The March 2019 fires in Gembrook and surrounding suburbs have a dramatic impact on the residents. In a cruel twist, it continues to impact the towns after the event. Visitors to the area tend to drop off following a natural disaster when what needs to occur is the complete opposite. The support of surrounding communities and Melbourne as a whole should be directed to these affected areas.
Which is a great reason for you to head East this weekend and explore the magnificent vegan food scene and beautiful scenery that is on offer.
The Independent Gembrook
Head Chef Mauro brings his Argentinian culinary experience to the table, the food is meant to be shared at The Independent Gembrook. So, order a few things off the Picada (to pick at) menu and some of the Mas Grande (bigger) menu. Mauro has travelled the world and worked in 5-star restaurants in Argentina and Michelin star restaurants in London. He has been in Australia sharing his amazing food since 2003. They are now lucky enough to have him in the quiet town of Gembrook, opposite puffing Billy.
Don’t miss the next Vegan Night on the 29th March, enjoy 7 courses for $60pp
Chelle’s Soulfoods Cafe – Officer
The menu at Chelle’s Soulfoods is an all-day breakfast and lunch feast. You will find everything from nourishing smoothies, juices, and raw desserts. Flip to the other side of the menu and there is something for everyone, we recommend the choc chip pancakes which are also gluten-free, and the savoury crumpets with housemade baked beans, cashew cheese, spinach, and hemp seeds.
Mr Black Juicery – Berwick
Mr Black Juicery is passionate about creating foods that will make your body thrive! Good for your mind, body & soul. They have an all-day menu of buckwheat pancakes, a nacho bowl, homemade pies, and smoothie bowls. Also, a big hit is the cocowhip and vegan ice cream.
Nestled at the base of the Dandenong Ranges, the 1000 steps are a fitness enthusiasts mecca. With hundreds venturing to the famous stairs each weekend. However, the stairs are not only for the fit, but the steps also offer a significant cultural experience as they were built to pay homage to the ‘Golden Staircase’. The Kokoda Memorial Trail representing the 2000 stairs cut by Australian Army engineers during the war.
Emerald Lake Park
The Emerald Lake Park sits right in the heart of the small township. With plenty of activities like paddle boat rides, picnic facilities, model train displays, walking tracks and you can even watch the arrival of the one and only Puffing Billy. A perfect location to relax this weekend before heading out for dinner in the local area.
Boasting Australia’s most preserved steam train operation, the Puffing Billy train ride is a one of a kind experience. Winding its way through the Dandenong Ranges, the locomotive transports its passengers through rainforests and along trickling creeks. It is the perfect day out for families and those wanting a romantic train ride through the countryside.
Surrounding the Lysterfield Lake, the national park has a huge range of recreational activities. With some of the best Mountain Bikes trails in Victoria, ranging from beginner to expert. There is also a wide range of trail walks through the beautiful park, with plenty of local kangaroos to keep you company. The lake is also a hot spot for kayaking, canoeing, sailing and various other water sports.