This is not my usual blog post for The Mighty Inkpot. It’s a test piece I did for a content marketing site: they needed proof I could write, so I sent this one in.
When escaping for a mini-break in Victoria, it’s always tempting to take the broad highway to one of the more well-known regional destinations, such as Bendigo or Ballarat. However, everyone else is succumbed to this temptation as well, and you’re likely to find yourself in an endless line at the Bendigo Art Gallery or crammed into a laneway cafe in Ballarat.
Instead, why not do a little more homework and let the GPS guide you to one of the many hidden enclaves that lie within an hour of central Melbourne. Last week, my family decided to do just that, and decided to visit Blackwood. We booked one of the many short-stay homes in the vicinity and headed down on Friday night.
We knew about Blackwood because my gardening-mad partner is a member of the Digger’s Club, a gardening club which supplies its members with ‘heirloom’ seeds and plants, which are fruit and vegetable varieties that have not been hybridised or genetically modified. The Club has two gardens, one of which is the Garden of St. Erth in Blackwood. On Saturday morning we enjoyed a lazy late breakfast at the garden’s Fork to Fork Cafe, feeling ethically smug as well as satisfied.
Next stop was a brisk walk along a section of the Great Dividing Trail. This walking and mountain-biking track takes you through the diverse landscapes of Central Victoria, and you can stop and start at many points – do a day walk, or put the backpack for an epic trek. Having Mr 6 along for the weekend, we decided on a 3-hour walk along a section of the Trail called the Lerderderg Track. We chose the Whiskey Creek Walk which took us through lush bushland and enough hills to make our calves just nicely warm.
The afternoon was ripe for spot of newspaper-reading in Blackwood itself. My partner and Mr 6 set out to explore the Blackwood Hat Shoppe, a gorgeous sanctuary of hand-made hats. Sheina and Bob Pitch have hand-crafting hats and accessories for the best part of 30 years. With the products supplied by an extended network of fellow makers, they have an online presence as well as the bricks and mortar shop in Blackwood. Meanwhile, I meandered with newspaper in hand down the street to Martin Street Coffee, a cafe and coffee consultancy who run their own roasting service on site. From this humble venue they send out beans all over Australia and Asia. I enjoy a perfect piccolo latte while my partner savours a red. Mr 6 gazes out over the stunning forest landscape and guzzles a hand-made biscuit that the owners have conjured from the kitchen.
We can only stay the one night, but because it’s only an hour drive back, we’re home in reasonable time, and on the way we plan our next trip back to this beautiful region of Victoria.