5 reasons to love Marysville

Lifestyle Director Vanessa Marshall finds her bliss

Seeking some R&R,I packed my yoga mat and headed 90 minutes out of Melbourne to the historic town of Marysville for a weekend of nature walks, contemplation and a sneaky glass of wine.

1. Berry delightful

Delicious by name and just as sweet in nature, I must confess to a girl crush on Aussie lifestyle guru Lola Berry. So an entire weekend of her feel-good, shake-your-booty yoga at the aptly named Vibe Hotel was my kind of nirvana. The eclectic modern design of the hotel coupled with Lola’s nonconventional classes – think dance music and crystals – had the tiny town packed with women of all ages and stages, often in yoga tights, all with peaceful blissed-out smiles on their faces. All together now. Om Shanti Shanti …

2. Eat, stay, love

If you think of yoga as Lola’s “out-breath”, then her cooking, or more importantly her recipes, are her “in-breath”. And inhale them we did! To encourage a total wellness package, Vibe Hotel’s Radius Bar & Grill had their chefs recreate the talented author’s favourite dishes, following her clean-eating principles, using local, unprocessed ingredients, all without skipping dessert. Plus, they even packed up nutritious snack packs for excursions off-site. One not to be missed – a magical after-dark walk to Steavenson Falls (above), which are lit up until around 11pm. With a banquet of local dessert wine and delicious petit fours set up under the stars, it’s the perfect nightcap!

3. Terracotta tours

After morning yoga, I chose a two-hour bush walk so I could get a vantage point over the village, trekking with Terracotta Days up to the water treatment plant, home to the award-winning, best-tasting water in Australia, second in the world to Eldorado Springs in Colorado. And boy, did it taste good! On the way down, a quick detour to Bruno’s Sculpture Garden was a quirky delight. Handmade clay figures peeked out from behind trees and bush, all made on-site in Bruno’s kiln. I was so inspired at his craftiness, I decided to try my hand at a jewellery-making workshop at a craft collective on the main street. Extra brownie points for home-made gifts to take home.

4. Innocent Bystander

Either on the way in or out of Marysville, a stop at the artsy town of Healesville is a must. I lunched at Innocent Bystander, a winery-cum- restaurant tourist destination that is packed out almost seven days a week. Wood-fired pizzas, boutique beers, platters of tapas, plus a wine tour complete with my own private tasting was the perfect reward for my weekend of detoxification. It’s all about balance, right?

5. Transformation

Hosting a wellness retreat in a town in the midst of its own transformational makeover is no happy accident, even if the outcome was certainly joyful. No visitor to Marysville can escape the town’s recent history, which saw a large proportion of its buildings burnt in the Black Saturday bushfires that swept through Victoria in 2006.

As they slowly rebuild both its structures and its spirit, the resilient nature of the townsfolk, many who stayed on even after their homes were destroyed, is a poignant reminder of the power of positivity and the belief that things will get better.

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