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Published September 1st 2017
Slow down, unplug and relax
Blackwood is a quiet little town, approximately an hour from central Melbourne, but a world away in terms of pace.
Victoria is blessed with many great towns and for weekend (or longer) stays, but some of them are now so popular that you almost feel as though you are in Melbourne. I'm thinking about Lorne here, or Daylesford. It is lovely to have top notch restaurants and cafes and boutique clothing stores but if you are looking for an old fashioned country escape then you really can't go past Blackwood.
The town is so close to Melbourne and the aforementioned Daylesford but with none of the hustle and bustle. The quietness is enhanced by the fact that there is very patchy mobile phone reception, in fact I couldn't get any with Optus. It's hard to believe sometimes that life was always like this twenty years or so ago. I sometimes love to escape to a place where people can't contact me 24/7.
There is one pub – The Blackwood Hotel – which has a pool table, open fire place and good pub meals. It's perfect for satisfying that hunger you've worked up after a day walking, mountain biking or simply doing nothing.
There is also a great cafe – the Blackwood Merchant – which would not be out of place in South Yarra in terms of style but with the benefit that you can sit and sip a coffee whilst looking at stunning country scenery instead of the instagram crowd. During the gold rush 13,000 people called Blackwood home. Many old cottages remain, some lovingly restored and some less so. Of course, the great natural beauty of the area is left for all to enjoy.
There are plenty of old cottages and buildings in Blackwood.
Blackwood is no Hepburn Springs but it does have its own mineral springs, located at the caravan park. It also is on the Great Dividing Trail which makes it popular with walkers. In fact, aside from the Great Dividing Trail, Blackwood would be an ideal base for keen walkers as the area abounds with walking tracks. The town is basically nestled between the Wombat State Forest and Lederderg State Park.
There is limited mountain biking in Lederderg but the Wombat State Forest is is a haven for mountain biking enthusiasts. There are some serious hills around though so make sure you plan your route accordingly.
Gardeners will not want to miss a visit to the beautiful Garden of St Erth. Part of the Diggers Club, there are plants, seeds and gardening equipment available for sale and a cafe which serves lunch. Time spent wandering around the garden here certainly inspired me to get out into my own garden when I returned home.
Blackwood is not far from Trentham, so if you are in need of more dining or shopping options it isn't far to go. However, if you are looking for a great quiet weekend away but don't want to spend half of it in the car driving, Blackwood might just be the place for you.