Ghinni Ghinni - you have absolutely no clue where that is - do you?! Oh well it means you are just going to have to read on......
When most city slickers want to show their kids where milk comes from they normally head to their nearest "city" farm like Golden Ridge or Calmsley Hill. Luckily we are very blessed, in that we have access to the real deal - Poppy and Nanna's farm. The little bulls have known all about farms since day dot, even though they are most definitely city slickers - eg. they don't quite understand why there isn't a McDonalds near the farm - but they most definitely know where milk comes from and the difference between a bull calf and a heifer calf (bull = boy & heifer = girl in case you are a real city slicker!!).
The problem is, that the farm is about 400km north of where we live so we can't pop over to Poppy's for a cuppa after preschool. However when we have a spare weekend we slip on our gumboots and head north. Now a 400km trip does require a "stop, revive, survive" and as most of you well know, the trip north out of Sydney via the Pacific Highway is dotted with Maccas, Hungry Jacks and other fast food joints. I detest these places mainly because their coffee is crap and every man and his dog are always there and they always make the most of the loos.
So I'm quite amazed that it has taken me (us) so long to stop in at The Other Side Gallery Teahouse. This is seriously the perfect spot to stop, revive and survive the rest of your trip with your kids. The Other Side is very easily seen from the highway (it is the brightly coloured church like building just north of Taree) - I have been wondering for quite a few years what it is like as we have zoomed past and now I can tell you dear parents, it is excellent. Most definitely worth veering off the highway for a wee bit - it serves excellent coffee, delicious food, has clean toilets and is child friendly!
After veering off the highway you drive up a little dirt road that is bordered by a paddock full of cattle and then you arrive at the little blue and red chapel of deliciousness. Interesting sculptures adorn the gardens and there is a little pathway down to the river's edge. Apparently visitors even arrive in their boats from neighbouring properties - how sweet life is in Ghinni Ghinni!
We were greeted immediately by the owner and her resident chicken Julia (no sign of Kevin the cockerel). We had the choice of sitting inside or out and we decided on inside as the weather was so dreary. However on a sunny day sitting outside on a table by the river would be bliss.
The inside is warm and welcoming with loads of chairs and polka dot covered tables around the gallery space and lovely wooden cathedral ceilings loom above you. On all the walls, paintings by resident artists are displayed. The art ranges from still life to landscapes to nudes. I noticed one weary traveller arrive and plonk himself down in front of a painting of a lady with rather pendulous bosoms and then hurriedly move seats once his wife noticed him taking rather too long appreciating the said artwork!
We arrived in time for morning tea. There was a divine selection of home made sweet treats on offer from freshly baked scones to macadamia and ginger florentines. The lunch time menu also sounded oh so yum - no dodgy burgers and fries here and did I mention the heavenly coffee?
The menu for kids was quite impressive with both healthy options and the good old fashioned spiders made with local Saxby soft drinks - which of course the little bulls demanded. And at $5.50 they are quite good value as you get a cookie too! In regards to occupying your children during your visit there are are some wooden games for them to play, but they will probably have too much fun creating their spider to need any other distractions. If the weather is fine, they have plenty of space to run around in outside.
After you have revived yourself at The Other Side Gallery Teahouse take a wander upstairs and check out all of the works of art in progress. On a sunny day you can take a stroll along the river bank and then hop back into your car, say a little thanksgiving prayer that good coffee is indeed available on your travels. Then return to the other side of the river to continue your journey with the knowledge that you have helped financially a local business and not an international conglomerate and I say hallelujah to that x
Moto Rd Ghinni Ghinni (Taree) NSW 2430
02 6553 8890
Open Thu (10-2) Fri - Sun (10-4)