Manna-Gum at Broadbeach Is a restaurant almost hidden down a suburban street in Inverloch Victoria. It’s a very popular restaurant, for those in the know, and features excellent Asian style meals rarely found in this neck of the woods and hosts Greg and Sue have a long association with the region, having run restaurants and hotels in the area for many years. We’ve been going to the Manna-Gum for lunch for quite a few years to boot (even when we lived in Melbourne) and always look forward to an opportunity to visit. Each time I’ve tried to sample something different (Thai Prawn Omelette this time) and I’ve never been disappointed with any of the meals. The White Rabbit Dark Ale really hit the spot.
The Inline 4 Café may appear, at first glance, to be out of place in this series; however, as it’s licensed, I reckon that qualifies it for the series as much as any other establishment. The Inline 4 Café revolves around a motorcycle sports theme and has, in its short time of operation, managed to generate an enormous amount of interest, locally and further afield. Despite the fact that the café only opened fairly recently, it has become an almost mandatory stop for those on day trips to the area and it’s especially popular with motorcycle riders, for obvious reasons. On weekends when the weather is kind, it’s very busy, but even on weekdays it has a constant procession of customers stopping for great food and coffee.
The Grand Ridge Brewery bar itself isn’t overly large compared to some, but there’s certainly no difficulty in getting a great beer even at the busiest of times and, believe me, it can get very busy. The Grand Ridge Brewery at Mirboo North is a well recognised and highly awarded brewery, receiving rave reviews for its craft beers, about which you can read more on their website. The staff are clearly used to the frenetic pace of peak hour and luckily this day we ventured in early, just before the tourist lunch crowds started to filter in. Being one of the first really fine days towards the end of winter, with more good days predicted, the crowds will undoubtedly increase.
Sometimes when you’re out and about, with camera in hand, you really don’t seem to be able to find anything to photograph, even though there may be a myriad of things in view. I had an urge to photograph something, anything, as we were all cooped up in a shed, sheltering from some hideous cold and wet weather that had descended upon us while camping on the Melbourne Cup long weekend.
While rummaging around in my photo folders recently (that’s the computer type of folder), I came across several photographs that I’ve taken inside pubs/bars over the years while out to dinner or the like. I’ve never used them for any specific purpose and have probably taken the shots because they looked neat or whatever at the time. But on pondering these photographs, I thought that it wouldn’t be a such a bad idea to create a post on bars, considering that pubs/bars are a somewhat iconic part of life in Australia. It’s a pity that I hadn’t thought about taking photos of these before, as there have been some really interesting pubs visited over the years, but I guess it’s never too late to start anything and this time it will be slightly more focussed (photography pun intended). I’ve taken more photos of the outside of pubs than the inside, so that needs to be addressed.
Christmas means many different things to many different people and, of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Also for many, Christmas isn’t so much a religious thing, but more an excuse or obligation for family and whatever to get together; it can be a blessing or a curse. For us, Christmas has, for many years, been a reason to go going camping in the bush; getting away from the mad, mad, world at perhaps the maddest time of year. We’ve tended to do the family thing a week or more before Christmas Day, so that we can be in the bush well before the post-festive crowds start to dribble in looking for campsites. It also usually means some very relaxing days with friends, both pre and post-Christmas, as they too come in after carrying out their own obligations.
Winter in Gippsland can be a somewhat variable affair when it comes to weather. It certainly gets wet and cold, but can also be wonderfully warm and sunny on the odd days. Being such a hilly area where we live, winter mornings often bring a rolling fog that blankets the low lying areas like a fluffy sea. The sight is quite wonderful and something I always looked forward to seeing, but rarely did, when we travelled from Melbourne to Gippsland on one or other of our camping trips. There’s something surreal about seeing a valley shrouded in fog, with hilltops poking out from the sea of white.
Well over five years ago, we finally became tired of city life and started a search for a place in the country, to get away from the Rat Race. Our once ‘rural’ suburb, was now a boiling and roiling sea of humanity, and it was just getting worse every year. We started to look at all the possible options and constantly kept a lookout for opportunities in rural townships. Then, two and a half years ago, we found a small country town that was only an hour and a half from Melbourne (but seemed like a world away), was close to family and had relatively easy access to major services and facilities. It was time to say ‘Goodbye, City Life’ and hello Mirboo North, so green acres here we are; well, it isn’t quite Greenacres and the locals are a tad more sophisticated than those you’d find in Hooterville.
As a bit of a foodie, I always like to use fresh produce whenever I can and try to buy good products, while still aiming for value for money. Unfortunately, Australia is now said to be one of the most expensive places in the world for food products, which doesn’t surprise me at all. One reason for that I believe is due to our supermarkets, especially the big two, Coles and Woolworths, with their virtual duopoly, who have managed to create a shopping environment where you can be guaranteed of generally the worst and most expensive fresh produce imaginable. Sometimes I swear that their vegetables come from the last decade, freshly dug up from the Antarctic, considering how quickly they spoil within days of purchase.