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Put your town on the map

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mirboo North

We were overwhelmed at Getaway when we asked viewers who live in tiny towns to tell us about them. There's no doubt Australians are very proud of where they live and it was a huge task to choose just one.

We were all impressed by the residents of Mirboo North's pride in their town which has just 1450 residents. High in the Strzelecki Ranges, two hours east of Melbourne, Mirboo North sits at the intersection of two of Victoria's most scenic tourist routes — the Strzelecki Highway and Grand Ridge Road in the very beautiful South Gippsland area.

Sadly, Mirboo North was one of the towns hit by the devastating January bushfires. Neil Cartwright heads up a team of volunteers called 'The Wednesday Warriors'. They are repairing damage and they still have plenty to do. Everything was black and white, but regrowth is happening and the purple and gold Mirboo Lily will bloom again in spring.

Jacinta Hicken went to an enormous amount of effort to get her town's people together to make a video to send us. She filmed on and off for a week and edited the winning 60 second video which has a strong community element.

The town is trying to raise $750,000 in shares to purchase a Bendigo Bank franchise which will put profits back into the town. They're also raising money to replace the school's barbecue. They are losing their current facilities and $5000 of the prize money will be used for a new area.

Mirboo North grows more than half of Victoria's brushed potatoes, and brews what's rumoured to be the state's best beer.

Lyrebird forest walk

There's much focus on resurrecting this favourite bush walk or more correctly two walks. The 4.8 kilometres have been replanted and are open again. Along the way you spot swamp wallabies, echidna, long nosed bandicoots, koalas and wombats. Apart from lyrebirds there are crimson rosellas and black cockatoos. Platypuses have been seen in the Little Morwell River which runs through the gully. A bridge crosses to the Coral Fern Gully and vegetation of stringy bark, grey gum, Banksia, soft ferns and tree ferns are all thriving once more. It's an absolute nature lover's treat.

Strzelecki Bakery

Everyone in town knows the bakery. It has excellent quality cakes, bread, sandwiches, pies and coffee served with country hospitality. Their specialty is a mouth-watering vanilla slice. You can eat in or take away.

Nanna's Cupboard

This sweet little building has cakes, coffee and craft for sale, but it is usually closed on Tuesday as that's when they have quilting and scrapbooking classes. It's a friendly place and always good for a chat.

Ferndale Cottage

Janine says the former timber cutter's cottage has one of the town's best gardens. It offers something new with each season. The self-catering cottage has one queen and one single bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, fully renovated bathroom, open fire and split system air conditioning. There are two outdoor areas and a barbecue. All linen is provided.

Grand Ridge Brewery

They love pure beer so much they have scoured the world for their favourite styles, studied them closely and developed their own recipes. They've won countless awards for their lager, ale, wheat beer, stout, dark ale and light beer. The 100 percent Australian-owned brewery has been under the control of Eric Walters for over 20 years. He says they're so religious about their produce it's affectionately referred to by locals as the 'monastery on the mountain'.

They don't add chemicals, preservatives or sugar. Beer is made from pure mountain water, blended with the finest selection of malt, hops and yeast — and they guarantee no hangovers. That sounds too good to be true.

The restaurant has a gallery from where you can watch the brewery in operation and tours are available.

Location

Mirboo North, two hours east of Melbourne.

Cost

Ferndale Cottage accommodation starts at $150 a night between Sunday and Thursday and $170 a night on Friday and Saturday. Seniors rates are $130 and $150 respectively.

For further information

Lyrebird Walk
Strzelecki Highway
Mirboo North 3870
www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Strzelecki Bakery
76 Ridgway
Mirboo North 3870
Ph: (03) 5668 1439

Nanna's Cupboard
42 Ridgway Street
Mirboo North 3871
Ph: (03) 5668 2715

Ferndale Cottage
2 Old Thorpdale Road
Mirboo North 3870
Ph: (03) 9758 7295, or 0458 006 800
www.ferndalecottage.com
bookings@ferndalecottage.com

Grand Ridge Brewery
Main Street
Mirboo North 3870
Ph: (03) 5668 2222
www.grand-ridge.com.au

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