Friday, September 7, 2018

Buxton Trout Farm

Sometimes, spontaneity is the best way to have adventures. Those waking up on a Sunday morning, seeing something on tv or online and thinking - yeah, lets's do that today,  kind of adventures! And so it was that we went fishing. I hadn't been fishing since I was about 8, but hey, it's like riding a bike, right?

We piled in the car and headed up the Black Spur to Buxton. Into the Yarra Valley, past Healesville, along the winding road that climbs through the forest, where the giant Mountain Ash stand sentry along the roadside. 

Buxton Trout Farm

To Buxton Trout Farm. 

Cos' if you're going to go fishing for the first time since you were 8, you better start off at a place where the fish are definitely biting.
The farm itself is in a beautiful location, with picnic tables and seats alongside tranquil ponds in 5 acres of natural parklands.

Buxton Trout Farm

Buxton Trout Farm

We got our rods and our bait and headed for the nearest pond. 

Buxton Trout Farm

The fish were practically jumping out of the water. Before we could say fish'n'chips, my very own 8yo had hooked a lovely fish. Then my 10 yo caught one. Then my husband, and then me. We were all very excited and keen to compare who had caught the biggest fish.

Buxton Trout Farm

We took our bucket o'fish to the counter, where they were cleaned up and packed on ice for the journey home. We opted to take ours home for dinner that night, but you can also take your catch down the road to the Buxton Hotel and they will cook it for you! 

Buxton Trout Farm

Later that day...

Buxton Trout Farm

The End.

Buxton Trout Farm

What: Buxton Trout Farm 

Where: 2118 Maroondah Hwy, Buxton

Why: Trout fishing

When: Daily 9am-5pm

How much: $8 entry (fish per kg)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

Meandering around the countryside one weekend, we decided to go for lunch at All Saints Estate. On arrival at the front gate on a very warm day, we were immediately enchanted by the avenue of elm trees that provided a shady entry to the estate.

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

And as if the driveway wasn't grand enough, the winery had its own castle! Perfectly groomed hedges and manicured lawns adorned the front garden, with outdoor seating to allow you to sit back and admire the setting, or stop and smell the roses in the glorious sunshine.

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

The Terrace restaurant looked very tempting, but at $85 per head and with 2 kids in tow, we opted for the more casual eatery next door, Indigo Food Co. Tasty toasted focaccias and a chilled glass of wine made for the perfect lunch by the duck pond. Dragonflies buzzed around the water's edge, ducks lazed in the sun and a group of beautiful blue Superb Fairy Wrens hopped about our table, looking for stray crumbs to feast on.

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

We ambled around the grounds on a self-guided tour, starting with the historic Chinese Dormitory. 

All Saints Winery, WahgunyahAll Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

The building was erected over 100 years ago, to house Chinese workers who came to the vineyards when the goldrush was over. The group of men slept in bunks and cooked on a huge old iron stove.

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

Other historic buildings on the property include the cool store, original stables and homestead, all built in the late 1800's.

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

All Saints Winery, WahgunyahAll Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

Some of the vines date back to 1920, like the Old Muscat. Other varietals include 1982 Riesling, 1955 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1994 Shiraz. Each row of vines is planted with a rose bush, apparently the early sentinel for diseases that affect vines.

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

The estate holds weddings, functions, concerts and tours, but is equally good for a spontaneous lunch stop and a stroll around the place.

All Saints Winery, WahgunyahWhat: All Saints Estate

Where: Wahgunyah

When: Every day (except Christmas Day)

Why:Winery, historic buildings

How much:FREE to wander around

All Saints Winery, Wahgunyah

Monday, July 16, 2018

Old dog, new trick - Part 2. Tennis, anyone?

So, learning to swim wasn't the only new trick this old dog has been learning.
My kids had swimming lessons, so I took swimming lessons.
Then, they started playing tennis  - so after a few weeks, I thought that it looked like fun and I signed myself up in an Adult Beginners' group. 

Anything they do, I'm determined to be fit and healthy enough to keep up with them. 
Gosh, I hope they never take up skydiving or tightrope walking...😱😂

tennis lessons

I'd only played tennis a few times previously and I knew I was totally rubbish at it, but off I went to my weekly lesson. At each lesson, my coach (who is also my kids' coach) would teach our group of 4 ladies the very basics of motion and technique; how to stand; how to hold the racquet; how to move around the court. Eventually, his instructions started to sink in. Our little group would practice serving, volleys, slams, games, sets and matches.

doncaster tennis cub

Some days, I'd hit the ball like a pro. Other days, my eyes, my arms, my legs and my brain all failed to communicate the aim of the game and the ball would sail past my racquet.
I didn't know if I was playing badminton or cricket, as I'd rush to hit an airborne ball on the full, or whack it down low with my backhand.

