Good food, regional produce and beautiful homewares at Dimboola Store

John & Alexandra O’Halloran purchased an old former bush hospital converted house in Dimboola in 2017. They were drawn to the area by the beautiful natural environment and river landscape.

The couple saw a need for a venue offering a lifestyle store featuring coffee, quality food, homewares and regional produce. They also wanted to create a space to meet, celebrate or meditate.

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With this agenda in mind, Dimboola Store has been designed to offer customers both a visual experience and a culinary experience whilst also offering an opportunity to browse the homewares on offer or simply relax over a drink and meditate.

The Store has four distinct areas, each offering a different feeling and aesthetic. The welcoming “Living Room”, the larger “Common Room”, the hideaway “Snug” and the muted “Alleyway”.

The main Living Room is the heartbeat of the Store, which features Australian made ceramic travel cups as well as reusable Stojau collapsible coffee cups coupled with regional produce shelves featuring predominantly local produce and homegoods. The café coffee is Genovese which has developed a strong local following and the shelf stock of Grounded Pleasures drinking chocolate flavours is also highly popular.

The Common Room features, amongst others, Salus skincare, olive oil based soaps and Harvest baskets. The Common Room is the room to gather and start to explore beyond the entrance sign above the doorway proclaiming “It’s beautiful here”.

The cosy Snug offers muted lighting in a peaceful hideaway stocked with latest release “foodie lovers” cook books and giftware, whilst The Alleyway is set up as a spot for twosome discussions and coffee amongst a feature wall of rope hangings, artefacts and assorted paintings.

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The emphasis is upon creating a visual sense of discovery in the retail shopping experience in moving from room to room but at the same time maintaining a connectivity between the spaces.

There is also an adjacent park forming part of the business premises where customers can relax in the outdoor area.

The menu is relaxed cafe style with breakfast and lunch options currently trading from 8am - 3pm daily. Upcoming events include floral creativity workshops as well as entertaining cooking workshops with wine and beer tastings. Dimboola Store is also in the process of obtaining a liquor licence in time for the warmer months.

Luxury in the heart of the Grampians

Icon Central Halls Gap

Icon Central Halls Gap

Located in the heart of Halls Gap, nestled amongst the stunning landscape of the Grampians mountains ranges, sits the luxurious Icon Central Halls Gap.

Tucked away only a short walk from the centre of Halls Gap, Icon Central Halls Gap is a beacon of comfort and intimacy, boasting stunning views of the mountain ranges from your first step outside the door. Couples and visitors are grandly welcomed by the impressive iron gates along with some furry friends, with deer and kangaroos being among the wildlife roaming the ground. The walk along the short boardwalk is enticing and as you enter the gates you instantly feel as if you are in your own retreat, far removed from the surrounds.

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Couples will particularly enjoy their stay at Icon Central Halls Gap, with many luxurious comforts to enjoy and relax in. As you walk onto the deck the outdoors are invited in with the vast wall of glass flooding the accommodation with natural light that allows you to feel a part of the landscape. The venue feels homely yet luxurious, relaxing and exciting. The recliner couches await to seat you in comfort, with button activated reclining functions and tasteful soft furnishings. Relax together with your partner, open a bottle of wine in front of the fireplace and catch a flick on the large television.

Icon Central Halls Gap is designed for couples looking for an intimate time together. The master bedroom caters to this with the expansive walk in robe and a bathroom that is truly special. Heated floor tiles and towel rack, double vanity and glass framed double shower with massaging shower heads make the ensuite a luxurious touch. Enjoying the bedroom is easy with a large King Bed, mounted television, infrared sauna and aerospa with mountain and waterfront views, making this room a place to remember.

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Enjoying the fresh air, stunning nature and landscape of the Grampians is made comfortable year-round with the impressive outdoor wood fireplace. The grampians stone fireplace is warm and welcoming, located in the private courtyard of the property again with mountain and waterfront views for you to enjoy. You won’t want to leave the property and won’t need to in order to enjoy a delicious meal as the fireplace also houses a wood fired pizza oven.

