10 Things I Love About Northern Victoria

I’m back in the U.S., back at work and feeling like I never left, so I need to keep posting photos and stories of my vacation just to remind myself that I did recently spend 6 weeks in Australia.

I grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne  and my parents moved to Northern Victoria after I moved to the states, so I have only recently had the experience of living in a small country town. While we spent a lot of the time camping in and around small towns as I was growing up, the experience of actually living in country Victoria is still foreign to me. There are a few things that are tough to get used to – bumping into someone you know (or my parents know) every time you head to the grocery store, limited restaurant options and 45 minutes to the nearest movie theatre come to mind – but there are also many wonderful things about country Victoria. Here are 10 things that I appreciate about living in the Aussie outback, not that I plan to move there anytime soon. I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a city girl at heart.

1. Plenty of room to explore, play and run around
Perfect for two active boys. The swing with a view is an extra bonus.

2. Wineries
And wine tasting, of course.

3. Frosty Mornings
Yes, it’s cold, but the best thing about a frosty morning is that it promises sunshine later in the day.

4. Wildlife – in the wild
Growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne, it was a rare event for me to see Australian animals in the wild. If we were lucky we might spot a wombat or a Kangaroo while camping, but, most of my Australian animal encounters occurred at the zoo. So, you can imagine my excitement when the boys and I spotted a herd of Kangaroos eating grass by the side of the road, or my insistence that we walk the golf course at dusk for the express purpose of capturing a few photographs of the elusive creatures. And, yes, we also saw our fair share of the less fortunate animals who failed to look both ways before crossing the street. RIP.

5. Birds
You hear them first – the magical songs of the magpie, the painfully loud squawking of the cockatoo and unmistakable laugh of the kookaburra – then you see them and you can’t help but be amazed by the diversity and adaptability of nature.

6. Afternoon Tea
I shared photos of my very high class afternoon tea at The Windsor hotel previously, but there’s nothing quite like the classic Aussie country afternoon tea. I was fortunate enough to witness one after photographing a concert put on by my Mum’s choir at the local Uniting Church. More people turned up to the concert than expected so the church ladies went home to pull more food from their freezers. Just the sight of jelly slice and a few lamingtons transported me back to childhood vacations with my grandparents. A good old country afternoon tea is just not the same without Jelly slice.

7. That feeling that you’re alone in the middle of nowhere
No traffic noise, not a building as far as the eye can see. Just the sound of birds and the feeling of being completely alone in the world – well, except for a couple of noisy children.

8. The sky at sunrise and sunset
No two days are the same.

9. Clouds
While I realize that clouds can be found everywhere, there’s nothing quite like looking up and seeing them within a bright blue, enormous Australian sky. Yes, I took a LOT of photos of clouds.

10. Gum Trees
Unmistakeably Australian and, with about 1,000 different varieties, never boring.

And now I’m feeling just a little more homesick…

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