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Monday, 6 May 2013

Poh top chef touch helps give Grampians Grape Escape leg up to record crowds

Poh Ling Yeow opens Grampians Grape Escape.
Poh Ling Yeow opens Grampians
Grape Escape.


Poh Ling Yeow, of TV’s MasterChef Australia fame introduced her kitchen and her take on Chinese Malaysian cuisine at the 22nd Grampians Grape Escape at the weekend in a particularly country setting. Record crowds wined and dined and packed out cooking demonstrations by the celebrity chef.

She found herself, somewhat unexpectedly for Poh, toasting 150 years of Grampians Region winemaking. As is quite usual in natural Halls Gap daily life the wildlife got into the act and a cookery keen magpie sailed around the big marque obviously interested in the early bird special as Poh and the leading lights officially launched proceedings.

Fortunately the bird was house-trained.

GoSeeAustralia, rolled up in force with friends, in caravans and tent for the festivities and camped as usual at the welcoming Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park at the southern end of Halls Gap. We shared a relaxed stay with kangaroos, emu, deer, parrots and cockatoos. The wildbird life appreciate the evening "Nibbles" sessions which are part of the Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park experience. Among other benefits is the 32 deg woodfired spa swimming pool which is right beside a brilliantly convenient brand new amenities block which is part of the pretty parks recent major revamp.

Grampians Grape Escape organisers  told GoSeeAustralia today that they projected that crowd numbers on both days exceeded last year’s figures and that the Sunday turn-out was almost certainly a record. Almost 50 per cent of tickets were pre-purchased online.

Festival organizer David Wheaton said he could not have asked for the event to run more smoothly, with a sea of visitors filling the Halls Gap oval until late Sunday.

“The weather was perfect, the balance of exhibitors was just right, there was plenty for the kids to do and we had really appealing entertainment,” David Wheaton said.

“Celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow was fantastic and headline act Sheilas of the 70s with Monique Brumby had the crowd partying right to the end. We are still tallying the figures, but I’d say it was a record attendance.”

David Wheaton said this year’s layout was much more sequential for the crowd and all exhibitors seemed very pleased with their fast-paced trading over the weekend.

“The winemakers’ alley was effective and the vintage memorabilia celebrating 150 years of winemaking in the region really set the tone,” he said.

David Wheaton said new elements like the ‘Bush Chooks’ hand-made market was successful and a great way to showcase other creative elements from the region.

“And the grape stomping, which has become our signature event both days, was just fantastic. We even had Poh and Monique have a go, which really thrilled the crowd.”

David Wheaton said most of the manpower on the day was volunteered by people from all over the state.

“This year we ran a very appealing volunteer recruitment campaign and attracted around 70 volunteers of all ages,” he said. “All of them worked so tremendously hard and seemed to really get a lot out of the experience. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

David Wheaton said the event committee would debrief in coming weeks in preparation for next year’s festival, which, he predicts is only going to get better and better.
Grampians Grape Escape got big crowds
Grampians Grape Escape got big crowds


“The biggest highlight for the committee was holding the crowd all the way through to late Sunday afternoon. We have really made our mark as a weekend event.”

On Saturday and Sunday  the Grampians Grape Escape campers at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park  rode the Cricket Club bus which provided door-to-door to the Halls Gap Village Oval for a gold coin donation.

The GoSeeAustralia tourist park of choice has been renamed Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park, next to Lake Bellfield, it is the only park situated off the main road in an authentic bush setting 3.5 km from Halls Gap and only 1 km from Brambuk Cultural Centre. It is world renowned for its stunning setting, Australian wildlife and birds.

New resident owners Rohan and Josephina McDonald have worked magic since they bought the tourist park on 23 March 2012. Rohan has been able to heat the outdoor pool with the wood fired furnace which maintains the temperature around 32 degrees. For the little ones, spring free trampolines have  been installed; they are said to be the safest trampoline in the world. 
Josephina and Rohan McDonald
Josephina and Rohan McDonald


Rohan prepares the park to be green and clean while Josephina has introduced her shop Finika at the reception and is serving delicious latte's for coffee lovers.

Brand new modern deluxe cabins look out to the Grampians ramparts across a herd of kangaroos, emu and deer. The new amenities block beside the woodfired spa pool has individual bathrooms for convenience and privacy. That includes kitchen and laundry facilities too. Hall Gap Lakeside has a strong handle on Glamping.

Editors note: The Grampians Grape Escape is always held on the first weekend of May. So the dates for the next Festival in 2014 are May 3 and 4.

For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
Email: garth@contact.com.au
34 degs in the woodfired swimming pool.
34 degs in the woodfired swimming pool.
Cocky time at Hall Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Cocky time at Hall Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Emu strut through Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Emu strut through Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Deer are drawn to Halls Gap Lakeside grazing
Deer are drawn to Halls Gap Lakeside grazing
Fireside warmth for evening Nibbles session
Fireside warmth for evening Nibbles session
Kiera and Paddy on the new spring free trampoline at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Kiera and Paddy on the new spring free trampoline at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
The sign says it  all at  Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
The sign says it all at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
Rohan has levelled grassed and  opened up Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park entrance
Rohan has levelled grassed and opened up Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park entrance
Wood fired Billy boiler heats the swimming pool.
Wood fired Billy boiler heats the swimming pool.
Young climbers reach for the sky
Young climbers reach for the sky
Big Red drops in for cake Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
Big Red drops in for cake Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
Perfect weather favored Grampians Grape Escape
Perfect weather favored Grampians Grape Escape


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