After breakfast with the sandflies (we had Cheerios, they had us) we set off for our last camping night in Marouia Springs. Not far away from Hanmer, these springs have a completely different feel. They are run by Japanese owners and as well as a few small outdoor thermal springs pools they have a Japanese bathhouse. Here you can soap up and scrub up outside of the water, shower it all off, and then get into the hot thermal bath - all while comtemplating the mountain view outside the window that covers one side of the bathhouse. Cozzies are optional for the uninhibited (and the mountain outside is uninhabited). A fabulous experience for anyone interesting in getting their kit off in nature without getting arrested. But because the owners are Japanese and not Scandanavian, the bathhouse is divided into male and female halves, and never the twain shall glance, much less meet.
The effect of the bathhouse was terrific. After a drive from Saint Arnaud, and over 36 hours and 250kms since my last shower, I felt completely renewed after an hour in the springs and baths.
All aglow after the thermal treatment (holding the pink bag in which I store soaps, conditioners, and my testicles should I ever need them again).
Unfortunately the campsite which is part of the springs complex was closed (more frozen pipes!) so to find a place to stop we continued down the road to Hanmer Springs. We were just using it as a place to sleep and eat this time, and the place we found was Rustic Cafe and Tapas Bar. If I weren't so forgetful as to have left my sunglasses behind me the last time we stayed here, I might have thought of returning to the place next door, where I probably left them.
We found an unusual way of connecting to the internet from Hanmer, thanks to the advice of the very helpful waiters in Rustic. If you ever find yourself wireless in Hanmer Springs, it's worth your while parking outside this place if you want to catch up on your email. Given the absence of either WIFI in the campervan park, or an internet cafe, we did what we had to do:
I might add that the campervan came into its own on this occasion. And given the Mission Impossible atmosphere we had created in our own (sad) little world, Letizia's beanie seemed ready to double as a balaclava at any moment. Elegant and ingenious - can't get any more Italian than that.