The Gurnett family of Gurneys Cider draws inspiration from near and far: there's nostalgia for their old home in Somerset, England – famous for its apple cider – and love for their new home in stunning South Gippsland where they come together to make their cider.
'From the growing of the apples, to crushing, fermenting, bottling, canning, labelling and sharing the cider, the whole family just enjoys spending time together.'
Each of the family brings something unique to the cidery table: Tom thrives on experimenting with new cider styles and loves to work in the orchards. James flexes his skills with label design and whipping up grazing platters in the kitchen. Bill is the builder of the family, and keeps the grounds looking tip-top. While Lorraine adores planting new gardens and welcoming visitors to the cellar door.
'People really are the key,' Lorraine says. 'They make the whole cider adventure worthwhile.' The landscape, too, is a powerful motivator: 'We strive to make our business as environmentally sustainable as possible, so we can preserve and enhance this beautiful land for future generations.'
Their pocket of Gippsland provides creative inspiration daily. 'We just step out of the cellar door to stunning views over Corner Inlet and Wilsons Prom. There's clean, crisp, fresh air; space to roam; and wonderful wild weather.' The fact that this part of regional Victoria is abundant with fresh local produce is a boon for James's grazing platters: 'What a perfect pairing!'.
The Gurnett family shares some of their favourite places and things to do in Gippsland.
1. Great Southern Rail Trail
This 70-kilometre trail across lush farmland and over historic bridges is right on the doorstep of Gurneys Cider. 'You can cycle to Port Welshpool in one direction and Leongatha in the other, with lots of coffee stops – and cider! – in between.' Jump on your bike and explore for yourself.
2. Walkerville Caves
The Walkerville sea caves are a huge family favourite. 'We spend hours down here exploring the caves, pottering in the rock pools and swimming in the ocean.' Walkerville's coastline is part of the spectacular Cape Liptrap Coastal Park – perfect for blowing away some cobwebs.
3. Agnes Falls
A 59-metre plunge into a rocky gorge within the Strzelecki Ranges, Agnes Falls is another family hit. You can visit all year, but it's best in winter and spring when there's been a good dousing of rain. 'It's such a beautiful, breathtaking experience, and great for families as you can take a picnic down by the river.'
4. The Big Drift
Close to the entrance of Wilsons Prom, you'll find what's known as the Big Drift, a magical series of inland sand dunes. 'It's like finding the Sahara Desert in your own backyard. The dunes shift and move in the winds, so no two visits are ever the same.' Get off the beaten track to find them; it's a 2-kilometre walk from the Stockyard Campground.
5. Welshpool Jetty
The family reckons this historic jetty at Port Welshpool is definitely worth the drive. The scenic 800-metre jetty extends out into Corner Inlet. 'It makes for an exhilarating walk to the end but be prepared for some phenomenal winds!' If the weather's right, bring your rod and tackle, or simply flip your collar and head out for a leisurely stroll.
6. Tiny towns
Gippsland is dotted with gorgeous villages and tiny towns filled with regional produce, coffee spots and friendly folk. 'Foster, Fish Creek and Meeniyan are all super places to spend time, do a little shopping, visit the art galleries and craft shops, and have lunch...' Stay and make it dinner, too, if you like.