For the last 2 weeks we’ve been house sitting for a friend in the twin cities of Albury Wodonga and it has been beautiful, but a wee bit cold. Overnight temperatures hovered around freezing for most of the time. Our hosts fantastic wood burning fire got a real workout in the last fortnight. I quickly found my favourite working spot on the comfortable seat closest to the fire.
We haven’t had a chance to do much sight seeing but did get out and about a couple of times.
The last time we were here we had lunch with family friend Nick, read about our last visit in this blog. On our first weekend off we caught up again with Nick , who is originally from this region, for a couple of days. He took us on a trip to Beechworth and Bullshit Falls, well that’s what it sounded like. This part of Australia has much to offer the Australian History tourist. Many of the villages surrounding this area have kept their traditional town centre buildings,
Beechworth, is one of those. Gold was discovered in this region and it enjoyed its own gold rush for a few years in the late 1800’s. It has thankfully preserved many of its old buildings. On the weekend of our trip it rained so the pictures were poor. The village had a Wild West feel about it and in the dank, overcast conditions it really favoured a bit of retro picture treatment.
When we in Ballarat we had coffee and snacks in a branch of the Beechworth Bakery. So while we were here we visited the original famous Beechworth Bakery for some food. The choices were vast, it’s a massive enterprise. There are 8 Beechworth Bakeries all over this area.
After consuming our body weights in donuts we decided to see what the Beechworth Sweet Shop had to offer.
Turns out, quite a lot.
After the Sweet shop we went into the Gold Office. This was the original building prospectors brought their gold to sell.
The place was full of interesting displays. There was Gold, obviously, but also lots of this Alluvial Quartz. It’s really beautiful. but probably does not cure cancer or make you more alert, fix stress and anxiety or give you more focus. Would make a nice desk ornament though.
There was this colourful display of sliced crystals. It is said these crystals give you superpowers. Reading the signs on the crystals turned me into Skeptic Man it seems.
It was just after I took this picture I saw the “No Photography” sign so there are no more pictures of the place.
We left Beechworth and asked Nick where he was taking us next and he said “Woolshed Falls” but it sounded like “Bullshit Falls” so Bullshit Falls it will always be.
The falls were very beautiful. The Health and Safety Nazi’s haven’t caught up with this tourist attraction yet. There are no barriers, just a small sign telling you to keep an eye on your children. The rocks are slippery, the water flows fast and I can see how you might end up with a spare seat on the way home.
Some years ago someone postulated that if there was alluvial gold in this region, that’s gold found in rivers, it would be most likely found in the plunge pool at the foot of these falls, and they were right. They diverted the stream and extracted everything they could for 30 years. They also discovered ‘Black Sand’ or Tin which became more profitable than the gold. In around 1911 both dried up and they let falls run back along its natural path for all of us future tourists to see.
Back Roads and Yackandandah
I’ve not mentioned this before but we watch the ABC series Back Roads to get some inspirations on places to visit. One of the towns in the first series was Yackandandah or Yack as the locals call it.
The Back Roads series described the pressure the town was experiencing and that it was dying. Eventually the local petrol station was closing and some of the locals considered this too much, a town without a petrol station is a dead town they said. In 2002 seven locals formed the Yackandandah Community Development Company and through fundraising activities raised enough money to buy the petrol station and sold shares in it to the locals. They now have over 600 share holders and all proceeds go back into the town. As a consequence Yackandandah is experiencing a revival and is thriving again. Yack is close to Beechworth and we did a drive by one our way home. It is a picture postcard village and we decided we would return and spend some more time exploring there next weekend.
We had a week of solid graft to put in before we could go explore again. So next the next weekend, after a bit or research, we did a bit more exploring.
There are many wineries around this region, after much research we chose Scion Vineyards to visit as they described the ethos with which they make their wines that we also subscribe to. They have a large solar array, did I mention I like a solar arrays? They use renewable energy as much as possible in the creationsof their Artisan wines.
They have a Tesla charging station.
If there’s a more picturesque location for a charging station I’d love to see it.
They make Artisan Wines, that is Rowly the wine maker makes wine matched for food, not wine for quaffing. Scion’s Cellar Door has featured three times in the Gourmet Traveller WINE Best Australian Cellar Door Awards. Their wines have been awarded three trophies, in excess of ten gold medals and fifteen silver medals, 5-star reviews and featured in the TOP100 Victorian Wine Awards on consecutive occasions.
We bought 4 bottles of various varieties.They were all individually unique and delicious.
And it is set in the most beautiful surroundings.
After visiting Scion we drove back through the picturesque town of Rutherglen that had this ‘up yours’ sign welcoming visitors.
A reference to the famous fortified wines made in this region.
After Rutherglen we stopped at Chiltern, another postcard village.
And … on the way back to Albury we took a detour so that we could explore Yackandandah properly.
From the Star Hotel web site;
First opened in 1863, Star Hotel Yackandandah is a centrepiece of the town and abounds in history. The Pub gained fame in the 2004 movie Strange Bedfellows, as well as more recently the Backroads ABC program. It acts as the home of major local events such as the Spring Migration Festival, as well as hosting a main stage for he Yackandandah Folk Festival
I suspect it was after a few beers in here this poem, the Lass of Yackandandah was penned;
“Let poets sing of English girls,
Their beauty and their candour;
Give me a sweeter nymph than all, –
The lass of Yackandandah.”
“She draws a cork with such an air,
No mortal can withstand her;
She turns a tap, and turns our heads, –
The lass of Yackandandah.”
All along the main street are picture perfect shop fronts.
And incongruously, American Hot Rods.
And if the ladies would like a place to drink away from those pesky blokes you can always go here.
This original Jack Holden and Caltex Mural hides down an alleyway
We were quite inspired by the story of the Yackandandah Community Development Company and wanted to fill up the Mazda at their petrol station to do our little bit to support the enterprising locals.
Then it was back to Albury for our last night. Tomorrow we drive to Sydney and the next leg of our adventure.
Till next time.
PS: Against commonly proscribed grammatical correctness there are a few sentences in this blog starting with a conjunction. And I don’t care.