclist access has been maintained on select shared paths however, some verge areas are fenced off to ensure the safety of road workers.
A pedestrian detour is in place through Templestowe Reserve.
The temporary roundabout will be removed, and the upgraded intersection will be open by early June.
Finishing works — including asphalting, line- marking and signage works — will continue throughout 2022.
The upgrade will also improve the reliability of public transport with the introduction of bus prioritisation signalling.
Once traffic lights are installed at Porter Street, the project team will then turn their attention to major construction to upgrade the Foote Street intersection in Templestowe.
For more information or to sign up for updates, visit roadprojects.vic.gov.au/fitzsimons.
For up-to-date travel information visit:
ptv.vic.gov.au and vicroads.vic.gov.au.

Planning a trip to the USA?

No matter the season, an American sojourn is always a fabulous idea.

From coast to coast, a litany of adventure awaits, here are a few handy hints on what to expect.

First up, get your flight documents in order America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows effortless passage through US customs but to be eligible for the VWP, you’ll need to apply prior to jetting off.

Pack the plastic fantastic

Unless you’re off the grid in the backend of the Appalachians, and probably even then, chances are card will be the preferred payment method.

Prepaid multi-currency travel money cards are also an excellent option.

The early bird gets the flight

Security can be fairly, shall we say, “thorough” at American airports, so get there early to avoid stress.

As a general rule most hubs suggest at least three hours for international flights, and two for domestic.

Wear your best socks, as you’ll need to remove your shoes, it’s still a thing there.

Don’t mess with airport security

There’s little room for dodgy humour at the American security gate, this is not the place for amateur hour.

American Customs officials are particularly fastidious and sensitive to things said, so leave any travel-related quips at home.

When it comes to eating, loosen your belt

In the land of turducken, the Luther Burger, the Quadruple Bypass burger, the Fat Darrel, the Redonkadonk, and various other sandwiches that will do their darndest to tickle your tastebuds, it’s likely that your USA adventure will add a few centimetres to your waistline.

Serving sizes can surprise; so if you’re not super hungry, order an “appetizer”; the US version of an entrée.

Observe the local customs

Just sayin’, Americans — like any nationality — have their own etiquette and unwritten rules.

The short list: doggie bags are permissible; don’t jaywalk; and make sure to tip — seriously, don’t forget that last one. The “official” line says tipping is voluntary, but with low minimum and base wages — particularly in the service industry — millions of American workers rely on tips for their livelihood.

Not good at maths? a calculator is a diner’s best friend especially when it comes to calculating taxes at the end of the meal — with that in mind, stock up on a fat wad of one dollar bills.

Make sure you’re insured

If you do yourself damage en-route, you could be up for some hefty medical bills.

Best sort out your fully comprehensive travel insurance prior to flying.

Embrace and enjoy!

Our travel expert, Carolyn Allen is Manager of Warrandyte Travel and Cruise. Contact her on Carolyn@warrandytetravel.com.au

Appy travels

Whether it’s a weekend away with the girls or a road trip across the country with your family, travelling often isn’t a cheap task. But with these web based apps and sites, your summer holiday can be easy, breezy and affordable. The Diary’s SAMMI TAYLOR hit the internet to dig up some rippers.


DriveNow

(cheap car & campervan rentals)

DriveNow allows you to compare and select cars and campervans from leading rental companies. DriveNow has a wide range of locations and vehicles, ensuring you get quality service from trusted organisations like Budget, Thrifty and RedSpot.

Best of all, there’s no middle man, so you can book direct from your chosen provider with no booking fees, no hidden fees, and there are no nasty surprises as can often be the case.

With a brand new redesigned website that’s seamless and easy to use, it’s even breezier to search and book your transport from A to B. Whether you need a convertible for a girls’ weekend on the Great Ocean Road, or you want to pick up a campervan in Melbourne and drop it off in Brisbane for a family holiday, DriveNow has you covered. Don’t forget to check out the unbelievably good value relocation deals, too, which can start from $5 a day for campers and include fuel.

DriveNow also has international options, so you can hire a car in New Zealand, the US, France, UK and more without hassle.

Visit www.drivenow.com.au

 

Airbnb

(cheap accommodation)

Airbnb is the big one in the world of travel hitting the spot for locals. This site allows you to rent unique places to stay in throughout 190 countries. With cheap prices, local hosts and amazing locations, you’ll never have to worry about accommodation again. Whether you’re after a spare room in someone’s humble abode, a private high rise apartment or a secluded beachfront villa, airbnb has you covered. Prices start incredibly low and you can discuss your accommodation options directly with your local host.

Visit www.airbnb.com

 

Webjet

(cheap flights)

With Webjet you get the flights you need quickly for an affordable price. Webjet compares all the available flights to and from your destination, so that you can find the cheapest alternative to get you from A to B. With added features such as hotel bookings and cruises, Webjet makes summer travel easy and affordable.

