Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why I went to Walhalla: part 1

Heading off Saturday morning to a destination I knew little about was rather fun. I knew two things about Walhalla, it was a bit of a drive and it was likely to be pretty cold.

The drive actually wasn't too bad, just straight down the freeway to Moe turn left and follow the signs, as the road gets windy you know you are getting closer and as the road narrows to pretty much single lane you hit the quaint town of Walhalla.

But why would I jump into a car with three woman I had only met briefly before and head to a place a few hours away?

Or is the question more about why would Destination Gippsland ask me to go away and put me up for the weekend.

This was really what the people staying at the Walhalla Inn with Toushka and me wanted to know. They had been told they would be sharing the place with some Melbourne journalists. Much laughter from us and much confusion from them about this blogging thingamig and we explained how it works.

For those of you interested, this is why it works.

We spend so much of our lives online now and ask Master Google for so many answers that blogs have become a source of information for many people.

You can look at a brochure and read a little, but will it tell you that Sheriff who runs the mine tour is really very knowledgeable, that the mine is not too tight and if you don't like cramped spaces you will still be ok to do this tour. I was a tiny bit worried that I would find it uncomfortable, but the smaller section is just pointed to and the tour only takes you along sections that have been prepared for the tour. You also wont learn from a brochure or a snippet in the paper that during Black Saturday, tourists that had remained in the town were able to be safe and secure in the mine chamber.

Destination Gippsland would like to share with more Victorian families, especially those from Melbourne more of the little hidden things on offer within the area. Naturally we couldn't visit the whole region in one weekend, but we could really experience the best of Walhalla and learn about a quaint town that really is different to any other within Victoria. By organising this weekend, Louisa, Toushka, Megan and I will be showcasing the bits we liked and the things we didn't, or the things we think may be important to our readers. As 'Mummy Bloggers' we understand what other parents might be wanting to know. For instance, the camping ground is free! But, there are no showers, so you need to be happy to really camp, not go 'glamping'.

Being sent on a weekend away does not mean we come home and write a post that says "Go to Walhalla".

We will also share with you that if having all your gadgets and gizmos is important to you, then Walhalla may be frustrating. This town is isolated.
There is no television. There is little mobile phone coverage. There is none with vodafone nor optus. The best place to get Telstra reception was in the cemetery.

Speaking of the cemetery, we were spoilt to get a guided tour by one of the ten residents of the town. (yes, only ten people live there).

I quite like checking out the history in cemeteries but having a tour guide who knew everything was a real treat. It is a pretty place to lay your head for the last time, with lots of interesting characters to hang with should you all come back for a ghostly visit. Apparently one grave is haunted, we took the risk and had our photo taken with it anyway.

Tourism is important to many areas of Gippsland and neglecting to use the influential blogging arena to get their message across would be using a marketing strategy with a piece missing. Bloggers around the country are sharing their knowledge on all sorts of things, from kitchen mops to face creams, vodkas and holidays. Not all of them are so well organised, not all of them are executed so well.

Businesses who really believe they have an excellent product should be happy to share that item with bloggers who are usually pretty happy to share that on again with their readers. Walhalla was pretty confident they could show us a nice weekend and they did deliver.

Some bloggers require payment for the posts they write about businesses, we were not paid to write any posts, we were not given a press release to write from, but I did ask many questions about what the town of Walhalla would like to see out of the weekend. No surprises that they would like more tourism, but the difference here is they are really interested in more winter and spring visitors. Which is why for August they are running a special light festival, with a nordic twist, a connection to the towns origins. Walhalla is a town with community spirit, when they want something to happen, they all take part, people volunteer and projects work. It is wonderful to see that happening and working so well.

Some people might be worried about the weather, and it is cold.

I survived very well with a polar fleece, puffy jacket and on the night train a hot water bottle was actually supplied. Love. I really loved that gesture and the fluffy cover on it. Can you tell?

I still have so much to share about what I enjoyed about Walhalla, I will save them for another post. You can also visit the blogs of my companions to read more about Walhalla and get the view points of some other journalists mummy bloggers.

This weekend was organised by Destination Gippsland, Brand Meets Blog and I attened with Louisa, Toushka and Megan.



  1. What a wonderful idea! And yes, the grave is haunted - there's a white ghost on the left! Oh wait...

  2. Great idea, and sounds like a fun weekend. It's always good to hear about different places as it is easy to keep going back to the same familiar destinations.

  3. What a great idea! And that's what I love about blogs! You hear more about the personal experience :)

  4. Great post, my journalistic colleague... ;)

  5. sounds like a lovely place to visit for you Victorians.

    I'm going to the hunter valley in NSW this weekend and I was really at a loss to get recommendations via blogs about where to stay, the only factor in deciding was trip advisor. Your personal touch given in the post would have been truly useful for me if something similar was on for NSW.

    great work ladies!

  6. I also read Megan's post and I've enjoyed both very much. I want to go to Walhalla! With my parka! x

  7. Sounds like a great little place. Looks like you guys had fun.

  8. Looks cold... but fun.

  9. You have been having a few of these little trips. Right? Didn't you do a hotel too? I think this is a wonderful way to market a place and you did a superb job here. I met Toushka at ABC. I can't get over how short she is! x

  10. Now a journalist couldn't write anything near as well as that. Great post, Claire. I love that you're showing all sides to the trip. Can't wait to read more. :)

  11. You look very cosy - and I like that there are sleeves on that coat!

  12. How lovely for you to be shown such wonderful place, I have visited Wahalla a couple of times and would never get bored of it.
    It is so peacefull and serene.


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