It’s a beautiful spring morning in our pretty little village of Loch in South Gippsland. As the morning sun reflects off the dew from the previous chilly night on our deck at The Old Hospital, you can hear the kookaburras and magpies stir to life.
Our visiting guests from the weekend – a group of lovely craft ladies that had returned to us – were very creative and produced some beautiful fabric purses and felting work amongst other things. One lady was enjoying her very first craft weekend away with a group and said she had thoroughly enjoyed herself and The Old Hospital “had absolutely everything she needed for her weekend”.
Now that they have left for their respective homes it is down to business – cleaning, vacuuming, stripping and making beds.
As well as our work at The Old Hospital, there is also the community work to get involved in. Sunday morning witnessed a group of dedicated volunteers assemble on the outskirts of Loch to clean out and prepare ground for a tree plating to beautify one of the entrances into our village.
To the sound of tractors and chainsaws, gnarly willows were cleared and pretty soon some fresh plantings will appear. We are very fortunate to have an active and dedicated community.
The village also has recently formed a Social Gardener’s Group. While the focus is primarily social, they organised a Trivia Night to raise funds to plant a new garden at the Loch Community Hall. The group had enormous support from the local community and the garden is now growing. Their next event is the Loch Village Open Garden Day on November 11th, which will tie in with Remembrance Day, and the gardens will open after a short ceremony at the Cenotaph at 11am. The group have crocheted, knitted and sewn poppies to decorate the village and to sell in the lead up to the day, with proceeds going to Legacy. Around eight gardens will be on display and maps will be available to purchase for $5, which will cover entry to all gardens. There will also be some small plants for sale and maybe even a homemade cake or two.
Dig under the surface of our village and you will also find the very active Loch Country Women’s Association, about to host it’s Peruvian day for the Australian CWA’s 90th birthday, with food, crafts and even a guest speaker showcasing a recent motorcycle journey through Peru.
Funds go to helping local families and farmers who are doing it a little tougher than the rest of us.
The Masonic Lodge are another active community group, with a long history in the town. They are a great support base for men who need to share their stories.
The Lion’s club run the Loch Community Market and barbecue delicious sausages and hamburgers on the 2nd Sunday of the month.
These are just a few groups that come to mind, that make up a wonderful community of people who are always there to support each other in times of need, or to just share a laugh and a chat with.
I have them to thank for the fact I can even contemplate writing a post for our website while holidaying in Vietnam, let alone being able to check bookings, reply to enquiries, mark off payments and send invoices.
It may start to sound like not much of a holiday but all of this only takes an hour of the day and at 36 degrees with high humidity here in Hoi An, Vietnam, retiring to the air-conditioned room for a short break during the heat of the day is quite okay.
Things are as easy here as hooking into WiFi wherever we go – airports, our hotel, cafes, bars and even the most basic of street food restaurants and mini marts. Asia is so tech savvy, although connectivity can sometimes require the patience of a Buddhist monk.
Over the many years of our travels through Southeast Asia, we have stayed in some pretty remote areas. Most houses in these villages are very basic little huts, where three or four generations eat, sleep and socialise together in the same room. But there on the roof is a massive satellite dish, inside is a big flat screen TV, the whole family are on the internet (even grandma), and everybody has a mobile phone.
Almost 10 years ago we spent a couple of nights out in the middle of Halong Bay on a “junk” boat with two teenage daughters. Our eldest was happily texting her boyfriend from way out yonder on the water – thank goodness she had connection or we may have had to live with the consequences if she could not reach him.
Another time we were on a catamaran in rough seas on the Lombok Straight and as the waves washed over the bow and inside the boat, the said daughter was texting the said boyfriend again, telling him she was drowning – to be fair to her she probably panicked a bit when they played the theme from Titanic over the loudspeaker!
We have been lucky enough to escape the winter for a couple of weeks and leave the running of The Old Hospital with good friends. It has been an interesting mix of emotions leaving the guest house in the hands of someone else – (a bit like handing your baby to a babysitter for the first time), with the added thought they may just do a better job than us!
As we arrived at the airport (and checked our e-mails, Instagram, Facebook pages and What’s App’d the kids), we put our concerns behind us and were suddenly excited to be going on holidays. We knew that in the unlikely event our trusty relieving managers encountered a problem, we were only a mobile call, text, email or What’s App or Skype message away!
Thanks be to Tim and Steve.
A drive through the pretty hills around Loch Village in South Gippsland is rewarding not only for its picture postcard views but also the many gourmet delights on offer.
Guests staying at The Old Hospital have a plethora of options supplied by their hosts Peter and Michelle Campbell.
