Australia Travel - A farm visit, blackberry picking, and instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

Australia Travel - A farm visit, blackberry picking, and instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

Victoria got so many wonderful places to visit, and each place has its unique beauty and charm.
One of these places is a small town in Gippsland.

Callignee South is a small Victorian Rural Location within the local government area of Wellington, it is located approximately 186kms from the capital Melbourne covering an area of 10.309 square kilometers. Callignee South has a recorded population of 12 residents. And that includes our Grandpa Allen (Dada’s father) who lives on the farm together with his loving companion Rex and Bella.
Callignee town is known for its vast farmland areas. It is also known as one of the towns affected by the major bushfire disaster back in 2009 called the Black Saturday Bushfire.




The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that either ignited or were already burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009, and were among Australia's all-time worst bushfire disasters. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire weather conditions and resulted in Australia's highest-ever loss of human life from a bushfire, with 173 fatalities. Many people were left homeless as a result.

After 11-years the whole surroundings are getting back to its normal state, although you will still notice some black dead trees still standing and never been cut due to its tall heights. 

Australia Travel - A farm visit, blackberry picking, and instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

Dada bought the property in 2010 as part of his real estate investment and Grandpa Allen is the one managing the estate. Properties in Callignee after the bushfire drops and no one wants to live there, but my clever Dada found an opportunity. He built the farmhouse and water system including the electricity line by himself. 

After 10years this property is starting to show good growth and lots of opportunities. 

Maybe one day we can turn this farm as a fruit and vegetable farm? Or maybe raise some pigs! Grandpa Allen would love the idea. 

Callignee South, Victoria
The satellite footage of Dada’s farm property.



Blackberry picking

But last summer January 2020 and for the first time, I experienced blackberry picking!

A farm visit, blackberry picking, and instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

Blackberries are a type of berry that is delicious eaten raw or added to tarts and other desserts. The fruit contains vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and copper. Blackberries also contain dietary fiber. In Victoria, blackberries are at their peak between December and February.

Blackberries grow so wild and fast! Many landowners also planted prickly blackberry bushes to keep out intruders and wildlife. Their thorns are small but vicious.

Wild European blackberries can also be found growing throughout Australia in bushland, parks, pastures, and orchards and beside roads. These blackberries are considered a Weed of National Significance and now cover an estimated 8.8 million hectares of southern Australia.



blackberries

Why blackberries are good to eat
Blackberries are a good source of vitamins A, C (needed for the growth and repair of tissues in the body), and K (important for helping your blood to clot).

They also contain minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure), manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function), magnesium, and copper.

Blackberries contain dietary fiber, which is important for a healthy bowel.
Energy – 100 g of blackberries supplies 180 kJ.

How are they grown and harvested?
Cultivated blackberry plants grow best in areas with high rainfall. The plant is a shrub with prickly stems that can arch or trail along the ground. Blackberry plants from prickly thickets that can cover several meters of ground. 

White or pink flowers grow on the shrub. Blackberries change color as they ripen, from green to red to black. The blackberry plant is semi-deciduous and loses leaves in winter.

Choosing blackberries
Choose blackberries that are plump, firm, and uniform in color. Avoid blackberries that look soft or shriveled. Also, avoid selecting punnets stained with blackberry juice or those that have moldy berries.

How to store and keep blackberries
Store blackberries in their container in your fridge. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them. Use blackberries within two or three days of buying.



Today the European blackberry is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia
Today the European blackberry is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia.

How to use
Make blackberry triangles – place a mixture of cream cheese, cinnamon, sugar, and blackberries on squares of puff pastry, then fold over to make a triangle and bake until golden.

Serve a colorful entrée – combine segments of orange, slices of fennel and shallots and salad leaves with blackberries, place on a plate then add cooked prawns on top and drizzle with a citrus vinaigrette before serving.

Add an Asian twist to your salad – arrange salad greens, blackberries, sliced pears and red onion on a platter, then sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds and drizzle with sesame oil and ginger dressing.




A Farm of Wild Dandelions

Aside from blackberries surrounding the property, another pretty weed is dominating the uphill and those are wild dandelions. 

instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

Initially, I thought dandelions are just naughty weeds that keep on coming back on my front lawn. Though I couldn’t deny the fact that dandelions are gorgeous weeds, especially when I realized that our farm is full of it!




instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

These gorgeous weeds are not only good for my Instagram photos, but turns-out has lots of medicinal uses, and yes you can eat these dandelions! Upon extensive research online, here’s what I found out.

