Saturday, 30 April 2016

Zzzzzzzzzz A to Z Challenge

Well here we have it, we have reached Z 
on my April A to Z Wandering Victoria* challenge.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah**, Zip-a-dee-Yea! 

My, oh, my ....what a wonderful day...
here in Victoria!

Blairgowrie dog beach, Mornington Peninsula
Plenty of sunshine headin' my way 

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-Yea (Yay!)

Queenscliff - Sorrento Ferry
Hey Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder 
It's the truth, it's actual... 
everything is satisfactual

Crazy Poodle with bird on shoulder, admires the route and giveaways!

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-Yea (Yay!)
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day

Map: Google maps and Travellerspoint 
You can find my full-size interactive map here at Travel Map at Travellerspoint.

Above you will see our month of travels. Together we covered 2009 km / 1248 miles. We look like we took some crazy penguin route! As you can see, if you click on the Travel Map link above, we have only covered a fraction of the state.

Talking of penguins, by and large, I have not taken you to the major regional Victorian tourist locations. Those such as Phillip Island Nature Park (for the fairy penguins), Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, Puffing Billy steam train in the Dandenongs or Sovereign Hill Goldrush town, I will leave for another day. I have instead, shared with you some of our family favourite destinations from around Victoria, together with a few gems we found together! 

Thank you for joining me on my Wander Victoria* April A to Z Challenge 
and for all the encouragement along the way, it means a lot. 
I will be back next week with the wrap-up

Sign off for now with a big ZZZZzzzzzz.

PS: * Wander Victoria is an initiative of our Victorian State Government to encourage us to explore the charms of regional Victoria. You can find out more on my previous post here.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Yea Valley - Upper Goulburn, Victoria

The chances are that if you're visiting Melbourne, you might take a day trip to the beautiful Yarra Valley, but have you been to the stunning Yea Valley?

It would be easy to miss the Yea Valley in Upper Goulburn and indeed we did not set off intending to stop for lunch at Sedona Estate, Murrindindi. But if ever there was a place was calling out to be appreciated by the passing tourist, it is this delightful pocket of Victoria.

Today I can't wait to show you what we found, 
it was one of the most magical moments of my April A to Z Challenge travels.

We're going to the Yea Valley - Yay!

Artisan gourmet platter, Sedona Estate
Just to set the scene Mr. Wren and I have set off Wandering Victoria* for a weekend in the King Valley. The criteria are simple. We needed somewhere we'd never been, and were in search of any towns en-route beginning with any letters of the alphabet needed for my remaining blog posts. I know totally random or what?! 

Luckily my supportive husband is happy to indulge my wanderlust if it means he gets to drive his new red car and it offers some potential for returning home with a bootful of wine. 

Except that, Murrindindi is no good as I have already included M is for Marysville....

Whoah - watch out this brand new car has never been off-piste before!
So it was just a pure 'let's have a look' whim that we decide to turn off from the Melba Highway, onto the dusty, dirt track of Shannons Road. As we drive past the cow paddocks and fields of large round hay bales, against the backdrop of lush, green rolling hills, we knew we were off to somewhere pretty special.

Imagine our delight when there is a pot of gold, or a vineyard with 'Open' sign, at the end of the drive. We have arrived at the impeccably maintained, Sedona Estate and are immediately intrigued by some of the fascinating sculptures on display.

Before long we are welcomed inside and are enjoying a wine tasting session with Winemaker Paul Evans, who appears to have just dropped everything to make us feel welcome. Mr Wren is in seventh heaven, they chatter away as if they have been mates for a long time - they speak the same language. 

Moi, who hardly knows her Shiraz from her Sangiovese, okay, okay, I have no clue, leaves them to it, and pops outside to enjoy the autumn sunshine and admire more of the scenery. Paul's son is riding his bicycle up and down and a Border Collie dog runs back and forth, I can't help thinking what an idyllic spot to bring up children. By the time, Paul's Mother stops and we share our English connections, we feel like we are amongst old friends.

Back inside the wine tasting is complete. Mr Wren is so impressed with the quality of these distinctive wines that we immediately sign up as Sedona Wine Club members. Which means we get to choose a case of wine to take home with us - Yay, Yea!

Over a delicious cheese platter lunch of local products we ponder and choose our first case of wine to take home. 

