Monday, February 21, 2011

Tahbilk Estate Winery

Tahbilk Cellars
Tahbilk Estate Winery was where we spent our Sunday, enjoying a leisurely lunch on the verandah of the Tahbilk Wetlands Cafe overlooking the Goulburn River with Russell and hedy.  I can recommend the Yearling Beef and Shiraz pie from the menu it looked and tasted absolutely delicious and the Berry cheesecake was to die for.
The Wetland Tour Boat
I think I will have to change my blog to a Foodie Tour of Australia as all we seem to do is eat and we can relate to various landmarks to what we ate in that area. Lol.  I think I could nominate the best bakeries from all over Australia; I could even probably rate them.  Anyway enough said about food, now I will relate a little bit about the venue. 

Barrels stacked in yard
 Tahbilk Estate Winery is located in the premium central Victorian viticultural region of Nagambie Lakes.  It is one of Australia’s most beautiful properties. 
Cellar Sales
The Estate comprises about 1214 hectares of rich river flats with a frontage of 11 kms to the Goulburn River & 8 kms of permanent backwater and creeks which is now home to the Tahbilk Wetlands & Wildlife Reserve. 
Old Cellars built in 1882
There are regular tours around the wetlands which have a diversity of animal and plant life.  Endangered freshwater catfish , also Murray Hardyhead, Murray Rainbow Fish, Australian Smelt & flatheaded Gudgeon can quite often been seen here.  Other aquatic wildlife are the broad shelled river turtle and both the long neck and short neck tortoise, also you can hear the sounds of the Eastern Banjo Poddlebonk, Growling Grass, spotted marsh and Perron’s Tree Frogs, these are strong indications of a healthy wetland area. You can also wander and even picnic in the grounds, old machinery and stables can be found and the cellars can be explored.

Grape press inside Cellars
  Apparently there are many tunnels in the cellars although most of them are blocked from public viewing.  There is also a laneway of very old mulberries trees from the 1800’s aptly named Mulberry Drive.
Mulberry Drive
  A drive out through the undulating rows of grape varieties leads to a road to nearby Nagambie Lakes, where many a regatta seems to be held.  A short walk around Nagambie and we off on the homeward stretch again.  I must say I am learning to like this area of Victoria, at the moment with all the rain it is very lush and green.  Not long now to when I will go home to meet my new grandson, hopefully he will be born before I arrive LOL.
Talk again soon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kyneton, Vic

What a change in weather, yesterday it was lovely & sunny, last night it poured continually with rain and today it is very overcast.  Yesterday we paid a visit to a town nearby, Kyneton which is located approximately mid-way between the cities of Melbourne & Bendigo, in the scenic Macedon Ranges and on the Campaspe River.
Kyneton Post Office
 Kyneton has a thriving commercial centre which boomed back in the days when the town served as a gateway and supply centre to the goldfields around Castlemaine and Bendigo during the Gold Rush days of the 1850s. Piper Street was the town's original commercial centre, and is now a historical precinct featuring a large collection of historic bluestone buildings including cafes, antique shops, galleries, and the Kyneton Museum.

 Kyneton's main shopping strip is centred around Mollison Street and High Street and includes a selection of historic buildings and shops with antique facades and verandahs. The landmark buildings in Mollison Street are the towering Post Office building which dates back to 1871, and the two major pubs - the Newmarket Hotel and the Shamrock Hotel. We enjoyed browsing along the Piper Street cafe precinct. 
Piper Street
We stopped for awhile in the Emporium, and had a laugh or two at some of the sayings in the books offered for sale.  We discovered a lovely Patchwork and knitting shop, stocked with lots of wools and fabric and browsed through some of the upmarket boutiques.  Went home empty handed except for a pair of purple & Aqua eye glasses  hopefully they will be a change from my orange and purple ones lol.  We have also booked to go to the Deniliquin rally in April.
Talk again soon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Melbourne with Ann & Frank

Aussie the dog
We had a wonderful day yesterday in Melbourne city with friends Ann & Frank who were over here visiting family from WA.  We met at the Crown Casino and meandered  aimlessly around Southbank alongside the Yarra River.  Lunch was at Othello’s, one of the many riverside restaurants at the precinct, followed by a quick stroll around the CBD.  We parted from them late afternoon after afternoon tea at the Casino and caught the tram back to Southern Cross Station in time to catch the Bendigo train back to Lancefield arriving home about 6.15pm.  We are getting to be seasoned travellers in the Melbourne Transport System. 
Green Tea Plantation
Today we drove over to Kilmore  and explored the local shops and again enjoyed lunch at Wallings out in the gardens. 
 This afternoon we have to go over to Gisborne for Bill to visit the dentist.  He has cracked a tooth and lost his filling so he will be in the chair today, the dentist has his claw hammer ready and I guess we will pay his next couple of months rent on his practice.  I booked my flight home yesterday for the 17th March, hopefully Jess will have had the baby and be settled in at home by then.  I am looking forward to lots of cuddles with the new little one.
Camped at the weekend in Brooks Cutting Reserve
 It is also my youngest son’s birthday today, he is 40, what happened to that cute little blonde hair blue eyed boy?

