Gippsland’s Creative Harvest festival January 2022 – growing from strength to strength

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Did you buy some indoor plants over the last couple of years? Maybe you planted out a window box with a few herbs for your pandemic cooking sessions?  Perhaps you got the kids out into the backyard and started a no-dig garden. Not for nothing, did garden centres sell out of seedling and potting mix in early 2020.

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the tenuous nature of our food systems, prompting many people to invest in growing some of their own food. Whether your harvest was small or grand, there’s no denying the simple joy of eating something you’ve grown.

If that has left you hungry for more, Creative Harvest Festival (January 22nd  & 23rd ) could be the weekend event you’re looking for. Now in its fifth year, the group behind the event – Baw Baw Sustainability Network – are hoping to top last year’s record-breaking number of attendees, and they’ve pulled out all the stops to get you there.

There are 15 gardens open to visitors, from small suburban backyards to larger family-run farms. But it’s not all about growing your own food. The weekend also brings together more than 30 local artists and producers across a number of locations, showcasing their work and practice. Because as we also all learnt over the last couple of years to tap into our own creativity, when we’re not buried under the day-to-day busyness of commuting, working and socialising.


Creative HarvestGIVEAWAY

To celebrate the launch of Creative Harvest 2022 – the first weekend pass ticket purchases, will receive a tote bag designed by Helen Timbury Design valued at $30.

 


Creative Harvest Committee Chair, Wendy Savage sums things up perfectly.

Making our event more accessible to broader communities is a celebration of connectedness and creativity in all forms. It is fundamental to our wellbeing, especially in these uncertain times, and it is wonderful to see how a day out in the garden can inspire and create positive change.

So, here’s a taste of just some of the growers, makers and producers featured across the weekend.

  • AgriSolutions will be on hand to help gardeners get the most out of their soil and composting with their targeted approach to soil health management.
  • Join Come Fly With Me Beekeeping with their hives at Green Hills Farm in Yarragon South and learn what bee colonies have to teach us if only we pay attention.
  • Green Hills Farm produces grass-fed beef and garlic, as well as an orchard and vegetable plot that supplies local cafes & restaurants.
  • Based at the Butler Garden in Warragul, print-maker Helen Timbury will be displaying her work which celebrates the Australian landscape in all its wild, natural beauty.
  • Paul Stafford, self-taught tree craver and chainsaw sculptor will be on hand at Paul & Maureen’s Patch in Warragul, along with Kouark Wines and their wild-ferment pinot noir.
  • In Neerim South, you’ll find Kay Lancashire and her permaculture garden creating all manner of jewellery and wearable art, inspired by the natural shapes and textures she finds in her garden.

Children 17 and under are free and what better way to encourage the next generation of gardeners to get their hands dirty. There are plenty of treats and refreshments to keep you going throughout the day.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Creative Harvest
WHERE: Various locations across West Gippsland
WHEN: Saturday & Sunday 22-23 January 10am-4pm
MORE INFO: creativeharvest.org.au

We wish to acknowledge the Bunurong and Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Things Just Got Spicier in Healesville with the Opening of Gewürzhaus

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Just when you thought Healesville and the Yarra Valley could not be more of a foodie destination, Gewürzhaus has come and proved you wrong. Sisters Eva and Maria Konecsny, with some help from mum, opened the first Gewürzhaus in Lygon St, Carlton in 2010. And the brand has grown from strength to strength ever since, having just opened their tenth store, smack bang in the middle of Healesville.

Gewürzhaus (literally spice house) offers more than 300 products to choose from including single origin spices and proprietary spice blends all waiting to entrance your senses. Anyone who cooks with spice understands that freshness and purity are key. So, the ability to buy as much or as little as you need is paramount, one scoop at a time. Spices are also milled and blended in Melbourne with no preservatives added to maintain their high quality.

Gewürzhaus is more than just spices though. They also stock salt, tea, confectionary, homewares for your table & cooking needs, as well as a Christmas range that recalls a wintery Christmas that may only exist in your imagination.

