The Murray is truly a wondrous river. The calm yet strong and steady flow pulls you down to the depths of it’s green water, filling your mind with images of what may be lurking below…
We spent a chilled out week at Morning Glory Camp Ground. Don’t let the name put you off, i was a bit dubious, but it is an excellent place to chill away from the busy caravan parks in Echuca and Moama, with the Barmah National Park only a short drive away. There are plenty of shady riverside sites and lots of grassy sites back away from the river and trees if you don’t want overhanging branches. It is a very pretty, clean, grassy camp ground with lots of sites, but not so many powered sites. Mid week during school term found us in a virtually empty park. It was awesome.
The changing colours of the Murray throughout the day are beautiful. I couldn’t stop looking at it…and taking photos…
The birdlife is crazy. The dawn and dusk are heralded by a cacophony, or symphony, depending on your personal thoughts on birds. It is loud and it goes on and on an on. So funny. Lots of squabbling. But beware if you do choose to camp under the trees. We had to wash poo off our car every morning.
Morning Glory is a space for people who want to steep themselves in serenity, away from shops, cafes and bars. A place to sit still. BYO booze and nibbles.The amenities are basic but super clean. The camp kitchen is however not terribly inviting. Functional, but not a place to sit and chill. There is an awesome pool and kiddies water play area, place far enough from the campsites that any noise from exuberance splashers is diffused.
Be warned! The pool and cabins at the rear of the resort are riddled with ants. I happened to walk through the middle of them while walking and my feet were instantly a crawling mess. i have kick off my runners, pull off my socks and run. Very scary. Luckily Hubby had Blundstones on and they couldn’t attach to the leather.
The BBQ looks rusty and a bit past it, but with a bit of a clean it cooked like a dream. We used it every night, and no one else went near it. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed in the results.
While on the subject of food, Suttons Bakery in Moama is right next to the Woolworths, about a 30 minute easy drive. They have a good range of cakes and breads and my review of the vanilla slice is in my blog The Great Vanilla Slices.
Just a short drive is the Barmah National Park. There are a variety of walks, some are short with colour coded guided information, and others are longer and marked with arrows. It is a beautiful area, with lots of water ways, historical areas and natural beauty. Intensely green and pretty, it is easy access and well marked parking. Lots of birds and due to the wet, mushrooms were sprouting everywhere. Fascinating. They were also in the grass at Morning Glory.
So pretty. A boat give tours on the water for those who like a bit of being toured about.
The Muster Yards are only one part of the self guided walks. There are many interesting facts about the area that are worth reading about.
The awesome trees are just plain awesome. Some are quite sculptural if you look hard.
Morning Glory has a variety of campsites, with and without power, water and amenities. There is lots of good signage. They also have their own sandy beach entry.
The Levy Bank Walk was a particularly nice part of the 5km circuit walk.
We decided to make a day trip into Echuca. The town has been tidied up and was super busy, people spilled in and out of cafes and various shops. The Old Port, is quite upgraded and not at all as i remembered it as a child. Very touristy, but we walked around and had a look, found the old Thong Tree, and decided we preferred to return to the peace of Morning Glory.
Beechworth Bakery is always busy and has a very large range of bakery goods, sweet and savoury, to choose from. Of course, we had to try the Vanilla Slice and add it to my Great Vanilla Slice blog.
So many things to delight us. From little creatures, to sweet delights, colours, and creatures. We scuttled back to our campsite, away from people, and chilled happily the whole week.
A fire at the end of the day while the sun sets and the river turns golden is indeed joyous.
One of the best things about travelling is bakeries! And in bakeries, there is almost always, a vanilla slice. I’ve been sampling quite a few, and have decided to put them all together as a reminder to myself of where i have eaten vanilla slices, and to let other travellers know what is on offer in vanilla slice heaven. Some are amazing, some are not so memorable. I will update and add these delicious creamy delights as I find and devour them. Yummm…
Ardrossan Bakery, SA
We stopped in Ardrossan for a quick lunch and the vanilla slices were packaged up 3 for $6 as they were yesterday’s. I decided to take the risk as they looked okay and was not disappointed. Creamy custard, not too soggy biscuit even though they were a day old but the icing was thick and stuck to the teeth somewhat. i could go a half but not a full one.
