Oh, how I adore birthdays…especially my own! It’s the one day in the year where I totally embrace the “Me Me Me”. It’s a magical, anything-can-happen, unicorn of a day fuelled by rainbows, cupcakes and hugs – or giant pineapples, beer and fancy three-course meals if my last birthday is anything to go by!
This year I celebrated my birthday with a road trip to Bathurst, home of The Big Pineapple, The Historic Pig & Whistle and the exquisite Kingston Farm – to name but a few of the many attractions this little town has to offer.
Bathurst, for those who don’t know, is an eccentric village (“…because a ‘town’ would have a bank and a full-time doctor, which Bathurst doesn’t…”) located 12km from Port Alfred, with a history dating back to the early 1820’s. Boasting an impressive nightlife, the sleepy little town is known for being a “drinking village with a farming problem.” Charming!
Three reasons why you, too, should celebrate your birthday (or any special occasion!) in Bathurst:
The Big Pineapple
There was an old lady who lived in a pineapple. Yes, there was! The Big Pineapple is ‘home’ to 1x human, 2x cats and a whole lot of pineapples. The human sells pineapples and related paraphernalia to tourists, and the cats eat and sleep on the counter and wear the exact same enduringly serious expression as their adopted human.
Located on the edge of town at Summerhill Farm, The Big Pineapple stands 16,7m tall – just under 1m shorter than the original Big Pineapple in Australia’s Sunshine Coast. The fibreglass, steel and metal structure is a rather wonderful oddity in a town with a long list of charming oddities – and you’ll want to pay the R15 entrance fee and venture up the stairs to the third floor observation deck, where you’ll be greeted by a rather impressive view of the Bathurst landscape.
The Historic Pig & Whistle
The quaintly charming Pig & Whistle, built in 1832, is the oldest continuously licensed pub in the country – that’s 184 years of sleeping, eating and swigging at the Pig! Stone walls, wooden beams and a wood burning fireplace makes for a very historic setting while sipping on local beer which, by the way, is delicious.
It was surprisingly busy for a Friday morning (yes, we had beer before beer o’clock, because BIRTHDAY) and apparently their Sunday roasts are so popular that booking is recommended. Definitely worth a quick pit-stop if you’re ever in the area.
Beautifully presented, delicious food, coupled with delightfully charming and attentive hosts makes this, hands down, one of the most beautiful meals I’ve ever had.
Kingston Farm, which is situated just outside Bathurst, has been delighting patrons since 2007 and has been voted one of Eat Out magazine’s top 500 restaurants – twice. The owners and hosts, Fred and Carla Bright, spent two years lovingly restoring the large Edwardian farmhouse, which was built at the turn of the nineteenth century. The house boasts an impressive collection of vintage furniture and trinkets. And what a charming couple – the kind of hosts you want to invite to sit at your table while you share stories and wine!
The carefully prepared three-course prix-fixe menu changes often, and they tailor make menus for special occasions. My birthday menu consisted of (brace yourself) an appetiser of (heart shaped!) cheese mousse, served with spiced cherry chutney and toasted ciabatta; a main course of braised poussin, stuffed and wrapped in prosciutto, served with portabellini mushroom risotto, braised red cabbage, and asparagus and red wine jus. And for dessert? Poached pear with chocolate ganache, walnuts, and chocolate ice cream. SO MUCH OF YUM.
We left Kingston Farm with full bellies, happy hearts – and a surprise champagne birthday gift!
The farm also offers three self-catering apartments, with breakfast available on request (request away!), so if you’re ever in the area and find yourself in need of delicious food, great company and a cosy place to rest your head then Kingston Farm should be number one on your list. Clearly I was impressed 😉
There you have it – Bathurst in 5 hours and 735 words.
During my gap year I worked at a summer camp in the USA where the campers legitimately celebrated ‘half birthdays’. Imma make that a thing! So. Only 5.5 months to go until my half birthday road trip..! If my real birthday is anything to go by, it’s gonna be a goodie 🙂
Happy birthday month to meeeee!