We had originally planned to head off to the Great Ocean Road but cousin Lyn and son Seb suggested a few places north of Melbourne that would whet our appetite for Victoria. So glad we took their advice on board because we have spent the past week testing, testing, testing! We started off with Gin at the Four Pillars Gin Distillery, Healesville before moving on to several of the Yarra Valley’s wonderful Wineries (e.g. Giant Steps, Sam Mirandas and Brown Brothers to name a few!), we tested six Craft Beers at the Bridge Road Brewery (favourite was Celtic Red) and Fortified Wine (its not allowed to be called Port) at the local Information Office at Beechworth (never get that in Scotland). Only thing we weren’t that keen on was Strawberry Wine at the Big Strawberry but we did enjoy our Strawberry filled Pancakes which came topped with strawberry topping, cream and strawberry ice-cream.
Our fridge is groaning with all the local produce including cheese, olives, mustard, pesto, salami and as many free lemons as you want! With all this testing, and being practical about the need to not put on too much weight or do any drink driving, we have been making great use of our electric bikes. The cycle paths are brilliant and we have found some truly special picnic spots, especially along the Murray River. We took advantage of the offer to pay for two nights and get a third night free with our Top Parks Discount Card at Cobram and have really loved it here. The park is quiet but near to all the local amenities and great cycle tracks. We move on tomorrow and Mike has planned the route for the next week which includes a trip on an old fashioned paddle steamer and a one day course prospecting for gold!!!
Before signing off this blog though, I do have to say we have visited some interesting historic sites (historic for Australia – not Ancient as in St Andrews) in Ned Kelly land, seen some fabulous artwork and heard about some amazing individuals in Benalla and visited a wildlife sanctuary in Healesville to catch my first sight of koalas and platypus (though not in the wild). Hopefully that will happen as we continue Pootling Around Australia!