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Your host, Tracey is as friendly and hospitable as she has experience and knowledge of the Grampians region. With over 30 years of living and breathing the Grampians, she will ensure that your every need is met as she caters to your requirements, to make your stay truly unique and special. The kitchen is fully stocked including local wines from Fallen Giant Vineyard, cheeses and mouth watering locally produced Grampians Olives and pastes (just to name a few) to enjoy in front of the cosy open log fire. The Grampians is home to many local artisans whose items are showcased throughout Icon Central Halls Gap including Five Ducks Farms Jams, hand made organic Beatha Granola, just to name a few.

Icon Central Halls Gap may feel like you’ve retreated away from world, however a short walk away you will find some of the best bits of the Grampians region: Harvest Café, Paper Scissors Rock Brewery, Kookaburra Hotel, and the famous Coolas Ice Creamery, to name a few. If you’re feeling adventurous, a short walk away you will find an array of nature walks to choose from, including the famous Pinnacle walk and Venus Baths, ranging in length and difficulty, but all equally beautiful.

This stunning property is perfect for a weekend of ultra luxury to be enjoyed for two and is not to be missed if you are looking for something extra special, it really does have it all.

Spring special!

Make a booking during the month of September, for anytime in the next 12 months, and receive a complimentary night. Conditions apply.

For more information and to get in contact, visit www.iconcentralhallsgap.com.au or call Tracey on 0418 556 360

Spring and Summer in the Wimmera

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Clearly the two best seasons to live in this glorious part of the world. Why do I say that? Because I am not a fan of the cold, being cooped up and having washing drying all around me on clothes racks.

Right now, the wattle is flowering and that bright yellow is the hope I needed to remind me that short chilly days are about to be a memory and evenings spent enjoying a beer in the warm sun are just around the corner. 

As this is a combined spring/summer edition, it was a seriously hard choice to pick what backyard tourist options to highlight. I have decided to go very water-based and pick two of my all-time Wimmera favourites.

1. Yabbies. Yes, those glorious little mud diggers are a Wimmera delicacy. Growing up in south-western NSW, we regularly caught yabbies in our farm channels, but they were nowhere near as popular as they are here. 

Yabbies are not just something you catch to eat in the Wimmera. They are a whole social scene in themselves. Get some friends together, find a lake and make a day of it. You can use a boat or even walk nets out. Kids and adults alike will have an absolute ball catching them. 

Then, after a few rinses, it’s time to cook the critters and sit back and enjoy your finger food and a beer. How to eat yabbies is pretty contentious. Some people love a yabby sandwich and some people have them with tomato sauce. I prefer them with bit of thousand island dressing or done in the wok with some chilli and garlic. The most important part about yabbying and eating yabbies making it a shared experience. Don’t forget to share some with your neighbours if you catch plenty (trust me, they love it).

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2. Just getting out on the water. There is absolutely nothing more peaceful than being on the water. Catching fish makes it even more fun. But you don’t have to be a fisherman/woman to enjoy the great waterways we have in the region. From Wartook Lake, the Wimmera River and the Yarriambiack Creek, just find a way to connect with the flowing life blood of the region. 

While skiing and fishing are popular warm weather past times in the Wimmera, I really enjoy some solo time kayaking the Wimmera River, especially during one of our glorious sunsets. Finding the time to get our kayak out on the water is one my favourite things to do. Being so low to the water level gives it a different perspective and you really feel like you are part of the river. If you want to test your balance, the local water ways are great for stand up paddle boarding as they are generally calm if ski boats aren’t flying by. If you don’t have your own kayak, there are places around town to hire them, trust me, you won’t regret it.

Hope to see you out on the water!

