South Gippsland + Wilsons Promontory With Andrea Moore

Most people (us included) leave Wilsons Prom exclaiming that they just can’t believe it’s in Victoria – the landscapes are THAT incredible!

Even if you’ve visited the spectacularly scenic national park before, you may have unknowingly missed out on all the charms of a little township known affectionately as ‘The Turning Point’ en route.

Meeniyan local, stylist and interior designer Andrea Moore has made sure we won’t ever do this again, with her guide to her hometown and surrounds, a two-hour drive south-east of Melbourne.

Andrea Moore

Gurney’s Cidery looks out over The Prom. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Andrea Moore
5th of June 2018

I had an idyllic country-town upbringing in Meeniyan! My parents renovated an old Victorian house into a beautiful family home over 34 years of living there. It was set on an acre of garden, which was mum’s pride and joy, full of beauty and whimsy. It was a beautiful place to grow up.

With my Dad Lindsay being the town vet, I also had lots of interaction with animals (even though I’m allergic – the irony), including a local kangaroo, of course, known as Skippy, who would visit the backdoor and do the rounds with the neighbours.

I attended the local kinder and primary school, then bussed to nearby Leongatha for high school each day, before moving to Melbourne for university. I studied Visual Merchandising at RMIT, followed by Interior Design at Swinburne and then established my business Studio Moore.

Meeniyan will always be home, and I spend more time back there than in Melbourne at the moment as Dad and I work on our family project: Ross Farm! I do the designing and he does much of the making, but more about that below.

143 km south-east of Melbourne on the South Gippsland Highway, Meeniyan lies in the valley of the Tarwin River, and the scenery around here is very picturesque. The rolling hills are such a vibrant green and stunning beaches are just down the road (note: they’re as beautiful in winter as they are summer, and you quite often have them all to yourself!).

Though I’ve always been pretty attached to the area, as I have grown older, I’ve come to value the connection to the landscape and simpler life encouraged here, more and more.

Our once sleepy little town has been rejuvenated, and even grown, in recent years, with quite exciting new businesses and events happening thanks to the foresight and hardwork of the tight-knit community. That said, Meeniyan still retains its off-the-radar appeal!

Along with my favourites below, there are several charming shops offering crafts, produce and meals for the local population as well as for tourists on their way to ‘The Prom’ National Park (hence our nickname being ‘The Turning Point’).

Inside Gurney’s Cidery.Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Drink · Gurney’s Cidery

This new cidery is in a beautiful position and has sublime views out over Corner Inlet and The Prom. It’s a family-run business and really well done.

They have a heritage orchard and produce small-batch ciders, with all apples being pressed, fermented, aged and bottled on the farm. For one limited edition cider in particular, ’Scrumpy’, they hand-pick from the wild apple trees in the hills and along the rail trail surrounding Foster!

Along with the cellar door cider tasting(s!), there is a menu of simple but delicious cheese/meat platters featuring locally-sourced sourdough bread, and other seasonal produce.

Gurney’s has been so popular that, on occasion, it’s been drunk dry!! Check the opening hours before visiting as they change due to harvest and cider stocks.

Gurney’s Cidery
343 Fish Creek-Foster Rd, Foster VIC 3960

Irregular opening hours, check website ahead of your visit.

New community business initiative Meeniyan Square. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Tamsin Carvan’s pop-up cake shop Tamsin’s Table. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Visit · Meeniyan Square

This exciting event space in the heart of Meeniyan was launched this past summer. It’s a community business initiative that has repurposed a disused piece of land next to the art gallery to create an opportunity for smaller businesses and locals and is run by Meeniyanites, including my Dad.

The various market events held here bring together all groups of the community, from young families to older retirees. It’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy a glass!

Over the warmer months, it hosted the weekly regional market on a Friday afternoon and/or Sunday, with craftspeople and food and beverage vendours, but other speciality markets, expos and related events are in the works. You can stay up to date via the website.

Tamsin Carvan had her cake shop Tamsin’s Table on here earlier in the year, and it was a lovely spot to pop into. Her cakes are just delicious – ingredients come from her garden, which means there is always something different, and she cooks everything! The good news is that Tamsin is about to open her permanent Tamsin’s Table Cake Shop at The Borough Department Store in nearby Korumburra in mid-July (in the meantime she’s taking whole cake and mixed box orders here).

