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Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Royal George Hotel: Kyneton | Winter Solstice Lunch 2018

24 Piper St
Kyneton VIC 3444

Why, hello there!

Regular readers of this blog may recall the annual winter solstice lunches I go on with some of my mates, and the rationale behind them (if not, read about previous ones here):
This year, we took our pagan festival to Kyneton on the suggestion of our rural host Lachlan Milne; and what a fantastic suggestion it was! In fact some suggested ALL of our future lunches should be at country pubs on the train line somewhere.

Read on to find out more and see some photos…

Kyneton is a one hour train ride from Melbourne, a real “country town” of some not insignificant beauty and charm, where we enjoyed the local hospitality.

The town itself is located in the Macedon Ranges, 87km NW of Melbourne - an easy one hour drive up the Calder Freeway; as explained by their local tourism website. We, naturally, took the train because we would be drinking buckets of beer and red wine.

The walk from the train into town is a pleasant twenty minute walk or so, across a bridge over the Campaspe River (which feeds Lake Eppalock and along which I would camp as a kid).

We ambled past parks and gardens, the local town hall and theatre. The streets are filled with pubs and beautiful old art deco creations, like the Bank of New South Wales which now apparently serves as accommodation for visitors.

Kyneton was, pretty much, a staging ground or halfway point for miners on their way to the goldfields from Melbourne. A “supply town” for the diggings, it is filled with historical bluestone buildings.

The air is clean, the streets quiet, the parks filled with trees. There was a local football match on between Kyneton and Kangaroo Flat going on that day which we never made it to, too busy with the gourmandising, but which I had been keen on visiting for a can of beer, a fire and whatever they were serving from the lady’s auxiliary kitchen.

The Royal George Hotel is one of the oldest and best pubs in town, a rambling establishment of many rooms tacked onto each other, interconnected with doors, steps, and scullery maid stairwells, charming and full of character.

The pub itself had been taken over by new management only the night before our visit, though they were keeping the menu the same for now, and the food was good: antipasto, steaks and lamb shoulder.

We drank many bottles of red wine from their cellar which came to the table quite chilled; Kyneton gets frosty nights over winter, so the cellar is cold. This was quickly fixed by lining up the wines on the mantelpiece over our cheerful fire in a private dining room they’d allocated us in one of the wings.

There are other pubs too in town, that we (hazily to my memory) frequented on the walk back to the station – ones with TABs in them, and perhaps not as polished as the Royal, but honest country pubs with cold beer and a cheerful welcome. You might try:
And a review of the day? I’ll leave it to one of the satisfied texts I received:

“Thanks for another great Winter Solstice lunch. Top notch company, food and wine. All brilliant.”

Well, you can’t say better than that.

I rate a gentleman’s lunch to Kyneton seven out eight tentacles (in the old scale) and heartily recommend you go there too… and have a winter solstice lunch with your friends next year!!

See some photos of our big day out below.