Medicinal Uses
Like so many other plants dandelion has been used as herbal medicine by humans for much of recorded history. The Indigenous people of America boil dandelion in water to treat skin problems, heartburn, kidney disease, swelling, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat abscesses, reduce eye inflammation, and provoke diuresis. Across Europe, it has been commonly used to remedy boils, eye problems, fever, and diabetes.

Of course, this information is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended to substitute for the advice of a health care professional.



Eating Dandelion Leaves
Although a detested weed, dandelion can be used as a food source. Eaten raw, most people consider dandelionpic4 leaves to be quite bitter. They taste bitter because they contain a water-soluble chemical called sesquiterpene lactones which react with our bitter taste receptors. Although it is said that the young leaves are not bitter they also contain the above-mentioned lactones and will be bitter to some degree. If you don’t like the bitterness your options are to either mask the taste with another flavor (like a strong salad dressing) or to leech out the lactones by boiling the leaves. If you choose to boil the leaves make sure you only do so for around 3 to 5 minutes. If you boil them too long they will taste quite bland.

instagrammable dandelion fields at Callignee South, Victoria

Dandelion as a beverage
Dried dandelion leaves can be infused into hot water to make what is known as ‘dandelion tea’. If you wash the roots and slowly roast them in the oven at an extremely low temperature, they can then be ground up and brewed into a coffee-like drink. Dandelion tea can be purchased in some Australian shops and I have even seen it in some supermarkets. It is quite expensive, funny that what most consider a weed costs so much to buy as a product in the supermarket (labor-cost is waaayy expensive here so they rather ship the Australian dandelions to outsourced production countries like Bangladesh or India, and ship it back based on Australian food standards). Another drink which can be made is dandelion wine which is made using the flowers. Last of all, if eating or drinking dandelion isn’t your cup of tea (or wine) then your chickens will love eating them!


This farm full of dandelions is not meant to make more dandelion teas. They are just weeds and as of now, we haven’t planted anything here on the farm. So, for now, we occasionally do some mowing jobs.

agapanthus plant

Grandpa Allen also got lots of agapanthus plants on the driveway that gives an amazing bloom! I cannot wait to see more agapanthus flowers this coming spring.

Callignee South, Victoria

He also got other farm animals like these cute little goats and chickens. Hope the wild kangaroos never bother them while he is away.

This country's lifestyle is something that I enjoy here in Australia.

Follow me on YouTube for more country life adventures here Down Under.


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117 comments :

  1. This is breathtaking. I love dandelions. I would have been in heaven. I always wanted to pick my fruit. Sounds like an amazing time.

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    1. yes it is! I am excited for the next summer season :)

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  2. I want to go there and experience that, hehe! Totally Instagram worthy, I would take tons of photos there,

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  3. Wow! I love dandelions, they are so beautiful and refreshing. I never knew they made tea out of them, that's interesting. An overall beautiful article.

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  4. Oh wow the blackberries are huge!
    I am sure they were supertasty :D

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    1. Yes they are! Even Grandpa's dogs loves eating blackberries.

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  5. Wow .. what a beautiful farm. Need to visit one-day. Love blackberries.

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  6. This looks like such a wonderful outing! Blackberries are my favorite berries - but they are so expensive. Good for you that you were able to pick them yourself.

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  7. Blackberry picking is so much fun! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

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  8. South Victoria is so beautiful! I've been planning a trip there for a couple of years. We were finally going to go this year, but then everything went crazy.

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    1. AWw I know it is disappointing. Perhaps you could visit next year!

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  9. I would love to explore Australia for a solid month. There are so many different biomes there. I would definitely start here.

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    1. The whole month isn't enough :)
      I'm here for 8 months already and still haven't explore most of Victoria State alone :)

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  10. This sounds like it would be an amazing place. I have wanted to visit Australia since I was a kid. I saw Crocodile Dundee, and I was hooked. Of course, I got older and realized there was a lot more to the country.

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    1. So many things to experience and visit. Victoria State alone is such a treasure place :)

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  11. Wow, seems lile a wonderful experience, I would also love to do some blueberry picking 😊😊

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    1. Blackberry picking - check! Next in my agenda are apples, grapes, and other fruits available!

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  12. Wow this place looks amazing! I would love to visit that place someday.

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  13. Blackberry picking is so fun! And honestly didn't know you could eat dandelions, I should try it haha

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    1. I was surprised too! But it was a good dandelion tea :)

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  14. The pictures are absolutely beautiful and I would love to have such experience.

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    1. Come and visit Australia! So many farms that you can visit and enjoy fruit picking :)

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  15. I love blackberry picking. And may I just say - WOW. your photos are gorgeous. Like the one with the bee. WOW.

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  16. I've always wanted to visit Australia! I'ave heard so many great things about it.

