Albury Railway Station

Our Albury Airbnb host recommended we visit the Albury Railway Station before leaving the area.

The heritage-listed station, built 1880-1, is well-known for the length of its platform. As the terminus for trains at the NSW/ Vic border, the length of the platform is due to incompatible track/ train designs between the two Australian states, wherein commuters were required to transfer trains at the station.

Still in use, the station’s historic design makes you feel as though you are boarding a train through time.

Complete with waiting rooms, the station is truly stunning. The inclusion of a modern TV screen, an anachronism that blends the past with the now.

Here’s an interesting read: A newspaper article on the opening of the station, published on the 5th February 1881.

Looking for things to do around Albury-Wodonga? View Days 2-3 of my itinerary here for ideas!

Photo credit: Pictures not taken by me were taken by Synchronous Photography & Editing

Hanging Rock

You may or may not have heard the mysterious story of Miranda, Edith, Irma, Marion and Miss McCraw and want to explore the haunted scenes from the novel and movie for yourself…

Or, perhaps, you want to explore Ngannelong, a place of Indigenous spiritual significance as a border territory and meeting place between different tribes for their Corrobborees, Initiation Ceremonies, Songline Ceremonies, trade, relationship building, and a place where laws were passed…

Or, even, to just admire the beautiful landscape and the unique mamelon volcanic rocks formed by about six million years ago by a stiff magma pouring from a geologic vent and congealing in its place, creating that jutty appearance the rocks are famous for…

Whatever your reason, Hanging Rock is one of the most beautiful landscapes Australia has to offer and, conveniently located only an hour away from Melbourne, it is a must-see in Victoria!

Because we arrived at about 4:15pm, with the park closing at 5pm, our walk felt incredibly rushed. I would definitely recommend leaving a few hours to garner the full experience from Hanging Rock! The return walk to the summit takes about an hour, but there is also the Base Walk, a small museum, and a cafe.

The view of rural Victoria and the Macedon ranges from the summit of Hanging Rock is truly breathtaking, while the Base Walk offers an easier but no-less-enjoyable circuit around the mountain. What’s more is that certain points of interest on the track are marked for full enjoyment. There is a brochure with a detailed map available to pick up from the Visitor’s Centre.

Summit Walk

The maximum elevation at hanging rock is 718m, to be explored in a 1.8km return trip that, as aforementioned, takes about 50 minutes to complete. The path forks as you near the top and there are two options for how you complete the track: a more gradual climb up to the summit (if you veer left) or stairs (to the right). The Hanging Rock itself is located on the track with the stairs, so if you are keen to see this but unsure how you will cope with the slope, take the stairs on your way back.

There are 10 points of interest, starting with 1. The Visitor’s Centre, a small museum (so to speak) explaining the rock formation and depicting the fictitious history of Hanging Rock.

2. The Forest. Admire the natural beauty of the national park along your walk.

3. Edge of the Rock. The track splits here and, if you are on the summit walk, this is where you begin to walk along the edge of the cliff face.

4. Hanging Rock. The ‘hanging rock’ itself, for which the park is named, as well as the title of the original novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.

5. Natural Amphitheatre. Here, I sat on one of the rocks as if I were in back row of an amphitheatre watching nature as a play. This spot is imaginatively named.

6. Check Out the Views. This is the point where you think you’re finally at the top, but you’re not… There’s some room to explore (sort of off-track) if you take a right here. The path to the summit continues on the left.

(I love how I look semi-aesthetic in this image when in reality I was dying from running up the mountain!)

7. The Top! You’ve finally reached the top. Take in a deep breath- you’ve earned it!

8. Views of Mount Macedon. Hanging Rock is located on one of the mountains of the Mount Macedon ranges, which were (re)named by explorer Major Thomas Michell after Phillip of Macedon since he was able to see Port Phillip from the summit of Mt Macedon. At the 8th point of interest, you are able to view Mt Macedon, which rises to an impressive 1010 meters above sea-level.

9. Rock Pillar. Pillars of rock overhang the cliffs. They look like they have faces making it easy to see how the site may be sacred.

10. Wildlife. Glimpse popular wildlife like grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and hundreds of species of birds.

Base Walk

The Base Walking Track takes you in a clockwise direction around the base of the formation.  It is a wide, easy path, with some undulations, that enables you to experience to beauty of the park with ease.  The 2km track is clearly signposted with arrows. This track is perfect for the eldery, those with children, and those who want an easier walk.

Post-scriptum

The summit walk isn’t appropriate for young kids as there are no barriers on the cliffs. The base walk is, however, just as beautiful as the summit walk and completely safe for children.

Dogs are permitted on leash in the picnic areas but not on the walking track due to the presence of native animals.