Store design is pared back allowing the goods to take centre stage. Signage on the clear perspex bins features not only a comprehensive ingredient list but ideas on how to use the products. For those who prefer the personal touch, friendly staff know their chops and are on hand if you’ve got questions.

Worse-case scenario you get home and forget what you to do with your newly purchased goodies, their website offers more recipes and hints than a person could reasonably get through in a lifetime. There are a multitude of recipes (including seasonal favourites), How-to guides and a health section with articles on FODMAP cooking that doesn’t skimp on flavour.

A couple must-trys: treat yourself to mukhwas, a post-meal snack of sugar-coated fennel seeds in all their menthol freshness and don’t pass by the Shichimi Togarashi, an increasingly popular seasoning from Japan which includes dried red chilli, dried citrus peel, nori, black & white sesame seeds and more. An essential with your ramen or rice bowl, it is also a surprise winner on freshly popped popcorn.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Gewürzhaus
WHERE: 2/262 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
WHEN: Open now
MORE INFO: gewurzhaus.com.au

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Choose your own adventure: Exploring the You Yangs & Moorabool Valley

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

They say life is all about balance, a bit of yin with your yang, so to speak. We all know that getting outside to blow away the cobwebs is not only good for the body, but it’s also good for the soul. We’ve rounded up a host of activities in the Moorabool Valley and You Yangs area to get you out and about and sweetened it with some treats for afterwards.

Walking MelbourneYou Yangs Regional Park

You’ve definitely seen them from across the bay, or perhaps from the city’s outskirts, those hills on the horizon. The You Yangs (Wurdi Youang) are a group of 24km long granite outcrops an hour southwest of Melbourne near the town of Little River. Time to pay them a visit!

Topping out at 319m is the park’s highest point, Flinders Peak. Those who make the 3.2km one-hour return walk will be well-rewarded with stunning views across the volcanic plains back towards Melbourne or south to Geelong.

From the eastern lookout, the eagle-eyed will also spy the geoglyph of Bunjil, creator spirit of the Wadawurrung people, traditional custodians of the region. Artist Andrew Rogers utilised 1500 tonnes of granite and limestone rock to form the wedge-tail eagle geoglyph, in recognition of the Wadawurrung people’s connection to the land.

Iconic Australian painter Fred Williams was known to spend much time painting en plein air in the region. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to create your own masterpiece?

Bike Riding MelbourneIf you’re the type who likes to get the blood really pumping, you might like to bring your mountain bike and hit some of the 50km of purpose-built trails across two dedicated zones. Maybe horse riding, orienteering, rock-climbing, abseiling or bushwalking is more your speed? If so, there are dozens of trails from the family-friendly through to the more challenging to choose from.

If that all sounds a little exhausting, you could always try your hand at some birdwatching or perhaps a gentle stroll to one of the nine designated picnic areas.

The You Yangs Regional Park is open every day from 7am and closing at 5pm (6pm from Daylight Savings). Access to the park from the Princes Freeway is signposted via Lara. Facilities include picnic areas (barbecues, tables and toilets available) as well as drinking water available from the Visitors Centre.

Serendip Sanctuary Wildlife Park

Melbourne wildlife
© Barbara Dawn

Only 10 minutes further south is the Serendip Sanctuary. Soak in the serenity or explore some of the 250ha of wetlands and grassy woodlands. Experience your own close encounter with some native wildlife on one of the popular and wheelchair-accessible nature trails. Spot a mob of emus, Eastern Grey kangaroos or even a Tawny Frogmouth from one of the many bird hides.

With an emphasis on education, the sanctuary offers a Junior Rangers Program for families during school holidays as well as downloadable DIY activity sheets. Discover how some of Victoria’s most threatened species are being protected at the sanctuary’s education facility, old school and screen-free.