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6 of the Best Waterfalls at Grampians National Park

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Grampians National Park is home to an array of wild and wonderful waterfalls, in amongst the mountain trails and picturesque peaks. Many of the waterways are just a short walk, with trails ranging in difficulty, but worth every minute. Here’s six of the best for your next weekend activity…

Mackenzie Falls

Grampians National Park, Northern Grampians Road, Wartook, Victoria, 3401 

Mackenzie Falls is one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in Victoria and flows all year round. Take an easy stroll to a viewing platform overlooking the Falls (wheelchair accessible) or take a longer route down the stairs to the base of the falls for a close encounter with the cascading falls.

MacKenzie Falls car park is a forty-minute drive from Halls Gap on the Mount Victory Road.

Mackenzie Falls

Mackenzie Falls

Beehive Falls

Grampians National Park, Roses Gap Road, Roses Gap, Victoria, 3381

Enjoy peace and tranquility at this pretty waterfall. Take the undulating walking path that leads to the base of the falls. Visit the Beehive Falls after rain for the best views, and in spring for the surrounding wildflowers. 

Beehive Falls

Beehive Falls

 

Silverband Falls

Grampians National Park, Silverband Road, Bellfield, Victoria, 3381

This delightful waterfall is known for its narrow band of water that cascades over a rocky cliff and then ‘disappears’ into the rocks at the base re-emerging some 50 metres further downstream. Enjoy a gentle stroll through a shady forest to arrive at the base of Silverband Falls. Visit in spring to see wildflowers in bloom in the area.

Silverband Falls

Silverband Falls

 

Nigretta Falls

Grampians National Park, Wannon - Nigretta Falls Road, Hamilton, Victoria 3300

Take a short detour from the Glenelg Highway for swimming, fishing, picnics and barbecues at Nigretta Falls, a small waterfall fed by the Wannon River.

View the falls from above and enjoy the picnic tables and barbecue facilities or take the stairway leading to the base, where water pools provide excellent secluded swimming and fishing spots.

Nigretta Falls

Nigretta Falls

 

Wannon Falls

Grampians National Park, Wannon–Nigretta Fall Road, Hamilton, Victoria, 3300

Just 20 km west of Hamilton lies Wannon Falls. Wannon Falls was created by lava flow that surged upstream to the Wannon River. Watch as water cascades over a spectacular 30-metres into a deep plunge pool below.

Wannon Falls

Wannon Falls

Fish Falls

Grampians National Park, Zumsteins Picnic Area, Mt Victory Road, Zumsteins, Victoria, 3401

Fish Falls cascades 60 metres over terraced rocks into a pool below year round. Take a 4.6 kilometre (return) medium-grade walk starting at Zumsteims car park and follow the MacKenzie River upstream to view the river along deep gullies. For more adventures, continue on the track to the famous MacKenzie Falls.

Fish Falls

Fish Falls

 

The Winter Fishing Report

BRAVE THE ELEMENTS FOR REWARD

With the onset of winter there’s a distinct transition in species throughout the Wimmera region whether it be in the rivers or the lakes. Trout become the targeted species for most with the rivers closing for the spawning and all the attention turning to the lakes. Native fish become relatively dormant until spring time and the reward for effort is outweighed by their absence. Redfin will be a option over the winter but also become harder to catch.

Our trout water I will cover below and keep in mind that most of them hold good numbers of redfin as well.

LAKE FYANS

Located between Stawell and Halls Gap, Fyans is one of the most fishes locations throughout the region. Well known for its big brown trout and feisty rainbows it offers some great boat and bank angling options. Bait fishing produces many good fish here and Mudeye is the prime bait for both species as well as other live boats like minnow and gudgeon. Trolling or casting lures early and late in the day also puts some fish in the creek. Tassie devils are the best option here in gold, gold winged and brighter colours over the winter as spawning fish are aggressive and will take on most things presented they see as an intrusion.

Ashes hero Merv Hughes boated this lovely Lake Fyans Brown.

