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Tuesday 22 November 2022

Visit a special café with lots of eel feeling

Visitors can combine a journey along Victoria's iconic Great Ocean Road with a trip to the Budj Bim restaurant and aquaculture centre for a taste of First Nations cuisine.

The hub for newly launched indigenous owned-and-operated Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism, the Tae Rak Traditional Aquaculture Centre and Café is the departure point for the attraction’s Gunditjmara cultural tours, as well as a chance for day-trippers to experience a taste of Gunditjmara culture.

The venue is set on the shores of Tae Rak (Lake Condah) houses a kooyang (eel) holding tank and processing facility.

The venue and Gunditjmara guides bring to life kooyang farming techniques practiced by Gunditjmara people over hundreds of generations.

The Tae Rak Aquaculture Centre and Café is designed to blend with the landscape and includes a tour desk and a retail space as well as al fresco dining overlooking Tae Rak.

The venue is accessible via ramps and boardwalks that protect the natural environment.

The Tae Rak Café is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9am. Meals featuring local and sustainably produced seasonal ingredients including eel tasting plates are prepared using traditional Aboriginal techniques and flavours and are available between 10am and 2pm.

Meals are designed and delivered by a local Gunditjmara chef. Think dishes like eel arancini, eel pâté, smoked eel and crisp eel-skin crackling. Coffee and cake are also available all day.

The facility is just 40 minutes’ drive from either of the popular Great Ocean Road visitor towns of Port Fairy and Portland.

The Tae Rak Traditional Aquaculture Centre and Café is also proving a popular lunch destination for sightseers from the Mount Gambier and Dunkeld regions, and is a possible stopover for travellers to and from South Australia.

The facility was built to strengthen and maintain the Gunditjmara community’s connections to the traditional practice of kooyang farming and smoking for future generations.

Commercial activities such as cultural tours of the landscape, sales from the cafe and of smoked kooyang to visitors aim to keep Gunditjmara people working on country sustainably, and in alignment with the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape values.

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