When departing a town around 10am we plan for a mid-morning coffee break somewhere before our next destination. Sometimes spots to pull off the road are easy to find, other times they are a little more challenging. Some towns have deliberate large vehicle parks conveniently located and clearly signposted whilst others we drive around until we find a suitable parking bay. As we drank our coffee in a convenient highway rest stop, enjoying the warmth of the sun, a cyclist dropped by for a quick chat. The usual stuff, where are you from? Where are you heading? Satisfied he knew our story he was on his way and so were we.
After a lovely chat with Zoe and a lunch break in Benalla we arrived at the Caravan Park in Glenrowan. This place is much cheaper, more relaxed and friendly than Cohuna. Fireplaces dotted around the park come with a supply of wood. Understandably these are particularly attractive to those in tents. It is very cold here over night at this time of the year.
Saturday morning Greg busied himself writing his weekly Technical Analysis document while Joan did clothes washing hoping the promised sunny
day would see it dry.
These jobs done we headed into Glenrowan for a history lesson. This town’s claim to fame is Ned Kelly’s last stand. The town has made the most of this infamous bush-ranger, but have done it really well. The Kelly Museum tells his story and has an extensive collection of memorabilia relating to Ned and his family. This is supported with many examples of tools and equipment from that era. A reconstruction of Kate Kelly’s home made us appreciative of all the mod-cons we have at our disposal.
We enjoyed an old fashioned burger at the Kelly Burger House. No fries, no fancy sauces and greens, no trendy relishes, just a good old fashioned burger with iceberg lettuce, tomato, egg, bacon and BBQ sauce. It was quite refreshing and delicious.
After walking the Kelly trail we headed back to the van for a coffee then an afternoon walk before dolling up for dinner.
Returning from the walk we joined a couple at their campfire for a chat. We were fascinated by the couple’s vehicle. This appeared to be a small old style caravan that
had been implanted onto the base of a similar vintage combi-van, making a quaint mobile home. They were from Springton (near the Barossa) and had also set out on the same day as us and are travelling Victoria for several weeks. They seemed amused that we would travel all this way just for a dinner.
We knew the bus would pick us up from reception at 6:20 along with a few others who were also staying here. All dolled up (Greg even wore his dinner suit) we strolled down to the pick-up point. We assumed a small bus would pick us up but up the drive came a monster 57seater. Out of the cabins came a few more people. Once aboard, the very skilled driver manoeuvred the bus in the tiniest of spaces to turn around and head back down the drive and on to Baileys. The bus originated in Wangaratta picking up passengers at various locations there and in Glenrowan. It seemed all people attending the dinner were on the bus. What a great service to ensure there were no drink-driving incidents. It reminded us of a party we held in the Barossa some 10 years
ago when we had provided a similar service.
Of the 60 guests, many were repeat customers attending these dinners on a regular basis, whilst there were quite a few first timers. Like us many knew no one else so it was easy to connect with people. Melbourne was well represented as was Wangaratta. There were couples of all ages. The common denominator – a love of Baileys wines.
A glass of bubbles or gluhwein and canapes were served in the Cellar door room where it was toasty warm. This was a big change from outside and the Cask Hall where 2 long tables were laid ready for the main event. After choosing our spot next to a heater we soon struck up conversations with those around us, none of whom new each other. Initially the idea of attending an event at which we knew no one had been a little daunting however these fears were quickly allayed. In fact, we hardly spoke to each other.
The chef for the night was from the renowned Rinaldi restaurant in Wangaratta. He was spoken of very highly by those who have been to the
restaurant. The food was stunning and perfectly matched with the wines. There were five courses matched with 7 wines. Between courses the chief wine maker described the wines, the Marketing Manager had a bit to say and at the end the chef said a few words and together they answered questions from the floor.
The dinner was designed for the 1870 Club Members (Their Loyalty programme) and show-cased their old vine Shiraz wines, both old and recent vintages. Desert was accompanied by a 60+ year old tawny port drawn straight from its cask.
Once the main meal was finished we retired to the Cellar door for coffee and Muscat (and some heat). Before we knew, it was time to board the bus again and head home to our chilly caravan. It had been a fantastic night and we were really happy we had made the decision to attend.
The bus driver again wowed all the passengers with her driving skills as she turned the bus on a dime and headed off into the night. A gentle purring snore emanated from our van as we snuggled under the covers.
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