Let's get some Sangiovese, I say! 
I love the way 'the bouquet of cherry blossom, the palate with all the seduction of a young, high-quality pinot noir red cherries, sit in a silken web...

Ha! I nearly carry it off 
until I am caught reading from the James Halliday 5 star tasting notes.

Another car arrives, packed with those in the know, and our private wine-tasting luncheon at Sedona Estate is over. We leave with the wine bottles carefully loaded in the back of the car to be enjoyed on another day.

What a find, we can't wait for our next case, of course, they will deliver
but where's the fun in that? We'll be back!

Thank you for joining me on my Wander Victoria* April A to Z Challenge 
and for all the encouragement along the way, it means a lot. 
Last day tomorrow with Z!

PS: * Wander Victoria is an initiative of our Victorian State Government to encourage us to explore the charms of regional Victoria. You can find out more on my previous post here.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

X marks the GIVEAWAY spot!

There was a bit of a problem today with the plan to Wander Victoria* and bring you daily A to Z delights of my home state of Victoria, Australia.  

Yep, you guessed it... there are no XXXX'ing towns or cities starting with X in the State! We even struggle across the whole country, unless we decide to go to Xantippe in Western Australia and it was tempting just to see!

So today we are doing something different we (yes we're in this together) are three posts off completing what for me will be my biggest month of blogging ever! And to celebrate I'd like to offer a giveaway. 

Entry is simple - just leave your name and blog details below in the comments section or e-mail me at I am adding all of you who have already commented throughout April A to Z, one entry per comment, plus for those not on Google + and who have e-mailed me direct, you are included too, no worries!

And drumroll please here is what you will win...

Just to look at this is more detail, the giveaway does not include the orchid in the pot, that is just there to make the picture look pretty! You will get, posted where ever you live in the world... The blue wren fine bone china mug was bought on my travels for the April A to Z blogs. It was made in China ha ha but Can you guess where I bought it?  

Also, there was one place this month where we spotted some blue wrens who remembers where?! The final part of my giveaway is the eco bird feeder, the simple, elegant way of recycling unwanted food to attract the little birds into your garden.

This giveaway will remain open for comments until midnight Sunday Melbourne time.
Good Luck to you all!

Thank you to all of you who have joined me on this April A to Z Challenge 
and encouraged me along the way, it means a lot, 
you have really warmed my heart.

Linking with thanks to Jenny Matlock at Warm Heart Wednesday

PS: * Wander Victoria is an initiative of our Victorian State Government to encourage us to explore the charms of regional Victoria. You can find out more on my previous post here.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria

Shhhh... Let's get wordless!

It's backpacks ready, hiking boots on today, let's go explore!

Today's post is part of my April A to Z challenge Wandering Victoria!

However if you want to read more about what Daughter No 2 describes as 
her favourite place in Australia then please join me here 

Thanks to Sue at Wordless on Tuesday


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Venus Bay, Prom Country, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Looking for a good place to holiday? 
Look no further than VENUS BAY...

If you have just wandered in from the other side of the world
 I hope you'll enjoy visiting this spectacular Victorian small coastal resort.
If you have been with me throughout our April A to Z Wander Victoria* adventure, we are just across the bay from jet - skiing in Inverloch day!

We love Venus Bay

We very nearly bought a holiday house there a few years ago, before deciding on a closer location on the Mornington Peninsula, and being the unadventurous types, opting for a town on mains drainage! However for many, the pristine surf beaches make it worth going the extra mile. Venus Bay is a two-hour drive, being 170 km South East of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The town is on a narrow peninsula of land, so it offers the holiday maker the choice of the wild, open sea of Bass Strait, or the calm waters of Anderson Inlet.  

Being just that bit further than many of the other more popular South Gippsland holiday destinations it is less crowded. A greater distance than the favoured Melbourne escapes of Cape Paterson and Inverloch and well down the coast from Phillip Island, famous for its tiny fairy penguins and for when Miley Cyrus visits Liam Hemsworth's family. Venus Bay remains unspoilt and is certainly not 'wrecked' by tourists.

Having said that, this sleepy pretty town with a winter population of around 500, can surge into the thousands in January. Word has got out amongst anglers, surfers and families about what a great holiday can be had here... 

