The last full day of our vacation (we are on the plane back to Europe tomorrow evening) and we decided to take a lazy tour of the Yarra Valley except that…the tour company didn’t turn up. Very annoying but as we were going to be paying for it we now effectively had some free money (not really but you know what I mean ;-)).
Before talking about the day’s events I want to just mention a couple of things we’ve really noticed since we’ve been here. Firstly, Australians are a lot fatter than I remembered. When I checked the press it seems that obesity is increasing at the fastest rate anywhere in the world. You can observe this in every foot court across the country. In contrast, all the adverts for fast food on Australian television feature thin people (which of course they would). But now that Australia has taken such a hard line on tobacco perhaps now it’s time to take a harder line on food and food education. The second notable thing is how many people have tattoos and particularly young women. Is it really such a great idea? I suspect one of the fastest growing industries in years to come will be tattoo removal!
So first trip on our tour was over to Healsville Animal Sanctuary. I am a bit ambivalent generally about animals in captivity, however in this case most of the animals would not have survived had they not been rescued for the sanctuary. In addition, the layout is good so it feels like the animals are in quite a natural environment. Above all this is a good opportunity to get close to a variety of native Australian wildlife in a very short space of time.
Having spent a couple for hours in the sanctuary we headed over to Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company for lunch and a sampling of their beers. A good lunch and excellent beer although on a sunny day I think there are better options for enjoying outside eating in the Yarra valley. The beers are excellent (and they do a sampling paddle of six of their beers for $8) although the Russian Imperial Stout at 10.5% was a bit too rich for my blood!
What follows lunch? Dessert of course! So we drove the couple of km over to the Chocolaterie. I am not a big fan of chocolate although this place has an excellent range of chocolates in various shapes and sizes and in numerous interesting flavor combinations (its free to get in and there is free chocolate to taste). If you are a fan of chocolate then this is the place for you. Of course my wife wanted to stop in their café for some cake (see photo) which I imagine had about two days’ worth of calories in it!
Since we were rounding off the meal we popped over to the Yarra Valley Dairy which is more my cup of tea. They have a range of mostly soft cheeses as well as various other gourmet produce as wallet melting prices! We bought a small tub of soft cheese with garlic and chili which I’ll report on in tomorrow’s blog.
Those were the highlights of our trip. The good thing about the Yarra valley is that everything is close together so you do not have to spend a lot of time between the different outlets. Would like to come back here for a wine tour in the future.