Serendip Sanctuary is open every day except Christmas Day & Good Friday from 8am until 4pm. Facilities include picnic areas, barbecues, tables, toilets and drinking water.

Brisbane Ranges National Park

National Parks MelbourneDrive half an hour west and you’ve arrived at Brisbane Ranges National Park and Steiglitz Historic Park. Ten points if you time your visit for spring’s magnificent wildflower displays including the rarely seen Velvet Daisy-bush and Brisbane Ranges Grevillea.

But first let’s start the adrenaline racing with some rock-climbing, abseiling, horse riding, kayaking/rafting or bushwalking (trails range from a couple of hours to several days). Camping areas with tank water and pit toilets available, bookings required. Picnic areas include wood barbecues, tables and toilets.

As with any visit to the great outdoors, best to check forecasted weather as well as location conditions. Visit Parks Victoria for more information.

Reckon you’ve earned a reward or two?

Farmers Market MelbourneFortunately, an area so rich in outdoor activities is also blessed with a cornucopia of food and drink choices.

Golden Plains Farmers Market is held the first Saturday of every month and is the ideal place to begin. If you miss that, no matter; the region is well placed with a slew of farm gates and providores.

Moorabool Valley Chocolate Pick up some handmade truffles made with the freshest ingredients from this family-owned small business.

Meredith Dairy The Cameron family have been responsibly and sustainably farming sheep and goats since the early 1990s, creating one of Australia’s most iconic farmhouse cheeses which are now exported to the world.

Inverleigh Bakehouse An old-school country bakery is a thing of beauty and this converted 1868 homestead doesn’t disappoint with artisan breads as well as tempting pastries and cakes.

Clyde ParkBread cheese and chocolate – tick! Now you need something to drink. Thankfully this cool climate wine region offers boutique wineries, renowned cellar doors and winery restaurants both large and small, so you’re sure to find one to suit.

Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro Step into the cellar door and secure a spot by the fire before tasting through their award-winning wines whilst taking in sweeping views over the Moorabool Valley. This family-friendly bistro is open daily offering everything from a quick nibble through to a three-course meal.

Del Rios Wines Enjoy a long, lazy lunch centred around their estate-grown produce (including Black Angus beef) complemented by an extensive wine portfolio.

No doubt this has whet your appetite to explore the region. You’ll only wonder what took you so long.

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Iconic Warburton Motel returns to its mid-century glory

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Warburton’s iconic motel is currently undergoing a series of renovations in order to return it to its former glory. The mid-century motel, first built in 1966, has been owned by Richard and Simone Stanwix since 2017, who have grand plans to bring it back to life.

‘Put simply, we saw the rare opportunity to acquire a 1960s motel which – while run down, open and running modestly – was almost completely original in its design and construct,’ Simone says.

With previous accommodation experience in Gippsland, and with Richard’s grandparents having owned and operated the first motel in Tasmania, accommodation definitely runs through the Stanwix veins. They moved to Warbuton just over four years ago in search of an opportunity to do something new.

‘Richard grew up in and around (motels), experiencing the tapestry of life that a motel presents,’ Simone says. ‘We had been visiting Warburton for years and always loved what it offered.  One time we arrived, parked the car and immediately saw a Chihuahua wearing a sombrero riding a donkey in the main street. We instantly knew Warburton was for us but didn’t think for a second it would be in this context.’

Lamenting childhood memories of family road trips, Richard and Simone decided to gallantly take on the project with the aim to preserve original elements of the motel whilst connecting guests to its history and the natural environment. Rooms boast premium beds, crisp white linen and towels, soft furnishings and eco-friendly toiletries. A broad-roof deep veranda leading to an in-house wine bar will reinforce the motel’s indoor-outdoor attitude.

‘We don’t want to turn it into something it was never intended to be,’ Richard says. ‘It’s all about simple pleasures in an unpretentious environment that’s so damn close to Melbourne. It’s a 1966 motel and that is how we want guests to feel when they stay.’

