Wow. What a fantastic day yesterday. I have been looking forward to catching up with old friends when we get to Melbourne and yesterday was a perfect day of doing that. We spent this beautiful Sunday visiting wineries, a brewery for lunch, a dairy, and an artisan chocolate factory with our great friends The Gillies and The Griessels. We had fantastic weather and lots of time for all the kids to have fun playing games and learning about each others’ cultural idiosyncrasies.
We visited a place called the Yarra Valley which is a beautiful wine region about 40 minutes outside of Melbourne. It was a spectacular wine and farming valley with the Dandenong Ranges in the background. It has many similarities to Sonoma or Calistoga in California. Our friends are very fortunate to have this in their backyards! The Yarra Valley has about 150 wineries over 6,000 acres (Compared to Napa which has over 400 wineries over 40,000 acres).
We visited Yering Station and Domain Chandon to try the local wines. All were excellent. I especially liked the Shiraz Viognier blend from Yering Station.
We visited the Yarra Valley Dairy and had a tasting of their locally crafted cheeses. Mostly Sheep’s Milk cheeses. All were fantastic.
We had an excellent lunch at the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company. Also sampled some of their local brews. Some great selections.
After lunch and another winery, we decided to give the kids a treat. We went to the Yarra Valley Chocolatier. Oh wow! It definitely felt like we had found the Golden Ticket! This was the closest to Willy Wonka I have ever felt. The kids were just devouring the giant bowls of Chocolate Nibs and watching through the glass as they made chocolate bars. Very fun!
The perfect place to close out a practically perfect day.
The two best parts of the day were watching Luke grow friendships with kids from the other side of the world through playing universal games like “Tag” and “Hide and Go Seek”.
The other best part was spending time with great old friends. We have known the Gillies since the first day Scott and Stephanie met (literally). The Griessels, while we haven’t seen them since our South Africa trip in 2008, are wonderful old friends from our days as expats in England. It is great to see them and we are so happy that they are settling in so well in Melbourne. Both have picked an amazing place to raise their families.
Today will be a great memory of this trip. It checks the most important memory boxes we have:
- Beautiful Place – CHECK
- Great Food & Drink – CHECK
- Perfect Weather Day – CHECK
- Great Friends – CHECK
Thank You Yarra Valley, Gillies, and Griessels!