The charming township of St Andrews is just one hours’ drive from Melbourne CBD, which is perhaps even less than your daily commute to work!
Passing through white washed post-and-rail-trimmed paddocks, lush orchards and bushland reserves, the road to St Andrews is a drive to savour and imagine what it might be like to live among such beauty every day. Many a Sunday drive ends at a real estate agency as city dwellers come a for a day trip and fall in love with the ‘promised land’ lifestyle. Horses greet you over fences and home grown apples are within reaching distance from the roadside. Around the next bend you never know what you will find, but there is always something to discover – a roadside fruit stall, a view that you simply must stop and take in, free-roaming chooks and farm yard scenes straight from a country postcard.
Every day is a great day to explore the area, but for many people – locals and travellers alike – the weekly pilgrimage to St Andrews Market every Saturday is part of the rhythm of life.
A little bit funky and a whole lot of fresh, the market is a popular destination for just-picked fruit and vegetable options (mostly organic), vintage treasures, makers and artists, delicious food stalls and homemade pantry delicacies, clothing, jewellery and more. Hipsters flock to do their weekly shop and locals gather to catch up and share the latest produce from their gardens. Entertainment – from drumming circles and buskers to acoustic singers and more – filters among the canopy of gum trees that define this picturesque location and the must-do activity for every St Andrews market-goer is some chill-out time relaxing on the cushions at the Chai tent.
If you’re arriving via public transport there is a community bus service from Hurstbridge Station that you can access for a gold coin donation. The bus stops at Panton Hill, Smiths Gully Store, Buttermans Track and Cottles Bridge as well as St Andrews Market, so is a great way to get around and explore. There’s a Facebook page and website to find out more details.
The St Andrews village is a bustling hub of activity with a diverse range of city-quality eateries to explore. At A Local Baker, wood fired breads and pastries will have you salivating – a choc filled croissant is an absolute must, and the Folk Alley Café at St Andrews General Store is a great place to settle in for the afternoon (after the market closes at 2pm). St Andrews Pub is also a popular choice, especially if live music is your thing and A Boy Named Sue is the perfect place for wood fired pizza.
The wineries of Nillumbik are all easily accessible from the area and if you’re all about discovering something new and fabulous, then wines from Giammarino Wines, Shaws Road Winery, Philip Lobley Wines, and Easthill Estate should all be on your radar. (It’s advisable to check ahead for cellar door opening times and events.) Art lovers can check out the Wadambuk Art space and makers market.
Add-on benefits to your trip are easy – St Andrews is a gateway to the Yarra Valley. Head on through for an overnight stay, more food, more wine, more weekend and more of everything you love!