It is rare to find a winery and a distillery located in the same vineyard. It is extremely rare to find that this winery is producing chardonnay that is then transformed into cognac by the distillery.

But this is exactly what is happening at the Darling Park vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. In this wine making region, the Darling Park winery and the Bass & Flinders Distillery have an unorthodox, but very innovative relationship.

Judy Gifford is the winemaker.  A former biochemist, she studied wine making at the University of Burgundy in France. She is an admired and respected member of  the Red Hill  community, and in a profession dominated by male winemakers, she has become the general manager of the of the Darling Park vineyard. Judy is responsible for a range of wines produced at the vineyard, including chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot gris, shiraz, and sauvignon blanc. But it is the chardonnay that is the basis of the relationship with the distillery as it is a base wine for the cognac.

Bob Laing and Wayne Klintworth are the distillers. They are neighbours who together decided to do things differently. Instead of making vodka and gin from potatoes and grains,  the way it is made in Russia and Poland, they wanted to make them from grapes. Chardonnay, which they source from different vineyards, was considered the  wine most suitable to undergo the conversion into spirits.

They sought mentors internationally, and then set up their Alembic copper still in Darling Park.  These copper stills date back to the Egyptians in 800AD, and were used over the ages to concoct not only alcohol, but also medicines and perfume. Alchemists even used the alembic still in their attempts to magically convert base metals into gold.

And there is something magical about the process of turning wine into spirits. The grapes are crushed and fermented into wine which is heated until it is vaporised. The vapour is then chilled to condense into liquid and flows out as spirits.

You can taste the wines and spirits at the Cellar Doors of both the Darling Park winery and the Bass & Flinders Distillery, and stroll through the pretty vineyard that surrounds them both.


Videographers and Photographers: David Zycher and Rosalie Zycher

Video Editor and Writer: Augustine Zycher

For further information:





Australia’s website for women’s travel, activities and adventure – Why we set up the WomanGoingPlaces Website?

WomanGoingPlaces is Australia’s website for every woman from 30 to infirmity seeking information and inspiration for travel, activities and adventure.

We set up the WomanGoingPlaces website because we recognize that there are many women like us. Women who want breaks from our everyday lives, or who want to do and see things we’ve put off while working or raising families, or both. Many of us are beyond the age of backpacking, but we still have the same enthusiasm for travel. We just want to do it more comfortably and safely. Women’s travel is now an exciting trend across the world.

Australia is our home and our focus. It is well-known for its many attractions, its extraordinary beauty and diversity. We want to share with you the things that appeal to us as Australian women, and that we think will be of interest to other women.

We will show you these places, people and activities from our distinctive perspective. We will also reveal places, people and activities that you would not otherwise hear about.

And we will do it in the most dynamic, colourful way through videos, pictures and posts.

We’re able to do this because together, we have many years of professional experience in journalism, media and the arts. AUGUSTINE ZYCHER is a speechwriter, and was foreign correspondent for The Age, Melbourne, a producer for CNN, director and producer of documentary films, and an investigative journalist. ROSALIE ZYCHER was an actor, theatre and opera director, New York International Arts Festival organizer, dramaturge, and is a business communications consultant.

Ours is the independent view of women who have lived and worked in different countries and cultures, and have frequently gone places on our own. We are not a travel or tour agency. We are writers and photojournalists.

Although Australia is our primary focus, we are nevertheless interested in overseas travel experiences, particularly those less well-known. So we’ll call on women in different places in the world to contribute posts and pictures giving their perspective on places that are special to them.

And we invite your contributions and comments. Let us know of places you’ve discovered and love.

You can send your submissions to our email address [email protected] or from the WomanGoingPlaces Contact Us page.

Let’s share our experiences and encourage a community where everyone can be a woman going places.




Why are women terrified of dining solo?


Why are women terrified of dining solo?

When Australian women travel overseas on our own, we know that part of that experience means eating out alone. But when home in Australia, a woman dining out alone is considered a rarity, and may even be treated as an oddity. We seem to view it as an uncomfortable if not humiliating experience. It can be such an ordeal for women, that few feel brave enough to put themselves through it.

