Bloggers on the Bellarine

So, it’s that time of the month again – no, I’m not talking about lady days, as one of my friends has so charmingly named what others might call “the curse”, I’m referring to a bloggers’ mini-break. I was lucky enough to go to the Mornington Peninsula with a lovely bunch of ladies last month (and to Daylesford last year!) and this month, we were treated to a trip to the Bellarine Peninsula.
 I have a tendency to get lazy and revert to jeans on weekends away, so my travel outfit of ethnic top, wool mini from a friend and fringed boots from an op shop was a conscious attempt to avoid that. Someone who never seems to suffer from the lazy fashion bug is one of my travel companions… 

This is our preferred mode of travel…

Just joking, although some people do choose to fly in to the House of Jack Rabbit, the winery with the “best view on the Bellarine” (which I will get to later) and the first stop on our itinerary.

We were spoiled with a plate of yummy smoked goods – made from mostly local produce, like the mussels, which are farmed within sight of the winery – to accompany the wine tasting. 

I’m a non-drinker myself but Marianne, Sarah and Sarah (and Iolanthe, who I think must have been off snapping the spectacular view at the moment I took this shot) were certainly enjoying themselves – look at those smiles!

Here are some of the stunning views around the property…

… and just look at this stunning view! What a bunch of beauties.

I must say the food was stunning too. Fish and chips is one of my favourite things in life and this tempura-battered version was particularly delicious on the winery’s sunny terrace overlooking the sea!

The sun (and wine!) had some of us ready for a nap, but I was too excited about this:  

Kyo is a huge, and I mean MASSIVE warehouse stocking an eclectic mix of vintage furniture and bric-a-brac from all over the place, but with a particularly heavy focus on Asia, particularly Japan. Having lived in Japan for more than nine years, I felt a huge wave of nostalgia washing over me as I stepped through the doors…

I got a bit snap-happy because I loved everything in there, from the opulent wedding kimono (around $400… a bargain when they are thousands of dollars new!)…

… to the super-sweet pictures on lockers that were once used at sento (public baths). Apparently Kyo’s owner joined the Japanese Sento Association and managed to score 50 of these lockers in one hit (I suppose they have to update facilities sometimes… but who would want to get rid of something like this?!).

Japan being a fishing nation, there are also a lot of nautical things like nets and these glass floats which would look fabulous in a backyard pond or even as an ocean-themed table centrepiece.

I’m not sure what you’d do with this monkey… or maybe the question should be, what wouldn’t you do with it…

And a mini police car always comes in handy too…

I loved some of the lacquerware containers (which may actually be Moroccan rather than Japanese?) which would be perfect for storing accessories…

And these sparring samurai would be gorgeous in the garden!

Despite all the temptation, I managed to restrain myself and only bought these lacquerware plates, which at $5 for five were a bargain – or more to the point, about the same price as you would probably pay at a flea market in Japan (having done extensive research in that area, I feel I can speak with some authority!). Kyo is definitely top of the list for when I move house and have some room to indulge my love of the vintage Asian aesthetic.

As if being let loose in a huge warehouse full of antiques were not excitement enough, in the evening we were wined and dined at the Vue Grand Hotel in Queenscliff.  

It certainly lives up to the “grand” part of its name – this is the gorgeously refined dining room which feels like something from a Poirot film (oh, how I’d love to take it over for a Murder Mystery party!). But there were no shady characters jumping out from dark corners – simply great, friendly service and fabulous fare. 

I had zucchini flowers with haloumi as a starter, and the Greenvale pork shoulder, loin and belly as a main – definitely recommended if you like pork. 

Normally if I had had delicious bread and olive oil, a starter and a main, there is no way I would have ordered dessert, but there was enough time between courses to make room for this – caramelised nashi pear with gingerbread, butterscotch and creme fraiche. Oh, and borage flowers.  
Yum! It was the perfect end to a dream of a day. And I think we did all have very sweet dreams in the cosy little units we stayed in – but more on that next time!  

Daylesfordも、Mornington Peninsulaも、ブロガーズで行きましたが、今回はBellarine Peninsulaを訪れました。メルボルンから1時間半ぐらいしか離れていないところなので、一泊旅行や日帰りでもちょうどいい距離です。夏なら多分海で遊んだだろうけど、今オーストラリアは冬なので、食べ物、ワイン、買い物を楽しむことにしました。ランチはHouse of Jack Rabbitというワイナリーに寄りましたが、素晴らしい景色を見ながらムール貝やお魚、海の幸やローカルなビーフ、ラムなどをいただきました。運良く、いい天気だったので、外のテラスで座ってもすごく暖かくて気持ちよかった!というか、あまりにも気持ちよかったから眠っちゃいそうになりましたが、次が待っていたから「また来よう!」と言いながら出発しました。行き先は近くの「」という、倉庫ぐらい大きいお店でした。日本を中心に、中国、インドやモロッコからもヴィンテージ物や雑貨を販売しています。
そしてディナーはQueenscliffVue Grand Hotelという歴史の長いホテルでいただきました。とてもエレガントで静かなダイニングルームでレディ気分を感じながら、ベラリン地方の美味しい食べ物を味わうことができて、かなり素敵でした。一つだけ残念なのは、夜で暗かったから、そのホテルをちゃんと冒険したり写真を撮ったりすることができませんでした。今度はゆっくり泊まって、朝からホテルやそのエリアの雰囲気でも味わおう〜と!