Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blue Hills Berry Farm, Silvan

Slip, slop, slap and get ready for some serious berry picking at Blue Hills Berry Farm - there are fresh summer berries as far as the eye can see on this family owned and operated farm. 
Blue Hills Berry Farm

 Blue Hills Berry Farm
Containers are supplied - it's up to you to fill them up with a variety of delicious ripe raspberries, blackberries and strawberries (other berry varieties were no longer in season on the day of our visit in late Feb).                      
Start with the strawberries, as they are firmer and can handle being on the base of the punnet. Look for those vibrant red beauties hiding under the low leaves. There is a field at the bottom of the farm and another halfway up, so don't be too hasty in the first patch.
Blue Hills Berry Farm

The blackberry section is wild and prickly and you might have to arm wrestle a spider or two for the good dark berries - but it will be totally worth it.
Blue Hills Berry Farm
Don't pick the red berries - they're unripe, or 'green'. The dark black berries are deliciously sweet and slightly tart.

Blue Hills Berry Farm
Blue Hills Berry Farm 
At the top of the farm, my favourite - the raspberry. 
Pick the gorgeous bright, totally red berries. They should almost fall off the stem, leaving the stem still attached to the vine and a hole in the top of the raspberry. 
One for me. 
One for the punnet. 
One for me. 
One for the punnet. 
Did I mention you can taste the berries as you pick?

Fresh berries are available from November to April, depending on the varieties, and frozen berries are in stock all year round.
Blue Hills Berry Farm
Where:27 Parker Rd, Silvan
When:Daily 9am - 5pm
Why:Fresh, seasonal, local, fruit, experience
How Much:$12 per 500g container

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville

The stunning architecture of the TarraWarra Museum sits beautifully in the rolling green hills and the surrounding dark mountain ranges of the Yarra Valley.

Privately funded, the museum runs as a NFP. 
TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville
Current exhibitions include The Drunken Buddha by Ian Fairweather, a fascinating tale of a drunken monk from a Chinese story, translated by the artist. I loved reading the story behind each painting and the artist brought the story to life on the canvas.
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, this is the first time the works have been brought together since 1965.
TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville

The week before we visited, artist Gosia Wlodarczak performed an Interpretation Drawing on the Museum's large window, adding to the stunning views of Long Gully.

Paintings and Drawings by Tony Tuckson is also on exhibition.

All 3 current exhibitions end on March 15.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville
The adjoining winery, TarraWarra Estate has wine tastings and cellar door sales and is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 
TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville
The restaurant has a fantastic outdoor seating area, overlooking the vineyards. We didn't get the chance to dine this visit - but will be back to try another time, for sure.
TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville
Where: 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am - 5pm
Why: Art, History, Architecture, Scenery
How Much:$14 (RACV members get 10% discount)

Organ Pipes National Park, Keilor

So, we'd driven past the signpost to the Organ Pipes approximately 8 bazillion times before we decided to stop one day.
Had never Googled it, had never even heard about it - apart from that brown signpost on the Calder, that we would whizz past on our way to/from someplace else.
Organ Pipes National Park
The walking trail, about 1km,  was easily navigated on the flat circuit, but the gravel was a little bit slippery on the descent and the climb back up was fairly steep. (We're not seasoned hikers and if we can do it, anybody can).

Formed about a million years ago from molten lava from nearby volcanoes, the lava cooled and cracked, forming tubes that resemble organ pipes. 

When you hear the rumble of a jet taking off at Tullamarine, look to the top of this hill and you'll probably see it soaring above the cliff top.

Organ Pipes National Park
The pipes reflect beautifully in the creek that flows right through the park.
Organ Pipes National Park
Keep an eye out for kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and eagles around the parkand and we also spotted a Tawny Frogmouth nesting in a tree right next to the trail. 

Where: Calder Fwy, Keilor North
When: Daily 8:30 - 4:30
Why:Nature, Walks, Wildlife
How Much: FREE


When I was a kid, my Mum would ALWAYS drag me along to the op-shops she loved to frequent.
To me, shops filled with vintage clothes smelling of mothballs, old musty books and daggy knick-knacks were way down my list of fun places to visit.

How times have changed...
www.rdomelbourne.comI can't visit the supermarket without just popping next door to the oppy for a quick look, a trait I have passed on to our kidlets. 
They've grown up rummaging through toy boxes for a special Spiderman-Barbie-TMNT-Frozen type thing or some cool threads.