I don’t mean grabbing a sandwich in your lunch-break or going to a cafe. I mean if by choice or circumstance, you find yourself alone for lunch or dinner – would you take yourself out to a fine restaurant?

Most probably not.

Even women who travel for business and are undaunted about representing their companies  find it difficult to face eating solo in hotel restaurants. “I’d rather call room service for a cheese sandwich than have to walk into the restaurants downstairs, unaccompanied,” said my friend Jean, a senior executive at a multinational company.

Brave women, women of intelligence, strength and capability are intimidated by the prospect.

But why is it, when we have overcome so many obstacles on the road to equality, our bravery deserts us when it comes to eating dessert on our own?

Here’s what happened to me when I went to a very trendy restaurant in town for lunch.

I was greeted by the maitre d’ with the question “Is it JUST you?” with the decided emphasis on the ‘just’.

So I put on my biggest smile and confirmed happily “Yes, it’s JUST me.”

I was led past the crowded tables all the way to the back to a place on the bar near the toilets. I looked around and saw that out of more than 100 people, I was the only woman there on her own. However, there were several men eating lunch on their own – not an uncommon sight.

While other people were served around me, even those who had arrived after me, somehow I had become invisible. No-one approached to set water or bread before me. No-one brought a menu. I waited and tried to signal to the waiters but their attention always slid away towards groups of patrons. I noticed the chef working next to me in the open kitchen looked over at me with growing concern. I signaled and waited fruitlessly for more than half an hour. Finally, the chef called to a waiter to attend to me. By that time I had lost my appetite and I walked out.

This type of experience would make women choose to eat at home or seek anonymity with a sandwich in a coffee shop.

But I’ve also had a few surprisingly good experiences in dining out alone.

On a hot summer’s day as I walked into the vineyard-restaurant, I felt that there was no way I would get a meal. Groups were packed around all the tables and spilling out onto the deck. I stood in dismay at the entrance, and then the proprietor came up to me. Instead of saying “Sorry, we’re full”, he said “Wait a minute.” He went out the back and brought out a small table and chair and placed them in the best position overlooking the vineyard. He then offered to prepare me a special version – suitable for one person – of the share plates that were their speciality.

He was gracious and accommodating, just as a good restaurateur and host should be. I became absurdly grateful for being treated in the same welcoming way as other patrons who came as a couple or a group would be treated.

What then is it that prevents greater numbers of women from going into a restaurant for dinner alone, as a man might? Is it the occasional bad experience or is it something else?

There are no restrictions mandating that we always have to be accompanied by a male, as is still the case in many societies. So there is no social prohibition. But there is a very powerful self-prohibition. And it’s based on fear. What will others think of me?

Perhaps we are afraid we are signalling that we have failed to acquire a companion, and that we are objects of pity. Or it could be we are afraid that people will misinterpret our being alone as being available.

We put up this barrier of negativity, so we don’t have the confidence to walk into a restaurant. Walking alone into a restaurant  becomes as frightening as walking onto a stage. It’s as though everyone is looking at us. We feel completely exposed with hundreds of critical eyes focused on us. We build it up in our minds into a 3-Act drama when in truth, how much scrutiny is there really going to be? A few seconds as the waiter leads us to our seat. Most people are too absorbed in themselves to give you more than a passing glance.

But it’s all about women feeling at a disadvantage in social situations when alone.

Many women don’t have the nerve to walk confidently into a restaurant and order from the staff without feeling they have no right to be there. Perhaps we feel we don’t deserve the kind of attention, and even fuss, that other patrons would expect.

Sometimes we are made to feel we are inconsiderately occupying a table that could be earning twice as much. So frequently we are not offered a table, but a seat at the bar or are squeezed into a corner.

We might help change that treatment by patronizing restaurants that welcome solo women diners. After all, in terms of numbers, we are actually an economic force, not a liability.

The reality is that the more we dine out solo, the less of an oddity we will be, and the less of an ordeal it becomes.

