I spent the last couple of days doing more walking about in the outside suburbs of Melbourne and then went an hour and a half outside of Melbourne to Warragul to meet F’s parents, family and friends that I’ve been told so much about.
Starting off with my first adventure to Yarraville, a couple of days ago where I had some amazing Avocado toast for brunch from a little cafe down the road! So I get up a little late-ish on this day (around 9am) and I get a message from F suggesting a few places that I could go and somehow Yarraville and Williamstown sounded exciting to me, so I got ready and head out to this ‘ville’ which I thought was a village. So turns out, it was small… After a small/medium sized train problem and a couple of hours waiting later, I hopped on a few trains that dropped me off in little sleepy Yarraville and it was small, a couple of streets and that summed up the town but it was so calm and reserved, that it completely relaxed me. I’ve been doing rigourous exploring and walking the past week and even though it seemed like a lot of walking was done, I was instantly relieved and relaxed to see how quiet and pleasant this town was. F had also suggested this amazing little cafe called the Cornershop for a bite, so I had this amazing avocado toast.. If you are down in Melbourne, I would say it’s worth the visit! The staff are lovely and the food and coffee is delicious! Grab a paper, sit at a corner and watch the world go by. I did a lot of people watching here, so many different people with different stories but it’s amazing how you can just sit and unwind amidst it all.
I then hopped on a train as instructed and got off at the beach stop (instead of the town) of Williamstown because the beach came first and I love water! Breath taking! The beach was so beautiful, in this affluent little town that had big glass houses and massive front porches, huge rose hedges and antique outdoor furniture set up in their patios. Some very fancy cars parked either outside these houses or inthe garages and I personally fell in love with one house that had a massive wall lined bookcase which was glass!! I bought a lemonade and sat on the rocks at the peaceful beach, under the sun watching the waves. Barely a few people lining the white sands on the beach, one small family, a couple of dog walkers and lots of sea gulls! I loved it. Great photo shots too. After a couple of hours here, I walked to the town and it had a very California/Beverly Hills vibe to it. Palm trees and blue skies and boutique stores, very different from everywhere else in Melbourne that I had been too. No grafitti to start off with and no street art that I had fallen in love with, though it was definitely a pleasant change to the rest of Melbourne.
Heading up towards the end of the street, I found an amazing pier and docklands. This was obviously a surprise because I didn’t expect it even though I should have if common sense had kicked in at all! I absolutely loved this town, the water was so so blue and the skies were even bluer. Black swans dotted the lakes and I just sat there on the grass taking it all in. Sail boats everywhere and better yet, the entire city of Melbourne and the skyline from the distance was a stunner. Nearly stayed until sundown before grabbing a bite and heading back into town. Another recommendation, definitely get out of the city if you are visiting Melbourne and check out the suburbial beauties like Williamstown!
Yesterday, I checked into town really early as I had booked myself onto a winery tour in Yarra Valley. As promised, they picked us up in a Merc mini van (great start as it was my first air conditioned carrier in Melbourne!) and we drove about 50 minutes into Yarra Valley. We first stopped at Yering Station for a wine appreciation Masterclass where we were taught the techniques of wine tasting and spotting and once that was through, for the next hour we tasted around 20 wines- at 10am!! Yes, luckily I grabbed a coffee and sausage roll before getting picked up or I would have been in a bit of a trouble. The tastings were pretty good and the staff very accomodation, I was sucked into buying some amazing Cuvée de creme which was a sparkling Rose and a dessert wine. I’m usually never fond of dessert wines but this time round I just had to! I loved everything I tried!
We then head off to a cheese farm- Yarra Valley dairy farm where we sampled some lovely goat and cow cheeses and a few people, like my sister, did some purchases (which was refrigerated in the mini fridge in the mini van) and then head off to Domaine Chandon, the champagne makers winery. They obviously don’t call it Champagne in Australia because only Champagne’s made in France, in the Champagne region are allowed to be called Champagnes but here they call it Sparkling wine and in Chandon winery, we tasted 4 different kinds of sparkling wines and was treated to a full glass of our choice. The views from the Chandon winery was amazing. The mountains in the backdrop, blue skies and sunshine, the vineyards stretched right in front of us- what a spectacle! Our guide told us an interesting story about the rose bushes grown in front of all the vineyards that we noticed. Apparently, they grew rose coloured roses in front of the Rose, yellow roses in front of the Sauvingon Blanc, white roses in front of sparkling whites, red roses in front of Pinot noir and so on. It was a really cool and innovative idea, I thought! More purchases later … We head to Rochford Wines for another tasting session and some lunch.
At Rochford Wines, we selected our main courses and then were led into a really boutiquey looking private tasting room where we tasted about 10 more wines. 2 of each variety. Some of the Pinot Noirs were really good- desperately needed lunch by this time so we had a wonderful lunch waiting for us. Once lunch was done, we head to the Yarra Chocolatier for some chocolate tasting. Now I’ve done a lot of wine tastings and cheese tastings and food tours but chocolate has never been on the list. Honestly, I rolled out, I kid you not! We walked in and were treated to three types of ‘all you can try’ chocolate pellets in white, milk and dark chocolate varieties. We did not know what awaited next, so grabbed a handful of each because we hadn’t had dessert and walked around before we were all herded to a table setup with 15 different chocolate types- all gourmet and all had little sampling bowls! The flavours varied into interesting combos like violets and berries (which actually tasted like flowers and potpourri), orange and nut, lemon myrtle, mint and lime and other such flavours. We were given each and every flavour to try, it was the most chocolate I’ve had in a lifetime! At the end of it, we even tried rocky road chocolates and because Yarra Chocolatier had their ice cream festival going on, we tried some cool gourmet ice cream flavours like peanut butter and cocoa, bacon, apple crumble etc!
From the chocolatier (where I literally rolled out from), we head to our last winery which was Yileena Park. This one was a cute boutique winery owned by a couple who grew their grapes on their private property and owned about 10 acres, 10,000 vines, 2 donkeys, a cow and a a few sheep. Here we tried another 12 wines in different varieties of reds, whites, sparkling and dessert wines and also tried some of their smoked products (they oak smoke in house too) like blue cheese, cashew nuts, cheddar, olive oil and dukkah. During my last shot of dessert wine, I knew, anymore and I would just lie of the floor and stay there. The wine store itself was really cute, two storeyed building in the middle of the park and the lady owner gave a bit of a history about how Yarra became a wine valley. We tasted all the wines on the deck and it was again so peaceful and calm, I could easily stay there if the store was a guest house!
After a full day of wine tasting, we made it back to town only to join friends for more drinks later on, Friday night being a ‘thing’ in Australia. Heavily recommend Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tours though. I throughly enjoyed it as something different, outside the city, stellar views and a good tasting of everything on offer! It’s also great to do a few purchases as you get discounts on everything as a part of the tour and it makes up a better gift story!
Love from Melbourne,