Visit www.webjet.com.au

 

Zomato

(cheap eats)

Want to find the best places to eat in that new city you’re busy exploring? Zomato, formerly Urbanspoon, has you covered. With over a million restaurants listed from all around the world, you can hear from real customers about their dining expe- rience and compare prices. Urban Spoon helps you to find a great meal out at an affordable price, which will keep the family happy or satisfy a late night craving.

Visit www.zomato.com

 

Scoopon

(cheap everything)

Scoopon lets you browse great deals on accommodation, food, activities and everything in between for heavily discounted prices. You can pick up a week’s accommodation in Bali, or an Italian meal for two with a bottle of wine at home in Melbourne.

Visit www.scoopon.com.au

50 great reasons to visit Warrandyte

NOTICE: This post has been updated since its original posting in 2015

 WARRANDYTE is a great place to live or visit.

In 2015, the Diary published a piece 50 great things to do in Warrandyte and even today, this is still one of our most popular pages on our website.

A lot changed in three years, a lot is still the same too.

So, for your reading pleasure, here is the 2018 version of 50 great things to do in Warrandyte.

STAY THE NIGHT

Accommodation isn’t in ample supply in Warrandyte, but that’s not to say there aren’t some great options.

Warrandyte Goldfields Bed and Breakfast, located opposite the Stonehouse Gallery at Whipstick Gully Road.

With four star RACV rating, this B&B offers a self-contained two bedroom apartment which can sleep up to five people.

Situated within the heart of the old township, guests are minutes away from Warrandyte’s history, nature, art or the towns many eating establishments.

Alternatively, Crystal Brook Tourist Park is another excellent option for those looking for something a bit more versatile and spacious.

Whether you’re keen to camp, caravan or reside in a deluxe creek-side villa, Crystal Brook Tourist Park caters for all your needs and desires — minus the expensive price tag!

And it’s on the fringe of Warrandyte in Doncaster East on Warrandyte-Heidelberg Road opposite Beasley’s Nursery.

The popularity of sites like Airbnb have not gone unnoticed with Warrandyte homeowners and a quick search of Warrandyte reveals more than 20 options for the traveller who prefers a more homely vacation experience.

PARTY TIME

Sporting a number of café/bar/pub options and with many of these holding regular “special events” or even live music, a night out is becoming increasingly more popular.

In the centre of Warrandyte there there is The Grand Hotel and its new sister establishment Next Door — which you will find next door, are great options for listening to live music or for bit of a pre-event tipple before heading off to the Mechanic’s Hall the latest offerings be that theatre or music.

At the Goldfields Plaza end of town, check out It’s 12 o’clock Somewhere, or perhaps visit The White Owl for one of their summer evening events when it transforms into The Night Owl

Don’t forget the good old Warrandyte RSL, a favourite for many thanks to its laid back atmosphere up high on the hill in Brackenbury St.

A beaut spot for a game of pool, a drink and a barbecue on the balcony, it’s also a top live entertainment venue the entire family can enjoy with acts on every second Friday night and the last Sunday of every month. 

BEST FOR FOOD & COFFEE

There is no denying that Warrandyte offers a feast for all the senses, especially your taste buds.

From excellent rustic bakeries to exquisite fine dining, Warrandyte has something to satisfy your hunger for every occasion when it comes to food.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, Warrandyte has it covered.

Find yourself in Warrandyte on a weekday morning? Popular options include The RiverView Café, Cocoa Moon and The Warrandyte Café and The White Owl.

If you are after a quick pick-me-up, all these café’s make a great cup of coffee too.

For lunch, Warrandyte has two bakeries, The Warrandyte Bakery on Yarra Street, or Leos Bakery at Goldfields Plaza.

Want dinner? We’ve got it covered.

Indian — Nardee or Indian Affair.

Thai — Vanilla Orchid

Chinese — Mings

The Grand Hotel does some great pub grub with a good selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, or if you are after something more pizza shaped, why not try Bubbas Pizza, Zest — on the site of Red Fox Restaurant or why not head out to It’s 12 o’clock Somewhere.

Warrandyte is also home to two Fish and Chip shops — West End Fish & Chips and Seafood by the Yarra.

For the ultimate fine dining experience, why not book a table at Altair on Yarra Street.

GREAT WALKS & BIKE TRAILS

When surrounded by the beautiful bushland and scenic views that Warrandyte has to offer, the desire to go for a walk or bike ride is almost second nature.

Additionally, the hill-filled and vast landscape of our town also makes for great exercise.

So where do you start?

The tranquil walk along the Yarra River is probably the most loved and frequently used track that Warrandyte contains.

Another family-friendly track is the scenic and isolated Main Yarra Trail, where you can begin your journey from Beasley’s Teahouse and ride or walk your way towards the city.

For keen mountain bike riders however, the fire trails of fourth hill present a greater challenge.

There are some great walking trails to be found the The Pound and there is a very scenic walk from Black Flats to Jumping Creek Reserve, which can be accessed from Tills Drive.

North of the river, the Koornong Linear Reserve, off of Osbourne Road is a hidden gem as well as some nice walking an swimming spots at the end of Bradley’s Lane and The Boulevard.

