Day 1 – Tuesday – Warburton (on the way to Noojee!)
- We left home around 10am and headed towards Warburton in the Upper Yarra Valley, where we had lunch at the Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar… it was absolutely delicious while watching the river flow by! We walked around this lovely little village checking out the local retail shops. We then headed back towards Yarra Junction where we turned off towards our destination – Noojee. This is the ‘rainforest’ way to Noojee and it is an amazing feast for your senses…. visually so many trees, the smell of oxygen & lots of it, while listening to the bird song!
- We arrived at Rosemont House Luxury B&B (our home away from home for the next 3 nights) around 4pm, where we were met on the verandah by Di, the owner. She settled us into our newly renovated room & gave us a run down of the room & the area. She popped away & came back with a freshly brewed pot of coffee & some very delicious chocolate, salted caramel biscuits which we enjoyed sitting on the verandah overlooking the Noojee bush.
- We headed out after coffee for a quick walk to the Noojee Trestle bridge, an easy 15min walk from the back fence of Rosemont House. This amazing structure spans 102 metres, is 21 metres high, and is supported by 19 sets of piles. It was once part of the railway that ran to Warragul for the logging industry, today it’s just for tourists to enjoy. As we are here on a Tuesday we had the bridge all to ourselves. On the way back we wandered around the Noojee township along the river and back to Rosemont House.
- After some much needed downtime (and maybe a nanny nap!) we headed out for dinner to the Noojee Pub – a 5 minute walk from Rosemont House. The specials board was our go to and we enjoyed some fabulous local Noojee trout for dinner. Our food came out quickly and it was delicious.
Day 2 – Wednesday – Noojee & Mt Baw Baw
- We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast – a scrumptious breakfast basket delivered to our door at the time we requested (9am!). Super spoilt especially since it was a Wednesday morning!
- We headed out around 10.30am to do the circuit walk of the Toorongo & Amphitheatre Waterfalls Walk located a 15min drive from Rosemont House. The walk usually takes around an hour to complete but it took us longer as we stopped to take in all that nature had to offer here & to take some amazing photos! There are two waterfalls to see and the walk is a little steep in parts but it is mostly an easy graded walk. We only encountered another couple on the walk, it was so pleasant to really enjoy the sights & sounds of the bush without having to juggle the track with other tourists.
- From Toorongo we headed up to Mt Baw Baw. This drive took around an hour & is was very windy for the most part but it took us through some stunning bush & pretty little towns with no traffic at all. The last 15min of the drive was very steep as we made our way up to the Mt Baw Baw Village. We stopped & had coffee & cake at the restaurant (still a little full from breakfast!) feeling like we were on top of the world, the view was spectacular!
- We got back to Rosemont House around 4pm just in time for some more downtime – I read my book on the verandah while the other half popped on the bed & watched a Netflix movie. Something we never really get to do at home!
- This night we took advantage of Rosemont House’s plentiful, scrumptious, locally sourced cheese platter. It’s was nice not to have to go out after a busy day walking & exploring in the area.
Day 3 – Thursday – Noojee & Jindivick
- We went to the Little Red Duck Cafe (a minute walk from Rosemont House) for breakfast. The service was quick & there were only a handful of other diners (from what we could tell mostly locals stopping in for a chat & a coffee!).
- We had trouble deciding what to do today. Some more walks in and around Noojee or to head out further afield? In the end we decided to head to Jindivick, a 30min drive away where we spent 4, lovely hours visiting the Red Tree Gallery & Sculpture Garden and the fabulous gardens at Broughton Hall. Broughton Hall, with the backdrop of the Tarago Reservoir, is a terraced garden of 4 acres cascading down a slope towards the water with an amazing variety of plants which fill the banks with dramatic foliage including the formal rose beds. And while you’re here don’t miss the rare plant nursery & the man cave! While at the Red Tree Gallery & Sculpture Garden we found was full of interesting art & sculptures. This home to the artist, Laurie Collins who is fabulous to have a chat with & full of knowledge about the area.
- This night we decided to really treat ourselves & head to Hogget Kitchen Restaurant in Warragul, a 40min drive away. This is a hatted restaurant & it did not disappoint with the freshest local Gippsland produce on offer & it has a ‘top to tail’ approach to meat. We went for the ‘Trev Cooks For You’ option and the meal was absolutely exquisite with so much attention to detail it was clear to see a lot of ‘love’ goes into the food here.
Day 4 – Friday – Loch Village (homeward bound from Noojee!)
- Saturday morning we, once again, took advantage of Rosemont House’s fabulous breakfast basket. Before packing up & checking out at 11am.
- This morning we took the ‘rolling hills of England’ drive to Neerim South and then onto the village of Loch (an hour’s scenic drive through the hills from Noojee & Drouin). This village is truly a delight and we spent a few hours mooching around all the fabulous shops here. We really loved that each business was quite different, boutique, servicing a niche market! We particularly loved the upcycled men’s shirts (into beautiful women’s fashion) at Small Forest (me!), the fabulous Loch Distillery (himself!) & the jammed packed antiques at Carrington’s of Loch (both of us!). We stopped for lunch at the Olive at Loch, which (of course) did not disappoint just before turning towards home.
