Being country kids at heart, Angus and I both have a soft spot the the rustic charm of a Barn. Two year ago, after 10 years together we were married in a sweet tin barn at The Briars in Mt Eliza, on the Mornington Peninsula, so for our two year anniversary a barn on a farm seemed like three days of long-weekend heaven. I’ve had my eye on The Barn at Glenwood for a few years now but their website is pretty basic and hasn’t been updated for a few years and photos of the venue are very limited so I went against all of my Tripadvisor-obsessive review style planning and took the plunge. There was just something about this place that drew me in to I took the risk. In typical “us” fashion, we left our long-weekend accommodation to the last minute so I wasn’t expecting the Barn to be available since almost everywhere worth staying was already booked but luckily they had a last minute cancellation and the Barn was available.
Fast-forward to the weekend – I was hoping we would be able to sneak out early on Friday and head up that night but unfortunately, we weren’t able to leave until Saturday morning as work took priority. Driving up during the day instead of the evening does have it advantages though. We were able to watch the stunning Gippsland scenery while stopping to enjoy roadside treasures like the Toora Op Shop where I picked up some new succulents for my collection. We also found a fabulous tiki bar for $35 but it was a scootch too big to fit in the back of the Canyonero so we had to leave this treasure for some other lucky pickers.
We arrived at the Barn at midday and after having lunch on the road, we had the rest of the afternoon to settle in. I was very pleasantly surprised upon venturing in as the décor had been updated since the last photos taken so it was a little more modern that I expected. Julie and Steve had really nailed the eclectic mix of rustic charm with the comforts of modern living, an easy-to-live in style that I adore.
As the barn is a self-contained unit, the kitchen was fully stocked with everything needed to self-cater with the added bonus of some lovely locally produced jams included with the tea and coffee options. I was pretty happy to find not only the usual instant coffee supplies but quality coffee bags and ground beans for a plunger with several options for tea, included my current favourite; Chai, as well.
The lounge has a nice big 2.5 seater modern sofa, perfect for stretching out in front of the flatscreen tv and Coonara fire to watch a DVD. There were a few other seating options scattered around the room including a cute cane armchair which fitted perfectly in with the décor but after curling up with my book, I feel a cosy rocking chair or soft armchair would have been much more valued. At home Gus usually stretches out on the couch while I curl up in the armchair though it not really fair to expect every venue to cater to our preferred seating arrangements.
The downstairs bedroom consisted of a double bed with a queensize bed up the stairs in the spacious loft bedroom. I’m pretty fussy with my linen so I was glad to find Julie and Steve had picked quality linens for the beds and added duel control electric blankets. Not that we needed them with the cosy Coonara pumping out heat that quickly filled the entire space. Being located at the base of the Strzelecki Ranges, I’m sure they would be warmly welcome in the frosty Winter nights though.
The bathroom was a delight with its open plan wetroom design, lined with corrugated iron. A recycled vintage sink and fire engine red medicine cabinet were charming touches while the basket of big fluffy towels and quality shower products gave a hint of luxury.
Leading out from the lounge is a wide deck with a BBQ and two reclining camp chairs. Perfect for watching the gaggle of geese that live in the paddock wander by!
I was kind enough to give Gus one day to relax but by Sunday, it was time to get out and explore to what the region had to offer. The Barn is located just off the back road to the Tarra Bulga National Park so we gave our new Canyonero her first off-road experience as we drove the 15km of dirt roads up to the top of the ranges. Tarra Bulga is quite large national park with lots of walking options for all levels from short 10 mins treks and up to 18km round trips though stunning scenery. We opted for the longer Suspension Bridge walk which took about an hour all up. The park was dotted with families, classic cars and couples in the latest active wear designs. I chose to wear my favourite tartan leggings (they’re totes pants) for maximum bushwalking comfort and got a bit of side eye from the Lululemon ladies. I think they were jealous of my flair. Gus made the mistake of wearing his go-to comfy wear; basketball shorts. Apparently leeches are a thing in the area and they were certainly attracted to Gus’s bare pins, he managed to pick up a few friends along the way.
With luck, we were able to ditch Gus’s new friends pretty easily so, we jumped back in Canyonero and headed down the main (paved) road towards Yarram and the Cynthea Falls. Cynthea Falls was a nice short walk, around 30 mins return but with a split halfway so you can choose a longer or shorter route. The routes were simply marked East and West so it was a gamble in which was the better option. We opted for West which ended up being the longer walk. Heading back down, the path naturally winds towards the East track so by taking the West option at the start, you’ll end up taking the longer loop. Being Autumn, the falls were pretty average but I imagine they would be gorgeous at their peak in the rainy season.
With the mountains somewhat explored, we took a drive down to historic Port Albert for lunch. The fish and chip shop at the end of the pier was highly recommended and received a good rating on Tripadvisor so it was on the itinerary for a stop. The fish is locally caught so the menu can be quite limited depending on what’s available in that days catch. We arrived after lunch so it’s possible they were low on supply since we only had the options of flake or whiting. We ordered a piece of each as well as some chips and a seafood basket to share. The fresh fish was okay, nothing spectacular but the rest was highly disappointing, cheap frozen food. The calamari and prawns were both processed mush and the rest was below average. I certainly wouldn’t recommend a trip out of the way for it. Maybe we’re just spoilt after dining at the Fishermans Co-op in San Remo earlier this year. A visit I highly recommend!
I promised to allow Gus a chance to actually relax this trip so I had limited my itinerary of activities to the national park and Port Albert once lunch was done, we headed back to the tranquility of the Barn. The rest of the evening was spent with a good book, a bottle of Yarra Valley Pinot Noir – picked because I liked the label, clearly a wine connoisseur.
Follow our footsteps:
The Barn At Glenwood
$150 per night
Tarra Bulga National Park
Port Albert Wharf Fish & Chips