Looking for the perfect weekend escape from Melbourne? I’ve found it… Marysville!
Here you can enjoy beautiful walks in the bush, catch a fish or two, relax with a game of golf or just taste the fabulous food and wine of the area.
Marysville is back!
The community that was destroyed on Feb 7th, 2009 by the worst fires on record in Australia is now looking to the future.
Memories of those terrible days when fire ravaged uncontrollably, destroying the countryside, homes and animals and taking 173 loved ones from the community, will never be forgotten but the community spirit of survival is strong.
Just as the bush is regenerating so is the community. This year they have been celebrating their 150th anniversary and the future is exciting.
There’s great places to stay and with the construction of a new hotel and conference centre due to open in 2014, the people of Marysville are hoping life will be as busy as it was before the fires.
Ninety minutes from the centre of the city, Marysville is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in Victoria.
You first glimpse this on the road from Healesville to Marysville.
Black Spur Drive as this part of the Mooroondah Highway is known, is one of the most scenic drives in the state. Under a canopy of tree tops, the road winds around crops of tree ferns covering the rolling hills.
There’s a short drive through farming country before you arrive in tree lined Murchison Street, the centre of Marysville. The tourist office has pride of place on the edge of Gallipoli Park…a beautiful landscaped area with a fun children’s playground and the perfect place for a picnic. It’s well worth stopping here for information and maps on the beautiful walking trails in the area.
What to do in Marysville….
Visit Steavenson Falls
One of Victoria’s highest waterfalls, Steavenson Falls, is just ten minutes from town. It’s an easy walk from the car park to the falls through lush vegetation that has regrown since the fires. For a different view, visit at night when the falls are beautifully lit!
Take a walk through the rainforest along Lady Talbot Drive
Lady Talbot Drive offers fabulous walks of varying degrees of length and difficulty from the numerous car parks along the road. The drive itself is beautiful. The last part of it is not recommended for a 2 wheel drive car (especially in wet conditions) but we were only stopped from finishing the loop to Mt Margaret Rd by a fallen tree across the road! Back to the start we had to go!
We walked to the ‘Meeting of the Waters’…a short, easy walk through stunning rainforest of tree ferns and Myrtle Beech trees. Here the waters of the Taggerty River flow over fallen logs and mossy rocks.
We were hoping to continue on to the Beeches, another beautiful walk but missed the turn off!! (you have to cross the road!)
Next time we’ll start at the Beeches car park and not get lost!
Drive to the top of Lake Mountain
The road to the top of the mountain takes you past forests of ghostly mountain ash trunks, a reminder of the brutality of fire. New trees are shooting up from the ground but unlike gums, these trees do not regenerate themselves so that all is left are the stark silver trunks and branches. Quite beautiful in their own way.
Snow covers the mountain in winter and this becomes a winter playground with cross country skiing and tobogganing activities.
A perfect places to introduce children to fun in the snow.
If walking is not your ideal activity, maybe fishing is for you!
The Steavenson and Taggerty Rivers offer great fishing spots…There’s even trout in the lake on the edge of Gallipoli Park.
Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm also offers fishing in its beautifully landscaped gardens where pools are filled with trout and salmon. The pools have different degrees of difficulty so if the kids are becoming frustrating that there’s not been a bite, head to one of the pools that is heavily stocked. You can then buy the fish to take home or pop it on the barbie at the trout farm!
As it meanders through this beautiful eighteen hole golf course, the Steavenson River could prove to be your only problem on this course. Hit a ball into the bush and you will also be in trouble but the Marysville Community Golf Course will provide you with wonderful scenery as you follow that little white ball around the course!
Wine Tasting at Buxton Ridge Winery
This small, family owned winery is making some interesting wines. In their tasting room overlooking the vines, Michael, the owner, grower, winemaker and marketing manager guides us through a tasting of his six wines which are all named after members of the family. There’s an interesting story behind the Wolf Reudiger Shiraz that for me exemplifies the fortitude of the people of Marysville and the surrounding districts. After explaining how hardy grape vines are and how lucky they were that the vineyard was not completely wiped out in the fire, Michael mentioned that they did eventually lose the shiraz vines in a flood two years after the fires. Enterprisingly they decided to source another supply of shiraz grapes to blend with their own so that for the last couple of years, they could offer a red wine in the range. The good news is that in 2015 he will have enough grapes for his own vintage. We look forward to tasting this one!
Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden
Whimsical, crazy, fun, mad…Bruno’s sculptures will certainly keep you entertained as you wander through the pathways of his flourishing garden.
Terracotta has already seen high temperatures in the kiln so the fire did not destroy a lot of the sculptures but many were damaged by falling trees. Bruno watched the fire engulf his home and gallery but this did not deter him from rebuilding. Each piece has a story which Bruno will happily tell but it is the whimsical sculptures that best display his sense of humour.
Where to Eat…..
Black Spur Inn
Black Spur Inn in Narbethong, about twenty minutes from Marysville, is a great supporter of local produce. They even acknowledge the growers on their menu, a trend we also saw happening all around the world. The tasting plate showcased many local delicacies but we opted to try Buxton Trout Farm’s delicious smoked trout bruschetta as we had been there earlier in the day. The locally made fresh pasta and meatballs and my fresh fish and spring vegetables were delicious. With a beautiful view overlooking the garden, it was definitely the place to enjoy local wine and produce. They even pick you up and take you home!
Having worked in hotels around the world, Egyptian born Ashof and his English wife Christine bring a wealth of experience and flavours to Marysville. I can recommend Ashof’s gourmet pies..and you will find it hard to say no to Christine’s desserts! There’s freshly made scones and jam for afternoon tea or keep popping back, as we did, for home made fudge and the best gelato….I recommend the passionfruit!
You’ll pass this popular little cafe as you drive through Marysville’s main street. It’s a popular stop for one of Jame’s cooked breakfasts or his freshly made muffins and cakes.
Whilst you’re there, pop next door to see the Upcycle Projects tulip garden or Aussie Xmas tree
Maryton Park Beer and Platter Garden
Tucked away on the road from Marysville to Buxton, Maryton Park Beer and Platter Garden is a perfect place to have lunch…we couldn’t go past the delicious ploughmans platter of local treats and a refreshing fresh fruit platter. Take up Tony and Penni’s offer to wander around their beautiful garden before deciding where to enjoy your lunch. At the back of the property, overlooked by holiday cottages, they have created a wonderful lake partly covered in water lillies and edged with weeping willows. For Xmas their newly established Christmas Grotto complete with Father Xmas in attendance is proving a hit with the local children and their parents.
Where to stay…..
Marysville Garden Cottages is a new venture by local residents Anthony and Tracy. As the builder, owner Anthony has ensured a high quality of workmanship and finish to the eight beautifully appointed cottages which have some innovative features. They are the first in the country to use a new automatic check in system designed in Australia. When you confirm your booking, you are sent a code which you enter to automatically unlock the door. The TV is another feature but I’ll leave that for you to find! Gas log fires, large comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms and a well equipped kitchenette ensure these cottages are your perfect home away from home.
Further information on Marysville can be found on their app...Visit Marysville…which can be down loaded free of charge from their website or the app store.
How would you spend a weekend in Marysville?
My thanks go to Marysville Tourism for inviting me to see their wonderful town. I will be back!