One option may take in the back road from Loch to Poowong and onto a single lane bitumen road winding its way through the Bass Valley where a wallaby or two can be seen. Onwards through the hills towards Jumbunna, dropping in to Prom Country Cheese for a morning tea platter. On a Sunday you can catch the Kongwak market and its quirky retro goods, food and fine coffee. From there a quiet country road leads on through the hills to the Kernot Store for a late lunch of delicious wood fired pizza. A short drive back towards Loch, popping in to the Gippsland Wine Company and Loch Brewery & Distillery for refreshments.
At the end of the day guests can relax, enjoying the comfortable facilities with friends while self catering or choosing to indulge with a fully catered package.
And this is just one day at The Old Hospital Loch!
The first 6 reasons were recently published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The 7th reason is that there is great accommodation for groups of up to 18 at The Old Hospital in Loch.
We have had a stellar start up to our first year of guests choosing to stay with us. We have now taken bookings up until May 2019 – mostly from guests who rebook before they leave us. Our very first booking was taken way back in September 2017, when several of the group members came to visit us. We were in full throes of renovation, so the place was not looking it’s best. The group of wonderful ladies could share our vision and enthusiasm and finally came to stay with us a few weeks ago. They were delighted with the end results – thank you Rhonda and friends for your support.
In the summer months the entire building is cooled by fans and air conditioners. In the depths of winter our accommodation is warm and cosy, heated by a wonderfull hydronic system and backed up by reverse cycle split systems.
Some guests have chosen to self cater, but many have taken up the option of our catering service provided by Not Just Tarts. The food is gourmet standard and the choices are endless. The cost of our catering compares with less than the cost of a pub meal and is extremely good value. They are happy to offer full catering, where guests are waited on and don’t have to worry about the clean up. Alternatively, they now offer a “Heat & Serve” option, where food is freshly prepared on our premises prior to guests arrival and is left in the fridge with full instructions for guests to reheat when they are hungry.
Our guests wander down to the cafes and shops in the town several times during their stay with us. This benefits our local traders and encourages others to visit and stay awhile.
The Old Hospital offers free wifi throughout our large building, which guests have the exclusive use of.
For an extensive Heat & Serve PDF menu, visit our website
Recently The Old Hospital hosted their first Corporate Group Retreat. Here’s what they had to say about us on TripAdvisor…
“Great space, perfect for our needs. We ran our not-for-profit leadership retreat at The Old Hospital over 3 days/2 nights with 18 attendees. From our first contact to leaving on the last day, Peter was incredibly accommodating, easy to work with, and quick to respond to our many questions and changes in our requirements.
The space itself was fantastic for our needs. Our 3 days were packed with activities, and having multiple spaces to use helped break up the day and allow for multiple sessions to run comfortably at the same time (the garden and deck particularly were wonderful for our meet and greets and to get us energised in the mornings).
We were so impressed with the catering who responded to all our dietary requirements (something which can be hard with a big group!), and when we cooked our own meals, the kitchen was well equipped, although some labels on cupboards would be a good addition!
The leftovers from the hospital like the call buttons were a nice touch, and it was fun to stay somewhere with a bit of character.
We had fantastic feedback on the property from our attendees, including on the location of Loch, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to similar groups.”
Our first corporate group were able to to utilise the many features The Old Hospital has to offer, such as the quiet garden setting for some meditation time, the break out spaces for one on one meetings and the large dining room where they enjoyed some excellent meals provided by our caterers.
The Old Hospital is pleased to have secured the services of our exclusive in house catering team, “Not Just Tarts”. They have many combined years of food industry experience and produce high quality, delicious cuisine at extremely reasonable prices. They are able to cater for dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan dishes.
The conference room comfortably accommodated the group of 18 and our facilities were well utilised – our projector and screen, whiteboard and large pin board for showcasing ideas were beneficial for their group activities.
Our inviting ensuite bedrooms provided respite from the “work” areas. At the end of the day, the participants could take a little time out from work, unwind with a hot shower and relax on our inviting plush top mattresses and allergy free quilts, before joining the rest of the group on the deck for evening drinks before dinner.
The 2018 calendar is filling up rapidly, so please visit our online booking partner to make a booking.
Spring is revealing the fruits of our labour through those winter months in our garden at The Old Hospital, Loch Village. We celebrated our first rose of the season last week and this week our crab apple burst into the most beautiful blossom. It’s a great tree as it also delights guests with the most amazing autumn foliage too.
We watched with interest over the past two weeks as our liquid amber transformed from its wintery skeleton into lush foliage, providing our guests with a pretty outlook from the front bedrooms as well as respite from the warm summer sun.
Ajuga, rhododendron and pelargonium are all bursting into life adding to the plethora of colour throughout the garden. It is certainly a pleasure to be relaxing in such a serene and colourful setting.
Spring has arrived today in Loch Village. It’s a perfect 19 degrees, there’s no wind and the blackbirds are vocal with their springtime tunes. It’s a perfect day for a cup of tea in the north facing sunroom at The Old Hospital, Loch Village.