Melbourne is undeniably one of my favourite cities in the world. Maybe that’s because it actually reminds me of Cape Town in a lot of ways. It’s culturally diverse, has a great coffee culture, is close to the water, a hipster’s dream and one of the most delicious cities in the world. Another similarity is that both Melbourne and Cape Town are less than an hour away from beautiful wine valleys – my favourite part! While I was visiting my sister in Australia earlier this month, we decided to head out of the city for a night and explore the beautiful Yarra Valley.
Autumn is my best time to visit the winelands and we wanted to really dive deep into Victoria’s stunning Yarra Valley and make the most of our 24 hours in the region. We booked the cosy cottage at The Burrow at Wombat Bend for a night of post-wine tasting sisterly bonding. Owners Sue and Bill are passionate about Australian fauna and flora and have spent over 30 years building a uniquely indigenous little paradise. To them, it’s a living sculpture, lovingly built with nature’s own building blocks. If a tree falls down, they let it lie, providing nesting spots for new birds. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind, surrounded by truly Australian nature, after a long day of exploring.
At Wombat Bend, you’ll find over 100 bird species dipping in and out of the billabong and looking for something to eat around the property. While we were there, we spotted two beautiful cockatoos just hanging around the billabong like it was no big deal. Sue took us for a walk around the water at sunset and I loved her quiet knowledge of Australia’s plant- and bird life. She’s so energetic about wildlife and I had to smile as she described some of the birds as “passionate” and having “a great sense of humour”. If you’re into birds, you’ll have a field day here! I kept making mental notes so I could report back to Keenan, my own bird enthusiast back home.
The Burrow at Wombat Bend feels like a movie set. Made from mudbrick and cedarwood and decorated with tapestries and the original country-chic furniture, it’s wonderfully cosy and warm, with rugs scattered in layers and colours that make it feel like it was put together specifically as the location for a movie about two long-lost sisters reconnecting over a bottle of wine while wrapped up in fluffy robes.
The cottage is fully equipped, but after a long day of wine farm hopping we opted for the “dine in tonight” option. Sue had put out some cheese, fresh bread, crackers and fruit for us when we arrived and for dinner she brought over a delicious coconut and pumpkin soup for starters and veggie and sultana tagine with cous cous for mains. All we had to do was warm it up and pour the wine. For breakfast we had salmon, bacon, farm eggs, fruit, yogurt pots and orange juice. The pantry was fully stocked with coffee, tea, spreads and sauces and more, so it felt like we were staying in a home rather than a B&B.
Once the sun had set, we cuddled up and watched The Dressmaker – one of the DVDs on offer in the room. It was so special to have that alone time with my sister, in her new home of Australia, surrounded by everything that makes it such a great country to visit. It’s not often that we get one-on-one time, where we can just sit together and be quiet and make fun of each other, the way sisters do. Our time together is normally very busy, or with our parents and respective partners. But this was an opportunity to just be us.
More about The Burrow at Wombat Bend
The Burrow is an easy drive to local wineries, restaurants and more. It’s close to all the major Yarra Valley attractions and is the perfect place to base yourself for exploring. For international visitors, it’s a special opportunity to experience a truly Australian ‘home away from the city’.
The landscape of Wombat Bend designed and created by the owners, is an acclaimed Land For Wildlife property; drawing together the natural elements of water and trees, sunshine and shadow, viewlines and vistas to soothe away the stress of crowded city life, calming your senses with nature’s touch.
The Dining In option offers a two course meal of home-cooked comfort food delivered to your cottage. Veggies are well catered for at $60 per couple, it’s great value for money.
For true nature enthusiasts, Sue and Bill have put together a Wildlife Experience package, which combines Yarra Valley with the surrounding mountains, wetlands and shorelines. There’s also the Eco-Adventure package, which offers you the opportunity to spot adorable flying possums.
The Burrow at Wombat Bend Contact Info