Local Tour Guide

Fancy a tour of the Red Centre of Australia? I’ll show you iconic Uluru, walk with you around The Olgas and share the grandeur of Kings Canyon.

Then again, I’m probably not the best tour guide. I’m not Aboriginal, I don’t know the indigenous dreamtime legends, plus I’m a bit too goofy.

Instead, how about I take you on a tour of my local area? I’ve lived here for over 23 years so I think I qualify for the role.


While sitting in the dentist chair last Friday (it’s amazing what we think about when trying to distract from drills and bills) I thought about the places I pass every day that I often take for granted.

So, on my way home I travelled with new eyes.

Hurstbridge sits on the edge of the Yarra Valley in Nillumbik, an area on the outskirts of Melbourne that enjoys the best of both worlds.

From here you can catch the train and be in the city in just under an hour or you can hop in your car and be in the country in minutes.

The main street can be walked through in minutes, if you’re in a hurry, but why rush?

Near the train station, at Lettuce Inn, you can buy a gelati and stock up on fresh fruit and veggies. Don’t you just love the name?

There’s a bakery, a butcher, a florist, a newsagent and a community bank, not to mention plenty of cafes, including one nestled inside the post office.

You can get your hair cut, your pet checked, your body checked and your car serviced, not necessarily in that order.

The newest shop in our little village, Hurstbridge Deli and Larder is a welcome addition with an interesting history.

This is where I used to get my car serviced, though you’d never know it now.

Step inside and it feels and smells like home, with the aromas of coffee and sizzling onions and garlic. They’re cooking a big pot of chicken casserolle when I walk in.

Behind the counter there’s local cheeses and small goods from the nearby Yarra Valley, freshly made Italian pasta, dips and an array of pastries and pies for lunch.

Owner Sheree and her husband Noel have transformed this space into a foodies heaven.

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There’s no hint this was once a garage.

My former mechanic never had shelves filled with freshly baked bread, gourmet hampers and refrigerated takeaway dinners.

Oh yes, a visit here could become a daily temptation.

It’s quiet when I drop in so I chat with Sheree and local businessman, Jim who’s popped in from Nature’s Harvest, the health food shop up the road that’s been there seemingly forever.

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Jim (from Nature’s Harvest) and Sheree (Hurstbridge Larder). Small business owners collaborating

Coincidentally, Jim, a former journalist, is helping with a local promotion for the small business owners so he’s more than happy to pose with Sheree.

So my former garage is now a deli, which begs the question, where do I get my car serviced? Doug can’t keep changing the oil indefinitely!

Answer: this mechanic shop just around the corner from where I live.

There I met owner Michael and hint that he might be gaining some new business with my Toyota Corolla.

Turns out we have more in common than just cars. Michael plays guitar and composes his own music. He’s been writing songs since he was seven, a hobby he’s clearly passionate about, though he says the daily grind of making a living and weekend family commitments prevents him from turning his hobby into a passion.

He compares himself to others, saying it’s hard to be seen, as there are so many other talented artists around.

Does that sound familiar with you?

I once felt like that but not anymore.

“Life’s too short to give up on our dreams. Don’t give up.” That’s what I told him. “Don’t compare yourself. We all have our own unique style.”

Much later I drop into Oku Den, one of the gift shops in town.  Each day a quote appears on their board out front.

Today this is what I read.

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Goosebumps. What had I just been saying?

It seems that everywhere I go lately synchronicity follows me.

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Yes, we all have our individual styles and this vibrant place is no exception.

I chat for a few minutes with owner Oku and enjoy browsing through her colorful Japanese inspired goodies.

Finally I drop into Nature’s Harvest where I meet up with Jim again.

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There I reacquaint myself with his son Craig who’s now in charge of the shop. Can you spot the resemblance?

Shopping is so much more enjoyable and personal when we know the people behind the business.

Hurstbridge is sleepy but at certain times of the year it wakes up in a blaze of color.

The monthly Farmers Market, the Wattle Festival in August and the art and wine events that happen on its doorstep during the year keeps the spark alight.

Right now, around the wetlands where I walk Harry most days, I listen and watch the abundant bird life and marvel at the beauty of our local setting.

We’re nestled in a scenic green wedge which I hope stays green for many generations to come.

This is the future we’re leaving. Right now my teenage son is learning to drive here.

Every day he’s driving further, along winding roads and rolling hills. He’s seeing things through new eyes.

Now he’s the driver and I’m the tour guide!

We pass olive groves, small boutique wineries and roadside stalls and he drives through St Andrews where every Saturday a unique bush market is held.

