Insider’s Guide to Rutherglen

23 September 2021

As published in the Spring edition of Indulge magazine

We sat down with local artist, Kirrily Anderson, to get her top tips on where to eat, drink and play in Rutherglen.

Tell us about yourself. Where do you live? What you do?

I live in Chiltern, 15 minutes or so from Rutherglen. I am a full-time visual artist and work from my studio on the main street of Chiltern. My art practice is currently inspired mostly by nature, in particular, the nature I am surrounded by in north-east Victoria.

What do you love most about Rutherglen? How would you describe the region to people who have never been?

I love Rutherglen’s wineries, which are vast and varied and suit all tastes and occasions. They offer everything from tasting platters with beautiful views across hills and vineyards and simple fresh bites alongside the river to 5-star dining. For the outdoor types, grabbing a selection of local gourmet delights and a few fave bottles of wine and heading off to the Murray River for a couple of nights camping is a great way to unwind and escape! If you crave a bit more of a social scene, visiting during one of the many annual festivals and events is always fun.

Are you a wine, beer or spirits drinker? Tell us about some of your favourite local or craft drops?

Ah, well, all of the above! Beer is my go-to, and there are some excellent breweries in the region. I love a good dark beer and recommend a drive down toKing River Brewingfor a Fig Porter. Wine is a no-brainer, as you’re in Rutherglen. Head to the Rutherglen Wine Experience for a tasting and choose a winery or three to visit. Don’t forget the fortifieds. If gin is your thing (like me), then Remedy, distilled in Bright, is top-notch. Georgie at James and Co in Rutherglen mixes a mean Remedy G & T.

What are your favourite restaurants, pubs and eateries that are a must-do for visitors to the north-east?

If you time your trip to catch a popup lunch atJames & Co, you won’t be disappointed. Follow it with a refreshing treat from Gelatina; I love their sorbet! For something on the go, visitors surely can’t go past Parkers Pies, and I highly recommend their tiger prawn pie. Further afield, an afternoon under the gumtrees at Posh Plonk in Chiltern grazing on pizza and platters is time well spent.

Any hot tips for travellers seeking out some beautiful (and Instagram worthy) destinations?

Between Chiltern and Rutherglen, you can always grab a perfect springtime Instagram pic of bright blue skies and golden canola, but wildflowers are the new canola, if this spring is anything like last year. Set out into theChiltern Mount Pilot National Park, and you may find yourself in a patch of greenhood orchids, chocolate lilies, bush peas or the vibrant golden wattle, to name a few of the many wildflowers that grow here. The iconic ironbark trees also make for striking shots. My tip for Rutherglen visitors is the Donchi Hill loop road just before Chiltern. But if you have more time, the park is quite large and spread out, so I recommend exploring.

For those who have a creative bent, what would you consider are the must-see artistic attractions in the north-east?

Our larger regional galleries in the area are always great to visit, like MAMA in Albury (keep an eye out for my exhibition; open December 10 through to the end of January), the soon to reopen Hyphen/Wodonga Library Gallery (previously Arts Space Wodonga) and the Wangaratta Art Gallery in Wangaratta. If checking out smaller galleries or seeing artists at work in their studios is of interest, grab a Northeast Arts Trail brochure (ask at smaller galleries) and plan a drive. Some places require you to call ahead. Regional art prizes showcase work from near and far and are a great place to take in various types of work. These happen throughout the year, so be sure to enquire about what’s on and where.

Where do you take your family and friends to at the weekend?

I love visitingthe market(the second Sunday of every month), grabbing a coffee (and maybe a gourmet sausage roll or cronut) and wandering through the stalls to pick up all kinds of amazing local produce (pickled eggplant from Wicked Virgin is a market fave if it’s in season). Then to walk off the cronut, it’s lovely to take a short drive up to the Murray River for a wander amongst the huge river red gums.

Apart from Thousand Pound Wine Bar & Store, are there any other places visitors in the region can see your artwork on display?

In Rutherglen, my work can be seen in the window of the Visitor Information Centre as well as on the side of Valentine’s Bakehouse (grab a treat while you’re there!). The largest mural I have completed is here in Chiltern at the Recreation Reserve (sports ground) and is an excellent snapshot of the range of flora and fauna in the Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park.

Is there anything else you think readers should know about Rutherglen or your beautiful work?

My studio in Chiltern is on the main street, and I am happy to welcome visitors when I am available. Calling or messaging ahead is a must, though! A selection of my work can also be found at Lisa Bishop Studio and Art Store in Chiltern. 

Check out Kirrily's work via her website