Richard and Simone also offer a series of adventures for guests to enjoy during their stay, including a fleet of bikes, river tubing, toboggans for the wintertime, a specially created wine and dine tour, as well as curated hikes ideal for exploration.

Warburton’s greatest attribute is that it is an immersive experience in nature and we think in the future it will form part of the antidote to the lockdown blues. We love that the river runs through town like an artery. You know that everything is alive here. You can smell it, hear it and see it. It fuels your soul.

‘We can’t believe Warburton is so close to a huge city and yet a world away. It’s a quintessential village atmosphere where people care about how you’re doing, kids roam and there is plenty to entertain the grown-ups in great eateries, bars and quirky shops,’ Richard says.

Over the last 18 months, the Warburton Motel has been closed more than it’s been open. Richard and Simone are encouraging people to book direct instead of an online service, which sends a large percentage of fees overseas.

‘This allows us to do more at the motel, gives our team more hours and circulates the money in our local economy,’ Richard says. ‘We look forward to playing our role in enabling that.’


THE DETAILS:

WHAT: Warburton Motel
WHERE: 4 Donna Buang Rd, Warburton
FIND OUT MORE: warburtonmotel.com.au or via Instagram.

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Yarrawonga’s new provedore from Rich Glen Estate brings the goods

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Ros Vodusek’s background as a trained chef is evident as you watch her recipe videos on Rich Glen’s YouTube channel. Her mise-en-place allows her to quickly and seamlessly take the viewer through her simple recipes which highlight the beauty and taste of Rich Glen premium food products – and it all starts from the humble olive.

Located in Yarrawonga, in North East Victoria near the banks of the mighty Murray River is Rich Glen Estate. In 1997 36,000 olive trees were planted on the farm and several years later, the oil began to flow. In the years since, Ros and her husband Daimien have grown the business, now employing 30 people producing over 150 olive-oil based food and skin-care products. And every single one of those products is made on the estate with 100% Australian grown ingredients. Can’t get more local than that!

The three-generation strong family enterprise is showing no signs of slowing, having just opened a new provedore store in the main street of Yarrawonga in a suitably rustic building which embraces its history.

‘It used to be a big old garage a 100 years ago,’ she says. ‘In a few years’ time we plan to gut the whole thing and take it back. Then we’ll have artisan producers, like a beautiful market showcasing regional producers with a coffee roaster, some beautiful pastries and so on.’

In its current incarnation the provedore stocks the estate-produced range of luxurious skincare products, premium pantry staples including oils & dressings, spice rubs and more, as well as a highly curated selection of regional Australian produce.

Everywhere people go, they are looking for what’s made in the area, what’s regional. Food has become the new souvenir. Everyone wants to take something home from the region. I feel that we’ve kind of brought the farm into town.

When asked to name her top picks from the range, Ros doesn’t hesitate.

Poppy’s No1 Dressing was the first product we made and it’s still the most popular one and I guess it’s still my favourite too. It’s something I can’t do without. I love it on corned beef and it’s gorgeous with prawns, as a dipper, or even on a chicken salad. It’s always a staple in my cupboard that’s for sure.’

‘The Bar-B-Q Meat Rub. We’re coming into BBQ season and I can’t have a steak without it really.’

While getting to the new provedore in person is tricky for most of us right now, you can check out the wonderful range of Rich Glen products via OHO Markets.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Rich Glen Estate Provedore
WHERE: Shop 3, 137 Belmore St, Yarrawonga
WHEN: Open Mon – Fri 9-4:30, Sat 9-3, Sun 10-3
MORE INFO: Rich Glen Estate

We wish to acknowledge the Yorta Yorta people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Furu Ushi – dry aged Wagyu and Nebbiolo delivered to your door

Words by Richard Cornish
Images supplied

It’s not often an offer like this comes along. A kilo of dry-aged Furu Ushi (old cow) wagyu and a bottle of Moondarra Nebbiolo delivered to your door in metro Melbourne, Drouin, and Warragul for just $90.

