Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Metung Getaway & Book Hunt

Two weeks ago my wife and I had a three night stay in a small town named Metung (pronounced me-tongue).  Metung is about three hours drive from Melbourne near the larger town of Lakes Entrance (aka "Lakes"), all of which are located in the Gippsland region of Victoria. 

First stop on our drive was the small town of Yarragon, approx 1.5 hours from Melbourne.  This town is located on the Princes Highway and is basically just one strip of about 50 shops.  I've stopped at this town many times before, and about 10 years ago I discovered an almost complete set of Bond books I'd never seen before, the Jove Barnett Plotkin series, from the Yarragon Bookshop.  Here's some photos of the store from my last visit in 2012.
So when we parked the car and walked to the Yarragon Bookshop we were very surprised.  The Yarragon Bookshop was gone and instead the "Crystal Ocean" was occupying the same premises.

Disappointed, my wife and I grabbed a quick lunch before heading down the service road and back onto the Princes Hwy.  And as we did so my wife noticed the sign below, and we skidded to a stop.  Sure enough the Yarragon Bookshop exists, just in new premises a few doors down.
I had a chat with Peter, the owner of Yarragon Bookshop, and he said he's still had plenty of customers in the new location, and unfortunately he didn't have many Bonds at the moment.  He had a Penguin hardback of "For Your Eyes Only" and a book club "Colonel Sun" seen above, both without dust jackets.

We soon hit the road again and after a couple more hours found our apartment in Metung.  This was a photo taken from our balcony the next morning.
And here's a snap of the apartment where we stayed.
Next day we drove to Lakes Entrance.
Lakes has a second hand book store that I first visited over 30 years ago.  Just Books sells both new and second hand books.  One book I remember discovering and purchasing from this store many years ago was a paperback copy of "Avakoum Zahov vs. 07" by Andrei Gulyashki.  I'd never seen this book before and since then I've learnt it's even rarer to find outside of Australia.
Just Books had one Charlie Higson Young Bond as can be seen above.
We also walked up and down the long strip of shops during which we encountered a couple of op shops including one containing the books above.

Next day we visited Bairnsdale which is about 30 minutes from Metung back toward Melbourne.  But being a Sunday the Bairnsdale Bookshop was closed.  So we bought some fish and chips for lunch and headed back to our apartment in Metung.

But when we returned on Monday the store was open.

Bairnsdale Books had four Bonds as can be seen above.  This store is really well organised and has been operating for at least 15 years.  Probably longer.

This being the last day of our getaway we headed back home to Melbourne.  On the way we also stopped in a town named Sale.  The Carousel Book Exchange And Baby Wares has heaps and heaps of well organised books, however I could only find the Faulks and Fleming omnibus books shown below.  I spoke to one of the owners of the store and talked about world affairs (while my wife sat patiently outside in the car).  Basically we solved all world problems during that 15 minute conversation !

After clearing a few more towns I decided to snap a few photos on our journey while my wife did some driving.

We briefly stopped at one small town, Rosedale, that had a few stores including an op shop.  No Bonds though.

Our final stop on our journey home was in Warragul.  Unfortunately the Red Door Bookshop is closed on Mondays.  I will return though...
All in all it was a very relaxing weekend away.  Metung is a great place to stay and I highly recommend it.  Futhermore, while I didn't acquire any new Bond books on our weekend away, it was great to see some old second hand stores still happily operating after all these years.

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