There is reason to be optimistic. I remember reading that Ruth Reichl, the famous New York Times restaurant critic, would always visit a restaurant several times before writing her review of the dining experience. So I decided to do the same and re-visited that trendy restaurant that I had walked out of 6 months earlier. This time however, even though the place was packed, I was greeted warmly and instead of being led to the bar, was shown to the only available table, right in the centre of the restaurant. The service was prompt and pleasant, and the food was good. A totally different dining experience! Why? Who knows, perhaps a change of staff with a better attitude.

But to begin with, we need to change our own attitudes. So let’s not hesitate to take ourselves out to lunch or dinner when we feel like it. Let’s savour our freedom, enjoy a beautiful meal in pleasant surroundings, and not waste a second worrying about what other people think.





走进澳洲雨林, 喂养本土鸟类




丹德农国家公园(Dandenong Ranges National Park)连绵起伏的山脉上厚厚地盖上了凉爽温润的热带雨林。不管你是开车、走路还是寻找适合野餐的好地方,这里都有许多不同的入口供你选择。我们是从舍布鲁克(Sherbrooke)的格兰茨野餐地(Grants Picnic Ground)开始我们的徒步之旅的,舍布鲁克位于蒙巴克路(Monbulk Rd)上(C404公路)。


接着,我们选择了一条泥泞之路,沿着哈迪沟大自然之路(Hardy Gully Nature)向雨林深处进发。这是一条走起来相当容易的路,但是根据徒步的难易程度以及时间长短,你还可以选择很多其他不同的徒步路线。

沿着壮观的阿什山(Mountain Ash)一路前行,很快我们进入了一个蕨类植物丛生的沟壑。这里有着世界上最高的开花植物——桉树, 这些树的高度可以超过100米,树木底部直径可达30米宽。这些庞然大物给森林里的100多种哺乳动物、鸟类、爬行类动物和蛙类提供了栖息之地和食物来源。


空气的味道也令人难忘, 桉树叶、树皮、蕨类和灌木植物湿漉漉的泥土气息混合在一起。这种味道是如此的与众不同,它渗入你的记忆,久久不会褪去。

笑翠鸟沙哑的笑声打破了寂静。但这真的是笑翠鸟吗?又或许是世界上最擅长于模仿的华丽琴鸟(Super Lyrebird)?这种琴鸟不仅能维妙维肖地模仿其他鸟类的叫声,而且还可以模仿电锯、爆炸、乐器、狗和婴儿哭泣的声音!有时你还可以在较矮的灌木丛看到它呢,你会发现雄性琴鸟美丽的尾羽就像一把七弦琴,它们的名字就是由此而来的。



发帖及照片编辑:Augustine Zycher

摄影:D. Zycher


欲了解更多关于访问丹德农国家公园(Dandenong Ranges National Park)的信息,请联系维多利亚公园管理部门,网址是http://parkweb.vic.gov.au










我们澳大利亚两姐妹都曾在世界各地都生活和工作过。Augustine Zycher 是一名记者、演讲撰稿人以及纪录片制作人。Rosalie Zycher 曾是戏剧院和歌剧院的导演和演员。我们并不是旅游公司或者旅行社,我们只是两名热衷于发现美丽迷人风光的女性。我们乐意与大家分享我们所去过那些绝美的地方的感想。



WomanGoingPlaces drove deep into a forest to film cheese being handmade by one of the leading artisan cheesemakers in Australia.

Burke Brandon recently won 2 Gold and 3 Silver medals at the Royal Sydney Cheese & Dairy Show. And he was also recognised as the 2013 Outstanding Farmer of the Year by The Weekly Times Farm Magazine.

Why did he win such distinction? After all, sheep have always been central to Australia’s wealth, history and and folklore. But Burke is not interested in the sheep’s wool or its meat. He is part of a small group of farmers who are pioneering the breeding of sheep for its milk. Cattle and cow milk have traditionally dominated the dairy industry in Australia, but now as many of these cattle farms go into decline, some farmers are experimenting with sheep dairies.

On their beautiful family farm in South Gippsland Victoria, Burke and his wife Bronwyn are involved in the whole process – growing the pastures, breeding the sheep, milking them and handcrafting the cheese.

