I fell in love with Metung, a pocket-sized town in East Gippsland, Victoria. It lies on a narrow peninsula separating Bancroft Bay from Lake King and is surrounded by the Gippsland Lakes. It has around 1000 permanent residents, but come holiday time, that swells. Accommodation ranges from B&Bs, self-contained cottages and five star apartments on the water.
5 KNOTS HOLIDAY APARTMENTS has eight stylish one, two and three bedroom apartments. It’s all very contemporary with original artworks, designer fittings, espresso machine, gourmet breakfast pack and irresistible locally-made Chocodence truffles.
5 Knots enjoys a lakeside location and you may not want to leave! It’s easy to see why locals love the lifestyle. Latex mattresses, heated bathroom flooring and a choice of pillows rid you of any stress. In no time, you’ll be as relaxed as the locals.
BANCROFT BITES is a licensed café in the heart of Metung village. Run by a local mother and daughter team, Jen and Lauren Kendall, it’s dedicated to providing excellent food and friendly service. The coffee is pretty darn good too. They offer take-away, as well as dine in options and have a great selection of wines available.
ONEOFTWO CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY showcases some of the area’s creative works. Dore Stockhausen and Marcus Foley have their workshop and gallery in the beautiful rural landscape of Nungurner. Their individually handcrafted jewellery is created from silver, yellow or white gold and palladium in combination with enamel, acrylic, glass and stones.
METUNG GALLEY RESTAURANT is a wonderful place to end the day. Felicity and Richard O’Byrne source local produce for breakfast, lunch and dinner and their efforts have been rewarded by being recommended in The Age Good Food Guide many years in a row!
A two-hour drive north of Sydney took me to the stunning town of Morpeth. Founded in the 1820s, the river port was important for inland trading on the Hunter River plains. It grew crops for the young colony and in its hey day, had four railway stations, twelve wharves and eighteen pubs!
In the late 1800s, the silting of the river and completion of the rail link between Newcastle and Sydney saw the decline of Morpeth’s importance as a trading port, and the town soon nodded off.
Besides the obvious decrease in pubs and wharves, image-wise, the appearance of this humble town hasn’t changed much from that in the above photo. Much of the old charm and character remains and Morpeth is a National Trust classified town.
Historic shopfronts, original wharves and even hitching posts are intact. Stone paved footpaths, heritage buildings and beautiful homely businesses are what makes Morpeth so special. There are restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and lots of specialty shopping to enjoy.
MISS LILY’S LOLLIES is just as popular with adults as it is with the kiddies. As well as local sweet treats, they have favourites from England, Scotland, Europe, New Zealand and the United States. The most common sound at Miss Lily’s is “WOW” as people see the huge range available. For many, it’s a trip back to childhood and most leave with a bag of cobbers, musk sticks and the creamiest fudge imaginable.
CAMPBELL’S STORE CRAFT CENTRE has thirteen specialty sections under one roof. Everything is of high quality and made by craftspeople across Australia. Leather goods, skincare, fine china and jewellery, wooden toys and puppets are all tempting. You’re encouraged to taste the jams, chutneys and fudge, local honey and the widest range of sauces imaginable.
It’s Christmas year-round, so stock up on puddings and unique trimmings and maybe take home a teddy from Morpeth Bears. Servant’s Quarters Tearoom is the place for scones, jam and cream or lunch and there’s a red caboose in the gardens for the children to enjoy.
MA BEATTIE’S CORDIALS are brewed using old-fashioned equipment. They are stirred by hand, bottled four at a time and packed ready to deliver. All ingredients are natural – including colouring – and are great value as they are mixed with water, soda, lemonade or your favourite alcohol and are delicious as an ice cream topping.
Choose from ginger beer, raspberry vinegar, sarsaparilla, orange, lemon and lime cordials, bitters, lemon and lime, portello and passionfruit.
There are helpful suggestions as to uses for Ma Beattie’s cordials, and unlike wine, you can taste as many as you like and be safe to drive!
MORPETH CONVENT GUEST HOUSE is an impressive place to stay, but it’s said to be haunted. Find out more about that on a Morpeth Ghost and History Tour.
The two-storey convent was built in 1909 as home of the Sisters of Mercy until 1980. Adjacent to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and is now a charming bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Comfortable bedrooms were once cells. Stained glass chapel windows are a feature, and spacious verandahs upstairs and down give extensive views of the countryside.
Morpeth, two hours north of Sydney and Metung, East Gippsland in Victoria.