The town hit the hardest by the devastating Black Saturday inferno of 2009, Marysville has risen from the ashes and is back in business to welcome tourists once again.
Words and images: Rachel Bale, Department of Wandering
An easy 90-minute drive east of Melbourne, Marysville is tucked away in the forested foothills of Victoria’s Great Dividing Range, making it a destination bursting with natural beauty. If you think that Marysville’s charm was extinguished together with the fires, however, think again. Rebuilt and restored, this tiny town’s warmth and hospitality never left. With the opening of the stylish and contemporary Vibe Hotel, Marysville is well and truly back on the map as an invigorating regional destination, ideal for a short getaway.
Writer Rachel Bale from The Department of Wandering headed to Marysville to discover just how well the town has recovered. Here are her tips to help you enjoy the best of the region.
The chief highlight of Marysville is its natural beauty. Whilst you’ll surely see the skeletal silhouettes of ghost gums (some trees never regenerated after the fires) along the mountain ridges in the distance, the forest immediately surrounding Marysville is lush and green. Pack your walking shoes and a picnic – there are many beautiful hiking trails that wind through gum trees and shady ferns to explore in the area.
Be sure to also make a stop at Steavenson Falls, one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls at 84m and take a drive through the Black Spur, known to be one of Australia’s most scenic drives.
The Yarra Valley and Murrindindi regions are known for their excellent gourmet produce so come hungry! Next door to the Vibe Hotel you’ll find Radius; the name a playful tribute to the restaurant’s emphasis on using local produce sourced within 100km of Marysville.
Don’t leave town without tucking into a slice of banoffee pie at Fraga’s Café or without stocking up on old-school sweets at the Marysville Lolly Shop, one of the first businesses to reopen after Black Saturday.
A testament to the resilience and determination that characterises so many of Marysville’s residents, Bruno’s Sculpture Garden has been completely re-built and restored after being decimated in the fires. Fun for all ages, wander through this fantasy land full of mythical creatures and characters.
Be sure to stop in at the Phoenix Museum, located inside the Marysville Visitor’s Centre, to learn about the impact of the 2009 fires on the community and the lengthy re-building process. Then, walk out and marvel at its incredible resurrection.
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