There’s a lot to love here, the ambience, the relaxed living, the open spaces and the people.

Like so many places, it’s the community spirit that makes up the fabric of living local. I feel blessed to be part of it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed touring with me in my little patch of the world. It might not be as spectacular as the Red Centre but it’s got a lot of heart.

Happy traveling. Remember to keep your eyes open for the ordinary moments that, with the right mindset, become the extraordinary.

Be your own tour guide. Who knows what gems you’ll find on your doorstep. We’ve all got them.

Here’ to loving life and enjoying the journey.

In response to The Daily Post: WPC:Tour Guide


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83 thoughts on “Local Tour Guide

  1. Thank you for taking us on a tour around your town Miriam. It looks and sounds like a very lovely place.
    The comparison comment was my favourite. When you stop comparing yourself to others and be inspired by them instead, life is much easier.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for the tour, Miriam! Wow, that “joy” quote, it left me speachless, well, I wasn’t exactly speaking when I read it, but you know… 😉 There’s no such thing as a coincidence! I really liked my visit, and especially your lovely neighbours !! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post reminds me to slow down to smell the roses. Thank you for making the effort to stop by the interesting places in your local area and introduce them. I’m sure they are honored to be posted on your blog. Thank you for the tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely personalised tour of your hometown, Miriam. You had me smiling from the start with Lettuce Inn. I can imagine your smile lighting up so many of those places that you hold dear. Many thanks for sharing them. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, aren’t you gorgeous Jo, what a nice comment. I thought afterwards I could have shared this as a Monday walk but never mind, you found it anyway. Always happy to have you walk along with me. 🙂

      Like

  5. Miriam, your local tour was most enjoyable. Wow, how one wish we could all have such a good time just going shopping. Beats supermarkets by miles. To know the people and have a good chat.
    Well, you have chosen a good place to live. Say hi to them from me.😊 .
    Oh, I also love the comparison quote.
    Miriam

    Like

  6. Sublime!

    “It seems that everywhere I go lately synchronicity follows me.”

    Now if that don’t tell ya you’re on the right path in this crazy life, what does? Thank you, Miriam, for making the rest of us open our eyes to the wonders everywhere! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing your little corner of the world with us, Miriam! Your town looks so interesting and inviting. Besides reminding me of why I want to visit Australia some day, this post also reminded me to pay more attention to all that my little corner of the world has to offer. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed my little patch of the world Ann. Unfortunately I think I need to go back to that dentist chair as tonight I think I chipped a tooth! 😒Thanks for the nice comment Ann. Come over and I’ll pop the kettle on! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Miriam, I loved this tour of your local town and it seems the friendliest of places! The deli is a dream and so cosmopolitan! You’re spoilt for choice! There is magic wherever we are and often we forget to notice it closer to home …thank you for sharing yours and reminding us to look with fresh eyes at our own habitats. Hugs xxxx. Ps. Good luck so your son with his driving and it must be a dream on such wide empty roads! My son too is just starting to drive, loving it but even out here in the countryside just SO much traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true isn’t it Annika that we often forget or take for granted what’s under our. noses and close to home. I’m glad you enjoyed my little ‘hometown’ tour. Have a great week ahead, oh, and thanks for the good luck wishes for Daniel. Sounds like my son and yours are at similar stages. Have fun 🙂🚗

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Seeing your home with new eyes is so important! It gives us a chance to evolve our views about the areas we live in. I’ve been writing about being a tourist at home and it’s revived my passion for Cardiff. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh that was so fun!! My first car was a Toyota Corolla!!! Sync. Ahh also…I know Daniel is just learning how to drive but he’s on the wrong side of the road!!! Were you too busy touring to notice? 😉 Lol…
    I love your village, so homey and quaint and spacious with nature!! That deli looks amazing and yes I love the name of that store Lettuce Inn…how very clever. Oh yes keep encouraging your mechanic…Hey I just thought of the group Mike and the Mechanics…ha!! Anywho you should play him Planting Dreams next time you get your car serviced. I’m so glad you shared this post it was really fun getting to know around you better, it will all that more familiar to me when I come to visit!! Big homey hugs, Deb xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, we have even more in common, the same car, why am I not surprised? 🙂
      Love that you love my hometown village, it’s a great little place. Oh we’d have such fun together Deb, can’t wait for you to visit one day. Big hugs xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know when I read that you have a Corolla I smiled!! Yes we will have so much fun, I so look forward to you showing me all around. It truly looks sooo beautiful! I can’t wait!! Big hugs xo 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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