|image via visitvictoria.com|
We're back from our driving holiday in country Victoria! The Patrol came home stuffed to the gunnels with gourmet food buys, boutique wine and beer, and a nineteenth century antique bench. We had such a fabulous time that I forgot to take a single photo, so I've grabbed some images off the net to share with you a few of the secrets that we discovered.
|Stonelea Country Estate - image via stonelea.com.au|
We stayed at Stonelea Country Estate in Alexandra, and took daytrips out to explore the region. Stonelea was great value - we hired a cottage on the lake with a pot belly fire, and enjoyed the golf course, gardens, on-site bar and restaurant (all for $79 a night!). Farmer Joe talked everyday about going for a swim, but it never actually happened (can't imagine why. High Country? Winter?).
Farmer Joe and I had decided to travel to the towns affected by the Black Saturday bushfires as a small effort to support these communities in their recovery. We were completely unprepared for what we saw in Marysville and Kinglake. The scale of the devastation (now two and a half years on) was startling, and many families continue to live in small demountable huts in government recovery villages. On the up side, rebuilding is underway. Farmer Joe and I also enjoyed a beer in the Kinglake pub while the local footy team celebrated Mad Monday - great to see such spirit!
|Yarra Ranges National Park - image via visitvictoria.com|
We travelled through to the undamaged areas of the National Park. The scenery was gorgeous, and a long leisurely drive brought us to Healesville at the top of the Yarra Valley.
|White Rabbit Brewery - image via beerandbrewer.com|
Healesville is a fabulous foodie destination. The White Rabbit Brewery is a tasting room and bar inside a working brewery (I highly recommend the Pipsqueak cider). Directly opposite is the Innocent Bystander restaurant and wine tasting room (fabulous truffle oil and parmesan fries).
|Yering Station - image via experienceyarravalley.com.au|
Further down the Yarra Valley is Yering Station - wine tasting room, gourmet restaurant, art gallery, produce store, and amazing views.
|Mon Coeur - image via bendigotourism.com|
After leaving the Yarra Valley we spent a night in Bendigo, where I found Mon Coeur, a gorgeous furniture and homewares store tucked away in the suburbs (I'll show you my purchases next post).
|The Public Inn - image via totalvenue.com.au|
On the way home, and on a whim we decided to stop in Castlemaine. Good decision. We found an antique store that was closing down and bought a gorgeous antique bench. Then lunch at The Public Inn - best country pub interior I have seen. Farmer Joe voted the roasted pig belly the best piece of meat he has ever eaten. Wins all round!
Home again, and we're doing the hard yards in the garden this week (shaping up both the garden and ourselves after too much holiday eating). I'll keep you posted on our progress.