- We pulled into the driveway at around 4pm after a fabulous 3 night midweek break away in Noojee & Gippsland feeling like we had indeed been able to escape for a few days, connect with each other, relax & discover some new destinations so close to Melbourne. It truly felt like we had been away for a week!
Recently, I was lucky enough to enjoy a wine tour with Sharon from Into the Country Tours. What a fabulous day it was! If you are looking for something just a little bit different to do when coming to Noojee….. join one of Sharon’s wine tours from Into the Country Tours. They depart from Warragul or Drouin – I’ll drop you & pick you up too.
These are fabulously good fun. You visit off the beaten track, boutique (so not many know about them!) wineries & breweries located in West Gippsland, and there is a special 60’s diner that is not open to the public that is a real treat!
On the day I went, I joined a group of parents who all had a six year old, one couple with 2! – they had formed a friendship as a mothers group and they were the most welcoming and inclusive group I could have wished to be a part of for the day.
We all met in the carpark at Warragul train station at 10.30am (Sharon will also pick up from Drouin) – this is the carpark where the busses park (over the bridge) just to be clear as there are several car parks at the Warragul station!
Swampfox Winery Estate
We headed off at 11am with our first stop at Swampfox Winery Estate which is located just out of Drouin (15min drive) near Catani. It was an absolute delight to visit this boutique winery. The winemaker Bob & his wife Shirley (who have very Australian sounding names but are Italian through & through!) were very warm and personable and they made our visit to their gorgeous little winery feel like a big warm hug! At Swampfox, they have an array of cool climate wines of both white & red – but beware Bob really likes people to enjoy his wine & can be liberal with his tastings! Swampfox Winery Estate is only open on Sundays.
Howler Brewing Company
After Swampfox it was time to head to Howler Brewing Company in Lang Lang. This business is located in an old bank building & while the outside of the property is very unassuming the inside is a clever mixture of 70’s laminex tables, fabulous artwork (the creature on the wall as you walk in is amazing and is a depiction of a swamp animal located in the area) and great beer, cider & food. This place is VERY popular so don’t make the mistake of turning up without a booking because you will be disappointed. They are open Thursday to Sunday.
Gippsland Wine Company Cellar Door
We were on the road again after The Howler Brewing Company towards Gippsland Wine Company Cellar Door. This is a fabulous place to spend some time on the way to or from Noojee. Located near the village of Loch it is certainly a little gem of a winery. You will find your hosts Mark & Jane very personable & brimming with knowledge about wine (although nowhere near pretentious, Mark owns up to drinking wine from Aldi!). Cooked food is not on offer BUT they have a fabulous array of local produce that you can pick & choose from to create your very own picnic to enjoy while sipping on their wine or beer. The location is magic – you don’t sit looking over vines but nearly right in the vineyard amongst the vines, it is truly unique. They are open Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
A Very Special Garden & Diner in Drouin
We were off again after the Gippsland Wine Company Cellar Door back to Drouin (this is where people tend to nod off after consuming great food & wine!) where Sharon springs an amazing surprise on the group – a very special garden & 1960’s inspired Diner. This is the ONLY way to see this space; it is not open to the public. We spend some time wandering & enjoying the very well organised, inspiring garden like no other I have ever seen. It was time for afternoon tea in the Diner. This is an absolute feast for your eyes with every nook & cranny filled with memorabilia. Lorraine & John are the hosts here and they really love what they do!
While this is what we did on the day I did the tour, there is usually a stop at Baw Baw Cellar Door in Warragul (which is also a fabulous cellar door located down the same driveway as Hoggets Kitchen). Kim is the host at Baw Baw Cellar Door and make sure to ask her about her champagne opening skills with a very large knife!
So if you want a great day out by yourself or with a group then Into the Country Tours could be just what you need. Oh and there is more than just wine tours on offer!
I recently had dinner at the Hogget Kitchen Restaurant in Warragul to celebrate one year of living in Noojee & what an absolute treat it was! Located a 40 minute drive from Noojee this is well worth a visit if you are staying anywhere in the local area. We are so lucky to have this amazing restaurant located in Baw Baw Shire.
The food was amazing & I particularly loved the simplicity of it all. The menu is not overly complicated with masses of choices but what is on offer is of the highest quality and beautifully presented for every course.
There are basically two main menu choices – $80 per person & have Trev (the owner & head chef) cook for you which includes 5 courses of yumminess, so no food envy as Trev decides on what you are going to eat (this is what we had & it was amazing)! Or $70 per person & you choose three courses from a small list of local offerings. It is very easy to tell there is a lot of love put into the food at Hogget Kitchen – it is ultra fresh, seasonal, full of locally grown ingredients with amazing attention to detail with every dish delivered to your table.
There is a simple philosophy about food at Hogget Kitchen which means the ingredients should be allowed to ‘speak’ for themselves. They use a nose to tail approach when it comes to all the meat they prepare and they do all the carving and butchering themselves in-house – ensuring the best possible cuts of meat with the least wastage. All the pickling, bottling, charcuterie, smoking, brining and more is also done by hand in-house – skills they are passing on to the staff to ensure these techniques for future generations of chefs.