To make the deal even sweeter, the pack is hand-delivered by one of Victoria’s food and wine greats – Neil Prentice from Moondarra Wines and Wagyu. A former punk, he poured chardonnay in a St Kilda footy vest at the Dog’s Bar in St Kilda when it first opened in 1989. He opened a sexy, funky bar/restaurant/club in The George, St Kilda building called the Birdcage specialising in sushi and textural white wines. Over the past 20 years, he has concentrated on developing his wagyu herd and vineyard on his farm at Moondarra in the foothills of Mount Baw Baw.

The Furu Ushi range of dry-aged beef from older cows has been a long time in the making. When Prentice’s breeding cows reached a point where they were too old to have calves, at around 10 years of age, they used to be sold off for pet food.

A crying shame in Neil’s eyes, he wanted to follow the Spanish Basque country tradition of nurturing older breeding cattle, turning them into prime steak. Although incredibly well cared for throughout their lives, the animals are fed on prime pastures and a little extra grain in their last weeks. Their meat is then dry-aged for 30 to 90 days, an essential step to tenderise the meat of older animals.

The beef is beautifully full-flavoured with the marbling you’d expect from wagyu, with intramuscular fat interlacing lovely ruby-red flesh. You will need a sharp steak knife, but it’s also juicy and deeply, earthily flavoursome. The cuts will vary from flatiron steak to ribeye to rump, depending on the aging process.

The Nebbiolo Neil has chosen to go with your steak is macerated on skins before fermentation retaining about a third as whole bunches. Neil ‘dances’ in the wine three or four times a day through ferment (more traditional winemakers call this pigeage) to extract colour and flavour. It is a delicious dry but aromatic medium-bodied wine that pairs beautifully with the beef grown on the same soil as the wine.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Moondarra Furu Ushi old cow wagyu and Nebbiolo delivered to your door
WHEN: Until December 2021
MORE INFO: Email neil@moondarra.com.au

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Art & Science merge forces in newly released book The Great Forest

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Can you feel homesick for a place you’ve never even been to?

The newly released book ‘The Great Forest’ somehow does just that. Giving the book its full (and lengthy) title ‘The Great Forest – The Rare Beauty of the Victorian Central Highlands’ by David Lindenmayer, with photographs by Chris Taylor, Sarah Rees and Steven Kuiter hints at the scope of the story contained within.

Yarra Valley resident and one of the book’s three photographers, Sarah Rees, was gracious enough to give OHO some of her time.

‘I help communicate science in a way people can digest,’ explains Sarah with typical modesty. For someone whose CV is full of well-hyphenated descriptors, perhaps most pertinent are that of full-time conservationist and co-founder of the Great Forest National Park (GFNP) initiative.

This initiative refers to a proposed area of eastern Victoria which would incorporate seven existing (State and National) parks, almost tripling the amount of protected area which directly feeds Melbourne’s water supply. The GFNP is also estimated to generate 750 new full-time jobs and $71 million for local economies.

‘The book was about how do we take what there is 40-odd years of science on – an area of forest that is incredibly significant to Melbourne – how do we turn that into something the average Melburnian can look at and understand, without having to understand the very complex equations around climate change and what’s going to happen to our forest and our water supply. These are things that sometimes people shy away from; I know I did.’

‘Once you communicate science through a visual medium like photo or film, or even an infographic, people say okay, I can accept that.’ And the visuals in the book are stunning. Sarah’s art & design background meant it was never going to be anything less. Her Instagram alone will have you pining for greener fields.

‘Because I’m a (Yarra Valley) local, I used art and photography as a method for not just healing after the fires but also for connecting and communicating my knowledge about the landscape. Myself and another scientist, Dr Chris Taylor, are quite close and we’ve worked together in photography before. We said – come on David (Lindenmayer) why don’t we just do a science and art piece.’