Well apart from the fisherman who posted the following comment:

'It's a great place to catch whiting and squid, but there is nothing there.
You can park your 4wd on the beach while you launch your boat. 
Great fishing, but as I said there is nothing else there...'

Number One beach - Venus Bay
Yep, that's exactly the point. If you love endless unspoilt beaches, and striking scenery then this is the place for you. The weather changes the landscape here. One minute you will find the rugged landscape and golden sands peaceful and relaxing, the next minute you will feel exhilarated by the squally, choppy waters! 

Whatever the weather, you will find delight in VB, as the locals call the place, at every turn. Well, except maybe not if you are a fisherman after a riotous party weekend. Or if retail therapy is on the agenda...

There are no flash shops here - in fact in agreement with our friend above, there is not much here at all, which is definitely part of the charm. Indeed, the nearest supermarket is 5 km away in Tarwin Lower.

Although, I must give a special shout out to the lovely gift shop hidden in the Venus Bay Caravan Park on the main drag. A couple of years ago I had bought some presents (jewellery, scarves, and general beachy gifts), all very reasonably priced. So I headed straight there on this visit and happily find the same helpful owner, and the shop still as attractive as I remembered! 

Did I tell you there is even WIFI Internet at the Venus Bay Caravan Park?! 
Great choice of superb surf beaches in an unspoilt setting
Erm, how did I get onto shopping, we are here for the beach...?! There  are no less than five surf beaches to choose from, which have the rather uninspiring names of Beach 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. But this is typical of Venus Bay, this place is not out to impress. Indeed, if you are in need of being impressed, the locals would say 'go elsewhere!'

However, as you will be holidaying you will be pleased to know the Venus Bay Surf Lifesaving Club located at the No. 1 Beach. This is the only patrolled beach, although during the busy summer period surf patrols regularly make their way up and down the beaches to just beyond No. 5 beach. The beach is exposed with strong rips and they call it 'high energy' which means dangerous, swim between the flags!

In keeping with the Beach 1, 2 etc. The town is split into three estates. The First Estate is where you'll find the few shops, situated on Jupiter Boulevard at the Centre Road junction. Here you can grab a decent coffee at the General Store, enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at the food outlets, grab some more WiFi at the Caravan Park and check out a number of speciality shops. 
Tarwin Lower - Venus Bay
It is appealing for families to have the option of the calm waters for swimming and fishing at Anderson Inlet, the state's longest sand spit which is rather like a large lake and ideal for boating and fishing. This large body of water extends all the way from Inverloch to the mouth of the Tarwin River at the small township of Tarwin Lower.

There is a certain old world charm to Venus Bay, which has been protected because it is that little bit further from Melbourne and because it doesn't offer all mod cons - you still need to take your rubbish to the tip before you leave. There is no refuse collection here. 

On arrival, your host will gently remind you, that water is from a tank and to be used sparingly. The locals reckon mains drainage is at least 30 years off. If they have their way it will stay like this. They know as soon as water, sewerage and weekly rubbish collections appear, so will more people!

Thanks to Brin Nadler for the Easter Bunny photo!
Arriving on a Friday night there is no better place to head than Cavity in the main street (no need to give you the address, you can't miss it!) Here we found Friday Paella, with a glass of bubbly was a cracking way to start the weekend. Us Townie's were impressed!!! The Friday night unwind here is a great mix of locals, holiday home owners and tourists just passing through. Everyone is welcome and there is a nice camaraderie and the locals are really friendly. 

Venus Bay is central to many natural attractions in the South Gippsland area, including Wilsons Promontory National Park, (We will be heading there tomorrow for W is for  you guessed it Wilsons Prom!) which is just under an hour's drive east. The coastline from Venus Bay to Cape Liptrap offers visitors the chance to see an old lighthouse and native Australian plants and wildlife. If you like bushwalking you'll be busy!

Tarwin Lower – Venus Bay
A favourite activity for holidaymakers is scenic and easy bike ride (or walk) between the two towns of Venus Bay and Tarwin Lower that follows the banks of the Tarwin River on a gently undulating shared pathway.