As you can imagine bookings are a must & don’t delay as they are more often than not booked out!
What a treat it is to have Brandy Creek Estate just up the road from Noojee in Drouin East. We headed there for dinner recently and in one word it was fantastic!
The restaurant is situated above the vineyard and has views of the Baw Baw ranges across an olive grove. It is the perfect place to enjoy a meal and have delicious wine, in a relaxing atmosphere. The floor to ceiling glass windows brings in an abundance of natural light and the eye-catching Spanish themed decor makes it even more appealing. You can also sit by the fireplace, on cold days, while sipping on some of the famous Brandy Creek cool climate wines.
Brandy Creek Restaurant is known for Tapas, Paella Feasts and Brazilian Churrasco BBQs. The restaurant hosts a Paella Feast with live entertainment where they cook giant paella’s right in front of you! You can also enjoy a mouth-watering Brazilian flame grilled Churrasco BBQ every Friday at Brandy Creek Estate restaurant.
We had tapas and each dish was delicious and perfectly cooked. We were party of 3 and ordered 4 small dishes plus 2 large dishes which was the perfect amount of food for us. I was impressed with how the staff handled themselves particularly when there was some confusion over a dish which they fixed very quickly and without any fuss. We certainly thought the restaurant achieved great food, service and value for money the night we were there. It was fabulous!
I am yet to try out the Brandy Creek Day Spa but how awesome it is to have this escape for mind and body located just next door to the cellar door and restaurant. For the ultimate indulgence why not go for lunch & have a relaxing massage or facial before or after dining, the choice is yours!
I always describe Walhalla as storybook gorgeous, and just like a movie set! It has to be one of THE most picturesque villages in Australia. Located just north of Moe & Traralgon it is nestled in a steep sided valley at the southern edge of the Victorian Alps, surrounded by national park, lush forests and fern gullies.
Originally settled during the gold rush of the 1860’s, Walhalla was one of Australia’s richest towns in its day. Nowadays there are only a handful of permanent residents but it receives around 100,000 tourists each year. This amazingly well preserved village is full of heritage buildings including old hotels, shops, a school and churches. The focal point of the town is an amazing, raised, wooden rotunda that is just so lovely. The fabulous pub, cafes, corner store, gift shop, lollie shop and museum are dotted along Main St (the main road in & out of Walhalla) and are not all grouped together.
This storybook village is at it’s very magical best in autumn when the colourful deciduous trees that line the town’s streets and random scatterings of wildflowers come out in full colour & bloom. The houses are very quaint workers cottages with some only accessible over their own private bridges from Main Street.
Plan your visit to Walhalla to take advantage of the Goldfields Railway which operates three days a week (Saturday, Sunday & Wednesday), three times a day (11am, 1pm & 3pm). Tickets can be booked via the website www.walhallarail.com.au. This is a spectacular return rail journey to Thomson Station. You will find yourself travelling through Stringers Creek Gorge meandering over six large trestle bridges that criss-cross the creek, it winds its way down the hill where it passes through Happy Creek, and then across the spectacular Thomson River Bridge finally arriving at Thomson Station.
There is also the option of experiencing the town’s gold mining heritage with a tour of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine accessing Cohens Reef – a three kilometre vein of gold running through the town. The mine is located on Telecom Track (left off Main Street). Tours of the mine are conducted every day of the year. On weekends, public holidays and school holidays scheduled tours are conducted at 12noon, 1.30pm and 3pm. On all other days tours are conducted at 1.30pm. While they don’t take bookings, arrive 15min before the tour so not to be disappointed with having to go at another time.
Walhalla… step back in time & imagine yourself in gold rush Victoria!
There is a particularly special, bush gallery located in Jindivick, West Gippsland called Red Tree Gallery. If you are passionate about all things art (or even if you aren’t) this is a fabulous location to spend some time in. While not located in the main township of Jindivick it is only a very short 1 minute drive away and it is open every day from 10am to 4pm. Once you arrive you will be greeted by the creative owner Laurie Collins, and don’t worry if he doesn’t materialise straight away as his residence is located adjacent to the gallery and sometimes is over at the house.
The sculpture garden Laurie has created is certainly one of a kind and it is easy to spend an hour wandering around taking in all the different and unique art located here. My particular favourite is the old Mercedes car covered in mirror mosaic tiles! Recycled metal, garden and junk sculptures, unique furniture, fun metal animals and lots of other “stuff” are the sorts of things you will discover in the amazing sculpture garden. Laurie is happy to take commissions as well if you are looking for a bespoke, one of a kind metal sculpture.
There is an Art Gallery also located on the property where Laurie showcases local Gippsland artists and the exhibitions are changed monthly so there is always something new to see here from sculptures and pottery to paintings and photography. Laurie’s smaller metal offerings are also located in this space. If you are wanting to know more about the area he is even mini tourist information centre with brochures of local attractions he has produced himself.
To further checkout this wonderful little artistic haven go to www.redtreegallery.com.au, but I can tell you a visit here is something special if you are visiting the West Gippsland area.