Ashes hero Merv Hughes boated this lovely Lake Fyans Brown.

LAKE WARTOOK

Nestled in between valleys Wartook is a lake that offers a lot to land based anglers in particular over the cooler months with a huge section of wall that gives easy access to trout feeding areas. Tassie devils are the prime here as are shallow running hardbodies which account for plenty of fish. Also holding a good population of redfin at times Wartook is a option for baitfishing the bottom as well with worms or yabbies. Mudeye under a bubble float is the ideal trap to set for the big trout that cruise the wall area.

LAKE BELLFIELD

Being right on the southern end of Halls Gap township this popular water storage which is electric powered boats only is becoming very popular as a kayak and land based destination. With the chance of maybe a XL chinook salmon as well as brown and rainbow trout the lake has now been stocked with Golden Perch which will enhance the fishing opportunities locally in the next few years once they mature. Redfin are probably the most prolific fish here and provide hours of fun in the warmer months. Lures that are shallow running are better here as the timber areas of the lake are very snaggy. Bait also works well here especially in the areas where natural inflows occur on the road side of the lake.

Local kayak guru Robyn with a monster brown out of Lake Bellfield.

Local kayak guru Robyn with a monster brown out of Lake Bellfield.

LAKE TOOLONDO

Although showcased as the jewel of the Wimmera and known as one of the best trout lakes in the state Toolondo is in the rebuilding process after losing a large percentage of its bigger trout in early 2016 due to low water levels and higher temperatures. Fisheries have enforced a minimum size level here of 45 cm for brown trout and 30 cm for rainbow trout with a combined bag limit of 3 fish to help the restore the lake to its former glory. Also very well known for it autumn and spring monster Redfin it’s well worth a trip just to catch one of these monsters.

One of the monster Redfin Toolondo has become famous for.

One of the monster Redfin Toolondo has become famous for.

LAKE WALLACE

Fronting most of the western township of Edenhope, Wallace is starting to come of age with some lovely brown and rainbow trout now coming out in good numbers. Although reasonably shallow it still has enough weed and depth to produce well conditioned fish for both land based and boat anglers. Powerbait, Mudeye and worms are the best bait options while the ever reliable Tassie devils and shallow running hardbody lures get the job done on the cast and trolling behind a boat. Have heard reports of some big Redfin also being taken but most are being plagued by smaller models which hit trolled lures.

KONONGWOOTONG RESERVOIR

Tucked away south west of Balmoral and just north of Coleraine is this little known gem which also produces some lovely trout for anglers. Being another electric powered only lake it’s popular with kayakers and land based anglers as well with a north facing wall that allows you to float out baits or just bottom fish for both trout and Redfin. Fly fisherman also do very well here at times using both wet and dry flies when conditions are favourable. Trolling lures will produce In lesser light conditions and casting or jigging soft plastics is also effective. Redfin are also a proposition here and some larger fish are landed at times.

ROCKLANDS RESERVOIR

Soon to become a well known native fishery due to massive stockings by fisheries there is a air of excitement about Rocklands. In the past it has been famous for it cricket score numbers of Redfin landed in a day and also for some terrific trout option for locals. Although trout stockings will likely cease in the future there should still be some excellent fish to be taken over the next few year. Australian Bass often become a welcome by catch here too taking hardbody lures trolled for trout or Redfin. Known to be better than 50 cm they certainly provide a good tussle when hooked. The Murray Cod and Golden Perch will certainly provide anglers with a new destination which is set to rival Victoria’s native go to lake Eildon in the coming years!

Jarrod Potter with a fine Rocklands Bass taken trolling lures.

Jarrod Potter with a fine Rocklands Bass taken trolling lures.

