Thursday, May 08, 2008

Autumn at Olinda

Fueled by our newfound interest in finding the best autumn foliage this season, Bee and I decided to head to the Dandenong Ranges again to have lunch.

Today, Coonara Springs at Olinda.

Made a brief stop at Pirianda Garden on our way to lunch. It's truly a remarkable garden, especially this time of the year when the trees change colours to the many hues of orange, red and yellow. However, due to the fact that we were both still mesmerised by the garden we came across yesterday, the view just, somehow, seemed a little pale in comparison.

Thick layer of autumn leaves scattered all over the ground

Giant mushroom

Well, to be fair, we didn't exactly explore much of Pirianda Garden. Because of the chilly wind and light drizzle, we only went as far as the gazebo located near the top of the garden. What's worth mentioning is the Kookaburra we befriended and the Crimsons we spotted. So I guess it should interest those who're into bird watching.

And guess what? The garden was once the site for Ansell house, residence of Mr and Mrs Harvey Ansell of Ansell Industries.

The chubby Kookaburra

The birdie rather enjoyed being photographed

If you look real carefully, you might be able to spot the Crimsons

It was our first time dining at Coonara Springs. The service and ambience was spot on - the waitress we had was lovely and helpful, and we loved the casual and friendly atmosphere.

We were seated in a quiet corner at the back, which overlooks the 4 acres of beautifully manicured 100 year old botanic gardens. It was so cosy that it actually reminded me of the first house I stayed in during my first year of uni.

The retro turntable in the corner

Dining with a view

If there's anything I could pick on about the restaurant, it's that the dishes took too long to be served and the waitress could use a bit more knowledge about the menu. But overall, it was a pleasant dining experience and definitely worth a try if you're in the area.

Fish with sauteed scallops

King Island's sirloin steak with highlander sauce


Olinda Falls turned out to be a total disappointment! In fact, it shouldn't even be classed as a fall, it looked more like a dirty drain to me. It was such a let down that we didn't even bother to take pictures.

The walk from the car park was definitely more than 100 meters (as indicated on the visitor leaflet), and it was so dark under the thick trees canopy. Jungles give me the creeps, especially on a gloomy and wet day. Totally misleading and so not worth it!

On the way back to Melbourne, we stopped by Flippin' Pancakes for some much needed comfort food. We were still full from lunch, but who could resist warm pancakes and freshly brewed tea on such a chilly evening?

It was quiet before the dinner rush

The tea candle was a great touch

Strawberry Fields pancake stacks with fresh cream and ice cream

Love the warm and homely atmosphere!

Days like this make me love autumn even more than I already did.