Josh Oakes says he is raw. Raw as in new to many aspects of running a full time tour guide business here in Melbourne. We met yesterday and he took me to a beautiful part of the country, the spa-focused region of the Macedon Ranges. Here, he said, the emphasis is on pleasure. There are mineral springs, thermal baths, hot tubs and massage therapists. There are also many restaurants that adhere to the ever more popular concept of 20-mile dining.
We stopped at an elegant inn called the Lake House, where the chef lists every vendor she works with in the back of the menu, with details about the delicious meats, produce, or other local product they offer. We dined on fresh trout with broccoli rabe, and in the garden we fed filet mignon scraps to a kookaberra bird, whose cries sound like a mocking laugh.
Josh told me about his and his wife’s expanding business that caters to high-end clients, many of whom come from the US. They take people out and using all locally-raised guides, give them a taste of what’s really delicious, impressive, and fun in Melbourne. They also take folks out to the hills to places like Daylesford and to the ocean on the peninsula.
Comparing notes in the van back from the trip, we both had a lot of the same issues in common, and it was clear that business on either end of the globe are fraught with the same pitfalls, glories and hassles.