REGULATIONS AND COMPLIANCE

Being constantly patrolled by Fisheries Inspectors please ensure you either hold a current Victorian Angling Licence or check to see if you are exempt. Monies generated form these licences are channeled back into restocking for future generations to enjoy. Check bag and size limits as they do vary from other locations and states. Safety is paramount around the waterways and a pre check of safety gear and your boat is good policy. The Wimmera lakes and rivers can become very dangerous in a short space of time so be aware of oncoming weather events or changes. Safe and happy fishing to all!

Australian Light Horse Heritage Collection finds a new home at Dadswells Bridge

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A lonely old figure shrouded in mist stands on the bluestone steps of Anzac Hostel in Brighton, Melbourne waiting to share his wartime memories.

This remains a strong and clear image in the mind of Dave Tyson more than a quarter of a century later.

Dave, who has a remarkable display of Australian Light Horse memorabilia now located at Dadswells Bridge, met the man while an ambulance officer in Melbourne almost 30 years ago.

 ‘I was tending this lovely old chap in the ambulance, trying to cheer him up. He was well into his 90’s and somehow our conversation got around to his service days’. 

‘All of a sudden, he stared off into the distance with a fixed gaze, his arthritic old hands rose up clutching imaginary reins in one hand and a bayonet in the other and spurring on his horse; reliving some wild dash over trenches’.

Dave, who at the time knew nothing about the history of the Australian Light Horse, asked the man if they could meet and record some of his wartime memories.  

‘He was a great old chap; we talked for hours and finally he said ‘Son, can you lift that box down off the top of the cupboard?’ -which I did.

‘Have a look inside’ and there was an old slouch hat with a magnificent Emu plume‘. 

‘It was a strange feeling just holding that hat. I knew I was holding some sort of Australian icon and I needed to learn a lot more about it’.

Dave never saw the old digger again, but the meeting unleashed a passion to find out more about the history of the Australian Light Horse.

Since then, Dave has recorded about 50 interviews with war veterans and is in the process of compiling a book titled “Kangaroo Feathers; Personal glimpses from Australian Light Horsemen”

His main focus has been on the Australian Light Horse after 1903. 

Australian Light Horse officially disbanded in the 1940’s during the Second World War and the mounted troops were transferred to tanks.

Dave said ‘While living in Beechworth, Vic for ten years, I was blessed to make a dear (now late) friend in Ian Jones– expert Ned Kelly and Light Horse historian, author, and screen writer, director and producer (The Sullivans, Homicide, Matlock Police, Division 4 and The Lighthorsemen film 1987).

Ian left some very important items to our Collection, including a 4thLight Horse tunic from a ‘Beersheba Charger’ and German machine gunner’s armour’.

Without Ian’s help we may not have been able to present our display so soon’.

The Australian Light Horse Heritage Collection is at the Dadswells Bridge home of Dave & Leonie Tyson and is open to the public admission free.

 

Australian Light Horse Heritage Collection

Dave & Leonie Tyson

363 Stapledons Road

DADSWELLS BRIDGE, VIC. 3385

Ph. 03-5359-5379

Mob. 0458-212-058

Mosey on over to the Wander Inn

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Scenic drive? Unique destination? Great food, relaxing atmosphere and friendly service? Check all these boxes and visit the Wander Inn in the Wartook Valley.

Nestled on the edge of the Grampians National Park, the Wander Inn is a perfect spot to break for lunch or dinner.  The mud brick building has an ambience all of its own, with brick paved floors throughout and magnificent exposed timber beams. The enormous open fireplace is sure to be roaring during winter, and established gardens offer a peaceful outdoor experience on sunny winter days.

The Wander Inn is perfect for lunch if you are staying in Halls Gap - take the drive on Mt Victory Rd “over the mountain” and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Visit the picturesque waterfalls on the sunny side of the Grampians – Burrong Falls, Beehive Falls, Fish Falls or the iconic Mackenzie Falls – and “Wander Inn” for a refreshing milkshake.  

