I can honestly say that my liver is glad these two weeks are up. They have been some of the most wine and champagne fuelled ever. A Magnum of Champagne and a week of wine tours was definitely detrimental to my health, for my sanity though this was exactly what the doctor ordered.
For weeks all we could talk about was the wedding and my brother and his lovely wife spent months and months planning it and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Ok so many important family members and close friends were missing mainly due to lack of funds and unavailability but that didn’t stop us. The Matheson’s are bad enough, terrible influences with extreme amounts of bulk stocked wine but add that to the Keith’s/Goldson’s who all have rubber arms you are bound to have days filled with much drunken shenanigans and alcoholic parties.
As you can all imagine I was looking forward to the few weeks away from Middlemount, you really start to go crazy if you stay there too long. What made the two weeks even better was that my family was going to be together again. Australia is the furthest from Home my sister has ever been so we all thought that she needed to experience the true Australian life. Travelling with a one year old not being the easiest thing they spent the first couple of days catching up on some much-needed shut-eye and passing Ewan on to the various aunties and uncles more than willing to babysit. I don’t think the two of them could have been happier! Unfortunately for them they just so happened to be staying in a room that may as well have been full of birds. The aviary right outside their window provided some not so needed noise and entertainment for some weary travellers. Once the sleep was caught up on it was packing up and off again, just down the road so it’s not like it was too stressful but with so many people to keep track of and all the wedding stuff to not forget things were hectic and crazy and the only cure for this is more champagne. Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast was a beautiful setting, the fake beach and fully stocked beer kept us well entertained and out of everyone’s way. My brother and his wife had many last-minute arrangements to do, most of which involved ordering yet more champagne!
If you fancy something close by to a big city and it’s bright lights but also something quiet and tranquil then Sanctuary Cove is a place you have got to see. We may not have made it much of a quiet weekend but the venue itself does allow for that. There is also a cute village just down the road right on the harbour. A good day can be spent there sitting in the cafe watching the sea life go by. We managed to sneak in a breakfast down in the village on the wedding day. My sister and I had been up for a while and were already made up for the big day. We thought what better way to start a long day than a relaxing coffee and quick shop. With much rescue remedy in tow we headed back to get started on the champagne and put the final touches to our outfits. From here on in all I can remember is champagne, champagne, more champagne, a wedding, a reading, the vows, whiskey, wedding photos, more champagne, yet more wedding photos, yet more champagne, possibly some food and yet some champagne! I could go in to a lot more detail but in all honesty some of them are pretty blurry. The champagne may have had something to do with this but I can assure you that it was a beautiful ceremony filled with many tears and some laughter and a few high fives to boot. A perfect day to watch my big brother say his I dos to someone who will make a great sister-in-law and wife. After the ceremony and pre dinner drinks I was starting to get a little concerned about the alcohol levels in everyone’s blood stream. We still had more champagne to go, thankfully dinner squeezed in there and the speeches! Looking back now I was definitely much more intoxicated than I thought. I remember the first and possibly the second course and I do recall saying a speech but the dessert and dancing is all a blur. Looking back at all the photos I know that I had a good time because not one person wasn’t smiling. I just wish that I was a lot more sober to remember the details. I think when the night got to a point where my brother-in-law was bear hugging the priest I thought I should call it quits. This must have been around 10:30pm! Such a poor effort but I am surprised I even lasted that long considering!!
The next day we all headed back to the Gold Coast to watch the Suns play their home game against Richmond. Now a live AFL match is something I have dreamed about ever since first getting involved in the sport back in South Sudan. And this game did not disappoint. Thanks again to the Matheson’s we were up in the lounge and hanging out with the players and big wigs and enjoying yet more champagne! I am a big fan of sports and do enjoy watching game after game but nothing quite beats the excitement of a live match. Even my nephew was loving the show and the beer. Another major high crossed off my bucket list and definite memorable moment for sure.
Our next destination was the Yarra Valley. Everyone was looking forward to this, and this had been my sisters specific request. Victoria is a beautiful part of this country, wineries galore and green fields. Well not so green fields as it was the dry season but still beautiful. I am definitely recommending it for anyone coming to Australia. There is a lot to do in this part of the continent and I hear Melbourne is one of the best cities to live in. I can’t comment much on Melbourne itself because both times I have just driven through and only had the skyline to enjoy but with so many stories about the things to do I will definitely be coming back to find my own adventures.
Driving through this area you really get a taste of what Australia is like. You have gum trees galore and wide open spaces. It is simply just beautiful. Healesville as a town is cute too and has more in it than you could ever wish for. Not to mention it is surrounded by breweries and wineries 🙂
The first point of call was the Giant Steps and Innocent Bystanders winery. The food here is more than delicious and the wine goes down easily. The building is awesome too, you get a sneak peek at some of the wine making process and can even enjoy a wine tasting session if deciding on what to drink becomes too much for you. If wine isn’t your poison you can always walk across the car park to the White Rabbit breweries and drink cider to your heart’s content. Pipsqueak Cider has become a favourite of mine but the various brews and beers that come from their taps are all delicious in equal measures. These two places are somewhere were you can spend a whole day, they feel more like your living room than a bar and the locals are some of the friendliest. We revisited here on a couple of occasions and even made some friends with two American gentlemen who were busking their way round Australia. My nephew was more interested in their money than their music but with good tunes and a good drink as well as some of the best company you really couldn’t ask for more.
The next day or two were spent going round to each and every winery possible. By the end of it I was so confused as to which one was my favourite and we were all loaded up with bottles to take home with us. Not that any of us needed any. The Matheson’s cellar would last all of us many many years! Chandon was perhaps my favourite by far. The views from here are incredible. Grapevines for miles and the backdrop of Victorias rolling hills behind. I could definitely have spent much of my time there soaking it all in and sipping away on some of Australia’s finest. Having entertained ourselves for days we thought it would only be fair to visit the wildlife sanctuary for Ewan’s sake. Not sure who enjoyed it more, in fact as I remember Ewan was asleep for most of it but the Koalas, Tasmanian Devils and Wombats were a highlight for us all. We come from a place with some pretty cool wildlife it has to be said but it is so awesome seeing the weird Australian wildlife up close.
All in all it was a hectic two weeks and it went by so so fast! I think we would all like to come back and do this again but perhaps with a little less hectic and a little more time to enjoy the wine to its full extent. Champagne and family really do work well together especially when two families are celebrating becoming one. I hope that one day we all come back with the rest of my family in tow but with my brother now living over here I know this will definitely happen. It was such an amazing time with all my favourite people in one place I didn’t want it to end. Sadly though my money was running out so work was calling not to mention my sister had to go back home. Looking back it was probably a good thing it was only two weeks because all of our livers needed some RnR and we definitely needed to give ourselves a chance to recover from the hangovers! There really is no better way to spend time sipping on champagne surrounded by family. Happy Days and Big Love always they say 🙂