Lyn Lewis is a country girl who, after a lengthy stint in the big smoke of Melbourne, is now back where she belongs, though not where she intended.
But that’s ok because Lyn and her husband John love their new life in Victoria’s western districts, where they own and run the Best Western Hamilton Lakeside Motel.
“I didn’t enjoy the city,” says Lyn. “If I had a busy week at work I’d just have to get out.”
Lyn and John’s long-term dream was always to buy a caravan park “but at some point, that changed into buying a motel,” she says.
“Once the decision was made we spent every weekend travelling around Victoria looking for a property to buy.”
It took six to eight months of constant searching before they reached Hamilton.
“We liked the way the motel looked, booked a night but didn’t say who we were, and took a drive through town.”
The couple saw wide tree-lined streets, impressive public buildings and a place where they could build a future.
So they took the plunge and bought the 14-room property – one of the smallest in the Best Western network – in a matter of weeks.
“We’re one of the babies of the brand,” says Lynn.
The funny thing is “we aren’t anywhere near where we thought we would go. We had concentrated on areas north and east of Melbourne; places like Gippsland, The Murray.”
Instead they’ve ended up in Hamilton, 3.5 hours west of the Victorian capital in the heart of some of Australia’s most famous grazing country, and gateway to the spectacular Grampians National Park.
“Hamilton is a great location, we’re in the middle of amazing things here. The Grampians are one and half hours away and so is Mount Gambier.”
The coastal towns of Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland are even closer.
But running the motel (with the help of their son Cameron) keeps them busy while they’ve also become very involved in the local community.
“At the moment we’re working with the Hamilton Regional Business Association on a fund-raising dinner for Beyond Blue and the National Centre for Farmer Health,” says Lyn.
“It’s very rewarding to do something for such worthwhile causes and we’re really enjoying our life here.”
For details of the fundraising dinner please visit: http://www.hrba.com.au/