The Barwon River has a popular bike path and series of parks, it’s a greenspace that should be a high point of civic pride. And I’ve discovered something, something that I feel we could all enjoy if only we knew it were there. It’s an island. It’s our island. It’s Australia. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at this:
I’m on a 6-day trip down Australia’s east coast from Sydney to Melbourne with my wife, Jo-Roxy. We’re living in a campervan with “crusin” written across the front. I have never driven the A1, usually preferring the Hume for speed. It’s blowing my mind because in my head Australia is never this green in the summer months, maybe in the tropics or something, but this is the same scrubby gum bush that I’m used to seeing as a Victorian except here in this area south of Ulladulla I’m confronted with lake after lake, green literally all I can see in places other than a sparkling blue sky.
Donald. It’s hard to know what to say about it. This is where my father’s side of the family has been for generations. Nearby towns Boort, Wycheproof, Birchip and Charlton come up frequently in conversation but I’ve never visited them. I find it almost impossible to believe there is anything past the flat fields that spread in every direction like a flood. My Dad grew up on a farm, which is mostly sold now. My uncle and aunty live in my Dad’s childhood home on the last 300 acres.
While holidaying on the beaches of the Otway ranges this unseasonably cool summer it has been natural for holiday makers thoughts to turn away from beaches and to the spectacular forests inland. My interest in Forrest Brewing was piqued after a visit to the Wye River Pub, where I tried a stout from the mid-sized bottle that have become Forrest Brewing’s trademark. Arriving in town from the Great Ocean Road Forrest Brewing is difficult to miss, a one level former general store with BREWERY written across the silver corrugated roof in gigantic letters. A circular sawblade painted with the Forrest Brewing logo is the first indication of the origin of the township’s name and its former industry.
I grew up on the Victorian surf coast in Australia. I learnt to surf on an 8’ funboard with electric blue bottom and cream deck at Ocean Grove. I spent my summers dodging closeouts and nippers at Wye River, the sandbars were always going to sort themselves out with the next easterly swell or river flood – neither did. Pulling on wetsuits year round was normal, cold water was the only water I knew. Booties meant you didn’t have to come in direct contact with floating kelp. From Point Lonsdale to Torquay to Aireys Inlet, there wasn’t a beach break I hadn’t surfed, still too much a novice to brave the reef breaks, still scared of waves over 3’ and usually one of the few surfers under 25 in water dominated by grey hair, rotund bellies and