Yorketown Bakery, SA
The French Vanilla Slice offered at the Yorketown Bakery was a little messy to look at but it was very yummy. Smooth silky custard, the top biscuit was nicely crunchy, a rarity and very pleasing. Even though it slid off with the first bite i was not disappointed, just messy. I think the layer of cream was unnecessary and detracted from an otherwise delicious sweet. The jam was surprisingly complementary and although not usual i have to say i enjoyed it. The pink icing was not sickly as so often the case but more like a cupcake frosting, again not usual but it worked. Bottom biscuit not as good as the top but better than most.
Port Wakefield Bakery, SA
Hmmm. We tasted both French and Traditional. I forgot to take a pic of the traditional. The French biscuit was soggy and tasted a little stale. It had a really weird taste that overwhelmed the entire experience. The custard was sloppy, the icing sticky and sickly. Not at all a pleasant experience. The traditional had a nicer custard but the biscuit was the same soggy weird taste as the French. I wouldn’t go back. Disappointing.
Windara Bakery, Penola
I decided to go for the French vanilla version and he went for the traditional which i found a little cloying. The biscuit undercooked and soggy. Custard was creamy but devoid of flavour. Icing was okay. The French vanilla was lighter and had a pleasant texture. Biscuit was actually crunchy which was a nice surprise. The icing was light and i quite enjoyed my French vanilla version.
Kings Bakery, Hamilton
A traditional vanilla slice. I found them a little sugary and half was more than enough. Custard was not too bad. Sticky icing was a bit hard to swallow. Biscuit a little soggy. Very hard to eat without demolishing it. It fell away into its three separate parts with the first touch of the spoon.
Suttons Bakery, Moama
Although a little messy looking they tasted pretty good. Light fluffy custard and not too sicky icing. Biscuit a little undercooked.
Beechworth Bakery, Echuca
These babies tasted better than they look. I was surprised and happily so. Creamy custard, if not a bit yellow. The icing top wasn’t sickly and the biscuit cooked better than most.
The Loaf and Lounge, Camperdown.
Nice place for lunch. The vanilla slice had nice flakey pastry, although a little burnt and slightly bitter. The custard is super yellow and a little gluggy at first bite but actually worked well with the biscuit. The pink icing was a little strong in flavour, but much as the individual components were not 100%, they worked together and melded into a satisfactory sweet. Just don’t eat the bits separately.
Portland Visitors Centre Cafe.
An unexpected delight. I have no idea where they are baked but the vanilla slice was really good, (as was the citrus tart). Creamy, smooth, light in texture and flavour, although the biscuit was a little undercooked. Worth a stop to sit and enjoy the view of the harbour while enjoying a vanilla slice and a rather sculptural coffee.
Andy’s Bakery, Millicent.
These vanilla slices looked perfect. I was excited. But what a let down. The custard had a vaguely curdled texture, quite gluggy, and little taste. There was a slight chemical aftertaste i have never experienced in a vanilla slice before. The biscuit was average. So sad. Note: The donuts were awesome.
Robe Bakery Kingston SA.
They might look a bit sloppy, but they are possibly one of the nicest vanilla slice i have ever had the pleasure of eating. The biscuit was crunchy and flakey, the custard light in texture and taste. The only thing that lets it down is the addition of cream. Totally unnecessary, as was the chocolate splats on top. These only detracted from the otherwise delicious custard.
Beaufort Country Bakery. Smaller in size than most vanilla slices, this little delight was smothered in icing sugar that made eating it in the car somewhat tricky. The custard was smooth, not too sickly sweet and the pastry satisfactory. All in all, a nice treat.
