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After years of passing the wineries on the shores of Lake George, we finally decided that we had enough spare time and stopped there to taste wines at Lerida and Lake George Wineries.
Lerida Estate was established in 1997 by Jim Lumbers and Anne Caine. They chose a degraded pasture in a picturesque location and have been building a reputation for excellent wines since then. Lerida Estate has won numerous medals and awards for its wines. They asked architect Glenn Murcutt to design the winery between the mountains and the lake, leading to an interesting looking building that catches the eye from the highway. We took our children into the winery and they waited patiently while I tried that array of reds and whites, all of which were delicious. The man working a the cellar door was friendly and very talkative so we stayed longer than we intended but that was ok. After the tastings we walked through the barrel storage room and asked lots of questions about the storage in oak etc, which all 4 of us found very interesting.
From there we went next door to Lake George Winery. The winery was established in 1971 and has an easterly aspect on shale based soils of alluvial outwash from the nearby Cullarin Range, and loose gravel embankments created over millennia by the wave action of Lake George. The vineyard is very attractive with roses planted at the ends of the rows of carefully pruned vines. The restaurant building is lovely and opens onto a beautiful garden full of heavily scented old-fashioned roses. We didn’t seem to be particularly welcome though and I found the tasting uncomfortable as the intense man failed to make us comfortable. In the end I bought a bottle of wine out of discomfort more than anything else. It’s certainly nice wine though.
From there we drove to Fitzroy Falls in the Southern Highlands. We visit these falls every few years and never grow tired of them.
We took a walk along the clifftops to the right of the main falls and enjoyed looking at the smaller falls further around. Our 5 year old son was delighted to be hiking in the forest and surged ahead, leaping and exploring with joy and enthusiasm.
After stopping at several lookouts and squatting down to inspect fungi, roots, rocks and different plants, we took the short path to the ‘grotto’ and enjoyed standing under the overhang in this secluded spot and watching the tiny cascade.
We finished a lovely day of wines, rainforest and waterfalls with a walk along the beach in Wollongong at sunset. A perfect end to a lovely and unhurried day. The Illawarra really does have a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty.