John and Lyn Lewis finished work at five o’clock on Friday afternoon and raced home to pack the car. Over one weekend, the couple from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs drove all over Victoria from Echuca to Euroa, Benalla, through Hepburn Springs and finally to Hamilton before arriving home at eight o’clock Sunday night.
After spending twenty years travelling Australia to take notes on tourist towns and meet accommodation operators, their quest for the friendliest town to start a new business in had ended in Hamilton.
Lyn, formerly a customer service manager from the country and John, a gardener who grew up in the city, share a love for customer care and meeting new people.
“We saw a hotel was up for sale. It was perfect. We always wanted our own caravan park, but when we saw how friendly and welcoming Hamilton was we knew it was the place for us,” she said.
Their new home and business, the Best Western Hamilton Lakeside Motel on Ballarat Road, has had its fourteen rooms recently renovated and offers a large leafy garden out the back which was a drawcard for John.
“The back of the hotel has a great barbecue area. The front garden has been a bit neglected. I want to plant some bright reds and yellows and tidy it up so it’s more presentable to guests,” he said.
Lyn invites neighbours over for a morning coffee on the verandah.
“I just love waking up early and starting the day with a good chat with friends,” Lyn said. “It’s a real community feel here and that’s what I love about it.”
Hamilton is a major centre located in the south-west of Victoria, south of Horsham and north of the coastal towns of Portland and Port Fairy. Hamilton, both the geographical and business hub of the region has been the centre of a wealthy pastoral industry for over 160 years. It has grown to become a thriving city, exhibiting style and quality, with excellent shopping, diverse architecture, an outstanding art gallery and stunning botanic gardens.
Visit John and Lyn at Best Western Hamilton Lakeside Motel, on 22 Ballarat Road or go to bestwestern.com.au/hamiltonlakeside.