Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
If you're like me and can't afford to go away for extended times in exotic locations then I have a great alternative, "a road trip". No matter the distance or time you have available, you can see some pretty amazing sights that are not far from home.
Mornington to Marysville is a favourite of mine and a great example of the natural wonderland we have in Victoria that's so accessible from the city. This day or overnight road trip certainly isn't a long one but definitely a great one to get away from the everyday stresses of life.
With this road trip you get to enjoy some of the state's best vineyards, spectacular scenery including the Black Spur, waterfalls, mountains and then mix it with great walks and food.
We started out on a Sunday morning and got onto the beep beep road, a term the children use for East link. Then we turned onto the Ringwood bypass and on to the Mooroondah Highway followed through to Coldstream and past many vineyards including Domaine Chandon, Rochford Wines, Punt Road Wines, Yering Farm Wines and Oakridge Wines to name just a few in the area. We stopped by the Coldstream Dairy and taste tested a range of wonderful home made cheeses and fresh strawberries. The children were very happy with their yoghurts and devoured them in the car before reaching Healesville.
The sight of the train heading to the Healesville Station proved too tempting for the children, so we followed the road down to the station and climbed aboard. The little rail car is immaculately maintained by the volunteers who keep things ticking along smoothly. A family ticket is $39 and runs on Sundays. It was very enjoyable for all and well worth the stop.
The main street of Healesville was a hive of activity, the local community market was on, the cafes and shops were full, the Beechworth Bakery was extremely popular and plenty of cars were heading towards the Healesville Sanctuary.
Outside of town we came to the Maroondah Reservoir lookout, which was not looking it's best due to the constant drizzle but when it's not wet the Maroondah Park is a great spot for a picnic. The gardens are lovely and well worth the stroll to the top of the dam wall, which you can also walk along. The views across the gardens and dam are very nice.
Further down the road is the beginning of the Black Spur, a windy 27 km stretch of road that runs between Healesville and Narbethong. The tall forest is enchanting as it is spectacular.
Wind the windows down, feel the fresh air on your skin and smell the forest scents, absorb the surrounds of this amazing stretch of road. There are a few places to stop along the way such as Dom Dom Saddle and Fernshaw picnic grounds.
Looking back at the photos and news reports of February 8th 2009, with 34 Marysville residents not surviving the devastating fires that descended on the town without warning. You could easily forgive the people of Marysville if they never had the strength to return.
Yet residents have rallied together to rebuild the town, slowly but surely making progress through the red tape placed on rebuilding in a fire prone area.
Unfortunately Marysville's recently constructed heated pool was demolished only days ago to make way for a new development. It doesn't seem fair for the residents to lose a new facility and to not have plans to rebuild it elsewhere.
First stop was the Phantom Falls with a short steep 1.6 km return walk through lush rainforest followed by the Keppel Falls lockout.
At the top of the drive we came to the Beeches walk, which is absolutely spectacular. Myrtle Beech trees are rare and are only found in a few places in Victoria and Tasmania. I loved being in the rainforest with the tiny Beech trees leaves scattered perfectly on the path to make it a carpet of leaves, the river running alongside the track, huge moss covered boulders along with super smooth ones from the water continuously flowing over. It really is nature's wonderland.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better we walked across the road and down to the Taggerty Cascades, the roar of the two rivers joining is deafening and the sheer size of the boulders and the amount of water is indescribable, it's one of those places that you need to be standing there alone feeling the power of the river and taking it all in to fully appreciate it.