The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory

Junee is located in the Riverina of New South Wales, about 350km southwest of Sydney. It is a nice looking town with some well-restored old buildings, surrounded by the sorts of landscapes that I grew up thinking were iconically Australian: low hills, brown grass paddocks dotted with sheep and trees, and fields of wheat and other crops.

Situated in a beautifully restored old building which used to be the town’s flour mill, The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory was the drawcard that brought us to town while we were visiting family in Griffith, about 2 hours’ drive further south.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the outdoor area under the shade of Virginia creeper supported by old wooden beams. The menu may not be extensive, but the food was absolutely delicious.

Visitors can stroll through the building and watch the different kinds of chocolates and sweet treats being made through large viewing windows.

The factory’s chocolate shop offers a multitude of organic sweet treats: plain chocolate, regular or raspberry licorices in plain or chocolate coated varieties, rocky road, freckles, chocolate coated pretzels, varieties of chocolate with different fruit or nuts in them, just to name a few. The hardest part is deciding what you want to take home, and how much work you’ll have to do to make up for it later on.

In addition to all the sweet things, there are all sorts of produce on offer: pickles, sauces, balsamic vinegar, jams and chutneys, honey and olive oil – all locally produced.

It honestly doesn’t get much more Aussie than this.

Out of responsibility to the folk who read my blog, we bought some chocolate to taste-test, and we are not sorry.

The chocolate is smooth, creamy and delicious. That freckle I just bit into for the sake of the photo is the perfect blend of crunchy and smooth. The rate at which my husband ate his chocolate covered raspberry licorice bullets was definitely indicative of superior quality and taste. The chocolate-coated pretzels I bought were as good as the ones I had in Amish country in Pennsylvania, and that’s really saying something! Consequently, they did not last long enough to have their photo taken. It was only a small packet, after all.

In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that the Junee Chocolate and Licorice Factory is a ten hour drive from home.

The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory
#chocolate #organic #travel

Altina Wildlife Park, Darlington Point, NSW.

Altina Wildlife Park is one of the hidden gems of New South Wales’ Riverina district. Situated just over 30km from Griffith and just under 100kn from Jerilderie, Altina is on the Sturt Highway near Darlington Point.

Altina has a great range of small and large animals, and offers a positive and enjoyable opportunities to see and learn about them.

Visitors are invited to walk through the small animal and reptile sections of the park at their leisure, and are then taken through the  large animal part of the park on a wagon behind one of the park’s beautiful Clydesdale horses.

There is a great range of animals from all over the world to see, and the tours are informative and interesting. The tours are presented by the zookeepers, who are knowledgeable about all the animals both in a general sense and in terms of being personally involved in the care, training and feeding of the animals.

The enclosures are large enough for the animals to have sufficient room to roam, and care is taken to provide, is keen to preserve and breed animals that may be endangered in the wild. The park has a philosophy of interfering with the animals as little as possible, so the animals are trained to do certain things so that the keepers can check their health without going into their enclosures or sedating the animals any more than is absolutely necessary.

I have visited Altina twice when visiting family in Griffith, and have thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.

Altina Wildlife Park
#zoo #photography

All images in this post are my own.

Downtime!

For the chronically busy person, there is nothing like a little downtime for reenergising and resetting the mind. 

I always feel as though making it to the break at the end of third term is like sliding into third base and only just making it, looking shabby and feeling a little worse for wear. 

Life has been crazy busy in recent weeks with work, a non-fiction book release, and theatre commitments. 

So, while my sister is able to care for my dad for a few days, I’ve been able to escape to the countryside. 

Today’s drive rewarded me with blue sky, fluffy white clouds, sunshine, and some gorgeous scenery. 

It really was a glorious day– and just what I needed!

Point Danger, Victoria.

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Point Danger is on a promontory just south of Portland, Victoria.

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Just off the coast is an island that hosts a gannet rookery. It’s not accessible to the public, but you can go down to the coastline and watch them flying just beyond the fence.

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The shore itself is fenced off so that the birds remain undisturbed by visitors. There are better places from which to take photos of the birds and the island, but I wasn’t able to access them on this visit because of mobility issues: I’m on crutches!

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You can also turn off the road to the rookery to visit Crumpets Beach. This is a beautiful spot that lies almost at the end of a fairly rugged track that you would only attempt in a 4-wheel-drive or on foot.