Distance: 5km one way
Track: Generally smooth dirt or gravel track
Grade: Level 1 – No experience required, suitable for beginners and children
Start: Long Table,Tarwin Lower
Finish: Town centre, Venus Bay

Sunset - Beach Number 1 - Venus Bay
So if you are after a holiday retreat where you are at one with nature, 
with bush walking, fishing, and swimming, and surfing,
where kangaroos lollop around the streets in the Third Estate, 
with fabulous 20km's of beaches
and everything from 
'nothing to do' and everything to see,
 then check out Venus Bay. 
See you there... 
but don't tell too many people!

Thank you for joining me as part of my Wander Victoria* April A to Z challenge.
I appreciate your visits!
PS: * Wander Victoria is an initiative of our Victorian State Government to encourage us to explore the charms of regional Victoria. You can find out more on my previous post here
This post has been updated and republished from an earlier Little Wandering Wren post

I am linking this post to :
Our World Tuesday

Thank you to all the hosts.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Ukamirra ... At the going down of the sun.

Ukamirra is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning sunset.
Today is Anzac Day

Anzac Day billboard in front of Flinders Street Station, Melbourne
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served."
Lest we forget
Today Victoria Remembers. 
In most ceremonies of remembrance across our nation 
there is a reading of the Ode Poem:
'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them'
For the Fallen: Laurence Binyon

Thank you for joining me on my April A to Z Challenge
U is for Ukamirra

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Torquay, Great Ocean Road

Hello and Happy Anzac Day long weekend. As Monday is a holiday for us here in Victoria, we are off - yes you guessed it - to the beach! Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with my mammoth April A to Z blogging adventure Wandering Victoria*. I am attempting to post every day, except Sunday and so far so good. I really appreciate all of you who have been with me for the ride all along!

Today I'm taking you to the surfing capital of Australia, home of the world famous Bells Beach and the official start of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay. I forgot to mention there is a dress code for today. Oops sorry, you need to be in your board shorts, you're going to look at tad out of place wearing anything else. You see boardies were invented here!

Aren't you lucky I've suggested Torquay and not Boobs or Winkipop to visit today?
So we have been in a Mini, on a bus visiting Spa country, on jet skis in Gippsland, on a surfboard on the Mornington Peninsula, in a limo, on a bicycle in King Valley, on the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry but I think it's time to pick up the adventure, so how do you fancy the extreme sport of kiteboarding in Torquay? This is, after all, virtual travel at it's best.

Say yes and you will soon be flying through the air harnessing the power of the wind which will propel us across the water, above us is a large kite, strapped to our feet a small surfboard. 

Doesn't that sound like something everyone should try at least once in their lives?

Torquay has a great sandy beach to launch ourselves from and Danger Point, saying that quickly in case any of you wimp out at the name, will give us some flat water near the point and some decent waves rolling for us to have quite a ride. 

So it's back into those wetsuits, I'm afraid!

Danger Point is a fantastic spot to watch all the actions of the kiteboarders and we were absolutely transfixed by the height and the speed of the riders. I think we will soon be able to do some tricks and ariels, maybe not on purpose, but let's see how we do. 

You are going to love this, the wind in your hair, the exhilaration, being able to recount the story of the day you were at Torquay in full flight over the waves, mastering your board grabs, doing a 'Indy', or a 'Stalefish', the 'slob', or a 'Nuke.' 

Woo Hoo just look at you go!

You know it's a good time to learn the sport, as they are hoping it will soon be represented at the Olympics, maybe even nudging out windsurfing.... I mean how boring is Windsurfing, why travel on the water when you could fly above it? Look at us, if we all do well enough we could all be representing our various countries at the 2020 Olympics - Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Before I go, I want to share with you a couple of Aussie critter photos, which were taken at Lorne, further down the Great Ocean Rd. Don't you just love this Kookaburra playing king of the castle.

Or what about the parrots enjoying brunch, would needs bird food when you can have a feast like this! Thank you, Marina, for the photos.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos normally eat seeds, but are happy with richer picking too!

Thank you for joining me as part of my Wander Victoria* April A to Z challenge.
I appreciate your visits!
PS: * Wander Victoria is an initiative of our Victorian State Government to encourage us to explore the charms of regional Victoria. You can find out more on my previous post here

Sharing with the following :

Saturday's Critters - thanks Eileen
Blue Monday - thanks Jeanne