Hands up who loves adventure or wants a taste of it?
A couple of weeks ago I had an article published in the latest issue of Caravan and Motorhome on Tour. It’s always exciting to see my stories in print, especially when it’s a place close to my heart (and stomach) and this one was no exception.
Let me immerse you in the beauty and deliciousness of the King Valley.
The King Valley is about three hours from Melbourne. It’s a gorgeous place, a place to wonder at a sky full of stars at night. A place to explore local legends on the Ned Kelly Trail, to indulge in local produce and sip fine wine or maybe to simply relax and savour the views.
Camp with a view
We pitched our camper at Gentle Annie Caravan Park , which overlooks the pristine King River. We’ve stayed here twice and loved it, there’s such a peaceful vibe. My tip: book early in peak season or better yet, go in off-peak times and you’ll likely have the place to yourself.
Not far away, 14km north of Whitfield, there’s free camping at Eli Cutting Reserve, equally picturesque although it can get busy in peak periods.
Wherever you camp in the King Valley region you’re bound to find your piece of bliss. This truly is a place of lush beauty and there’s plenty of rugged off the beaten tracks to explore.
If you want to ramp up the action a tad, drive up to Mount Cobbler for a bit of scenic four wheel driving. On the way you’ll pass the picturesque Lake William Hovell (perfect for a summer dip) and see the impressive Dandongadale Falls.
Pull up a chair and cheers
Nothing beats a camp fired meal cooked over the coals, but if you want a break from cooking, there’s some top places to enjoy a meal in nearby Whitfield.
The Whitty Cafe offers a friendly welcome, a cosy, almost quirky atmosphere, fantastic coffee and generous, good old fashioned country food. And if you like reading, the books are free too.
Down the road the Mountain View Hotel is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. This old boozer dates back to the 1860s and is set amongst gorgeous gardens, a perfect spot to enjoy an alfresco drink on a balmy summers day.
Sample a drop or three
This area is like a mini Italy with 25 Italian wineries ready to welcome you to their cellar doors. At Chrismont winery I met owner Jo and the bubbly Linda at their picturesque cellar door and immediately knew I was somewhere special. If you want to treat yourself I’d suggest booking a table in this classy Italian restaurant which sits regally on a hill overlooking the Black Ranges.
Beer drinkers don’t miss out in the King Valley either. The King River brewery is the perfect place to sample a value paddle of four ales with a delicious pizza.
I’m not a big beer drinker but I had a great time, the atmosphere is fun, welcoming and warm, especially in winter with a big log fire burning. Now before you think the King Valley is just about vino and beer think again.
Take a hike
There are some gorgeous walks in the King Valley.
Powers Lookout is a must do before hitting Whitfield. Named after the notorious 1860s bushranger Harry Powers, who reputedly lead Ned Kelly to a life of crime, this infamous Ned Kelly “hideout” offers some amazing walks and views over the Alpine National Park.
Don’t miss the picturesque and aptly named Paradise Falls. Even when there’s not a lot of water flowing this place is heavenly. As you walk underneath the sheer rock face of the cliffs, with the spray of water tantalising you, it’s pure magic.
Follow the gourmet trail
Aside from the pristine landscape there’s warmth, hospitality and sumptuous gourmet delights for every taste in the nearby Milawa region.
From olives in the olive shop, cheese heaven at the Milawa Cheese Company, gin, pastries and mouth watering milawa mustards there’s enough treats for the most delicious picnic.
By the time we left our car fridge was full so I think we did our part supporting local producers.
Hospitality is the key
We visited the King Valley during the week of Australia Day in January and fell in love with it. In November it comes alive again with the Dolce Vita festival.
The King Valley, much like the people who live there, has a wonderful way of wrapping it’s arms around you in a huge warm embrace, making you feel like a part of the family.
It offers magnificent scenery, wonderful camping and plenty of opportunities to soak up the ambience and, yes. stock up the pantry.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Have a wonderful day and keep seeking out those beautiful places, people and produce that is everywhere.
Life is beautiful and sweet, wherever we are, if we just keep our eyes open and embrace it.
Happy travels and keep enjoying the journey.
In light and love.
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