Great Forest BookWIN A COPY OF THE GREAT FOREST – THE RARE BEAUTY OF THE VICTORIAN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

The Great Forest is available in most good bookstores and online. One Hour Out in conjunction with publishers Allen & Unwin are proudly offering a copy of the book to giveaway. Enter the giveaway here.

 


Of course, Melbourne lockdowns might have deterred some but not Sarah and co.

‘Being in lockdown, there wasn’t the freedom to go and photograph these areas. It was – ok, what have we got, and let’s look at if we need anything,’ she says. ‘We had an archive of some extraordinary photography. Chris and I have been taking photos for 20 years in the region. We see things that other people haven’t seen. Particularly because I live there, I get to see all times of the day, all seasons.’

Professor David Lindenmayer may be a world-leading expert in forest conservation, or as Sarah calls him the Australian Attenborough with a ridiculously impressive citation rating – but how does one harness 40 years of expertise into a compelling story?

‘We started thinking about what’s an interesting way to tell this story,’ Sarah begins to explain, while also acknowledging it is not really her story to tell. ‘We endeavoured to bring the role of the First Nations and the history of the landscape into the public spectre.

‘We deliberately intended to tell a story that was in line with the traditional owners (Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurrundjeri) and what they felt comfortable about sharing. We made sure that every area we spoke about, we talked about whose nation that tree, that rock, that eco-system was found on. If they had a name for it, if that was ok for us to use, we sought permission to use it.

‘We looked into the geology, the under-story, the rainforest systems and the mountain ash which are historically some of the tallest recorded trees in the world.’

Sarah lays out some stark realities in regards to the water supply catchment and the dual challenges of fire and (over 100 years of) logging. ‘The fires are harder to manage; the logging is not. The mountain ash ecosystem is now critically endangered with only 1% of its original old-growth cover left unburnt and unlogged. Things like that are really important.’

The story of the animals, you can sympathise and fall in love with these animals, but you can also look at them quite objectively and say they are the canaries in the coal mine.

It’s little wonder the book is garnering glowing reviews from such luminaries as Tim Flannery (leading Australian writer on climate change) and the iconic Dame Jane Goodall (famed primatologist).

If you’d like to deepen your own relationship with forest ecology, then check out this Guided Rainforest and Mindfulness Tour once lockdown restrictions have eased.

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurrundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Your Guide to the Goulburn River and Ranges

The Goulburn River might not have the PR team of the mighty Murray but as Victoria’s longest river it has long been a part of peoples’ daily lives. It is the region’s lifeline of agriculture, a cultural and historic touchstone as well as a magnet for outdoor activities.

Your road trip offers so many waterways to choose from, including one of Victoria’s largest man-made lakes, enchanting waterfalls and secluded fishing spots. No matter the season, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking scenery, pretty little towns and down to earth hospitality as you wind your way through this special part of central Victoria – all within a short, easy drive out of Melbourne.

Here’s an itinerary to get you started.

Goulburn River & Ranges Road Trip

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images supplied

Central Victoria was sometimes seen as a drive-through rather than a drive-to area; a place where you’d stop to use the restroom facilities, grab a coffee or fuel up the car.  Our Goulburn River and Ranges Road Trip proves otherwise.

Goulburn Rover Things to DoIt is a place that is filled with a rich history, both recent and more ancient. A place of sweeping landscapes, enchanting waterways and stunning scenic drives, all within an easy drive out of Melbourne.

Head north-east from Melbourne firstly to Marysville and Eildon then on to Yea.  From Yea it’s over to Trawool and Tallarook before heading north to Seymour, Avenel then Nagambie and finally arriving at Euroa.

Marysville
#oneandahalfhoursout

EuroaOn the edge of the Yarra Valley is the (in)famous Black Spur Drive. Marvel as the road twists and turns beneath towering eucalypts and movie-worthy mist. Soon enough you arrive in Marysville, a pretty little town with a big heart. It is also a convenient jumping-off point to visit Lake Mountain, with plenty for adventure seekers no matter the time of year.

