The road to Marysville in Victoria is a beautiful drive and our mood was high as we cruised away from the busy city life of Melbourne.
We’d just spent 8 days running around in Melbourne so we needed some space, some time in nature, and we had never visited this town before.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Marysville is OPEN for business!
The reason I say that is you may have heard of Marysville before, unfortunately with some sad news attached. On Black Saturday in 2009, almost the entire town burned to the ground with a vicious bushfire that swept in leaving little room for escape or to save anything.
Sadly, 45 people died and the town was destroyed. It was declared a crime scene and closed off while Victorian and Federal police conducted their investigations. It was reopened to the public months later.
The strength of the local people is admirable. Their spirit shows with the way they have created a new town from the ashes that is brimming with beauty and many wonderful things to do.
It’s only an hour north east of Melbourne, and a popular place for a little getaway. We enjoyed the serenity of Marysville’s overhanging tree lined streets and the surrounding forested mountains of the Great Dividing Range.
Things to do in Marysville, Victoria
Hike and picnic at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
Grab a picnic and enjoy the drive up to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. Admire the cyclists peddling up the steep climb to come racing down again, and enjoy the comfortable feel of your leather car seats! It’s not a feat I think I’d ever enjoy or attempt.
Once you arrive at the Alpine Resort, a place for cross country skiing in the winter, hike to the summit for spectacular views of the surrounding Marysville area. It’s only a 20 minute walk and a worthy spot for your picnic.
Visit Steavenson Falls
Only a 5 minute drive from town is the very pretty Steavenson Falls, one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls.
It’s lit up at night from dusk to 11pm. We attempted to go, but the girls fell asleep in the car on the way, and we don’t wake sleeping babies (not our nightmare sleepers who take 2 hours to go to sleep!) But even in broad daylight, it’s a lovely site.
Enjoy wine tasting at Buxton Ridge Winery
We loved visiting the small family owned, Buxton Ridge winery. We’re becoming big fans of boutique wines – the wines usually surprise and delight and you get more of a personal experience with the owners and their story.
We stayed longer than we should have as the owner, Michael, had lots of great tips and stories to share. We loved the wine so much, we bought 2 bottles to have for Christmas and a jar of the local chilli jam, which is divine with Camembert cheese. Don’t miss the sparkling wine and the rose, real standouts.
Play at Gallipoli Park
All family travelers need to know where the good playgrounds are. This one is a winner for the kids: water pumping stations, spider webs, swings, and a very cool flying fox.
And it’s right beside the pretty little river that runs through town.
Marvel at Bruno’s Sculpture Garden
Yet another activity I wasn’t initially that enthusiastic about. It was awesome and the kids loved it- checking off the art curriculum for school.
It’s amazing how the painter and sculptor, Bruno Torf, has lovingly restored his art gallery and most of the pieces that were destroyed in the fire. The remains of some are now featured in the gallery.
Bruno was in the gallery and greeted all visitors spending time to tell his story and share the stories behind the pieces. Many of which have been inspired by his intrepid journeys to some the worlds most intriguing and remote regions
The real treat is of course the garden. It was a magical land filled with life sized terracotta goddesses and goblins, warriors and wizards appearing from deep within the rainforest setting. The pieces were exquisite, so carefully detailed which brought them to life.
I highly recommend a visit to Bruno’s Sculpture Garden.
Cost: $10 on weekends $5 during the week. Children under 10 free. Under 16 is $5
Go trout fishing at Buxton Trout Farm
I wasn’t that excited about visiting a trout farm, but I really enjoyed Buxton Trout Farm as did the kids. It’s Australia’s first trout farm where trout have been bred for over 50 years
One of the workers Stuart, took us on a short tour of the farm to learn the inner workings and feed the fish. It was fascinating to hear the process behind the harvesting of trout – a huge industry in Victoria.
It is a self sufficient farm – they do all of their own breeding, hatching, growing, processing and value adding and distribute through wholesale fish markets throughout the country. Over 1 million trout are hatched each year and they grow about 80 tonnes a year. Crazy!
For only $3.50 you can grab a rod and fish for your own dinner. You have to pay for the fish you catch, but it’s a cheap, local way to eat. The kids will love it.
We didn’t only because we had dinner plans and were leaving the next day so couldn’t store the fish. But we did have some of their trout pate and smoked trout with crackers and it was delish!
Walk around and enjoy the Marysville cafe scene
Marysville is a small town and easily walkable. Enjoy the cafe scene, galleries or have a picnic in the local park by the river.
Taggerty Cascades Marysville
Another option is to pack a picnic lunch and take a drive along the stunning Lady Talbot Drive to Taggerty Cascades. Taggerty Cascades is a beautiful short walk (approx 15-20 minutes) through the forest with fabulous waterfalls and photography opportunities along the way. Lyrebirds frequent the area.
The falls is not clearly signposted with a map (or we could be just complete idiots) so we didn’t make the falls. We gave up pretty easily because Savannah woke up from a nap and was very grumpy. Sometimes you just have to pack it in.
Where to eat in Marysville
Fragas Cafe quickly became our local. I suggest taking a look at the photo book while there which documents the journey of this cafe. There’s a lot of love and passion here.
While we were there, Masterchef judge, Gary Beaton, walked in with motorcycle helmet in hand. You know a place is good if celebrity chefs ride in from Melbourne for breakfast. The coffee was to die for and the breaky gets a big thumbs up.
Black Spur Inn
It’s well worth enjoying a meal at the historic Black Spur Inn situated in Narbethong about 15 minutes from Marysville. It’s in a very pretty setting with views of the garden and forest and the food is delicious.
Elevation 423 Bar and Cafe
If it’s pizza and beer you’re after, this is the place to go. The recently renovated bar and cafe has a cosy feel with bi-fold windows giving you great views of the main street.
Where to stay in Marysville
Comfortable, clean, modern, well-equipped and ideally located. We enjoyed the Amelina Cottages, especially curled up on the couch in Craig’s arms with a glass of red wine, a roaring fire, a crooning Michael Buble Christmas special. Swoon.
It was an easy stroll to the main street of town, and the kids were kept happy with a bright bedroom filled with toys and a yard to run around in.
Cost: 2 night stay in a 2 BR – $550. Longer and mid-week stay discounts apply.
So if you’re looking for a getaway from Melbourne, this is a lovely little town with enough to do to occupy a few days. The people are engaging, quick to offer a suggestion, and have moved on with their lives and businesses in a positive way.
There REALLY IS something about Marysville.
Disclaimer: Our stay was supported by Marysville Tourism