Goulburn River near Alexandra
Talk again soon

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brooks Cutting Reserve, Alexandra

We headed off on Wednesday (after refuelling the bus and ourselves at the Romsey Bakery) to our destination for the weekend.  I had the worst dose of hay fever ever, so seeing  through bleary watery eyes we travelled through small towns such as Kilmore, Broadford, Tallaroock, Trawool, Kerrisdale , Yea, Molesworth and Cathkin along the Hume and Goulburn Valley Highway to reach our campsite at Brooks Cutting Reserves just outside Alexandra. 
 After settling in we drove into Alexandra for a quick tour and later that evening we were joined by Ron and Marion, our friendly neighbours from the farm next door.  Our campsite is a small area surrounded by trees overlooking the Goulbourn River with views to the nearby hills.  It is a lovely, sheltered, secluded and very pleasant part of the world.  By midmorning on Thursday we were starting to wonder if we were in the correct area as we were still the only two motor homes there.  Linda & Bob arrived just after lunch in their American bus and later in the afternoon Rob & Denise had arrived.  Russell and Hedy wanted to show us around Eildon, and the Boat Club and Weir.
Before they had their motor home built they used to own a Houseboat at kept it moored at the Eildon Boat Club.  We gained permission to enter the boat club and looked through the club rooms and the Marina surrounding the Lake. 
 Security is very high here and it is a gated community, as some of the boats are worth millions of dollars.  We were able to find their old houseboat and we wandered along the boardwalks admiring the boats and the picturesque scenery. 
Houseboats being built 
 A drive along the Eildon dam wall was next on the agenda,
Power station at Eildon

View from the dam wall
 followed by a quick window shop around the village. 

Statue at Eildon Village
 Friday, more motor homes arrived for the bush wackers weekend, and by Saturday 15 rigs were in position.  Thursday night and Friday the heavens opened up and dropped heaps of rain which was rather unpleasant as it also brought with it the humidity.  Many of the world’s problems were solved as we gathered around each evening and enjoyed the ambience of the pleasant company among new friends.  One of the conditions of becoming a member in this club is to supply a chocolate cake and they participate in a bush breakfast served on Sunday for a small fee of $4.  For this you get bacon & eggs, sausage tomatoes & onions and toast.  They are called the bushwackers because they only do bush camping, and the use of generators is wildly accepted.  We thoroughly enjoyed their company.
Talk again soon

Monday, February 7, 2011

A little bit of history and other things

Newham Store 10klms from Woodend
Not a lot has happened in the past few days.   Friday we realised that our house batteries were no longer charging and they were red hot to touch.  You guessed it, 8 new batteries had to be purchased.  Not all batteries were damaged but I am led to believe that they work more efficiently if they are all new.  So a quick trip up towards Melbourne and a short while later we were again cooking with gas. I went over to Gisborne with Hedy during the afternoon and wandered around while she was at the dentist.  I discovered a wonderful patchwork shop (The Drapers of Mt Macedon) so I spent some considerable time exploring and playing in there.  Overnight and Saturday the heavens opened up and it rained heavily continually, water was gushing past the bus.  Fortunately for us Lancefield didn’t get flooded unlike other parts of Victoria that have been badly affected.  We spent the day watching DVD’s and on Sunday we drove to Sunbury to do the weekly shopping.  Sunbury is a satellite town with historic attractions and wineries and  is located 214 metres above sea-level and 41 km north-west of Melbourne on Jacksons Creek, in an area given over to agriculture, grazing and dairying, although, since the mid-1960s, Sunbury has increasingly become a dormitory satellite for those who work in Melbourne.  The area was once occupied by the Wurundjeri people. The first European settler was George Evans who established the Emu Bottom sheep station in 1836. His homestead, built that year, still forms the basis for the present Emu Bottom homestead, making it probably the oldest extant homestead in Victoria.  The Sunbury Hotel, named after Sunbury-on-Thames in Middlesex, was built in 1851 on the gold route to Bendigo in an area then known as Koora Kooracup. The townsite was surveyed later that year. The railway line arrived in 1859 and local government was granted in 1866. At that time Sunbury was something of a wine-producing centre with eight vineyards, including Goona Warra and Craiglee which have both been re-established in recent years.  (as quoted from the Sydney Morning Herald webpage)

supplied by google
The weather is gradually improving although it is now quite cold.  Typical of Victoria, I think in the past week we have experienced all types of weather.  My hearts go out to the people in my home state of Western Australia again experiencing some of the worst bush fires with many again losing their houses.  Australia seems to be badly affected by Cyclones, Storms, Floods and Fire in almost every state at the moment.  I am so grateful that our family members are currently safe and have so far not been affected by all this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