If you want to stretch the legs a little further, Steavenson Falls (Victoria’s tallest with a drop of 84m) is just the ticket. Be well-rewarded for an easy 250m walk from the carpark with sensational views of one of the region’s most iconic waterfalls.

Eildon
#twohoursout

Lake EildonNext up is the town of Eildon and one of Victoria’s largest man-made lakes, with a whopping 500km coastline. Lake Eildon was created in the 1950s with the damming of the Goulburn River for supply of drinking water, hydro-electricity generation and irrigation.

Naturally this makes it a popular spot for all the water recreational activities you can think of: boating, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, sailing and house boat hire. It’s also an ideal place to just kick back and watch the changing reflections of the clouds and hills on the water.

Yea
#oneandahalfhoursout

Yea WetlandsOur next stop is Yea – yay! A perennially popular stopping-off point to refuel both the car and the driver, Yea easily recalls the grandeur of the area’s gold mining past with historic buildings and graceful wide streets. It is also where the Goulburn River meets the Yea River and the Yea Wetlands, a treasure trove of flora and fauna.

Yea’s historic Gothic-styled railway station is beautifully preserved with its red brick façade. It’s a great place to pick up The Great Victorian Rail Trail or allow the kids to let off some steam at the playground.

Trawool
#oneandahalfhoursout

TrawA short drive and it’s on to the district of Trawool, for there is no township as such. It is here that the Goulburn Valley Hwy plays cat and mouse with the Goulburn River and its lagoons. Holiday makers have been visiting Trawool Valley from the early 1900s to take in the area’s scenic charms and it’s easy to see why.  A visit to the iconic Trawool Estate will not disappoint.

Tallarook
#onehourout

Tallarook Farmers’ MarketNext stop is Tallarook and the start of the 134 km Great Victorian Rail Trail connecting Tallarook to Mansfield. Whether you choose to explore the trail by foot, by bike or by horse it certainly offers a unique way to take in some fresh air. Like so many townships along this great drive, a weekend trip to the farmers’ market is a great way to sample local produce and stock up at the same time. Since 2009, locals and visitors have been filling up their baskets and supporting producers and makers alike at Tallarook Farmers’ Market on the first Sunday of the month.

Seymour
#oneandahalfhoursout

Food SeymourA short drive from Tallarook is Seymour, located on the banks of the beautiful Goulburn River. Very much the platonic ideal of a country town with its wide, welcoming streets and riverside parks, Seymour has always been a major stop on the Melbourne-Sydney route. The area has also had strong military connections since the establishment of a nearby training camp prior to WW1 and then later Puckapunyal Army Base.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during blueberry season (summer) a stop-off at Blue Tongue Berries needs to be top of the list. The Brewer’s Table is your best bet for quality local food, craft beer and cider. While your wine needs are all taken care of with a visit to Wines By Sam, Sam Plunkett’s cellar door in the expertly refitted old Seymour dye works building.

Avenel
#oneandahalfhoursout

AvenelThe historic township of Avenel was established in 1849 as a stop-over point between Melbourne and Albury. It is also known as the place where Ned Kelly’s family lived in the 1806s. Ned is now known as a bushranger and outlaw, but he was once hailed a hero after rescuing a young boy from drowning in a local creek. Fowles Wines is the perfect lunch spot; after all who can resist a wine with the name Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch?

Nagambie
#oneandahalfhoursout

Mitchelton Gallery of Aboriginal ArtNagambie calls and it’s our next stop. It is little wonder wineries are a great drawcard of Nagambie and surrounds. The cool climate (influenced by the Goulburn River and Lake Nagambie) combined with the area’s red sandy loam soil adds up to a distinctive wine region.

Look no further than the historic Tahbilk Winery and Mitchelton wineries for evidence. Situated within the Mitchelton estate in a disused underground wine cellars you’ll find the Mitchelton Gallery of Aboriginal Art, regional Victoria’s largest indigenous art gallery, celebrating the art of Australia’s First People, including local Taungurung people.

