Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not a planner… I’m normally late and organised but I am spontaneous! It’s worked pretty well for the past 25 years so why should road tripping on the other side of the world be any different!?
Now when I say ‘no plan’ I mean lets not be silly, you need to have a rough idea in which direction you’re going along with thinking a little bit about some key places you definitely want to visit; but apart from that I would say go wherever the road takes you. If you’re in a car or camper there are plenty of places to eat and sleep along the way so you shouldn’t have to think about that; and what’s an Aussie road trip without driving around in the dark hoping to avoid kangaroos in the road while you find somewhere to park up for the night anyway?
I loved this little place! So we were on the way down to Brisbane just after a visit to Kondalilla National Park (highly recommended), we had been in the middle of nowhere for quite a while and seeing some sign of civilisation felt kind of strange. I’d never heard of Montville from any of our backpacker mates or any of our Aussie friends but as we drove through the small town something struck me as unique about it. Not really knowing where we were or where I was going, I pulled off of the road and into what I think may have been a primary school car park … well we checked that it was free to park there and that was good enough for us.
The RARE Emporium
We wandered towards where the majority of the buildings were that lined the main road through the town and weren’t short of things to explore. Just on the left of me in this country style wooden building I spotted the coolest retro/antiques store I’ve ever seen … The RARE Emporium, and it was bursting with retro goodies. Now being backpackers obviously we couldn’t afford anything but that didn’t mean we couldn’t ogle everything and say ‘Ohhhh I’d love that if we had a real house’.
I basically wanted to buy EVERYTHING, but as we were living off of tuna and pasta for the most part, I settled for taking a free momento business card.
Montville Art Gallery
A little further down the street nestled in between old country houses and quaint restaurants, we noticed a sign for an art gallery; it being such a small town and the gallery looking a little bit like someone’s house, we thought there would be about five paintings done by one of the locals… how wrong were we. As we entered the gallery it was full of so many genres of art, there was indigenous, watercolour, abstract, contemporary, you name it, it was there; we were so surprised to have found some amazing art in this tiny place which we almost drove straight through.
Mayfield Patisserie & Chocolates
If you do one thing while near to or in Montville GO TO MAYFIELD PATISSERIE! We crossed the road from the art gallery out of curiosity as there were a couple of shops in that direction, as we looked around we noticed two patisseries at the end of the walkway. We can both always eat so off we went to investigate, as we got closer we saw that people were sitting outside admiring this amazing view of the Aussie countryside which seemed to appear from nowhere; we couldn’t not join them. There are two patisseries as you walk towards the seating areas, I can’t comment on the larger one on the right but Mayfiields is on the left and it is UNREAL. I would go as far to say that it is the best dessert I’ve ever eaten… and I’ve eaten a lot of desserts. Everything about this place is beautiful – from the breath taking view while you eat to the tiny decoration detail they put into their delicious food. I had a white chocolate mousse, raspberry, biscuit base creation and did nothing but audibly ‘mmmm’ and close my eyes with every bite, prompting Adam to look at me like ‘are you alright?’ quite a few times… it was almost too much. If you’re thinking yeah this sounds great but its probably ridiculously expensive…good news…we ate there so it can’t be; I think I spent around $14 or less for my dessert and an accompanying coffee so it’s 100% doable on a backpacker budget, just lay off the goon for one night.
The view from Mayfield Patisserie…
There are probably a huge amount of other hidden gems in and around Montville but this was my experience of how a spontaneous stop off on a road trip can turn into one of the highlights of your trip and make a place unexpectedly significant as it now holds some great memories.