Warburton

The third Melbourne lockdown had delayed my weekend getaway to this lovely little town on the Yarra River, but two weeks later my plans were back on.

I’ve been to Warburton a couple of times before, but always on a hurried visit that didn’t last longer than a couple of hours. To get a real feel for a place though, there’s nothing like actually staying there for a night or two. It’s also been a while since I went anywhere by myself, so it was nice to re-visit the pleasures of solo travel, i.e. complete freedom to do whatever comes into your mind at any given moment.

Warburton is nestled in a valley between forested mountains, and its most attractive feature is the picturesque walk along the Yarra River, dotted with bridges. I couldn’t resist taking a stroll after dinner on Friday night, with the river bathed in beautiful golden light:

There are several hiking routes available around the town. I chose the most straightforward one for my big morning walk, a section of the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail. It’s almost 40km in length one way so naturally I wasn’t going to beat my feet into pulp and finish all of it. It’s a very popular track for cyclists, judging by the amount of bikes whizzing past me, so maybe it’s an option for the next time. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the views of the valley and this bit of curio:

There are a few good lunch options in Warburton, however I only had eyes for the giant slice of bread and butter pudding I spied on the last visit (the small salmon bruschetta I ordered to have before the pudding was just a cover). The highlight of the shopping strip is probably a neat magic shop, which stocks some unusual items along with your expected New Age stuff, such as jewelry shaped to look like a dragon’s eye.

I also visited Redwood Forest, a popular spot just outside the town that I’ve heard about but never had the time to visit. I had no idea what exactly to expect, but it turned out to be a unique and enchanting place, a plantation of majestic towering Californian Redwoods. The trees are all planted on a grid, and the overall effect as you walk the rows is quite eerie and otherworldly, with a powerful meditative atmosphere (that is, when you couldn’t hear the shrieking of little kids playing with the twigs and branches).

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