Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wangaratta - Super Awesome Packing Prosecco Event and Lots of Good Food

Disclaimer: I went on this trip courtesy of the Rural City of Wangaratta.

I used to work with a really happy guy, who came from Wangaratta. How did I know he was from Wangaratta? Well he would say so at every opportunity. He was really proud of his town and how he used to live there. I always told him I would visit Wangaratta one day. Unfortunately he has since left the company, but I did get a chance to visit Wangaratta courtesy of the wonderful Emma from the Wangaratta council. I was invited to join a trip to see the town and area. I had the best time on the trip and highly recommend you visit yourself.

You can learn more about Wangaratta and all the attractions and food via
City of Wangaratta website
Wangaratta Twitter Account
Wangaratta Instagram Account
See High Country Facebook Account

If you're in the area, you must also visit the King Valley for some more great things to do. You can read my previous posts below.
Cow Mustering, Fly Fishing
Brown Brothers Winery
Pizzini Winery
Politini Winery
Lindenwarrah Hotel

Now onto this Packing Prosecco trip. I "drove" to Wangaratta with Michele (who actually did the driving) and Veda. I-Hua and Aaron and Agnes and Alastair went in the other car. It's about a 3.5 hour drive from Melbourne to Wangaratta depending on how many pit stops you need to make. The other car made no stops, but Veda and I have bladders appropriately sized for mice and had to make two stops along the way. My weak bladder is my Achilles heel.

When we did finally arrive in Wangaratta, the sun greeted us as we entered Cafe Derailleur. It's a beautiful little cafe just on the outskirts of Wangaratta. I found out that Derailleur is the gears on a bike, hence all the bike decorations. We could already hear the others in the courtyard laughing loudly. Once seated, I got a refreshing freshly squeezed juice and we ordered lunch. I got the roast pork sandwich but immediately got food envy (which doesn't happen as I'm usually very happy with my order) when I saw Michele's French Toast and Emma's Bagel with Jam and BACON. All the meals were good and I sampled the gnocchi and big breakfast too.

After lunch in which we all rolled out of the cafe, it was onto the Forges Farm for our Packing Prosecco event. The farm is so beautiful, as are the the horses. The wonderful Forge family of Graham, Anne-Marie, Ellen and Tuppy help us set up our horses and do practise rides in the holding area. As I'm an expert, having amassed so much experience in my four previous horse rides, I showed everyone else the way to not fall off, hold on tightly.

Here I am whispering sweet words to my horse to not throw me off and that we can both drink Prosecco afterwards. It worked as I stayed on the horse.
Photo courtesy of Michele

Once we were all saddled up, off we rode into the beautiful farm land. The ride was super peaceful (externally and inside my mind) and I was loving it. I can see why people love to ride horses. You can feel their moods translate through their body into yours as you're riding.
Photo courtesy of Michele

Once we reached our final destination, I thought I had stepped into a movie set. It was so beautifully decorated by Tuppy and was so welcoming. The Prosecco flowed freely as Graham kept topping up our glasses and we got to snack on awesome cheese and bread while enjoying the surroundings and having some great chats. The girls were super loud and I'm sure the people in central Wangaratta could hear them haha. I learned from Ellen how hard working on the land can be, but also the great enjoyment you can get from it. After eating more cheese than anyone should in one day, it was back on our horses to ride back to the farm. Overall the whole event went for about 3 hours and it one of the most fun things I've done in the last few years. I highly highly highly recommend you do this if you're anywhere in the area.

We then went on to check into our accommodation. I was staying at Rees & Rees Accommodation. I got the back unit all to myself. It felt like a super luxurious designer home. Once we found out that the owner Dean also owned the town's luxury merchant shop that sold house fittings and items, it all made sense. I took a long, warm bath (I've provided feedback that the bath plug should be changed to one WITHOUT a nob) and put on my vanilla jasmine body cream. Hey, if it's there, you must try it right. I did smell wonderful and was so refreshed.

Dinner was a two part affair, starting at Precinct Bar & Restaurant for some pre-dinner drinks and pizzas. The pizzas here were so good. We all tried to restrain ourselves as we knew we still had dinner to come but probably all ate a slice or two too many.

For dinner itself, we walked to the next door restaurant in Watermarc. The food served at Watermarc was what I would describe as gastropub food. It was on the whole good food, with some dishes maybe a bit too busy. I preferred the simpler dishes such as the pasta and braised meats. The desserts were a highlight and worthy of any good restaurants.

Dinner concluded a most wonderful day in Wangaratta where we ate far too much food but also had so much fun. The sunset on the ride to dinner was pretty magical too.

On day 2, we started the day at Cafe the PreVue for some breakfast. The cafe is one of many new restaurants set along the Ovens river, which is being developed as the next go-to spot in Wangaratta. I can see why. It's so beautiful along the river and makes for a great walk and place to relax. We all ordered various breakfasts and coffees. I decided to go for croissants, with BACON haha. The croissants were beautiful, and the bacon added to the goodness. I-Hua also shared some her big breakfast with me, which was also really good.

After breakfast, we explored the town (while singing Disney tunes) and went into some nice shops, including Rees & Rees which had so many beautiful things that I couldn't afford. Then as we sang our final Disney tune, it was back into the car and time to say goodbye to Wangaratta.

We made our way to Baileys of Glenrowan for lunch. The beautiful winery makes some of the regions best fortified wines. The winery serves pizzas for lunch so we sampled some. The pizzas were all good, with nice crisp bases.

Lastly, the final stop on this super fun trip was Black Dog Brewery. The picturesque vineyard made wines, but also beers. The eponymous black dog greeted us and followed us around. He was super cute and so playful. We sampled a selection of beers and they were all really good.

That ended a really fun weekend to Wangaratta. I can now tell my ex-work mate that I've been there and gone to some of the places he talked about. Like most regional towns, it has such a relaxing feel. There's lots to see and do there. The food was also good and the people very friendly. I can't recommend the Packing Prosecco event enough. It was so much fun and I look forward to going back and doing that again. Super huge thanks to Emma for inviting me and to Michele for driving.


  1. Nice one dude! I'm too brain dead to read now, but pretty photos <3 and thanks for not needing too many toilet breaks :P

  2. Such a picture-perfect picnic setting!

  3. It looks like an absolutely beautiful location! I'm always reminded of how much beauty is in rural Australia, but for some reason, all my holidays are spent overseas rather than exploring our own country!