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    1. Hopefully Australia will be open for tourism by next year, and that will be an exciting :)

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  17. A population of 12 residents??? And I thought I grew up in a small town! I also love blackberries and just about any other kind of berry. This looks like a great place to visit to get away from the city for a while.

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    Replies
    1. Grandpa said he have to yell to his neighbor just to say hello!

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  18. What a beautiful place! Totally gorgeous. And now I'm craving blackberries ��

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha I can't wait to pick lot of it next season.

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  19. Wild blackberries are absolutely delicious! We have several that just showed up in our backyard and I love it. I love to make blackberry cobbler with them. That is such a beautiful farm. I bet it’s amazing to see in person during the summer with all of those dandelions blooming!

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    1. Yes it is. Although Australia sees dandelions are weed, but with this vast beauty, how can I hate it?

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  20. Love to see your lovely photos and learning at the same time about them. Keep sharing your travels !

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  21. I love the pictures! Looks like an amazing place. I've always dreamt about visiting Australia, and seeing this makes me wanna go even more :D

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    1. This is not a typical Australia travel destination, and I am glad that you enjoyed it.

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  22. I just added Callignee to my list of places to visit in Victoria. I would love to be in a field filled with dandelions. And I had done the blue berry picking and not the bblackberries :D. I have done it only once and I had such a great time. I would love to visit a farm again to do some fruit picking.

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    1. That is wonderful! I'm looking for blueberries next :)

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  23. This is so interesting. I love blackberries. Got a lot of knowledge about the fruit today

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  24. This looks SO idyllic. I've never been berry picking, but would love to go for sure. If there's anything this pandemic has taught me, it's the healing powers of being in nature. You bring up a really good point regarding dandelion tea! It's literally a weed that most people are all too happy to rid their gardens of, yet can cost so much in supermarkets! Even though it's an effort, sometimes we're better off going the DIY route!

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    1. That is true! Cost of labour in Australia is very high, which made me think that only few ones bother to do the manual labor.

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  25. That dandelion field is so beautiful and I love Blackberry picking! What an amazing place to visit!

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  26. WOW! The blackberries and dandelions look like a dream! I'm in the United States and my dad has some blackberries growing in his backyard but nothing quite like the ones you pictured. And those dandelions - wow! Can't wait to visit Callignee South Victoria someday!

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  27. The farm sounds like a really cool place despite only 11 residents living close by.

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    1. That is true. Callignee South is a perfect place for agritourism, and for those retirees who loves their solitude.

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  28. Oh wow....I had no idea blackberries have fibre in them. Fibre is so key in my daily feeding.

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  29. You're giving me a serious craving of wanderlust. Aus has been on my checklist of destinations to explore but the trip got cancelled. Hope to tick it off soon!

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    1. Have patience! Australia will be open by next year.

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  30. Wow there are so many cool things you did on this farm visit. I would love to go black berry picking. I also had no idea about dandelion leaves and how you can make drinks out of them!

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  31. Amazing, the fields are fun to go to and take pictures for IG. The yellow flowers look beautiful. Hopefully, one day I will visit this place.

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    1. Dandelions grows well in Victoria. You can find them everywhere :)

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  32. We are sorry we missed our trip to Australia this year. But you have added a few things to our future planning list. Would love to visit when the blackberries are in season. Nothing better than getting them fresh from the field. I usually think of dandelions only as nuisance weeds. But I learned a little more about some medicinal uses for them. Maybe that field of yellow is more beautiful than I thought!

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    1. Australia will always wait for your visit! I'll share more flower fields that I could find as much as I can.

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  33. Those blackberry recipes are absolutely delicious and I shall be trying them soon. I'm no baker but if I can fake a blackberry puff pastry, so be it.

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  34. i love blueberry picking. looks like you guys had some great weather and options.

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    1. Yes it was last summer. I am excited to feel the summer again.

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  35. Wow this place looks so beautiful. very informative post. thanks for sharing these photos and your experience.

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  36. Australia has long been on my bucket list, ever since I was a child actually after watching Blue Water high, but it lies so remotely so I have yet had a chance to visit. You seem to have had such a soothing visit. I love berries and fruits overall, I would certainly would have joined you on that blackberry picking activity. Those triangles look so delicious! I hope to see more blog posts from this beautiful island country.



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    1. Thank you for appreciating my blog. Yes I'll share more country style travel around Australia.

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  37. Pretty sad to know about those Bushfires and to see that even today, the devestation remains. Blackberry picking sounds like a lot of fun. I have done strawberry harvesting, bet this is as good. And who is to say no when you pop a few in your mouth. The Dandelion fields look very refreshing and are total mood lifters.

