More Great Ocean Road Australia

I have just left my wildlife retreat. Currently (December 2019) Australia is experiencing an outbreak of fires. I start actively watching for news updates because the fires escalate day by day. I may need to alter travel plans or even leave the country.

Today I am heading to an airbnb in Port Fairy Victoria. I am staying in an adorable cottage for the night and stopping at some sights along the way.

Gibson’s steps

My first stop of the day is Gibson’s steps.

The steps provide a pathway down to a beautiful beach. Today the Gibson steps are closed due to storm damage and erosion. I just soak up the view up top instead.

Great Ocean walk

From the parking lot I notice a trail marker for the Great Ocean Walk. I read later that that it is an 100k scenic walk along the coast. Today I only walk a little bit of the trail since I hadn’t prepared for a long hike.

12 Apostles

I head back to my car for the short drive to the twelve apostles, a collection of limestone rocks off the coast.

I plan to head to the next rock formation down the road, Loch Ard Gorge, but I see a sign for a cheese and food trail and suddenly decide it is more important to follow that trail then to stop at any other roadside wonders.

12 Apostles Food Artisans

I follow the road with the food trail signs until I get to the first stop Apostle Whey Cheese. I skip the chocolate stop (Gorge Chocolates). I know you must be thinking there something wrong with me but I prefer a block of cheese over a chocolate bar 99% of the time.

I partake in a cheese sampler, tour the grounds and purchase to cheese to go.

I also pick up an official copy of the food map.

I head off to the next location but stop to look at some cows on the way.

I am heading to a brewery nearby, Sow and Piglets Production Brewery. From the website it appears that they sell sausages and such to eat. Beer samples and sausages sound good to me. When I arrive I find the brewery is closed for tastings. I must have arrived off season. If I want to try the beers I have to go to their microbrewery location in town.

Instead I head to the town of Timboon. My first stop is Timboon Railway Shed Distillery. It is a whisky distillery and restaurant. I try a couple whisky samples and then sit down for a late lunch.

Slow cooked beef over potato cake

I finally try a sow & piglet beer.

Right around the corner is an ice cream shop. I head over to Timboon Fine Ice Cream where they have some unique and fun flavors (at least to this American).

I order one scoop of Orange & Cardamon and one scoop of Rhubarb & raspberry. I really love the flavors.

After my ice cream I head back on the road. I plan to go straight to my Airbnb but I drive by Cheese World and I cannot help stopping.

They have Meredith Dairy in stock. I first learned about Meredith Dairy in central Florida where a local cheese monger sells the marinated goat cheese feta. It probably is one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. Meredith Dairy cheese is produced in Victoria; in fact I emailed the farm to see if they gave tours before my trip and sadly they do not. In the USA we import the feta but some of their other products are new to me. I pick up some cheese to take back to my cottage tonight.

I check out the cheese store’s wine collection which is unfortunately heavy on the not so great wines we can already try in the USA. Luckily I already have some bottles I purchased a couple days prior.

I head to my cottage in Port Fairy to rest for the evening. It is an adorable cottage named Elizabeth Margaret Brady Cottage built in 1860.

There is charming bedroom and a cozy living room with a working gas fireplace that I use that evening.

The cottage can hold a small family. There is an attached area with another bedroom and bathroom. It is a pretty large place all to myself. There is also a washer on sight. I am happy to be able to do laundry.

additional bedroom and mini kitchen

There is complementary wine. I can add it to my wine and cheese tasting for the evening.

I prepare some snacks and a cheese plate and relax by the fire for a evening. Today has been a great day.

Sightseeing in Scotland

From Edinburgh we took at day trip to see Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and a Whisky distillery. We chose Heart of Scotland Tours for the trip.

The first stop was Stirling Castle.

A Stewart family castle, it was a favored residence by many kings and queens. This castle is where Mary Queen of Scots spent her childhood. It sits on top of a hill that helps with its fortification.

I really like the tapestries in this castle. So much display of unicorn-ry!

This lighting fixture was quite interesting as well.

And look at this dude….scary.

Because the tour was so packed of activities we were only give a little over an hour to tour both the castle and the town where the castle resides. I would have liked to schedule at least 1/2 day here.

Hamish the hairy highland Coo

After our visit to Stirling castle we drove through the Trossachs and visited Hamish the Hairy Coo.

And look at these views….


We stopped in the small town of Aberfoyle for fish and chips.

We also saw these furry guys.

Loch Lomond

So ye’ll tak the high road, and I’ll tak the laigh road, 
An’ I’ll be in Scotland before ye: 
But me and my true love will never meet again, 
By the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

 The visit to Loch Lomond proved to be the highlight of the day. It was a perfect and clear day. The views were amazing. I felt at peace walking the banks of Loch Lomond.

Scotch Whisky Tasting at  Glengoyne Distillery

We finished out the day with a whisky distillery tour and tasting. The distillery was Glengoyne and we couldn’t wait for our samples. No cameras were allowed on the tour due to fears the cameras would spark flames due to the all the alcohol in the air. It was an interesting tour. We got to see the process that goes into making scotch whisky. At the end we got to taste some single malts – 15 Y ear Old and  18 Year Old. Until this trip I never thought I liked whisky. Now I realize I enjoy high end single malts. We had fun trying out scotches after we returned home from this vacation!!!

The tour was a long day but very enjoyable. I recommend it but you may want to spend extra time at Stirling like I did so perhaps a tour that is more castle centric might be for you. Cheers!

Edinburgh: Whisky Distillery and Pub Grub

We took a lovely day tour of Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and a Whisky distillery with Heart of Scotland  tours. More about Stirling castle and the Loch Lomond later but below are some pictures from the Glengoyne Distillery we visited during our tour. We got to sample some of their 12 year old single malt scotch whisky after our tour. No photos were allowed during our tour inside (something about the camera clicking can cause a spark and set the place on fire!). Here are some photos from the grounds.

Pub Talk

Other days in Edinburgh, we tried to get some pub grub at some historic pubs. This started the tour of disappointing “chain” pubs. In the US, we romanticize about getting a beer at an old pub with some home cooked comfort food. Big companies in the UK have capitalized on this and bought out many of the historic pubs. Many of the names are unchanged but their menu and beer selection is carefully duplicated at many pubs of different names. Most tourists probably wouldn’t notice this but we did. We saw this the most while in London but our first experience with it was at Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar, a bar that capitalizes on its proximity to a beloved statue of a loyal dog. We ate at this bar but discovered to see the same beer selections and menu duplicated at bars in London.

 Sweet potato pie over peas and potatoes.

Other pub fun

UK Pubs: Edinburgh

Last March my husband and I took a fabulous trip to the UK. We did some hiking, some sightseeing, and some pub time.
During the Edinburgh part of our trip we visited some fun pubs and tried some fantastic whiskies.

Our evenings would sometimes start with a dram of whisky or glass of wine from the honor bar at our bed and breakfast.

One night we hung out at the Whiski Bar and Restaurant on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

We shared the Cullen Skink soup and a haggis tower with neeps and tats.

I was able to try one whisky that was aged in sherry cask and one of the scottish beers.

As a welcome treat, a band played traditional scottish music while we sipped our whisky drinks.