But the best would be to wander down to the trots at Albion Park Paceway, in the evening after the races had finished. This, in reality was because the finest pub in the world was situated close to the main gates. The Brekky Creek or Breakfast Creek Hotel was an amazing place where the Castlemaine XXXX was still served from wooden casks which were mechanically wound up from the cold cellar and placed on the bar.
It must have been psychological, but the beer tasted better.
After I left Australia, the brewery tried to make the pub go onto the steel cask syste, But there was uproar and with the aid of Bob Hawke, the then Union Leader and soon to be Prime Minister and a large petition, the wooden casks survived.
Since then it has gone all glitzy. Once it had been frequented by Mikhail Gorbachev, Greg Norman and Russel Crowe, then there was no alternative but for it to go glitzy. But at least it is still there.
When I was there, it was full of the most amazing mixture of characters. A local journalist, Mike O'Connor described the people you would meet as:
'... a disparate, yet harmonious, blend of wharfies, coppers, journos, lawyers, car dealers, bookies, small-time criminals and Labor Party identities, the last a factional group known to all as the "Breakfast Creek Gang".
Just my sort of place. Long may it continue.