The entry fee is $10 per car or $4 for pedestrians. There is a ticket machine just outside the cafe. You produce the ticket when you exit the park.

The park strictly closes at 5pm. If you’re late, your car (and you) will be locked in! Beware that with the creepy history of this forest, you’re in for a haunted night should you be locked in!

The North Gate is closed. However, if you do drive over to the North Gate it is possible to see kangaroo’s up close (or are they wallabies? I can never tell the difference!…)

Looking for things to do near Hanging Rock? View Day 3 of my itinerary here for ideas!

Photo credit: Pictures taken by Synchronous Photography & Editing

Featured image credit: Scene from film Picnic at Hanging Rock with credit to BBC and Fremantle Media.

Lazerpig, Melbourne

Lazerpig is located in Collingwood and in a great area to go bar-hopping if that’s your desire.

We went to Lazerpig for dinner in-between Parts I and II of the Cursed Child at the nearby Princes Theatre.

We nearly gave Lazerpig a miss due to some bad reviews online, however since Lazerpig was recommended by a friend, we decided to give it a risk. And we did not regret this decision.

We arrived just before 5pm, so their restaurant wasn’t actually open when we got there. However, we were able to order food, so we sat in the bar area to eat and drink.

Atmosphere

It wasn’t busy but it was only off-peak.

Music was at a good volume.

Beautiful, dim lighting. Really made the bar look alive.

5/5.

Drinks

I bought and drank the Rhubarb Pie Cocktail while I waited for my food. The drink comprised of sfumato rabarbaro, sazerac rye bourbon. jameson, tasmanian leatherwood honey, lemon, cassia bark, and came with a strawberry garnish. I was shocked at how similar it tasted like Rhubarb Pie. It was also warm, so made for a great drink on a cold winter evening.

I could really see that a lot of love had gone into making my cocktail. 5/5.

Food

My Ronny J pizza came quickly, coming only after about ten minutes. Some reviews we read said the food took up to an hour to come out, so perhaps we got lucky since we went to Lazerpig at an off-peak time.

I expected my pizza to be hot from the jalepenos but I could barely taste them (I mean you know it’s not hot if Luke can tolerate it because he’s weak af for hot foods). On the other hand, the honey gave a lovely undertone to my pizza that I really enjoyed… It was tasteful in such a way that the honey was subtle yet added a unique twist to the pizza.

Though unique, my pizza could have been a little more flavoursome. 4/5.

Ammenities

It was a bit of a maze to find the toilets but they were clean.

3/5.

Overall

I had a great experience at the Lazerpig. I loved their drinks, they definitely had some unique food, their music was good, and the design was great.

I’d love to return!

8.5/10.

Check out Days 3-5 of my itinerary here to view other things to do in and near Melbourne!

Accommodation in Lake Bunga

We stayed at Lake Bunga in Lakes Entrance as it was halfway between Walhalla and Jervis Bay, so a good resting place for us. My understanding is that Lakes Entrance isn’t a massive tourist destination but there are some lovely views of lakes, beaches to visit, and a quick Google search shows that it does have some noteworthy activities. We didn’t spend any time doing activities here – For us, Lakes Entrance was just a stop over.

We chose Alan’s Airbnb for affordability. We saw on his listing that his house had a lovely view of Lake Bunga and this was enough to excite us. However, we found Alan’s Airbnb to be much better than expected. He really went above and beyond with his effort in making sure we left satisfied and had the best possible trip. One thing I loved is that Alan responded to my messages quickly; giving me a much-appreciated tip-off about the best place to stop for fuel and warning me that most eateries would be closed by the time we arrived. He also added to our itinerary by giving us a tourist pamphlet and circling some scenic places to stop, great places to eat, etc. We actually did take his advice too, stopping in Eden at the lookout where we saw a seal flipper sticking out of the ocean and grabbing lunch from Longstocking Brewery in Pambula where we unexpectedly had a lot of fun with their attached petting zoo.

We had a great chat with Alan about his travels as well. He is a retired teacher, who spent the latter years of his career working in international schools around Asia. As such, his home is decorated with Asian artefacts and art pieces. We found this a real treat as both Luke and I come from caucasian backgrounds and haven’t been exposed to much Asian art, so it was quite culturally enhancing for us.

We would definitely recommend staying with Alan if you’re travelling through the Lakes Entrance area. He really goes above and beyond to help you make the most of your travels and he is great to converse with.

Book your Airbnb accommodation here and receive $55 AUD off your booking! If you want to stay with Alan, search ‘Lake Bunga’ and then select the listing ‘Quiet Lake Bunga Home with a View’.

Click my itinerary here to view ‘must see’ stops on your way to Lakes Entrance.