From paddock to plate.

The farm and their range of Prom Country cheeses mark the evolution of the Brandon family as cheesemakers. It all began in the 1990’s when Brandon’s parents, Jan and Trevor Brandon set up Red Hill Cheese on the Mornington Peninsula. Their handmade cheeses developed such a following, that streams of people continue to make their way down winding dirt tracks through wooded hills, to taste and buy Red Hill cheeses at the cellar door.

And this is where, in a forest of eucalyptus trees, that WomanGoingPlaces was able to film Burke Brandon during the entire cheese making process, something not usually open to the public. What made it such an exciting experience was that we could see each stage of the process. In commercial dairies, you can’t see the milk and you can’t see the cheese, as they are concealed in massive closed vats and the entire process is mechanised from start to finish.

We watched Burke measuring, pouring, adding, stirring, adjusting, raking, scooping, draining, turning – constantly monitoring and shepherding the cheese as he shepherds his sheep.

We watched the miraculous moments when milk turned to curds and whey, and when the curds then turned to cheese.

Amazingly the run-off whey is not discarded. Instead, winegrowers from the region come to collect it and spray it on their vines, to reduce mildew and allow them to grow their grapes organically.

Prom Country Cheese is now celebrating the opening of their new specially designed Cheese Cellar Door on the farm in South Gippsland.  As well as tasting and buying their cheese directly from this farm gate outlet, there are displays of the farming and cheese making process. Classes in cheese making will also be held there. You are welcome to visit the farm.

For more information: http://www.promcountrycheese.com.au      http://www.redhillcheese.com.au

Interviewer, Videographer & Editor- Augustine Zycher

Farm visuals – Burke Brandon

Prom Country Cheese, Moyarra, Victoria



Red Hill Cheese, Red Hill, Victoria




Home Alone – Not Necessarily!


I’ve just read an article that again confirmed why our new WomanGoingPlaces website was created.

In a piece entitled ‘Home Alone’ in the Age’s Sunday Life Magazine, writer Dianne Blacklock, divorced and mother of four grown children, wrote about finding herself on her own after raising her children. After giving priority to her family for all those years, she was now excitedly looking at how she could enjoy her life as a single woman.

“I’m meeting new people, broadening my career in all kinds of interesting ways, and next year I’m planning to travel – to the places I want to go, to see things I want to see, without having to consult anybody else. I think I’m entitled to it, especially after all those years of ‘eating the burnt chop’, of putting everyone’s needs before my own.”

She loved child-rearing but refused to accept that she couldn’t go on independently to enjoy life.

“I’d like to think there are also many happy years ahead of me, with new adventures and different challenges. And I refuse to miss out on opportunities because I’m single – in fact, I suspect that many opportunities are available to me precisely because I’m not tied down.”

Dianne has perfectly described the way many of us feel – that there’s life after child-rearing and other family responsibilities, and to live that life to the full is entirely possible as well as necessary.

The question is how to go about making the most of your independence? That’s where WomanGoingPlaces comes in.

Some of us want to take the plunge into a grand adventure, an overseas trip to exotic or unusual destinations. Others are more inclined to build on smaller adventures nearer to home. All of us want to engage in experiences that pique our interest and absorb us in activities or surroundings that fascinate us and bring us delight.

Whatever the scale of your ambitions, we’re here to offer ideas and suggestions of where to go and what to do. Things that we have found engaging and perfect to do whether on your own or with others, but are particularly suitable if you are going solo. We want you to get a taste of what we experienced through extensive videos and photos, as well as reports of what we found.

Although Augustine and I have traveled a lot and lived in other countries, we are now discovering exciting developments in our own home city, Melbourne. For example, the tour of Melbourne’s laneways sparked in me an interest in street art.  I found so much of it inventive, vibrant and compelling. So much so, that when someone I spoke to recently dismissed it without having seen it, as graffiti, I was a bit offended that the creativity I saw on the walls of Hosier Lane was reduced to sheer vandalism. In fact, street art is now fetching thousands of dollars.

