Road Trip Getaways
Road Trip Getaways are occasional forays which take our members on a fun, exploration of Victoria. Each day, we set out to explore the areas around the region, visiting historical sites and other interesting local attractions. Everyone who comes along appreciates the flexibility that these trips offer, the chance to discover new aspects of the areas we visit and the companionship and good fun our group. Over the past 18 months we have explored the Jamieson, the King Valley and Tatong areas and here is a report on our last trip.
Wandering Victoria – Tatong district
On Saturday 21st October, 2017, leaving the grey skies of Melbourne behind, we travelled to Benalla Botanical Gardens Art Gallery Cafe for lunch. To our delight, the Benalla Agricultural Show was in progress and we saw horses, Scottish pipers and dancers. We met up with several other club members for a snack. Arriving at our destination for that night, the Milawa Motel, we had a short walk and then up to the Milawa Hotel for dinner, where we savoured fresh country cooked vegetables with our food, in a pleasant dining room.
On Sunday 22nd we did the shops, stocking our pantries and gifts for Xmas. The King River Cafe and Cellar Door delighted the fourteen of us with their extensive menu; a very memorable meal from a master chef.
A walk beside the Ovens River followed and then on to the Milawa Cheese Factory, where we experienced Talk and Taste, bought cheese and browsed in their unique gift shop. On a visit to Brown Brothers cellar door, a Pinot Grigio from grapes grown 450 metres above sea level (very cold climate) was tasted and purchased. With all that eating and wine tasting, just drinks and a snack on a sunny evening in the motel garden, among magnificent roses, was sufficient.
After much deliberation on Monday, it was decided by all drivers to go the shorter way, rather than through the 12 small hamlets on the steep and winding road and then to double back at the Tolmie end to visit Powers Lookout. So, we set off in convoy for Greta Cemetery where members of the Kelly family have been interred, including Ned Kelly, who was finally laid to rest early this century.
We travelled to Tatong to call in to the Tatong Tudor Tavern for a snack but it had only just changed hands and was not open for business yet. We chose to take the Tatong to Tolmie road and have lunch at the old tavern there. It was worth the effort but also a long and windy road, but without any traffic. The first few leading cars went to visit the Ned Kelly Tree at Stringybark Creek, the site of the shootings of the three troopers/policemen, 139 years ago, on 26 October, 1878.
We had a leisurely drive into Mansfield, settled into the caravan park and then it was happy hour followed by a BBQ in the camp kitchen. We received our show and tell bags from the information centre. The fire was lit in the games room and table tennis was played by two ladies.
On the morning of Tuesday 24th, we attended a very comprehensive talk on the history, industry, educational and health facilities of the Mt Buller – Mansfield district. There is much development taking place in the town. Then, a self-guided town walk took place followed by a snack lunch and the girls ‘did the shops’. The Botanic Gardens were very neat, well- kept and a popular place to spend time. In the afternoon people went driving or wetlands walking. There was also the cemetery and the zoo to visit. Happy hour, then dinner at the Mansfield Hotel, completed the day.
On Wednesday, the program was changed to visit Strathbogie to allow more time there instead of on the way home on Friday. We left at 9am and drove first to Polly McQuinn’s Weir, which has a history and then to the one and only store, where we had a coffee and then sauntered around, taking the Bridge to Bridge walk, featuring the local flora and fauna. After lunch, we went to the very beautiful Gooram waterfalls. We only saw one snake the whole day! The fine dining experience that night was at Bos Taurus Bar Bistro and Artisan Butchery, where we ate the best Angus steaks!
Thursday 26th was a lazy day. Some played Scrabble or rummy tiles, whilst others went on walks or went shopping. We all went to the Golf Club to cheer on Lenore, our one and only golfer and to have lunch with her there. Later at happy hour there were more games and much chatter. Another fine dining experience, this time at the historic building of the Old Fire Station commissioned in 1903 and built of local handmade bricks. Rudi, the proprietor is the chef and delighted us with his culinary range such as beef cheeks. The desserts were extensive.
On Friday 27th October, we said goodbye to the High Country and the wonderful sights we seventy BBLAC members have encountered over the past 18 months. Much of the success of these tours depends on those terrific BBLAC members who have assisted me in my quest to discover and share the delights to be found in North Eastern Victoria.
Great stories, many happy smiling faces, wonderful memories.
Convenor: Joan Philip