We made it into Melbourne without much mishap even though the GPS took us through the centre of Melbourne.  A lunch break at the DFO shopping complex at the Essendon Airport was a small diversion and I was able to drool over wishful thinking retail therapy.  There are lots of bargains out there if you are so inclined.  I espied a lovely Coral Pink handbag at Oroton with my name written all over it but at $495, I had to leave it there.  We met Paul at his lovely 100yr old renovated home at about 3.30pm and after a refreshing cool drink we decided to brave the elements and proceeded to Chaple Street.  We parked the car in a laneway off High Street and just one street of Chaple Street and I was rather delighted to discover that opposite us were several sets of apartments, one was called the Red Tulip Apartments.  My reason for excitement was because I used to work for Red Tulip Chocolates in the 80’s and this was obviously their original factory and warehouse, now converted to trendy apartments.  I knew they were situated in Prahran but I was unsure of their whereabouts so it was an unexpected pleasure.  My stint working there is probably the reason why I am a chocaholic today.  Although Bill took the credit, and said it knew they were there all along.  I don’t think so.  While Bill spent most of his time in the Sony Centre drooling over a 3D TV I managed to wander through the eclectic collection of shops, bars and coffee shops.  We enjoyed a lovely meal with Paul and Julie and enjoyed their hospitality for the night.  Breakfast saw us again in Chaple Street to Duke’s Coffee Shop, where they roast their own coffee beans in the roaster at the back of the shop. They told me the coffee was brilliant however I have to take their word for it as I  enjoyed a lovely smooth hot Belgian chocolate with my Walnut & cinnamon granola with organic goat milk yoghurt with lemon myrtle honey drizzled over the top.  Yummo!!  About 10.00 we wended our way home via the Shopping Centre in Sunbury.  Another great day out.  Not sure of our plans for tomorrow, maybe a trip to Kyneton, Woodend  or Gismore.  Next week we intend to enjoy the company of a CMCA chapter in the area (the Bushwhackers) for the weekend.  Looking forward to it.  No photos were taken while we were in Melbourne so I have attached some photos of some lovely flowers we have seen on our trip. 
Talk again soon

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mt Macedon & Hanging Rock- Victoria

The Cross at Mt Macedon
Sunday 30th January.  The weather here has been very hot and humid but we braved the elements and along with Russell & Hedy ventured up to Mt Macedon.  A lovely countryside drive was enjoyed on the way and Russell took us for a short drive through Macedon. 
I look rather small in front of the cross
 Lovely big houses and beautiful gardens are enjoying the recent rains, making the outlook lovely and green.  I have been told that often the gardens are open to the public at special times so everyone can enjoy this spectacular.  In winter as you can imagine this mountain is usually covered with snow but today it was quite pleasant.  After a wander up to the lookout we experienced the lovely views over the valleys towards Melbourne in the distance. 

 It was very hard to imagine that we are only a short way from this thriving metropolis.  We wandered our way back to the car amongst magnificent displays of flowering Hydrangeas in shades of pale blue to a deep blue up to an almost purple blue.
  Hard to describe the beautiful hues.  We drove then to “Hanging Rock” near Woodend, you may have heard of it through the movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. 
 Someone with their humour had hung a rock under the sign hanging by a rope.  It was rather warm at this stage so we decided to climb the rock at a later date when hopefully the weather would be rather cooler in temperature. 
The Hanging Rock Cafe
 We lunched in the lovely cafe, and don’t be fooled by their rather obscure entrance, the food was to die for.  I particularly recommend the nectarine and yoghurt cake, that we shared for dessert.  After a little wander through the displays and the attached shop we headed off to home. 

One of the friendly echidnas in the Hanging Rock National Park
 Lancefield is a lovely little village with a population of about 1200 people, rather like an English countryside.  I must say it is also reminisce of NZ with their huge hedges of neatly trimmed pine trees.  Tomorrow we are taking the plunge and are driving into Melbourne to enjoy the company of Paul and Julie.  I hope our trusty GPS is on its best behaviour.      
Talk again soon