doncaster tennis clubI joined the Tennis Club soon after my first lesson, determined to get some extra time on the court and now practice my Serena Williams serves and Venus Williams volleys a couple of times a week 😝. 
Rain, hail or shine - I jump at the chance to have a hit with a friend, or my family members. Every time I play, I manage to get a couple of good shots in and totally surprise myself with my prowess. And then, I'd accidentally hit the ball 3 courts over and confuse all the other players around.  I might even join the Ladies Social games one day, but I won't be playing at Wimbledon anytime soon. 
doncaster tennis club

I'm loving chasing that little green ball around the court and have found it's a great way to get exercise in the fresh air and make new friends. My family are encouraging my crazy new activity and even bought me tubes of tennis balls and a new racquet for Mother's Day.
Who needs chocolates and flowers, eh?

What: Slamin Tennis Coaching
Where: Doncaster Tennis Club
When: whenever you have time
Why: fun and exercise
How muchvaries 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Old dog, new trick. Part 1 - Sink or Swim

So, like I said in the previous post - I got sidetracked by life stuff and haven't written a regular blog post since AUGUST LAST YEAR.
I do apologise for the lack of posts, I have been on social media with regular photo posts,  but not a lot of words flowing around these parts. So I'm here now, and hopefully the next couple of posts will inspire some of you old dogs out there, to go and learn some new tricks yourself.
In late Winter last year, we started planning a family holiday to tropical Queensland. A week away with our 2 kidlets, in the warm sunshine, at the beach, in the pool. Fantastic.
It all sounded great in theory, and we had been there before, but the water activities always left me feeling a little left out. Because I couldn't really swim very well. To be honest, I was more of a sinker than a swimmer.
Something had to be done.

After watching my kids have their swimming lessons every week for years, I decided to take the plunge myself. See what I did there....? 👈😆

I enrolled in Adult Beginner swimming lessons one cold Monday morning. My instructor was great; she was  used to dealing with nervous kids (and even more nervous adults) and immediately had me feeling calm and confident in the warm water. 
I decided to have a good go at it and enrolled in a second weekly lesson. I only had a few months to learn and I was determined to make the lessons worthwhile.

Having only 4 people in the class made it easier to get one-on-one attention, as well as time for a breather between each lap.
When I say lap, what I mean is a few floundering, flailing movements where water went in my eyes, my ears, my nose and my mouth and I came up for air coughing and spluttering.
If there was one of those rainfall gauges attached to me, it would have indicated about 800mm of water intake. I was rubbish at this swimming thing.

Then, one day, I floated. For the very first time in my life. And it was amazing. On my back. On my front. Flipping from back to front to back again. I could do it. I would lie there on my back, the warm water lapping at my toes, looking up at the ceiling and imagining gazing up at blue skies and palm fronds while my kids swam beside me.

Then, I sculled in the deeper end (not really deep - so not scary at all). Treading water was not as hard as I had imagined and the more I relaxed, the easier it was.

Backstroke and survival backstroke were my favourites. Gliding through the water, not having to worry about bubbles and breathing. 

Breast stroke was a bit harder. I'm a bit unco when it comes to following instructions to position myself in a certain way. Legs this way, arms that way, breathing - it was messy. I won't be winning any medals in that event.

Freestyle was another tricky one. That darn breathing thing gets in the way of having a good time in the pool. But I now know how to do it, even if it is a little clunky.

We went on holiday. I went in the deep end. I did laps of backstroke up and down. I swam underwater and snorkelled with my family. I gazed at palm fronds whilst floating on my back in the warm water.
It was amazing and I wish I had done it a long time ago. Thanks to the team at Healthways  for teaching this old dog a new trick.  You're never too old to learn to swim, so go look up your nearest swim centre.
learn to swim

What: Healthways Recreation Centre
Where: Mont Albert North and Ringwood
When: Daily
Why: learn to swim
How much: varies per term

Friday, May 11, 2018


I apologise for the lack of blog posts lately. The last few months have kept me busy learning some new skills on my days off.

That's what I wrote on 16/12/17, after not publishing a blog post since August.
August! And then not even beginning to write anything until 2 weeks before Christmas. 
2 weeks before Christmas! And then I start writing, like I've got all the time in the world - what was I thinking?
Obviously, I came to my senses and didn't type another word...until today. Right when I'm about to sit down to dinner on this cold, wet, windy, miserable Friday night.  My timing is bonkers.
Anyhoo, it feels nice to be tap-tap-tapping away on the keyboard again. I have a bazillion photos to show you, and heaps of adventures to tell you about.
I'll be back soon.
No, really I will.

p.s. If I haven't published a post by Sunday night - give me a nudge. Facebook me, tweet me, Insta me, email me, send me a smoke signal or a note on a pigeon - anything just to give me a little push along.