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  38. Hi Blair,

    Did you move to Australia? By the way I loved the countryside vibe and those dandelion fields look so Insta-worthy. I've only been to Blackberries picking in Napa Valley, CA and it was fun! I wish you a great time in Australia!

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    1. Yes I did! My life changes so drastically and I like it. I fall in-love, moved here in Australia, and now trying to get used to the Aussie country lifestyle.

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  39. Blackberries and dandelions are awesome and all but the puppy on your video is the start of this blog post. I love how chubby and fluffy he is!

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    1. hahaha their names are Bella and Rex. Apparently, Grandpa loves them so much and get generous foods a lot. They are so adorable, and loves blackberries too!

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  40. I like how he was able to turn the land into a farmhouse-- such a great idea. Dandelions! Not many people know it has medicinal uses. Nice post.

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  41. I love Australia and can't wait to return one day soon. I've only been to Sydney and would love to get out and explore the smaller towns.

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    1. Yeah you will be surprised. Australia is not only visiting the big cities like Melbourne, Perth, or Sydney, or swimming in the crowded Bondi beach. Australia is about small community joined together. When you are in Australia, explore the regional towns and you will have the best experience of Aussie lifestyle.

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  42. I really need to visit! Also love you blog post! It was really informative! Thanks for educating me! I will need to visit like I said and taste, see, and smell all this!!!!!

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  43. A farm visit & blackberry picking are two activities that look so inviting. The dandelion fields have always looked beautiful to me when we travel outside India to Europe as we do not see it here so much except in the hills. It was lovely experiencing this journey with you.

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    1. Thank you so much! We can always find beauty everywhere!

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  44. Such a beautiful rustic experience. I did not know about the 2009 bushfires that took so many human lives, so sorry to hear that! I remember we used to pick blackberries too as kids, back in India. We would go for little walks in the wild and pick the blackberries and eat them! The Dandelions look amazing, I had no idea one could also eat the leaves of the Dandelions!

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    1. Amazing right?! I learned a lot from this experience :)

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  45. I havent been in Australia but i heard places here are so wonderful especially the farms.

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    1. Hope you can visit in the future! Yes, Australia excels in farming and agriculture.

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  46. I have been to state of Victoria a couple of times but I haven't seen this yet. I hope I can do blackberry picking too soon!

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    1. So many things to do and places to visit just around Victoria. I only visit Melbourne for business appointments, and quick museum side trips.

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  47. I could stare at those views every day for the rest of my lift. I really want to go there so badly.

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  48. I would love to visit South Victoria or anywhere in Australia. A farm and blackberry picking sound like fun ideas for ways to spend your time in Australia.

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  49. Great photos! I have never been to a blackberry plantation, it must be great to pick some and eat them fresh

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    1. Kinda looks like a plantation but it is not. Blackberries grows freely like other grasses :)

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  50. I would love to go blackberry picking. I just purchased an iced tea that has blackberries in it and I can't wait to try it.

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  51. It is so great to see such beautiful placesss! You're giving me too many holiday desires

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  52. I have never gone for a blackberry picking but this place looks so lovely..... <3

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    1. Thank you dear! I can't wait for the next season and experience another fruit picking.

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  53. Indeed instagrammable! looks like you had a great day!

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    1. Yes I did! Hope I could experience more country travel.

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  54. Blackberry picking is so much fun! Also love the dandelion fields, they are so beautiful.

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  55. wow, I want to go there and pick blackberries. Sarao nyan kainin lalo na pag freshly picked

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  56. WHOAAAA! I think you're right, Blair. I would totally love to travel and see mountain landscapes in Australia. I have slowly immersed myself with nature lately and it helps to keep me sane this quarantine.I badly wanna try blackberry picking! Naaalala ko mga healthy breakfast bowls sa blackberry :D

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    1. Slow travel will be the next big trend when the pandemic is over.

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  57. You’re so lucky you got to experience blackberry picking! Blackberries are such such a rare fruit here in the metro, and usually they cost a lot! Too bad cos most of the healthy recipes i want to try require these babies! ��

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    1. Next season, I am excited to experience tomato picking naman!

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  58. You’re so lucky you got to experience blackberry picking! Blackberries are such such a rare fruit here in the metro, and usually they cost a lot! Too bad cos most of the healthy recipes i want to try require these babies! ��

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  59. I clicked on this because I got intrigued by the blackberries! I didn't know that Australia has this much blackberries. I also love the dandelion farm! It's really a great place to take OOTD photos hihi

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    1. Hahaha true! Now I am hunting many fields filled with wild grasses and flowers just for OOTD!

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