Photo credit: Pictures not taken by me were taken by Synchronous Photography & Editing

Accommodation near Walhalla

The closest accommodation to Walhalla we found at a decent price was Sue’s Bella Cottage in Darnum. A mere half an hour away, the road into Walhalla from Darnum is a beautiful, winding, rainforest drive.

Bella Cottage is situated on Sue’s farm and overlooks a valley. Quaint and rustic, the cottage itself, a standalone structure, looks as though it has been reconstructed from an old barn. It is not only a magnificent building, but it has a magnificent view. We missed sunset the night prior, but oh, boy was sunrise truly stunning.

We were most impressed by how much food Sue had thoughtfully left us in the fridge and fruit-bowl, as well as the array of face masks, soaps, and other products in the bathroom. We felt we definitely had received some bang for our buck, and we managed to use some of the food in the fridge for dinner and breakfast, with plenty left over.

As for the farm life, we didn’t get to participate in anything spectacular such as milking cows or collecting chicken eggs, but we did get to experience a night on a farm. With the cow paddock and dog barn right next to our cottage, we had a great time patting the animals (unbeknownst to Sue and family). Luke particularly loved Milly the cow, who would come up to him whenever he were nearby. We even experienced the wake up call of a rooster at sunrise!

The interior of the cottage is homely, with a cosy fireplace as the centrepiece in the main room. The bed was made neatly and colour-coordinated well with the carpet rugs. We also loved some of the minor decorations, such as farm-themed artworks (one of which was an aerial view of the farm itself), Australian books, and more!

In her description, Sue states that there is a river that runs behind the cottage which is nice to sit by and fish from. We didn’t take advantage of this while we were there but it would be a nice addition worth seeing if you stay there.

Sue herself was very friendly and incredibly understanding when I told her I thought I’d damaged something (whoops!). I felt incredibly at ease and safe staying in Sue’s cottage and I would definitely come back here!!

Book your Airbnb accommodation here and receive $55 AUD off your booking! If you want to stay with Sue, search ‘Darnum, Vic’ and then select Bella Cottage.

Looking for things to do in Walhalla? View Day 7 of my itinerary here for ideas!

Photo credit: Pictures not taken by me were taken by Synchronous Photography & Editing

Accommodation near Phillip Island

Phillip Island is a gorgeous Australian ‘must-see’ just under two hours south from Melbourne. The island is known for its nightly penguin parade, seal colonies, and motorbike GP circuit, among other things.

We stayed at an Airbnb in Bass, just ten minutes from Phillip Island. Our hosts Ross and Tracey were outgoing, altruistic, and artistic; with these characteristics making our stay truly unique.

When we first entered the unit, we found a personalised note for us with a couple of chocolates. This made us feel very welcomed and really set the mood for our stay.

One of the small, yet very homely, ways that Ross and Tracey have made this place special is through the small pile of board games and books in the living room. This is perfect if you’re looking to kick-back and relax, and bond with your travel companion.

Ross and Tracey also run a café, Paul’s Table, adjacent to their Airbnb unit, out of their own home. They are all about community and hope to unite their customers in conversation. They achieve this by providing a single table that customers can sit around and talk, breaking the cycle that technology and the modern fast-paced society have created. To further illustrate that their café is focused on bringing people together rather than making money, everything on their menu is only $2.50.

Their café is decorated by beautiful Australian-themed artworks, painted by Ross himself. These add a sense of patriotism whilst giving a nod to the country roots of the café, adding homeliness to the space and giving it a touch that makes it stand out from other, everyday, city cafés.

(Fun fact: Paul’s Table Café was converted from an old police station to the modern and artistic building it is now!)

Unfortunately, the café is only open a few days a week (as pictured below), with the reason behind their limited trading hours being because Ross and Tracey work closely helping local people with disabilities on the days the café isn’t open. We were told they were helping one individual to exhibit his photography skills, and we had the good fortune of meeting another, who was learning how to make drinks and made us an excellent-quality cappuccino and hot chocolate.

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Ross and Tracey went above and beyond by offering us tea/coffee from their café when we arrived and a massive breakfast the next morning consisting of scones, jam and cream, fruit toast and butter, and muesli with yoghurt. It really reflected in its taste that our breakfast had been lovingly and delicately homemade by them rather than bought from a shop…and we loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, we would say that our stay with Ross and Tracey exceeded expectations. Our Airbnb was truly remarkable, unique, and we were astonished at how kind-hearted and warm the couple was. We won’t be likely to forget our stay here soon and we hope to return some time in the future!

Book your Airbnb accommodation here and receive $55 AUD off your booking! If you want to stay with Ross and Tracey, simply type “Bass, Australia” into the search field and select ‘Bass River Country Stay’.

Looking for activities near Phillip Island? View Day 5 and Day 6 of my itinerary here for ideas!

Photo credit: Synchronous Photography & Editing