What better way to spend Australia day than a tour of wineries in the Yarra Valley with some mates. Even better was the fact that the tour involved very few emissions. After reaching Lilydale by train we jumped on our bikes and headed towards Healesville. A short gently rolling ride saw us reach our first stop for the day Punt Road winery where we enjoyed a very informative tasting of the wines all grown and made on site. We then settled down to enjoy the expansive vistas of the valley with a glass of cider produced from the orchards surrounding us and a delicious cheese platter. How low carbon can you get – until we discovered the cheese was from England!!! With some of the finest cheeses in Australia being produced less than 5 km away at the Yarra Valley Dairy it’s sad that ours had been transported 16,000 km. Then on to Healesville for lunch – lamb pie for me. The picturesque ride to Woori Yallock through gently undulating green fields and forest was punctuated by moments of white knuckled fear as huge logging trucks thundered past without moving aside. The consensus on the drivers was that they were probably just arseholes rather than simply bad drivers. Rather appropriate that the rape of the forests should continue unabated on Australia’s national day.
After gaining the tranquillity of the Warburton Rail trail we pushed on trough the mountain ash forest to Lilydale. Still beautiful but sadly lacking the magnificent mature trees which would have once been so plentiful. Perhaps an opportunity to reflect on the past 200 years of Australian history and hope that the next 200 years will treat the natural environment with a bit more consideration.