Recently, the City of Melbourne blackened over all the existing street art on Hosier Lane to give a chance to new artists to make their mark as part of the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now project. It’s a reminder of how ephemeral this art form is. Our WomanGoingPlaces Melbourne Laneways Street Art video captures the work on display at a particular point in time. See https://womangoingplaces.com.au/go-touring-melbourne-street-art/

Augustine’s yachting adventure was another unexpected find. Amazingly, it’s an opportunity to go sailing that’s open to everyone all around the Australian coastline wherever there are yachting clubs.

And if you want a rewarding encounter with Australia’s unique ocean environment that’s less well known than the Great Barrier Reef, see our Ningaloo Reef Australia for Solo Women Travelers. (womangoingplaces.com.au/ningaloo-reef/)

We’re new, but we’re adding destinations and activities all the time. We welcome your comments, suggestions and stories. If you know of a special place or activity, tell us why you found them particularly suitable to go on your own.

I leave the last words to Dianne Blacklock on going solo:

“The hardest thing about being single is the perception that there’s something wrong with you, that you’re incomplete. But I’m happy to just go my own way and do my own thing. And the best part is, I don’t have to explain myself to anybody.”


Dianne Blacklock’s article can also be read at  www.dailylife.com.au/health-and-fitness/dl-wellbeing/the-joy-of-being-divorced-20131122-2y0sa.html .

Melbourne Now – The National Gallery of Victoria



Like an Empress Dowager, the National Gallery has reigned over art in the state of Victoria for 152 years. This bluestone building, standing like a fortress behind a moat of water, has been a revered institution but also a very conservative one. Contemporary art was rarely exhibited here.

But now, in a dramatic break with the past, the Empress Dowager has flung off her ceremonial robes and put on jeans.

This is the feeling I got at the launch of the National Gallery of Victoria’s first ever massive exhibition of contemporary art, Melbourne Now. It is an explosion of colour and creativity. It features video, sound and light installations, interactive community exhibitions and artworks, and design and architectural components.

Over 400 local artists, designers and architects have individually and collectively brought a new excitement into the galleries. They are boldly and exuberantly celebrating the contemporary cultural identity of Melbourne.

This unprecedented exhibition was initiated by Tony Ellwood, the director of the NGV. He explained that “It takes as its premise the idea that a city is significantly shaped by the artists, designers, architects, choreographers, intellectuals and community groups that live and work in its midst.”  The Melbourne Now exhibition has brought this creative energy into the NGV and the effect, he said, has been “transformative.”

As you walk amongst the more than 250 works, you are able to identify and recognize so much of what it means to live in Melbourne today. There is a Design Wall with 600 everyday items such as tram handles and water coolers; icing-coated edible living and dining rooms; a large dome constructed out of plastic Ikea bins; and many other remarkable exhibits.

That could be the reason Melbourne Now has struck such a chord with both locals and tourists.

A record number of more than 100,000 people saw the exhibition in its first 2 weeks alone.

It is the perfect place to come on your own. You can come again with a friend or a group of friends. In fact, you can probably do all three as there are many opportunities to visit repeatedly and it would be near impossible to see it all in one visit. Entry is free, however often you visit.

We’ve prepared a presentation of photos of some of the exhibits for you to see. Photography by Augustine Zycher and Rosalie Zycher.  Several photos courtesy of NGV. Post by Augustine Zycher


Melbourne Now will be open until 23rd March, 2014. Note that the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square is closed on Mondays and NGV International on St. Kilda Road is closed on Tuesdays.


Melbourne Now is not only the first major exhibition showcasing the city’s contemporary art, it is also the biggest exhibition in the gallery’s history. Spread over its two sites, NGV International on St. Kilda Road (B in map below) and NGV Australia at the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square (A in map below), it also spills out into street art in the city’s laneways.

WomanGoingPlaces has written about the street art in Hosier Lane (http://womangoingplaces.com.au/go-touring-melbourne-street-art/ ). The project ALLYOURWALLS associated with Melbourne Now has painted over these works to allow a new group of the finest of Melbourne’s street artists a chance to exhibit.

