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Archive for the tag “Victoria”

Christmas in July

Winter in Melbs is a pretty grim affair, it is long and dark and cold, the Southern Hemisphere winter doesn’t have a whole lot going for it to be perfectly honest. 

Now winter in the Northern Hemisphere however, also cold, dark and generally wet, does have a certain little event and ensuing holiday to help get through the long dark days. Christmas (in case you didn’t realise).

Given that Christmas occurs in December it is a long struggle through the winter for us Southern Hemmers.

So, to try and make it slightly more bareable, Australia does ‘Christmas in July’ instead. There are all sorts of special events on in and around the city and cool (ha) things for families to do to help get through the chilly winter.

As part of the Christmas in July celebrations we headed over to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, about an hour and 15 mins drive from Melbs, to take in the entertainment that was on offer as part of their celebrations.

Sovereign Hill is an awesome outside museum. It is set up as a turn of the Century gold rush town and you can even pan for gold in the river running through the town. 

It is a great day out even if it wasn’t Christmas in July and I’d highly recommend it. I’ve been there once before when the Bear was v small when my broseph came to stay and it’s pretty cool. 

This time we headed there a bit later in the day because:-

A) it was raining

B) it was freezing

C) we couldn’t be bothered to get up early

Plus as we knew we’d be there late for the festivities we didn’t want to peak too early! 

When we arrived, Sovereign Hill was like a scene from a Charles Dickens novel.  

 There were Christmas decorations and wreaths on the buildings in the Main Street and a pretty impressive Christmas tree.

  
There was so much to do besides the panning for gold stuff, there were horse and carriage rides and a Christmas sack race as well as a very funny ‘Captain Black Beard and the Pirates’ pantomime. The Bear’s loved it.

  
 
  
   When darkness fell the light show began and the Main Street was transformed into a Christmas wonderland complete with lights, snow, Christmas carols and, of course, St Nicholas. 

     

  

  

   
It might not actually be Christmas but it certainly felt like the festive season even just for a day!

All things Bright and Beaut(y)ful.

This past weekend we spent a few days away in Country Alpine Victoria. Our plan was to head off early on Friday to make the 4 hour trip.

Husb was very organised, getting up early and going to the market as soon as it opened to get our food for the weekend.
Husb then cooked said food for the weekend and packed it all ready to take with us.
Husb then packed all the stuff for himself, the Bear and Flo-bear. To get us ready to go.

Husb did all this while I ran around in circles.

Nope not a euphemism, not a witty way of saying I am not very organised (although I’m not). No, while husb was doing all that stuff I was literally running around in circles.
18k’s worth of circles actually.
You see Friday is my ‘long run’ day in preparation for my first ever half marathon that I will be doing in just 2 weeks time.

I am somewhat contained on my runs though as I put the kids into crèche which means I am not allowed to go out of the confines of the park so I had to make an 18ker out of the finite amount of paths there. Hence the loops of the park and circle running.

Anyway, circles done, we headed off, making our way along the Great Alpine Road towards Victorias ski country.

We were headed for a place called Dederang via Myrtleford, which is famous for its butter.

Dederang is about 50k from the town of Bright, the more well-known town in the area, which is famous for its beautiful autumnal colours. Why didn’t we stay in Bright? Well the place that we were staying came highly recommended by our friends in Melbourne who have now sadly returned to the UK (boo) so we were really excited to go.
It was called The Farmhouse bed and breakfast is located on a farm (clues in the name). It is run by a lovely genuine lady, who is very warm and welcoming going out of her way to give us an enjoyable stay.

I would highly recommend a stay here if you are visiting the area, we loved it and are already making plans for going back.image

Check out the website here http://www.farmhousedederang.com

imageThe Bear was in his absolute element, helping to herd the cows, feed the chooks and collect the eggs and not forgetting the piece de resistance – driving the tractor.

imageHe absolutely loved it and all the way home (yes all 4 loooong hours home) he repeatedly told us that he didn’t want to go back to Melbourne and instead wanted to stay at the Farmhouse for ever and ever. High praise indeed. (Although I must say, after 2 hours of it – I would have quite happily left him at the farmhouse ‘for ever and ever’ as requested, just to get a bit of peace and quiet!)

