Microadventure: Marysville with a Baby

I grew up in Melbourne, Australia.  But if I were to divide the amount of growth (in life lessons) by the time that I spent at a particular place, then Marysville is where I did the lion share of growth.  It was in Marysville that I dealt with my teenage angst and insecurities.  My itchy skin.  My weird head shape.  My single status.  It was there that I came to realise that most of that didn’t matter.  Little did teenage me know that she would return one day with her hubby and toddler daughter.  That all her teenage insecurities would seem trivial.  And the difference ten years would make.  Marysville is a beautiful place to visit with a toddler.  Nature.  Walks,  Views.  Community.  Slow-paced.  The 2009 fires didn’t take away any of the things that I love about Marysville; it only made the community more tight-knit, more resilient.

We stayed: at El Kanah Guest House.  It was clean, well-presented and good value for money.  Our twin room had a private bathroom but no kitchenette (there was a kitchenette where I could walk to, for hot water and to clean bottles etc).  There was also a game room which bubba loved (helpful during the late afternoon fussy period before bedtime).  Breakfast (simple fare of cereal, toast, canned fruits etc) was included.

We visited:

The Steavenson Falls Trail  easy, rewarding walk.  Visit one of  Victoria’s highest waterfalls (84m if you’re mathematically inclined).  Great photo spot.  There’s also lighting on the path to, and at the base of, the falls until 11pm each night…so if you’re going in Summer and want to avoid the midday heat there’s plenty of time to do the walk.  Tip:  the walk starts at the Steavenson Falls car park on falls road, you need to bring coins to pay for the parking ($3 from memory but don’t hold me to that).  Approximate time to do the walk is 30 minutes (but it took us less).

The Beauty Spot Trail beautiful walk (no pun intended); this was our favourite.  It’s a loop trail and the highlight is the soundscape of forest noises!  Walk starts at a small carpark (fits only about two cars, but is free)  About 40 minutes for the 1.5km loop, there’s a shorter loop which takes about 10 minutes.  Tip:  check out the Marysville app where you can listen to the sounds of animals and birds that live in the forest beforehand; this helps you to pick them out on the walk and makes it more fun 🙂  if that’s too much effort, the signage along the way is great for noting points of interest.

The Gilberts Gully Trail this was the ‘hardest’ of the walks we tackled (maybe also because we did it in the hotter weather).  Still very do-able, there’s some gentle hills and took us about 45 minutes.  There’s no parking near the entrance, so we parked in the town centre and walked to the trail from there.  The wetlands provided a bit of different scenery!  Nice little workout.

The Marysville Community Market held every second and fourth Sunday of the month from 9am – 1pm.  I got a nice cup of Chai there – perfect for the rainy day.  Popular items for sale were soap, preserves, jams, chutneys and produce.  We didn’t buy anything (as I had little cash on me ha!) but it was a nice little outing.

We ate:

  • The Fraga Cafe.  The chicken bagel was ace.  We were told they’re famous for their cakes but we didn’t get a chance to try (I know right, there’s always time for a cake!).  Baby friendly.  No high chair (that we could see) but lots of toys to keep bubba occupied.
  • The Radius Restaurant.  Amazing.  Don’t forget to book because otherwise there’s a high chance you’ll be turned away as they’re super busy.  It’s on the pricier end, but the food is so good hat it’s totally worth the splurge.  We liked it so much we went there for dinner two nights in a row.  Friendly staff.
  • Elevation 423 (this is the popular alternative to the radius restaurant).  We had lunch here – I got the lamb shank.  Hearty.  Baby friendly – high chair and change room available.
  • The Bakery.  Super busy.  Very good sausage roll.  Coffee only so so (in my opinion).

Extra Tips:

  • Fill up on petrol before you go, only one gas station in town.  We nearly ran out of gas on the black spur; not the most clever planning on our part.
  • Get the free Marysville app before you go – pretty useful.
  • Check bushfire safety before visiting, or going for walks.
  • Visit the Marysville Lake Mountain Visitor Information Centre for a map of all the walks.  I was happy to pay $2 for it, to have it all in hardcopy and in one place.

PS. Please do your own research prior to your visit and prior to tackling any walks.  I’m not a professional hiker, and things/conditions change all the time so it’s prudent to do your own research based on your circumstances.