Meeniyan Square
Corner of Hanily Street and Whitelaw Street (South Gippsland Highway), Meeniyan, VIC

Check the website for next event and opening hours.

The workshop of maker Andrew McPherson, which joins his store Ride The Wild Goat. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Shop · Ride The Wild Goat

This artist studio in Fish Creek is home to maker Andrew McPherson. He’s a local icon, and has been cleverly reusing all manner of materials to create unique furniture, lighting, sculpture and artwork for the past 35 years!

He is such an authentic guy creating his own things; our family has always admired him! A stop by his fascinating workshop, which is combined with a great little shop, always inspires!

Ride the Wild Goat
5 Falls Road, Fish Creek VIC

Open everyday, 10am-4pm

Trulli Woodfire Pizzeria. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Dine · Trulli Woodfire Pizzeria

Run by very good friends Rhia and Francesco, Trulli offers amazing, authentic Southern Italian-style cuisine, using quality local and Italian ingredients. They’ve been in the town for a few years now and have gone from strength to strength! I was fortunate enough to also have a hand in the design of the Interior.

My menu favourites are the namesake pizza Trulli and the Funghi Fitti (battered and fried mushrooms) so good!. The delicious thin bases are made in-house and cooked in the woodfire oven! They also offer many other delicious options, including handmade pasta, grilled meats, sides, salads not to mention their homemade gelato desserts!

Trulli has an inviting, relaxed atmosphere, and their reputation has spread – people come from afar for lunch and dinner here; Best to book!

They have also recently teamed up with another local favorite, Marty from Moo’s at Meeniyan to launch their latest venture across the road at the Meeniyan Square: Meeniyan Pantry and Cellar. Here they make an amazing range of handmade meals and incredible smoked meats from Francesco’s custom-built smoker.

Trulli Woodfire Pizzeria
93 Whitelaw St, Meeniyan VIC 

Open Wednesday and Thursday 4:00-9:00pm and Friday to Sunday, 12:00pm-9:00pm.

Ross Farm Cabin. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Our guide, Andrea Moore. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Stay · Ross Farm Cabin

This handcrafted cabin the South Gippsland countryside is the first phase of a project I have been undertaking with my Dad. It was his idea to transform a family property with disused farm buildings into modern places to stay.

Renovating the existing little farmhouse into The Cabin has been a fun project to work on over the last couple of years because it brings together my and my father’s different skill sets: I design things and Dad makes them! Together we’ve tried to create spaces that are really relaxing through custom interiors that are quite raw and honest. We have drawn inspiration from the local landscape with a nod to Danish and Japanese sensibilities.

Guest can enjoy the Japanese-inspired wooden bath, a full kitchen and basic larder are, including welcoming supply of local staples, and there is also a help-yourself veggie garden! The Design Files did a feature a little earlier in the year, where you can see more.

The Cabin is kind of the ‘warm-up’ for the next big phases! Stages two and three of our project are currently underway, The Barn (sleeps 4) will be completed late winter, and The Dairy (sleeps 8) will be completed by the end of the year.

Follow along @Rossfarm_airbnb to watch the onsite progress!

Ross Farm Cabin
Located on the outskirts of Meeniyan, VIC

Booking essential, find out more here.

See  · Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilson’s Promontory really is a special place; it’s incredible that it’s right at our doorstep! Popular with sightseeing walkers up to multi-day hikers, it’s the southernmost point of the Australian mainland (originally part of the granite ridge connecting Tasmania!), and famed for the mountains, rainforests, wildlife, and of course, the beaches!

Choosing my favourite beach is a very hard call to make! But I would say Whiskey Bay or Picnic Bay are my go-to spots. Both are en route to the visitor’s centre at Tidal River inside the National Park. They are easy to access and then it’s only a short walk into each beach.

Even the drive into The Prom itself is amazing. I recently went down on a rainy autumn day and it was just as beautiful. For me, the landscape is almost prehistoric – I can just see dinosaurs roaming around the place!

Whisky Bay
Whisky Bay Carpark Road, Wilsons Promontory VIC 3960

Accessible 24-hours. Permits required to stay overnight.

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