Yarra Valley and Healesville Sanctuary04:31:00
Hola, beautiful people!
Yesterday my friend Jess and I went to Yarra Valley and Healesville about an hour away from Melbourne's CBD.
I've met Jess in Vietnam two summers ago. We basically got to Ho Chi Minh City the same weekend and shared a room (with eight other people) for 2 months so we definitely got to hang out a lot back then. Jess grew up and lived in Victoria her whole life so she knows the area like no one else which automatically makes her the best tour guide one could ask for.
To start off our morning we went to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and ice creamery which basically is this gigantic chocolate factory in the middle of freakin' nowhere... You can watch the staff making the chocolate and afterwards do everything to not have the oh-so famous summer body of the respective year. We had tea and a very delicious chocolate brownie and then moved on to Healesville.
As you can see, the weather wasn't too amazing but that's very much Melbourne... one minute it's sunny and a few seconds later it looks like sh!# is about to go down... LOVE IT (not). At least it somewhat reminds me of home.
Healesville is one of the 'bigger' towns away from the city - to be frank with you, I still thought it was kinda dead but who am I to judge, right? The only cool thing Healesville has to offer is its beautiful wild life sanctuary where you get to hang out with Australia's best: wombats, koalas, platypi, emus, wallabies, kangaroos - you name it.
After Healesville we headed back towards Yarra Valley which is mainly popular for its many, many wineries.
"Wine, Leah? You don't even like wine that much?"
And yeah, you might be more or less right with this one. Wine is definitely not my go-to choice of alcohol but every now and then I find one that I actually like. I mean, really like. Not just pretend I do to not disappoint everyone or look like I'm 12. Not that I've done that before.... .... ....
We hit up the De Bortoli winery close to the chocolaterie before heading to Yarra Glen for dinner. Let me briefly summarize what happened at the winery: we bought a massive cheese platter, two bottles of wine, drank one of the bottles right on the spot (good effort for 3pm in the afternoon I'd say) and since Jess was driving I basically had the whole bottle to myself while she had a sip or two (don't drink and drive, kids). No regrets. Not a single one.
On our way to get me my first ever PARMA (a very Australian thing actually... it's basically just breaded chicken, a slice of ham, tomato sauce, lots of cheese... because we definitely didn't have enough cheese that day #cheeseplatter) we passed through Kingslake - a city that was heavily affected by the Black Saturday bush fires back in 2009 (120 people died just in this area and another 60 throughout Victoria).
It's pretty interesting coz the area is kinda forestry - while all the houses and grass burned down, a lot of trees in Australia are somewhat fire resistant. In fact, nature is a funny guy, some of the trees adapted so much to the bush fires that some plants cannot exist without the occasional fire anymore. Adaptation is definitely one of the hallmarks of Australian flora and their ability to handle fire sets them apart from other regions worldwide. While this is super interesting, it was still a bit weird though to drive up and down the hills and see burned down and abandoned houses every now and then.