Last week, Mr 5 complained that he had outgrown all his shirts and didn't have one to wear to his friend's birthday party. 
"Why haven't you bought me a new shirt, Mum?" 
This week, I found myself in the local Salvos and there they were - 3 shirts in his size AND one was a Spiderman shirt!
In another stroke of fabulous luck, there was a black suit in his size - perfect for his school dance. He'll probably only wear it once and at $15, I thought it was an ok buy - but on half-price-purple-tag-day-Thursday it was only $7.50. Bam!

Books, clothes, coffee paraphernalia are always on my shopping list and recently, a brand spanking new Scanpan frypan (try saying that 3 times) landed in my basket.

What: Opportunity Shops Salvos Vinnies Doncare
Where: Everywhere
When: Monday - Saturday usually.
Why:Re-use, Re-cycle, find a bargain
How Much:Cheap as chips.

St Kilda Mums

Charity the garage. Well, it does at our place. 
About 2 years ago, when our youngest turned 3,we realised we didn't need a lot of his baby goods anymore. He had upgraded to a bed instead of a cot, was happy to walk most places instead of sitting in the pram, the house was nappy-free for the first time in 5 years (YAY!)and there was bags and bags and bags of clothes that he and his big sister had outgrown.
All of these things were sitting in the garage...
My car was relegated to the driveway...

The thought of selling it at a garage sale or on Ebay crossed my mind, as I wasn't quite sure what to do with it all.

I did a shout out on our then cafe's Twitter (@65Degrees, for those of you who remember me from there) and asked the question "Does anyone know of a charity that takes baby goods"?

Twitter responded immediately with a variety of answers, but the majority tweeted "St Kilda Mums!"

I'd never heard of them, but a quick look at their website and an email to the lovely Jessie, and I knew they were the place I was looking for.

The station wagon was packed to the brim with our outgrown items and delivered to a volunteer's house on a Saturday morning. 
St Kilda Mums

Since then, SKM have grown and now have their very own warehouse - with dedicated time slots for donations. Check their website for what can be rehomed.
St Kilda Mums
These days, I have a section on a shelf in the garage, just for SKM. All our unwanted items are stored there and dropped off a couple of times a year. 
I can now also park my car in the garage...

Where: St Kilda and local drop off points
When: Tuesday 10-12, Thursday 1-3 (Check SKM website for updates)
Why:Charity, NFP. Helping families in need.
How Much: N/A

Friday, February 27, 2015

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

Set on 15 acres, Heide MoMA is a great place to visit at any time of year, either with a friend or just on your own. 
You don’t need company, nor conversation, as you stroll around the vast gardens, following the trail of sculptures. 
The peaceful setting , right next to the Yarra River, lets you enjoy the sounds of the bush.
Heide Museum of Modern Art

Heide Museum of Modern Art
The cows moo-ing , the river flowing, the kookaburras laughing and a myriad of other bird calls provide a calming soundtrack to your walk (ok, that bit about the cows isn’t true, but stick with me here).
The Sculptures Trail includes many pieces from the past, right up to the latest arrival, The Feather and the Stone.

Heide Museum of Modern ArtHeide Museum of Modern ArtHeide Museum of Modern Art

The former dairy homestead, Heide I - once home to artists John and Sunday Reed - also has a Kitchen Garden, Sunday’s Heart Garden, Wild Garden and an Orchard.
The Doll's House is a former milking shed and was used to store paintings by Sidney Nolan.
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Explore the Kitchen Garden used by the café at Heide II and the exterior of the Museum of Modern Art, Heide III. 
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Where: 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen VIC 3105
When: Tuesday – Sunday. 10am - 5pm
Why: Art, Walks, Nature
How Much: FREE to explore the grounds. Admission fee applies to the Museum and Exhibitions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hello and Welcome to RDO Melbourne

Hello and Welcome to RDO Melbourne!

This site is all about being a tourist in your own backyard, exploring Melbourne and surrounds with these ideas for (mostly) weekday adventures.

- drop off the kids at school and enjoy some ‘me’ time
- grab a friend for a fun day out
- take your Mum/ Dad /Grandparents on an adventure
- make it a Date Day with your other half

Think of it as a Rostered Day Off – a day away from your usual routine and environment, with focus on the following:

mini roadtrips

*may contain traces of coffee

These are a few of my favourite things to do and see, and favourite places to visit. I hope you’ll find some new favourites of your own in my posts.

Jump in – let’s go for a spin!

We’ll be back in time for school pickup.