Euroa
#twohoursout

EuroaOur last stop is Euroa at the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges. You’re definitely in Kelly country now – Ned Kelly and his gang bank robbed a local bank here in 1878. These days the town is a good base to explore the nearby Strathbogies, take a scenic drive to the Gooram waterfalls or perhaps take a quick dip in one of the popular swimming holes if weather allows.

Whether you are seeking a nature-lovers paradise, a taste of the region’s best restaurants and wineries or a relaxing getaway full of country hospitality, a Goulburn River and Ranges Road Trip has it all. Murrindindi, Mitchell and Strathbogie regions are an easy drive out of Melbourne with no end of things to experience whatever the season.

We suggest you plan to stay a while.


DOWNLOAD GOULBURN RIVER & RANGES ROADTRIP MAP

Goulburn River Road TripDiscover the huge variety of attractions across the region with this printable map. Download here.

Or use our helpful itinerary to plan your trip around the region.

 

 

 

 


 

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The future of farming is diversification says Jo Corrigan – Mushrooms Anonymous

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Jo and her partner Matt Donnelley are two ex-chefs/restaurateurs who have turned a love of foraging and growing into a thriving business. It’s been five years since they swapped an inner-city life for the beautiful Macedon Ranges, quickly becoming an integral part of the community.

‘That word community is such an interesting one. During this whole pandemic, the people surrounding you that you may not know are your community. So, when you’re riding the same tram at the same time every morning, you’re seeing the same faces. You might not know them but they’re your community.

I think throughout this pandemic, country people had the basis of community and they’ve been able to keep that. City people lost the little bit they did have.

‘We were so grateful to be adopted into this community here in Romsey so quickly. People, when they found out we were here, looked out for us and said hello. They dropped a note into the letterbox if they bought plants from us somewhere.’

Jo takes a moment to reflect on the journey from restaurateur to farmer.  ‘Becoming a farmer was a long road. We’re no strangers to problems because we’ve had to make a lot of decisions under pressure. The restaurant was an excellent training ground.’

‘There are always economic difficulties with supplying restaurants. A lot of farmers speak about it but we feel a duty to plan around that so we can give restaurants – last year and this year – a little bit longer to pay. Having sold the restaurant (The Commoner) in 2016, it’s a really strange feeling watching our comrades go through all of this. Viability of restaurants is a massive deal. It’s a terrible economic model.’

We ask Jo how Covid has impacted the business (without once using the word pivot). ‘We’re making slightly different decisions about what we put into the ground. I’ve heard other farmers say they’re not going to grow as much. We’re growing the same amount; we will simply diversify and find more markets for what we grow. We are also working with the people that we currently grow with to build a farmgate so that locals have access to what we do without adding more fuel miles.

‘We’ve diversified into more retail and making sure people know they can get our stuff from there. Andrew McConnell’s retail outlets (and his restaurants) are a huge supporter of ours. We tell them what we’re finding, what we have and they work with us to make it into a retail offering. It’s added to the diversification of our business which I think is the key for the future for farmers.

‘The biggest change for us was the Farmers Markets inviting us in. They actually called us and said – are you okay? – which was amazing. They said we’re looking out for growers. We’re going to need more growers because Farmers Markets will stay open. We hadn’t done them before the pandemic. Every single thing that we were growing went there and it all sold.

‘The Farmers Markets has a huge following. It’s an incredibly safe environment. They’ve worked really, really hard on keeping those farmers markets safe and they’re open-air events. Matt and I cook at Farmers Markets now. We cook delicious things we used to serve in the restaurants. It’s filled a little hole because we’re just aching so much for restaurants right now.’

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Mushrooms Anonymous
WHERE: Selected farmers markets and retails outlets
MORE INFO: Mrsmushroom and Mushroomsanon