Littles at Kingston by the Sea. Coconut sprinkled vanilla slice is a first for me, but it works. Easy to cut for sharing, the custard was very nice. Smooth and silky. The biscuit however was a little undercooked and soggy. shame.
Village Bakehouse Port Fairy. One of two bakeries in Port Fairy, the vanilla slice promised joy, but although assured they were baked daily, the pasty was a little soggy and i found the custard a bit gluggy. We shared the one piece and both felt half was more than enough.
Cobbs Bakery Port Fairy. One of two bakeries in Port Fairy, the vanilla slice is of the pink iced variety. Always dubious of the little pinkies delivering, the custard was creamy and light in texture, and although the pastry was hard to cut through, it has a rather nice taste. The thick pink icing fortunately was not sickly. Good job.
Stoneground Bakehouse Hurstbridge. Situated in a village style street, they have a good range of cakes, biscuits, breads and pastries at reasonable prices. The vanilla slice is of the more traditional Aussie style. The filling is smooth and silky but lack interest in flavour and has a slight chemical taste. The icing is a little sweet and sickly for my taste but hubby loved it. The biscuit not too soggy and cuts well. Although it holds together well, looks okay, it is not on my recommendation list.
The Malley Bakery, Ouyen. Cakes here are good. We have stopped a couple of times on the way to somewhere. Creamy smooth texture, and the icing is actually not sickening, even though it gives the appearance of sticky over sweetness. Definitely recommend the vanilla slice if you are passing though.
Paul The Pieman, Inverloch. This is a great bakery. Their cakes are amongst the best i have eaten, and i have eaten a lot of them! Variety is brilliant. Their vanilla slice is rich and creamy. A true dessert, rather than a cuppa at morning tea.
Flinders Fish and Chips, Flinders. The Flinders Fish and Chips shop boasts the Guinness World of Records biggest vanilla slice 2012. And yes, it’s huge. At $11 a serve, it would easily feed four people. Two of us had a good go at it and couldn’t finish it. It is big, but it’s not the best in taste and texture. It’s a once only buy and try for me.
Pastry King Cafe Bakery, Daylesford. This was a shop that promised a superior sweet. Their bakery fare looked good, and was priced on the high side. We bought a selection to share and tasted. The vanilla slice was nice, a little super charged in presentation, but not extraordinary. It looked better than it tasted. Disappointed. Staff were a little discourteous to customers. Next time i will try some of the other bakeries.
Marysville Country Bakery, Marysville. This is a large bakery with heaps of choice. They don’t call their vanilla slice, a vanilla slice. They call it a ‘granny vanilla slice’. When i asked why, i was met with a confused look and the answer was, ‘that’s what we call them.’ We rushed back to our accomodation to give it a taste test with a glass of wine, as you do, and were a little disappointed in the grainy texture and hard to cut pastry. The taste was good, but degree of difficulty eating and texture left us not wanting to go back for more.
Bay Bakery Cafe – Jurien Bay WA. A busy little bakery in a little shopping strip, two versions of vanilla slice were on offer. Labelled Vanilla Slice, was a pink iced number that looked like a traditional no frills vanilla slice, but unfortunately the biscuit tasted a little burnt, or perhaps bitter is more accurate. The custard was somewhat gelatinous and lacking in richness, a little watery in taste. But i loved the pink icing reminiscent of grandma’s and country bakeries. The alternate was labelled Custard Slice. The pastry was much better, but the custard was grainy, disappointingly feeling like a packet mix fail. Both looked good, but let down in the taste and texture.
Wild Grains Bakehouse – Healesville Victoria This vanilla slice was a modest little surprise. Creamy and smooth, light in texture. The biscuit was a little hard to eat with a fork, but hubby sorted it by picking it up and taking bites without cutlery. The icing was as sticky and pink as you would expect a vanilla slice. Reasonably priced. I recommend you give these a try.