Kyneton came to mind. It was my partner's suggestion. I was half way painting our apartment, which I have been doing for 2 weekends now. A bit at a time. Only white. I don't know what came over me 2 weeks ago that spurs me into painting our place. I used to enjoy painting the ceilings, the walls, skillfully cutting and trimming the edges of skirting and architraves - fun and challenging at the same time. That was more than a decade ago! It is a different kind of story now. After the first weekend of only painting a small section of our place - hallway, I began to think, what have I got myself into?..to volunteer myself with such a task and without my partner even asking me. Could it be my subconscious mind telling me that I am preparing myself to sell our apartment? Well, that might be case. But I am glad my partner has suggested we go for a drive rather than putting another coat of semi-gloss white paint on the door frames.
Kyneton, a country town in the Macedon Ranges region of Victoria. An easy one-hour drive from Melbourne, along the highway with speed limit ranging from 80 km to 100 km to 110 km max. There is nothing picturesque to look along the highway. No animals grazing the land except endless stretch of flat land that seems to go on forever with occasional clusters of housing estates. But once we exit the highway into Kyneton, the streetscape starts to change with historical buildings and interesting architectures from 1800s to early 1900s.
Our mission is to hit Piper Street and have lunch at one of the local cafe.
As we reached Kyneton exit on Route C793, the road took us down High Street to the Mollison Street junction. I imagine High Street as an interesting streetscape with boutique and fancy shops mixed with local art galleries and crafts. This is not the case in Kyneton.
The beginning section of High Street with street frontage buildings of a motel and schools meandering down to a commercial district of standard shops servicing the township ending at a T-junction of Mollison Street. Turn right there is the Town Hall with a clock tower and a stunning 1817 old looking historic Bank of New South Wales building, and more standard shops servicing the local communities. Few hundred metres down the street, making a left turn into Piper Street is where it gets interesting for visitors to Kyneton. This street of less than a kilometre long with street frontage on either sides has more cafe and restaurants than retail shops. Nonetheless it is a tourist destination to take a lazy stroll soaking in the old architecture and history of the streetscape. Some of the oldest buildings has a history plaque stuck onto the facade wall providing an insight into the historical significance of the building.
There is a stonemason site, a museum site, a majestic anglican church tuck behind Piper Street, an old converted factory warehouse into art galleries, local crafts and a destination itself, "Duck, Duck, Goose and Lader" -- a foodie's paradise -- in a unique purpose built standalone building, providore of culinary craftsmanship of fine food and fresh produce combined with a cafe is sure to please every foodies appetite.
It was surprisingly quiet at the time we visited. Weather wise at Kyneton - very cold and overcast. We were expecting the temperature to be warmer. Further inland by 83 km from Melbourne, it was cold at 11 from 18 degree celsius when we left Melbourne.
Street parking along Piper Street was busy with no spare spot. There was hardly anyone to be seen on the street. We took a left at Powlett Street with more street parking available. Facing directly, pitched behind some large alpine trees was the St Paul's Anglican Church. It was surreal in a cold winter day - grey sky, green lawn, large trees with overhanging branches, there stood the most beautiful bluestone building of an 1800 built church. Like a movie set when a visitor comes across an old church curiously wanting to find out what is behind the facade of this stone building. If I leave my imagination go wild, it is almost haunting to think what may happen on a full moon at midnight standing in front of the building surrounded by the trees and gentle, cold wind.
Behind the church facing Ebden Street is a stunningly beautiful bluestone house built about the 1850 as the rectory for St Paul's church of England. It is now used as a private residence.
Along Piper Street there are some amazing old buildings.
We came to Kyneton for 3 reasons - see the streetscape of old, historical buildings, visit the galleries and enjoy a nice lunch in a country town. We chose Little Swallow Cafe at 58 Piper Street for our lunch. It is a small quaint cafe with a touch of country charm, dark wood furnishing, open kitchen and friendly staff. We studied the two pages menu - front page all day breakfast and second page a winter menu. It all sounds very exciting and interesting - peri peri duck, southern goats, duck eggs..comfort food for a cold winter day. We were seated at a table next to the FOH counter and beside it the open kitchen with all the actions - the head chef and his sous chef. Only 2 of them in the kitchen. It is a small, well organised kitchen. I looked at each of the food plated, resting on the bench ready to be taken to the customer's table. Each of the dishes that came out from the kitchen looked superb, making me extremely hungry. Then came ours - a trio pot pies served in a colourful cup and a breakfast brioche topped with a poached duck egg. Total bill came to $40 including 2 pots of tea. A wonderful lunch at a reasonable price. I cannot fault this place. It is definitely worth a visit and highly recommended. There is no website. However, they have a Facebook page.
After a nice lunch and feeling full to the brim, we went for a walk towards the other end of Piper Street away from the lack lustre uninteresting Mollison Street. There we came across an old factory warehouse converted into an open space art galleries called Stockroom. A group of bikies rode past as we crossed the street.
From historical buildings and old anglican church to fine food dining to art galleries, Kyneton has it all for a little country town worthy of a day trip away from Melbourne.
Insight Penang blogs about travel and food, sharing with anyone who enjoys traveling to other destinations, taking photographs, meeting people, experiencing new cultures and traditions, enjoying cooking and trying other cuisines.