Currently on display at the Wander Inn is a collection of works by Australian wildlife artist Pam Thoday. Her beautiful pastels of native animals and plants are appreciated by locals and visitors alike. 

The Wander Inn also stock Tatlock’s Gourmet Produce. Grown in the Grampians, Tatlock’s provide the finest free range gourmet meats from lamb, pork, beef, goat and venison.

The fully licenced café and bar is open during winter for lunch and afternoon tea from Thursday to Sunday. The friendly and welcoming staff will make you feel right at home – if only home included a varied menu delivered to your table while you relaxed. With gourmet pizzas, burgers, curries and home-made pasta, seafood laksa and melt-in-the-mouth salt and pepper squid, risotto, salads, beer-battered fish and more on the menu, there is something for everyone. Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options are available. Open for dinner on Friday night, you have the choice to eat in or choose from our takeaway menu.

 WHAT: The Wander Inn

WHERE: 2637 Northern Grampians Rd, Wartook 3401

WHEN: Winter trading hours – bookings advisable

                   Thursday 10am-5pm

                   Friday 11am-9pm

                   Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm

                   Closed Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday

CONTACT: (03) 5383 6388

The Backyard Tourist

The Backyard Tourist by Amelia Crafter

The Backyard Tourist by Amelia Crafter

It seems like only a few weeks ago the air conditioners were pumping and we were sipping cold beers on the deck looking at the beautiful Grampians. At the time, I contemplated a bush walk but the thought of speedy snakes and my little kids complaining they were hot quickly put the idea out of my mind. 

All of a sudden, the days are cool, but not too cold. The fire is going at night and I have swapped the beer for a local shiraz. Now is the perfect time to set out and find a bushwalk that suits you, or even your little ones. It’s not too hot, not too cold and it’s perfect coming home to a warm house and slow cooker meal after a day in the mountains.

Just a few weeks ago, I set out with my 5-year-olds for our first ever bushwalk. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t nervous, I was very nervous. While my kids are full of beans all the time (I mean all the time!) they can also be lazy and have seriously short attention spans, so I didn’t know how this would go. 

I had talked to a few other people and researched trails and decided on one that was only half an hour drive from Horsham, wasn’t too long, but had something great for them to look forward to at the end- Zumsteins to Fish Falls. What a perfect choice it was! 

It was a cool and overcast day, which meant we didn’t get too hot on the undulating and clear track. And the boys were absolutely in their element. The bridge crossings with informative signs about the local platypus population had to be read in full and out loud and we kept a constant vigil for the elusive monotreme as we made our way along the track that hugs the creek.

This bushwalk definitely counts as exercise at 5km return trip but it is also easy enough for low fitness levels, beginners, or kids. Most importantly, it is stunning and in our own backyard. I am now dedicating myself to becoming a ‘backyard tourist’ as often as I can to show my kids how lucky they are to live in this beautiful part of the world. 

A picnic at Fish Falls is a must and there are plenty of rocks to perch on while you enjoy a break and a snack watching the water crash over ancient rock formation. If you wanted to go further, especially if your kids were a little older, you can keep going another kilometer to get to the gorgeous McKenzie Falls. That little trek will have to wait for another day for us. 

The wander back definitely started to challenge the boys, but despite a few ‘I’m tired’ comments during the last kilometer, they absolutely loved it. At one point they were even chanting ‘this is the best walk ever’.

There are plenty of walks and hikes all over the region and quite a few that kids can handle. So instead of turning on Netflix to occupy your kids this weekend, check the weather forecast and if it’s clear, then hit the trail- you won’t regret it.

A sample of other easy bushwalk options:

Venus Baths walk from Halls Gap – 2.30km circuit

Lakeview Loop from Sundial Carpark in Halls Gap – 1.8km circuit

The Balconies Lookout from Reeds Lookout carpark – 2km Circuit

Clematis Falls from Halls Gap Recreation Reserve – 2.4km circuit

Mount Zero and Flat Rock – 3.6km circuit