Further Information

Not only is there so much to see, but there are a great many public events scheduled over the next few months as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition. You can get information on the website http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow.  

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Go Yachting in Australia – A Great Activity For Women


You’ve always wanted to go yachting but you don’t have a boat or a friend with a yacht. Here’s what you can do.

For $20 or less, you can become a temporary member of yachting and sailing cubs all around Australia. This enables you to go out on a boat as part of its crew.

It’s a spectacular way of seeing beautiful beaches along Australia’s magnificent coastline.

In Victoria alone, there are 89 clubs and about 400 clubs overall in Australia. Many offer one or even two days a week that you can go out for a sail. So there are opportunities for sailing in different parts of the country.

I phoned the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in St. Kilda, Melbourne, and asked if I could take part in a sail. I was told to come along that afternoon, pay a fee of $20, and I would be assigned to a boat.

I knew nothing about sailing, but this was not a problem at all. Because it is entirely up to you whether you just want to sit back and enjoy the sail, or whether you want to have a more hands-on experience. Either way, the clubs, boat owners and crews are very welcoming.

And that’s how I came to take part in my first ever yacht race, a Twilight Sprint which began at dusk and ended at sunset on the waters of Port Phillip Bay.

I was on a 57′ S&S Swan yacht called the White Swan. And because we were in what is called a ‘pursuit’ race, White Swan was handicapped to start last because of her speed and size.

There was another guest on the boat. Diana had just completed her first sailing course because she thought it would be  a great idea to be able to sail to different countries when she retires.

Skipper of the day, Lee Maddison steered us out of the St. Kilda Marina into the bay. As we got into position for the start of the race, the skyline of Melbourne’s city centre rose up on our right. The gold cap on the striking Eureka Tower caught the fading sunlight and became a glittering beacon.

We set off and the crew went into frantic motion. Letting down sails, hoisting up sails, letting out ropes and winding them in. On a boat, ropes are called sheets – a whole new vocabulary. The excitement rose even higher as we began tacking or jibing, that is, quickly switching the position and tautness of the sails in order to make the most of the wind and trap its power to propel the sails.

As you do this, all crew members have to swiftly move from one side of the boat to the other to help balance the boat. You have to remember to duck as the boom swings from side to side.

At times, it was like being on a sea-borne roller coaster as the boat rose precipitously out of the water. And then suddenly, we were skimming along at an angle of almost 45 degrees. That was when I decided to stow my camera away and hang on with both hands.

Acting Skipper Lee maneuvered us very capably through it all, rapidly catching up on the other boats and flying past the markers.

White Swan finished in second place, even though we had started the race 25 minutes after the first boat began.

And I had an exhilarating, wonderful sail. Take a look at the video I took of the yacht race.

An additional benefit to signing up as a temporary member is that it entitles you to have dinner in the Royal Melbourne Yacht Club’s Members’ Dining Room. So after the sail, relax and join the crews for drinks and dinner overlooking the marina and the city lights.

Increasing numbers of women are taking up sailing. Yachting Victoria is now taking the initiative to increase the number of women taking part in sailing and to promote as many woman-friendly clubs as possible. They have set up a website www.womenandgirlsinsailing.com.au . Contact them to find out what’s available. You can decide on your level of involvement – a day trip or sailing courses, club membership, joining teams and racing. You can also search the internet for yachting and sailing clubs and call them to find out what they offer.

Woman-friendly: Definitely for women travelers wanting an exciting experience.

Videography and editing by Augustine Zycher


See our Noticeboard for more contacts both Australia-wide and in Victoria that will give you information about how to begin sailing at the various yacht clubs around Australia.



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有些巷道,如曾有一个多世纪是众多服装工厂所在地的福林德斯巷(Flinders Lane)都是这座城市生命的一部分。但它们曾经却都不是这座城市体面和值得炫耀的一部分。


其中最有特色的巷道艺术当属位于霍西尔巷(Hosier Lane)的了。参加一次游览或是自己去寻找它们吧。最后你还可以在沿途众多的咖啡馆中以享用美妙的咖啡完美收官。


摄影及编辑Augustine Zycher