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Autumn at the foot of Mount Baw Baw

Emma 15.05.2024

Autumn in sub-Alpine Victoria is the most gorgeous time of year. Stable weather, light breezes, sunny days, cool evenings and crisp mornings. All point to the promise of another fun white season hitting Baw Baw, Buller, Falls, Hotham and Lake Mountain.

I’m lucky enough to live in Neerim District, West Gippsland. The rural environ is home to rolling pastures, pine plantations full of forest mushrooms ripe for the picking, waterfalls, state forests,nature walks and the art laden township of Neerim South. All located within an easy hour of Mt Baw Baw; Victoria’s go-to family friendly beginner resort.

‘South’ (pop. a few thousand) features over 20 sculptures and murals dotted through town. The biannual sculpture competition attracts scores of entries vying for acquisition from private collectors and the town itself. The imposing 15 metre ‘Neerim Bower’ welcomes visitors at the town’s Southern gateway. This major piece was funded by a Regional Art Victoria award. This kick started the town’s meteoric journey to being a public art destination. The beautiful landscape, public art, Serigraph Gallery, Bowerbird Crafts, Neerim South Hotel, Misty Hills Café and Five Aces

Brewing Co makes Neerim District an excellent day trip or getaway.

The Five Aces Brewing Co bang in the middle of town produces outstanding small batch lagers, ales, IPAs and ciders — on tap and available for take away. Brewmaster, and local legend, Adam “Shaggy” Sheehan formerly operated Baw Baw Sports & Ski Hire from the location. Several years back, Shaggy converted the old ski shop into a brilliant little pub, serving home brews, ‘American style’ food and live music. Five Aces is a ripper surprise for a tidy little town like South. It’s a top spot to sample their range of brews and enjoy a casual meal. My favourite is the Ripa — a 6% red IPA full of malty goodness and the Southern Fried Chicken Burger.

Heading north takes you to historical Noojee which has not one, but two fantastic pubs. The famous Noojee Hotel overlooking the Latrobe River and the Outpost & Toolshed Bistro quietly nestled on the forest’s edge. Both offer top pub nosh, cold beers and an awesome atmosphere. 

But it’s not all dining and wining round these parts. Fabulous trails abound. From the majestic Ada Tree Rainforest Walk to the spectacular Toorongo Waterfalls; and the magical Glen Nayook Nature Reserve to the Loch Valley Tramway Walk. The district is a hikers paradise. The walks themselves are not overly taxing and feature rivers and streams, lush fern gullies, silver tops,

mountain ash and wattles. There’s plenty of wildlife too, including wallabies, wombats, lyrebirds, deers, cockatoos, rosellas, echidnas and my fave – goannas.

All trails are easy to access by car, offer picnic tables and public conveniences.

Neerim District, 90 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, is beautiful, calm, green and fun. Whether visiting for a day, a weekend or making the train change this little pocket truly is God’s country.

A lovely vantage over the La Trobe River in Noojee