Valentines Day in Australia – very appropriate since, as I’m fond of saying, I love Australia.

After yesterday’s lengthy road trip, we fancied kicking back and doing not much at all, so we spent some time in downtown Beechworth. Beechworth is the nearest town of any import and a mere 10kms away from where we are staying in Stanley. Beechworth has a population of about 4,000 so is about 1/10th as manic as home in the UK. This a nice size town.

PXL_20240216_235822002-01Beechworth StreetBeechworth centre is a crossroads or, more accurately, a roundabout with four roads emanating from it at 90° to each other. One street (which we’re looking up in the photo) is the main shopping street with very Australian 45° parking up both sides. We’ve never been unable to park. It’s great. Not unusually for Australia, its arcaded “sidewalks” remind me of the west in America.

PXL_20240216_234410669-01PXL_20240216_234659562-01Small though it is, Beechworth just may be the sugar capital of Australia. On the right hand side of the next junction up on the street photo is the Beechworth Honey Experience. It’s a sizable shop so, quite naturally, contains more honey than you can shake a tasting stick at. A sizeable corner of the shop is given over to a tasting bar which is where the tasting sticks, which you can’t shake at the honey, live. I’ve tried to count; there would appear to be no fewer than 51 different honeys to stick tasting sticks into. Yikes! I couldn’t help but note that a goodly number of the customers, of which there are many, are a goodly size. I can’t think why.

PXL_20240213_233958423-01PXL_20240213_234139282-01At the other end of town, down the road on the left of the roundabout, is the Beechworth Sweet Co. This is about as large as the Beechworth Honey Experience, the space being given over to all manner of sweets and chocolates. I have never seen so many inventive ways of filling your body with sugar. This is just a part of one of many walls covered in dietary disaster. It does, however, deserve a very loud round of applause for flying in the face of tedious political correctness by featuring a beautiful old golliwog in the sign emblazoned atop its entrance door. Wonderful!

Some way to the right of the town roundabout, though don’t ask me for directions (we never took the same route twice) is Bilson’s Brewery. As well as being a bit of a brewing exhibition, Bilson’s has a very decent restaurant in very pleasant, bare brick and beam, surroundings so this is where we chose to have lunch – fortunately there was an empty table. It’s a local success story and a very popular venue.I washed down a lunch of falafels with a pint or two of Billson’s very good 7% IPA.

Anax papuensis, BeechworthWe needed to walk off lunch and the drinks so we went for a circumperambulation of the Lake Sambell Reserve. Being a water body, there are, of course, dragonflies to entertain me (as if I hadn’t been sufficiently entertained already). At one point on the walk I managed to make friends with a cooperative, patrolling male Australian Emperor (Anax papuensis).

I also love Beechworth.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia