Yesterday was Craig’s birthday and I always find it difficult to find him a present for his birthday that he wants or needs so I have been surprising him with a day out or better still, like last year, a three day break for the two of us in Uluru! This year wasn’t quite so extravagant but we did manage to get a day to ourselves and went on a Yarra Valley Segway tour at the Balgownie Estate.
Neither Craig nor I had been on a Segway before and I thought it would be a fun experience. The Segway tours I have seen have an age restriction of over 12 so I knew that the kids would not be able to do it, you would need to be a certain height and weight to be able to effectively use the Segway as it operates on your balance. I have seen a few Segway tours when we have been away but the kids have always been with us. I snapped up this opportunity for just the two of us.
I managed to get a great deal on the Groupon website (I’ve got some amazing deals from this site including a Groupon deal for Kite Surfing and Groupon deals on dental care in Melbourne). The tour that we did is usually $75 if purchased from the Balgownie Estate but Groupon had it for $39 per person. This price was prepaid through the Groupon app on my iPhone a few months prior to today. You can also book through the Groupon website. This price is for a 40 min tour of the Balgownie Estate including the vineyards.
When you arrive you are required to complete the registration form with your personal details. You then watch a 5 min video on safety and how to operate the Segway. After this you have your licence and are free to jump right on!
The tour guide will stand with you and ask you to preform a few moves so you get the feel of how it operates. We headed off up a hill and then we each had a turn at going down. When you go down the hill he stands at the bottom so that if anything goes majorly wrong he’s there to catch you! Or so to speak.
Then off you go! Our tour guide Liam was at the front of the group and took us to the top of the vineyard and then we went through the vines to the bottom to take in the views. I am sure he was taking in the views but I was concentrating on what I needed to do to stay on the Segway. I was also trying a take a few photos for this post tonight! Typical female, multi tasking! Did a pretty good job of it too, here’s the photos to prove it!
I found the Segway pretty easy to manoeuvre but I did have a small amount of trouble going up hills at the beginning as I felt I was going to go over the handle bars! More so going up hills diagonally, that was pretty difficult. At one stage I was really struggling and somehow managed to do a 360 and then faced the wrong way! Craig was up ahead so didn’t see it but one of the other fellas came to help me. He was saying ‘stick your bum out’ and you will stop going backwards! Other than that I was pretty confident and really enjoyed it. Must have looked a right treat though!
Like everything I was really starting to get confident right at the end and could have done with another 30mins on the Segway. I would love to have one at home to zip up the shops for milk! We had 6 in our group and everyone picked it up quickly. The fellas seem to catch on quick and the 3 ladies all had a moment or two where things went a bit pear shaped, but it kept us laughing!
You can’t go to Victoria’s most famous wine region and not check out a couple of the local wineries. Craig quite likes a wine or two but me not so much. I have the occasional rosé but I’m certainly not a connoisseur nor do I really enjoy tasting it. Needless to say I then became the designated driver! That doesn’t worry me one little bit! We generally try and visit some of the smaller ones and today was no different.
We were most impressed with a quirky independent called Acacia Ridge, Craig really enjoyed the wines they had and I really enjoyed the buildings and discussed with the owner their vision for the place going forward. They are hoping to increase their marketability for weddings and I can see what they are planning on doing there and the sweeping views of across the Yarra Valley are going to assist with this vision. The cellar door was an old miners hut built in the 1850’s and it had so much character, the owners had an open fire going inside it which I plonked myself down in front of quite happily. I love that the owner took the time to sit and explain the different wines to Craig and were they come from.
Its a family run business and we walked out with our 3 bottles of their finest including a muscat port that I am going to take to our white christmas on 2017. Its perfect for sitting by an open log fire at christmas as it tastes just like plum pudding. I told the owner I would send her a pick of us enjoying it from either Europe or America, with the fire and snow out the window, hope she remembers. An update, I took the muscat port in my carry on to the USA and it got confiscated going through Immigration leaving Sydney Airport. I was devastated, I had kept that bottle for 2.5yrs just for the trip.
The owner of Acacia Ridge mentioned a local cafe that stocks her wine called the Dixon’s Creek Cafe & Bar, she said the meals were great and reasonably prices so we headed on down there for lunch. Craig and I decided on the sharing platter for two people and it was lovely. We had the smoked salmon on the side for fussy pants here and the ciabatta bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar was very tasty as were the arancini balls with an aioli. Very nice and only $35 with drinks, I was going to have lunch at Balgownie Estate which was $60 each for two courses but I think I enjoyed the share platter much better. Sorry about the photo, I forgot to take it before starting so its a bit scrappy!
We also visited the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie quickly to get something for the kids. We were there about 11am and it was already busy, all the chocolate is produced on site and there is a good variety of chocolate, nougat, chocolate covered fruit and marshmallow. You could spend a fortune there!
There is so much to see and do in the Yarra Valley, you could easily spend a week here dropping in and out of the different places selling local produce and of course their hundreds of wineries. I especially like purchasing the local produce, you can even go hot air ballooning if you wish, I haven’t done it there but I have done it twice and its an amazing feeling.
We had a lovely day and I hope Craig had a lovely birthday, it was something different and a little bit fun. Best of all we got a day out together and spent some quality time together, it very rare when you have 3 kids but always savoured! Now to start thinking about next year!