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Once the track has negotiated some tight bends and bumpy stretches, all the while going fairly steeply downhill, it levels out to run along the beach toward the headland.

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This magnificent scenery  all lies within fifteen minutes’ drive of Portland, on the south-west coast of Victoria, Australia, which is actually one of the oldest cities in the state. It has some lovely old buildings, a very active deep-harbour international sea port, and is very popular with fishermen and holidaymakers.

 

 

Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf, Camperdown.

I don’t know about you, but I love a stormy sky and the different qualities it brings to the landscape.

Mt Leura is relatively small for a ‘mountain’, but it does afford a spectacular view of the “lakes and craters” landscape of this dormant volcanic region.

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Overlooking Camperdown.

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Looking north – the rain is coming!

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Looking northeast.

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Looking east, over Lake Corangamite toward Colac.

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Mt Sugarloaf – a perfectly conical formation nestled beside Mt Leura.

In the wild.

As we were driving to Toronto Zoo, we saw a deer in the wild, eating flowers on the side of the road. 

There were no antlers, so I assume it was a doe. She looked up from her feast, saw the car, and bolted into the grasslands further from the road. She moved with incredible speed, yet her movements were fluid and graceful.

There was no time to take a photo, but I was very excited to have seen this magnificent creature in her own environment. I like to think of her out there, in the wild, enjoying the delicious flowers that grow by country roadsides. 

What an extraordinary, unforgettable moment. 

RED ROCK LOOKOUT, ALVIE.

Red Rock is a dormant volcano near Alvie in western Victoria which offers spectacular views of lakes, craters and dramatic landforms that are the result of volcanic action over thousands of years. It is believed to be a younger volcano than others nearby such as Tower Hill near Warrnambool, Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown, and Mt Elephant at Derrinallum. The views from the lookout are breathtaking: craters, lakes, hills and folds that rise dramatically out of the earth, and a patchwork of farms that thrive on the rich volcanic soil.It’s no wonder they call this “Lakes and Craters Country”.

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2015-04-13 16.34.54 Red Rock Lookout

On Coragulac Hill near the peak of Red Rock, is the War Memorial for Alvie and Dreeite servicemen who fought “for God, King and Country” as stated on the stone memorial. As I stood and read the names, I was very aware of the fact that it was exactly 100 years ago that some of these men were fighting and dying for our freedom.  I spent two minutes in silence and finished with “Lest We Forget”.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.

2015-04-13 16.39.57 War Memorial Alvie Dreeite Coragulac Hill

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LAKE COLAC FORESHORE

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A path along the foreshore and up to the rotunda contains bricks engraved with dedications and messages from local people. This was definitely my favourite. 2015-04-13 15.55.58 Lake Colac

The artwork is in the shape the footpad of the Tachyglossus, a now-extinct relative of the echidna. It includes totems of the local Gulidjan/Kolacgnat tribe as well as a boomerang, a gum tree leaf and an outline of Red Rock, a dormant volcano visible on the other side of the lake. It is surrounded by native grasses and plants, and a stone wall that represents British settlement. 
2015-04-13 15.53.03 Lake Colac

2015-04-13 15.49.15 Lake Colac

HOPKINS FALLS, VICTORIA.

In the early Autumn, the Hopkins River meanders lazily through the beautiful farmlands of western Victoria, gurgling and spilling gently over these rocks and falls near Cudgee, just north of Warrnambool. The water level is so low that some parts of the stream are cut off, forming rock pools in the river bed above the falls. Cows graze along the banks and drink from the cool, fresh stream.
When the river is high and fast, the falls are turbulent and powerful, and the stream below is far too deep and unsafe for cows to graze so close to its banks.

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LAKE PURRUMBETE, VICTORIA.

Lake Purrumbete is one of the volcanic crater lakes near Camperdown and Cobden in the Western District of Victoria. It is well known among those who love to fish, but many other people have never heard of it.
2015-04-08 16.55.15 Lake Purrumbete 1

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Moorhens are common in western Victoria, nesting on the edges of lakes and farm damns.
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The Lake Edge Cafe is on the western shore of the lake. It offers lunches and a range of delicious home-made cakes, tea and coffee, cool drinks, and is licenced to serve wine and beer. There’s plenty of parking, and whether you sit inside or out on the deck, you get a great view of the beautiful lake and surrounding scenery.

2015-04-08 16.59.53 Lake Edge Cafe Lake Purrumbete

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