Im not sure if there really is a better way to spend the first day of a new year other than chilling out on a deserted island. This was one of two optional extras some of the group had made the choice of a trek into the countryside and a visit to a waterfall over a catamaran trip out to Caya Blanco. As much as I’d have loved to have had the time to do both I had been looking forward to this trip especially from the moment I booked the trip.
It was a fairly smooth ride over to the island where we were to be spending all day. There was the option to go onto the island straight away or stay on the boat and do some snorkling a bit further round. A few if us decided to settle on the beach over the snorkling. I’m not a massive fan and there were not that many to go round the entire boat. We got the drinks in and enjoyed the peacefulness of the island.
I made a run for the sea – it was just calling me – mid way through a conversation with Dot. Throwing clothes off as I got closer. The water was warm and crystal clear and the sandy beach was white. Picture postcard beautiful. The only disturbance was the massive amount of hermit crabs crawling literally everywhere. Quite off putting in case one randomly climbed over you.
There was another lady not from our group who was enjoying the tranquility of the location as well but when some of the others were chatting and giggling in the sea she shushed them. Never shush a giggly girl – it will just make it all much worse! I think the house level raised a notch after that!!
We had lunch on the island as well and it was lovely to be in such heat by the water. The iguanas behind the kitchen were really quite amazing, such prehistoric looking creatures surrounded by a carpet of the hermit crabs of all sizes.
Once we had our fill of the sunshine and turned a wee bit pink we headed back to the mainland on the catamaran and thankfully the coach was waiting for us to take us back to the main square. We went to try and find the place that we saw selling ice-creams yesterday but sadly it was closed which was a real shame. We did, however find some pretty impressive Pina Coladas which most definitely did the job and as a result we had to have two rounds of them!! Delicious
Funnily enough this was the most popular of the tours for those wanting to book on with me. In total there were 10 of us that headed out of town and into the scenic Yarra Valley for a spot of wine tasting for the day. We had 3 Australians on the bus as well who were quite quiet initially but warmed up throughout the day as the tasting went on!
It did feel somewhat wrong to be starting a wine tasting tour at ten in the morning?! We tasted 12 different wines, but I was a little bemused that we weren’t shown how to taste the full flavour and so on. We were just given a bit in the bottom of the glass told what the grape was each time & carried on. I think at the first vineyard, Oakridge, we tasted a total of 12 different wines – 6 white & 6 red. I tasted them all, of course, but was not drinking all of the tasters of the reds.
Loosened up on we pressed to the delicious cheese shop from the dairy farm in the valley, little samples of goats cheese which, were I staying longer, I’d have purchased the full piece of. It was simply delicious, so creamy and fresh tasting.
Our second vineyard of the day was Coombe Farm where again we tasted around five or six of the red as well as the whites.
The lady telling us the details of all of the wines was a wonderful character and full of great humour. I clicked part way through that Lord Vesty is one of the other syndicate members in a couple of the horses that Dad has had an interest in over recent years. His daughter as well, of course I was at junior school with – Flora, but hardly remember her to be honest. Small world and all that! She reminded us of all the horrendous bush fires of 2009 and showed us where the fires came up to on their property, many of the vineyards in the surrounding area were badly damaged but thankfully the wind changed JUST as the fires had come up to the edge of the property the winds changed and blew it in a totally different direction. It was not far from here that the picture of the fireman giving the koala some water was taken.
We headed on to where we were going to be dining (the Rochford Winery). No buffet here, instead we were treated to a delicious choice of main meals of which I chose a slow cooked beef off the choices. First though we had another wine tasting session. This would have, in my view, been far better placed AFTER we had eaten as we were all feeling rather topped up on the old vino already! Kay & I for one were incredibly giggly at nothing much in particular & she couldn’t stop at one point!
The lady giving us the wine tasting session was teaching us the way of doing it and helping us through the whole process a lot more than previous vineyards. Smelling it, swirling it, swooshing it spitting it which as I am sure you can possibly gather had us in stitches even more!
Our last stop was the Australian version of Moët & Chandon (the name escapes me at present & my guide book is not currently to hand) After a full glass of wine at lunchtime I was feeling pretty full of wine and so decided to be sensible and not actually taste all of the different ones here and only tried the first sparkling before passing quietly and nipping outside to soak up the sunshine and the views.
On the way home we stopped in on a chocolate shop and partook in a few samples, but managed to refrain from buying any to take home! The views were still stunning of all the vineyards out in rows, ok wrong time if year to see them growing but you could imagine the scene in summer time and how very different but yet even more beautiful the scenery would be.