Parks website is a good place to start, but also check out the Runners of Warrandyte Facebook group for advice and inspiration.

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES & INFORMATION

Warrandyte is famous for its rich history of gold mining, Indigenous roots and influential art culture.

Thus, our town has many attractions and places of interest that truly make it a special place to live and visit. For those with an interest in Warrandyte’s history, it is imperative that you visit the Warrandyte Historical Society — a small gallery that aims to preserve and celebrate the town’s past.

Follow your historical lesson with a venture down Whipstick Gully, the home to the gold mines in their original form.

Whilst you’re at it, be sure to be on the lookout for the distinctive Warrandyte listening poles. With a push of a button, listeners are taken back in time through story and song.

In addition, Warrandyte’s secondhand bookshop, Yarra Cottage Books, offers a unique, cultural experience as it showcases rare texts and first editions of books — what you might find will surprise you.

If arts and crafts are what you seek, check the Stonehouse Gallery.

Of course, we can’t have a Warrandyte and surrounds travel guide without mentioning the Information Warrandyte in Yarra Street to find out so much more on what to do and where to go.

FISHING & SWIMMING

Swimming, fishing and kayaking are the ideal outdoor recreational activities in Warrandyte, given that the Yarra River is practically on our doorstep.

The trick is to know the best spots to do so to ensure your safety.

In terms of swimming, Pound Bend is a location loves by locals who enjoy a splash.

Don’t forget your inflatable tyre and picnic — why not make a day of it?

Great fishing spots on the other hand require a bit of insider info.

Try your luck at the end of Alexander Road as there are a plenty of good spots along the river there.

Alternatively, you might find success along the river behind Stiggants Reserve, or behind the bakery where the rapids are.

If you’re lucky, you can catch Macquarie Perch, Murray Cod, eels and carp — sometimes sized 60 – 70cm believe it or not!

Be careful to remember your crocs (not the reptile variety) or water shoes though, as rocks in these areas can be sharp.

ONCE A YEAR

Warrandyte’s annual festivities present the perfect opportunity for locals to unite and for visitors to get a taste for our town’s contagious community spirit.

To get the ball rolling, the annual Warrandyte Pottery Expo celebrates and exhibits the best pottery and craft from the greatest Australian and international ceramic artists.

The expo takes place on the last weekend of February along the banks of the Yarra River.

Arguably the biggest event of the year, the Warrandyte Festival in March, is always a hit and arguably the best community festival in Australia.

Don’t miss the extravagant parade on Yarra Street, the much-loved duck race along the river and the tension-filled billy cart derby.

Not to mention great quality stalls and excellent live, local music all weekend long.

The Run Warrandyte Fun Run in the first weekend in March is a great family event from run/walkers to serious runners and the new “bushy” course is not to be missed.

Why not check out the The Stonehouse Gallery’s Teapot exhibition in August, run for its second time in 2018, this is fast becoming a regular artistic event on the town’s calendar.

DAY TRIPS WITHIN HALF AN HOUR

Warrandyte is central enough that a multitude of great day trips to nearby suburbs are reachable within half an hour. In fact, Melbourne’s CBD itself is only 40 minutes away straight down the Eastern Freeway.

For a more local adventure, however, take a drive to Eltham which is only 10 minutes northwest of Warrandyte.

Check out the Eltham War Memorial Park, which commemorates Australians involved in conflict.

It is certainly worth a visit to grasp a bit of history, pay your respects and admire the superb views.

Along similar lines, Montsalvat of Eltham is a beautiful artist colony where you can take a walk through the scenic gardens, capture some photographs of historic buildings and follow up with lunch at their own café/restaurant.

A trip out to the Yarra Valley is also a must, landing right on the half hour mark from Warrandyte.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or a chocoholic, the Yarra Valley has something for everyone.

The wine region is exceptional, with plenty of outstanding wineries waiting to be discovered.

The immensely popular Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice-Creamery is also recommended, and serves as the ideal location for the kids. Not to forget other commendable nearby wineries, including Rob Dolan Wines. Excellent food and exquisite wines – what more could you ask for?

MARKETS

To the delight of avid market-goers, there is no shortage of vibrant, atmospheric markets within the area.

Naturally, the crowd favourite of our Facebook community is naturally the one and only Warrandyte Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month.

Check it out for amazing local produce, arts and crafts, plant life, homewares and excellent food and drink.

When the Warrandyte Market isn’t on, there are still plenty of options nearby including the monthly Park Orchards Farmers Market on the third Saturday each month. Popping up every Saturday, the St Andrews Market is certainly worth a visit for its cool, hippy vibes and unique buys.

Thank you to the following people who made suggestions as well as those who contributed anonymously:

Ashlee Hughes, Cara Harwood, Karin Walford, John Luttick, Angela Davies, Debbie Hodgson, Peta Ann Dibb, Grant Egan, Kaz Meady, Danae Barnes, David Schwarzer, PeteandMel Mac and Wendy Snowball.