I haven't blogged at length about the fun weekend that was the weekend away of awesome....
So here it is in a nutshell:
Friday: Get crap together and get in the car!
In the car, driving, Chris says "look in the glove box" and I do, and I find out the details of the plans she has made for the weekend. I'm going to the Grampians. A place I haven't been to since I was about 16, and a place that I still go on about as one of my favourite places.
Chris does all the driving up, we have a wonderful time, I get to admire the scenery. We stop for lunch at The Vines in Arrarat (eat here if you're in Arrarat, it's amazing and surprising at the same time!). Afterwards we stocked up in Arrarat (closest , and discovered that Aldi now shares wheelchairs....
We proceed to this little idyllic little nook tucked away in Pomonal at the foot of the Grampians:http://www.borokadowns.com.au/
The website is an accurate description of what you get there. It is opulent, highly civilised, luxurious, close to nature and miles from anywhere all at the same time. An amazing, private retreat with a comfy bed, wood fire, spa bath and lots of yum!. At the same time the property is a wildlife sanctuary. Plenty of birds, a mob of roos (or two) and a mob of emus (collective nouns are correct!).
We enjoyed the facilities immensely, spa bath every night, fire going and movies for after dark. It was cosy, and at the same time in the middle of rolling green hills at one side, and sheer granite rockfaces on the other.
There was a plan for minigolf, but we didn't end up going due to rain. Instead we had a spa bath with champagne and chocolates on the first night! Magical. Magical....
After a good nights sleep, we went to Seppelt Great Western to see a unique bit of cellaring. The winery has been built in a gold rush town. The gold rush apparently lasted about 5 seconds. The winery thought "lets use the out of work miners to get them to dig us some underground cellars", and so the winery has about 3 km (I think that was the figure) of tunnels about 15m under ground in the winery. http://www.seppelt.com.au/vineyards/greatwesternwinery.html
. Turns out they do weddings at the winery, and underground dinner functions as part of the touristy stuff they do. There are also some spots down there where a few public notables have a private collection stored down there. We had a tasting at the end of it all, bought a few bottles and then drove back towards the grampians.
Lunch was at the Brambuk Cultural centre http://www.brambuk.com.au/
for a look-in and lunch. We had the bush foods tasting platter and liked it so much we bought a stack of sauces and condiments by "outback Kitchen".
Next stop: The Gap winery in Halls Gap where we were treated to a cheese platter and we chilled with a glass of very good desert reisling! The lady at the cellar door there was super friendly, very knowledgeable and gladly sold us some wine! It was lovely. Rain was intermittent while we sat inside and supped on fine dainty dishes.
We went home and got dressed up for my birthday dinner at The Quarry in Halls Gap. It was very nice! I had a pile 'o' meat, and a slice of cheesecake! We were highly classy individuals.
Then we went home and had (you guessed it) a spa!!!! And then sleep.
The next day was our last full day up there, so we went to the zoo! Decked out with a picnic hamper and a desire to see aminals (as Chris called them) we tropped off down the road to the Halls Gap Zoo where we saw many things. Highlights inclduing: monkeys, psychotic (or speed-addict) marsupials in the nocturnal exhibit, kangaroos that were tame enough to feed, deer, wombats!!!! and tiny horses.
We ate our picnic (good lord there was a lot of it!). And turned home, going via a small lavender farm nearby (we bought condiments), and an olive patch that was also nearby and sold olive oils - which we also purchased (I think we helped sustain the local economy while we were there).
Then we went home, watched 2 movies, drank a bunch of the wine and went to bed! We forgot the spa because we were a bit tipsy....
We woke at a ridiculous hour that night and observed that the sky was clear! So we got a glimpse of the heavens in the country, and it was amazing.
On our last day (Monday) we arose, and finally got our chance to go play mini-golf on the way home. So we tidied and packed, bid a fond farewell to Baroka Downs (it was a lovely way to spend a weekend - really it rocked. Worth every penny. To Chris. She shouted me the whole weekend).
Mini-golf was fun! There were 2 important issues with it though:
The course was confusing - we skipped 2 holes by mistake, but went back to play them without any problem...
The course was slippery - Chris fell down 3 times.
The second issue was more of an issue than the first...
So we survived mini golf!
And then went home, via Dunkeld and ate at the Royal Mail Hotel. Brilliant dining! Really really wonderful. Pigeon Pie! I hate pigeons, so I'm glad I got to eat a few of them.
And then it was onwards to Melbourne via Ballarat.
We got home, greeted the kittens (thanks Penelope for seeing to them!), and was relaxed, revitalised and spoiled rotten.
I was speaking to dad about it later on and his first question when he found out it was the grampians was 'did you go rock climbing?'
I coyly answered 'it wasn't that kind of holiday dad....'