After what seemed a very busy year it was time to take some time off to rest, recover and reconnect with Russ then come back rejuvenated and ready for the next year which will be huge!  I had come home from South Africa not even wanting to get on my trike.  I unpacked it and there it sat in the backyard, I needed time away from it and a couple of weeks to catch up with friends, eat whatever I wanted and have a couple glasses of wine!

Russ and I decided it was time to head away on our own, just the two of us, so even Jack (our border collie) was going on his own holiday!  He was going to spend time with Anna and Kym, who had fostered him before I met him and I think he had a fantastic time with them.  Russ and I headed up to the King Valley and I was able to book a beautiful little cottage at Pizzini’s Vineyard which is located in Whitfield just over the mountain from Mansfield.  It was fantastic to be able to sleep in with no where to go in a hurry and I even got to read an actual book!

Pizzini’s Vineyard was once a tobacco farm as were most of the wineries in this area.  The owners of Pizzini’s married as teenagers, Mrs. Pizzini was the daughter of Scottish immigrants looking for a better life and Mr. Pizzini was the son of Italian immigrants.  In 1996 they launched the Pizzini wine label and also had the opportunity to purchase the Mountainview Hotel in Whitfield.  They and their family worked tirelessly in both businesses and made a name for themselves bringing hospitality in North East Victoria to a new level.  The Mountainview Hotel is now run by Ben Bergmann who hails from Germany and he has international staff who provide a very warm welcome to locals and travellers alike.

Walking around the vineyard property

Walking around the vineyard property

Original tobacco drying sheds.

Original tobacco drying sheds.

Pizzini Vineyard

Pizzini Vineyard

Russ and I ate each night at the pub, the first two nights in the Pub itself and the 3rd night decided to give Ben’s Dining Lounge experience a chance.  In the dining lounge it offers fine dining with a degustation menu or a set three course meal.  We opted for the 3 course meal and it certainly didn’t disappoint!  I can highly recommend dinner in both areas of the hotel!

We took walks around the vineyard down to the King River, checked out the winery with a tasting thrown in, headed to the Milawa Cheese Factory and went to look at some beautiful little gems that we had never heard of.  The first of these gems was Paradise Falls.  Not knowing what we were in for we followed a narrow dirt road that climbed up into the bush.  Upon reaching the end of the road we parked and followed stone steps down to a spectacular little area with a 31 metre waterfall.  The sun was shining on this beautiful little hidden gem of a place and it was fantastic just standing in the serenity of the bush.

Stone steps to Paradise Falls

Stone steps to Paradise Falls

Paradise Falls

Paradise Falls

Behind Paradise Falls looking towards the valley below

Behind Paradise Falls looking towards the valley below

We then headed to Lake William Hovell, which is a lake which was made through the damming of the King River.  The dam was built to provide irrigation to the local wine producing area.  It has been made into a beautiful area for families to enjoy fishing, swimming and picnicking.

Lake William Hovell

Lake William Hovell

It was a wonderful 4 days which gave me time to relax and reflect on the year ahead.  If you do get a chance to head to the King Valley stop in at the Mountainview Hotel in Whitfield and tell Ben that I told you about the place!

It’s now the beginning of October and with only 11 months to Rio it’s an exciting time.  It’s now time to knuckle down, get myself back on the trike and get fitter than I have ever been!  I’m looking forward to the challenges in the year ahead and I look forward to bringing my thoughts to you through my postings.