Toomuc Valley Tourist District
Less than 45 minutes south east of Melbourne is a hidden treasure known as Toomuc Valley. Perched on the edge of urban Melbourne, this gentle valley is situated approximately halfway between the wineries of Yarra Valley and the waddling penguins at Phillip Island. A vibrant group of farmers, rural landholders, residents and local businesses are working hard to ensure the natural beauty of this area remains a haven for the wider community.
Toomuc Valley was once home to the largest apple orchard in the Southern Hemisphere, giving birth to a township in the 1880’s. The orchard had it’s own post office, school, workers cottages and even a church. Today Roger and Mary Robinson own the core of the original orchard, comprising of 560 acres used for prime beef production. In 1996 their son, Matt Robinson began planting grape vines and today there are 16 acres of grape varieties being grown on the property. Many of the historic buildings have been faithfully renovated and the property’s ‘Post Office’ now serves as the beautiful Toomah Wines tasting room and cellar door sales. Life doesn’t get much better than sitting on the shady veranda at Toomah Winery during a hot summers day with a glass of Pinot or crisp Sauvingnon Blanc in hand listening to the burbling creek in the background.
Just down the road from the winery remains one of the original orchards, now run by the Harding family. The rich Toomuc soil produces a golden harvest of apples, lemons, pears and stone fruit throughout the season. The best way to experience the valley is to stay in the lovingly restored Orchard Cottage amongst the apple and pear trees. This secluded cottage was an original orchardists home and sits on the banks of the Toomuc Creek.
The meandering Toomuc Creek winds its way along the valley floor providing sandy banks to dip your feet or to catch one of our famous brown trout. The hillsides are home to a mob of more than 30 kangaroos and wallabies while a family of wedge- tailed eagles patrol the skies. The elusive Platypus has been seen playing amongst the freshwater mussels in the deep water holes along the creek while fat wombats, waddling echidnas and black cockatoos are all commonly spotted on the roadsides or along the creek land reserve. At the top end of the valley a walk through RJ Chambers Reserve will take you down through a temperate rainforest to a small waterfall and to the scratching areas of lyrebirds and bandicoots. A number of koalas have been spotted at the top end of the valley so always take the time to look up as well.
There are many businesses in the valley providing visitors with a refreshing chance to browse amongst the variety of arts and products for sale. At the Highway end is the famous Robert Gordon Factory outlet with its fabulous array of locally produced pottery and homewares. The factory has a paint-your-own area as well as seconds and a cafe for light meals.
Outlook runs a professional plant nursery with plants grown by people with disabilities, recently applauded by Business Review Weekly. The healthy, high quality plants are sold for a fraction of the price of normal retailers and of course the profits all go back to this not for profit organization.
Glass artists, Mick and Annie O’Riley of Eureka! Beads have been producing unique pieces since the mid 1970’s. Today their glassware is found all over Australia and overseas. The O’Riley’s produce art glass tableware including bowls, vases, wine glasses and art glass ornaments. Their work is stocked by major tourism venues such as the Ayers Rock Resort, The Penguin Parade, and Rainforest Resorts. The quality and uniqueness of their glass art is recognised by Federal Parliament as diplomatic gifts. The Glass Shoppe, the studio outlet and seconds shop has a glittering array of their carved and blown glassware as well as glass from fellow artists in Australia and overseas. Beading enthusiasts will adore the range of jewellery available. Unique beads, handmade as well as from around the world are available for those who want to create their own jewellery.
A great way to finish the visit to the valley is a pub meal at the original Toomuc Valley Hotel. Situated at the entrance to Toomuc Valley this hotel was originally build as a Cobb and Co stop during the trip to the Gippsland and the high country goldfields. Today the Hotel provides a range of food and entertainments including live music, counter meals and a children’s playroom.
Whether you fancy a challenging bushwalk, a spot of fishing or an afternoon full of good coffee, shopping and a drop of wine it’s time to discover the delights of Toomuc Valley.