Narbethong and Surrounds

Cure for the post-Christmas Blues
THERE is nothing better to cure the post Christmas-break blues than a cheeky mini-break.  After much debate on the theme and location of the mini-break we settled on a weekend of fly-fishing in the Marysville area.  Husband has been nagging me for the last few years to go to Marysville for a weekend but Daylesford, Bright and the Great Ocean Road have always won out.  I loved our weekend so much that we returned two weekends later for a second post-Christmas break.  Very cheeky indeed and those post-Christmas blues, well there’s always the Easter holidays to look forward to!

Stay, eat and drink

SO where to stay?  AFTER much internet searching, luckily for us, we came upon Saladin Lodge located in Narbethong.  This was exactly what we were looking for: beautiful accommodation set amongst the aromatic Australian bush in close proximity to a number of good fly-fishing streams.

Saladin Lodge is owned and operated by the beautiful Kim Rycroft who is funny, entertaining, interesting and just the most wonderful host really.  The Lodge itself is large and spacious and can accommodate up to six couples.  Our suite had a king sized bed, fine-linen and a large bathroom stocked with fluffy towels and quality bathroom products.  All my boxes ticked.

One of the best things is that Kim offers guests the option of eating in-house in the evenings.  This allows guess to totally relax rather than having to go to the trouble of dressing up in your finery and sourcing a restaurant.

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Gorgeous grounds of Saladin Lodge with interesting sculptures

Kim, or Kimmy as she is affectionately known to us, is not only a brilliant host, but an amazing cook.  Her food is light, fresh and extremely tasty.  Having stayed on two occasions and hopefully a third not too far around the corner, we started with a shared plate of nibbles comprised of smoked trout pate, various cheeses and dried fruits.

Nibbles were followed by a main course of baked Tasmanian salmon from the Buxton Trout Farm (on our first stay) and chicken with lemon myrtle (on our second stay) accompanied with garden salad and vegetables.  Dessert was fresh fruit salad with goji berries.  This is our sort of food so we were in heaven.  Kim also has a good stock of locally sourced wines, cider and beers on offer to guests.

There is also good pub option a short drive away in Buxton if you want an Australian pub experience (me not so much) and there are plenty of restaurant options in Marysville.  Kim can assist with restaurant bookings but I would strongly recommend dining in and experiencing Kim’s wonderful cooking.

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Husband enjoying Kim’s gorgeous cooking
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Lake at Saladin Lodge.  Smell those eucalypts, there is nothing like it

Fly-fishing experience

AFTER a hearty breakfast of fresh fruits, cereal, yoghurt, toast and jams and bacon and eggs, we headed out for a day’s fishing.  Husband transformed into fly-fishing guide (he is actually a trained guide) and took me off to one of his secret fishing spots.  Sorry but I am sworn to secrecy regarding the fishing location (apparently that is a fly-fishing thing)!  Given that it was January and extremely hot, we went wet wading which means wearing neoprene booties inside hiking boots with gaiters over the top which according to the expert, will protect you from snake strikes.  I pray that this the case.  Wet wading also allows you to move quite freely through the water rather than being in more restrictive waders.

My guide provided expert casting tuition.  I got at least 10 strikes and managed to land one rainbow trout.  Albeit very small, I am still learning, so this was quite exciting.  And for all those girls who do not want to touch the fish, my guide dealt expertly and swiftly with removing the hook and releasing the fish safely back into the river.

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My first catch.  Okay it is not about the size.  It’s actually harder than it looks trying to land a trout

After my day’s guided fishing, we headed back to Saladin Lodge where my guide magically transformed back into husband.  We spent the late afternoon relaxing by the lake which is apparently stocked with trout.  They were a bit elusive even for my much experienced husband but Kim assures us that they are in there!

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My fishing guide (err husband) relaxing with a glass of wine at Saladin Lodge
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Feeding Kim’s horse who survived the horrific bush fires.  He is so gorgeous

Fact File

SALADIN Lodge is located in Narbethong approximately a 90 minute drive from Melbourne.  Head east young man.

The room rate at Saladin Lodge includes a fully cooked breakfast.  Dinner and wines/beers/cider are available at an extra (very reasonable) cost.

If you would like a picnic lunch, I am sure Kim could arrange this for you. Further details on Saladin Lodge can be found at: http://saladinlodge.com.au/

My fly-fishing guide is from Twig & Stream and can provide either a half or a full day’s guided fishing ranging from the novice to the experienced.  Weekends only at this stage.  All equipment other than hiking boots can be supplied.  If you prefer wearing waders, Twig & Stream stock waders in various sizes.  For further details contact Ian via https://www.facebook.com/TwigAndStream/ or +61 0412 168 020.

If fly-fishing is not your thing, then there are plenty of other options in the local area including:

  • horse-riding with Rubicon Valley Horse Riding. For more information visit: http://rubiconhorseriding.com/
  • a visit to Healesville Sanctuary to see some unique Australian wildlife;
  • a visit to Steavenson Falls near Marysville which are also lit at night and very romantic (I hear). For more information visit: http://www.marysvilletourism.com/things_to_do/steavenson-falls/;
  • loads of walking and mountain bike trails. For more information visit: http://www.marysvilletourism.com/
  • adventure activities and in the winter, cross-country skiing, at Lake Mountain. For more information visit: http://lakemountainresort.com.au/visitor-info/resort-maps-
  • massage and treatments at White Lotus Natural Health & Wellbeing Day Spa & Retreat. For further information visit https://www.whitelotus1.com/
  • Yarra Valley wineries. You will pass through the Yarra Valley on the way to Narbethong and Marysville so our recommendation would be to book a winery restaurant for lunch on your trip home on the Sunday.  Our recommendation is Oakridge.  Oh and Four Pillars in Healesville do a cracking gin.  So call in and do some tastings and pick up a bottle (or two).
  • the Black Spur, in my opinion, is also one of the most beautiful forest drives in the world and well worth it. It is up there with the Beech Forest drive in the Otways.  You will pass over the Black Spur if you are approaching Narbethong / Marysville from Healesville.  Please be vigilant when driving along the Black Spur as it has some sharp corners and keep to the left (yes, I know, why does Australia drive on the left?)
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Buddy the border collie.  So cute

 

 

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Oakridge Winery restaurant in the Yarra Valley
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