The top-rated morning television show in Australia, Sunrise, filmed at Casmalia’s The Hitching Post on October 30. In a visit coordinated by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), the show’s crew enjoyed overnight lodging at Santa Maria’s Fairfield Inn & Suites as well as dinner and an interview courtesy of Chef Phil Meza of The Hitching Post.
The Aussies are in the states to film a five-part series called “The Original Road Trip.” Sunrise producers are modeling this series after a similar show they filmed in Australia, where the reporter rides a motorcycle through various destinations and reports on the people and places along the way. The piece will air later this year on Australia’s Channel 7 network, which reports a segment audience of 300,000.
“The crew just loved the food and the authenticity of our barbecue culture, wine region and ranching heritage,” said Gina Keough, manager of the VCB. “We made sure they tried our local wines along with Santa Maria Style Barbecue.”
She added that the opportunity originally came through the Central Coast Tourism Council, a collaborative destination marketing organization, of which the Santa Maria Valley VCB is an active member. The film crew’s one-week itinerary also included visits to Gilroy, Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Margarita, Pismo Beach, Solvang, Ventura and Oxnard.
“We really thank our community partners for helping us host this group,” Keough said. “This type of high-profile media coverage really reinforces the Santa Maria Valley as a special destination the meets the growing trend of culinary and heritage tourism. More and more people are seeking authenticity, a sense of place and heritage, which are things we have in abundance in the Santa Maria Valley.”