Day 242 of 400: Mansfield, High Country – Victoria, Australia

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We were up bright and early today and anxious to see Australia!  After getting ready, we stopped by reception to officially check-in and get a few maps.  Now that it was light out, we could see the large lake which use to be dry land…the trees were now drowning in the water.  This region of Australia went from a 10 year drought to a pretty bad flood.  There were colorful birds including parrots loudly chirping, this will be a very relaxing place to stay for the week.

Reception gave us a couple of maps but suggested we drive a few minutes down the road to the tourist office which we did.  On our way to the tourist office…we saw our first kangaroo!  He was literally right by our car in the long driveway.  We stopped to stare…Giff described it well, it looked as if a deer and a bunny made love and it resulted in a kangaroo.  It was graceful like a deer but it hopped like a bunny.  We sat in the middle of the driveway smiling as we saw him hop away from us…and of course we got a picture.  After our kangaroo sighting, we collected many more brochures at the tourist office and were told the market in Violet Town was once a month which happened to be today.  Violet Town was about an hour and a half away, so we grabbed a coffee and pastry and drove to the market.

The market was pretty large with numerous vendors and a focus on food…yum!  Our first stop was for a handful of homemade chocolates with the proceeds going towards an exchange student program…chocolate for a good cause?  Of course.  We continued walking through clothes, jewelry and antique vendors until we saw a fresh juice tent and an egg roll tent…  These egg rolls were about 10 inches long and being fried to order.  We continued browsing the market with our healthy juice and unhealthy egg roll until we came across a tent full of free-range eggs.  The farmer herself was selling all sizes from her various chickens.  We bought 24 since we will be cooking at the timeshare this week and need some groceries.  We of course bought some cheese from the “cheeseman” and found some wine to taste.  We noticed everyone was extremely friendly…we had to cut the conversations off in order to see the whole market before it closed.  As our hands were getting fuller and fuller of veggies and fruits, we started to make our way back to the car.  We found olive oil from the olive grower and a jar of peanut butter made from only peanuts.

With our car full of groceries, we drove to a vineyard nearby.  It was one of the oldest in the region and sat on a beautiful estate…Tahbilk (www.tahbilk.com.au).  Right where we were about to enter, we saw a plaque that basically said 2 bottles of wine were placed in the wall behind the plaque to commemorate 150 years.  It was kind of special because on the next big anniversary those bottles will be tasted.

Once inside the old barn, we saw the huge wine list.  This was a big time producer.  Without wasting any time, we got started.  After many tastings and chatting with the women working there…we decided our favorites were the Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and the tawny port.  We really wanted to taste some of their older vine wine…vines that were planted back in 1860, but being the bottles were over $100 each, they were not offering tastes.

After buying a couple of bottles, we drove back towards our place but stopped at one other vineyard in the area, Plunkett Fowles (www.plunkettfowles.com.au).  The manager chatted with us about the various wines being made and the differences in taste due to soil.  We  ended up buying a bottle (shocker!)  We took some pictures and then drove back to our little town of Mansfield.

We stopped by the grocery to pick up some protein to add to all the fruits/veggies we had just purchased at the market before arriving back at our timeshare.  We unloaded our groceries and started cooking dinner…on the menu tonight, kangaroo filets!

I have to admit, after seeing such a cute kangaroo this morning…I felt a little guilty eating one for dinner.  Isn’t that just wrong?  The problem was…Giff cooked it perfectly on the grill and we both took our first bite and smiled…it was good!  Kangaroo is super high in iron and super low in fat…a healthy meat.

After dinner, we watched one of the rugby games on TV and went to bed…being sure to turn on the bed warmers…it was a bit chilly but also nice and cozy to crawl into a super warm bed.

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