I was up early the first morning and after feeding Flo-Bear in the warm snuggles of the bed while the rest of the family slept I took her out into the lounge to give the boys a bit of extra sleep time.
The sun was just starting to rise and the morning mist still hung on the mountains waiting to be burned away by the strengthening sun.

imageThe view from the front verandah of the little farmhouse was absolutely breathtaking. Arriving in the dark we hadn’t yet had the opportunity to see the glorious alpine landscape properly and to finally be able to view it so early in the quiet stillness while the outside world was just starting to come to life, was a calming experience.
imageI sat on the verandah and breathed it in for a little while, feeling the stresses and rushing of yesterday’s running, packing and travelling melt away up high into the mountains. (I didn’t hang around too long mind, it was cold and I was only in my PJ’s).

Our first day in Victorias alpine country was pretty awesome for a couple of reasons, the first being the breathtaking countryside that we were in and the second was that the Bear rode his bike for the first time without any training wheels on the farm.image

Proud does not cover it, I was ‘totes emosh’ as he cycled around the bumpy ground of the farm like it was second nature, with barely a wobble. He didn’t need us to get him going or help him stop, he just went for it.
Once he started there was no stopping the boy either, we drove over to Bright and followed the Canyon Walk and Rail Trail cycle route around Bright and he was well away. He couldn’t understand why I kept hugging him though, he didn’t seem to quite get the momentousness of the day. But he was happy, cycling around even standing up cycling at some points and going on ahead before stopping and waiting impatiently for us all to catch him up! Love him.

On Sunday we headed up to Falls Creek. Falls Creek is one of the Victorian ski resorts. It was the last day of the ski season and although we had no intention of actually skiing, given the fact that both Bear and husb were in shorts, we wanted to go up and see how the Aussies do it. We looked at it as a bit of a recki for next year.
imageimageGiven that it was the end of the 2013/14 ski season there was no snow in resort at all and to be honest there was barely any on the slopes either. I think they’d done a stellar job of keeping some skiable terrain as long as they had. That said, it was easy to see where the snow had been and it looks like it is quite a good, if small resort with plenty of ski in/out options for accommodation. Certainly ideal for a first time four year old skier.

Obligatory snow done we made our way back taking in the Fainter Falls walk on the way back. Husb giving me a heart attack by leaving Flo to her own devices above a raging torrent of water. image(Only slightly overreacting, but I’m not, ok I was!)

Between renegade Flo-Bear and kamikaze Bear running around on the narrow precipice path and tripping over repeatedly, I thought I was going to have a heart attack!

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imageimageDuring the rest of our visit we made it up to the village of Mount Beauty, an Alpine Village about 40 minutes away from Falls Creek. It was very quiet when we were there but I can imagine it will be heaving in high season.

All around that area is great for skiing in the winter but it is also set up very well for mountain biking in the summer with plenty of trails to take for all levels. Even for the Bears newly found biking prowess.

We also managed to get up to Beechworth a town famous for its honey and obviously, we came away with the obligatory jar or 3 of Beechworth honey after I’d taste tested every jar in the shop first. Well you’ve got to make sure you’re making the right decision don’t you? Couple that with our haul of grass fed butter and ghee from Myrtleford Butter Factory, freshly laid eggs, mandarins and lemons from the farm  and we have done pretty well for ourselves in the food stakes this weekend.

This region of Victoria is absolutely beautiful and there is so much more that we wanted to see but just didn’t get the chance, like the Brown brothers winery and the gourmet cheeses from Milawa.

imageThis area is rich in history being the centre of the gold rush era and couple that with the natural beauty of the area, 5 days wasnt nearly enough time to see all that the area has to offer. We would have loved to do some more walks Round the area, do proper cycle routes and learn about the rich history a bit more.

imageThis region is our new favourite place and I can’t believe it has taken us 2 and 1/2 years to get here. Husb was eagerly pointing out property for sale in the area and excitedly telling me how we could make it work.
Seriously I thought I was on location, location, location, at some points. Not that he gets himself carried away or anything!

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