With lockdown restrictions easing after what’s felt like a lifetime in Victoria, a weekend away relaxing and enjoying fresh food and fine wine is sounding particularly enticing this summer. Luckily for Victorians, our state is home to some of the most sought after regional restaurants and wineries in Australia.
Here’s our guide to five food and wine holidays near Melbourne.
The Bellarine Peninsula
Located only twenty minutes from Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula is one of the most incredible food and wine destinations in Victoria. Well known for the Bellarine Taste Trail, the Bellarine Peninsula is the perfect place to take spend the day on a day trip before heading home to premium accommodation in Geelong.
One of the real culinary diamonds of the region is Basils Farm in Swan Bay. Adored by food lovers, you’ll want to drag your heels here as you sip on one of their wines with a panoramic view of Swan Bay. You’ll be dining in the most picturesque of surroundings, with food grown mere metres from your table.
The Bellarine offers some great wineries, and you can get no greater convenience than spending a relaxing day visiting two neighbouring wineries! Terindah Estate and Jack Rabbit both offer wine tastings and further dining options and sit a few metres apart.
One of the great new additions to the region in recent years is The Whiskery – Bellarine Distillery, just up the road from Terindah Estate and Jack Rabbit. The Whiskery offers a selection of its own gins (try a flight), and often has some live music, offering the perfect destination to round out your day trip.
Geelong is a great spot to base yourself for everything that the Surf Coast and Bellarine has to offer. Stay at Quality Hotel Bayside Geelong and unwind from your day tips with sweeping views of Corio Bay’s beautiful waters.
Lakes Entrance has really popped as a food and wine destination in regional Victoria in recent years. With a range of stunning national parks, award winning wineries and cellar doors located in the region, iit’s the perfect destination for travellers inspired by their taste buds.
Start your day with a walk along the beach, then venture over to Metung for the afternoon, a sleepy beautiful coastal town nearby.
Spend the afternoon at Wyanga Park Winery and Henry’s Cafe and enjoy some local pinot noir, before heading back to Lakes Entrance. If you are still wanting more of the good stuff that the North East of Gippsland has to offer, drop into Slipway Lakes Entrance, who showcase the best in food, drink and entertainment from the region, all in one pop-up space.
The perfect place to base yourself during your stay is Comfort Inn & Suites Lakes Entrance, situated in a prime spot along the relaxing lakefront.
The City of Wangaratta is a rural hub worth visiting, sitting in the high country of Victoria on the Ovens River at the start of the Great Alpine Road. Located near the King Valley, Milawa and the many wine regions in and around Rutherglen, the Wangaratta provides a great anchor point for exploring some of Victoria’s finest in gourmet food and wine.
Take a drive out to Milawa during the day, who specialise in wine (Brown Brothers) and cheese (Milawa Cheese Company), one of the great pairings of the world! Milawa is a real hub of gourmet food and showcases some of the best of what the King Valley has to offer.
If you time your trip right, you may be lucky enough to catch the famous Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues, but fear not if you miss out, there are no shortage of entertainment options, like pub fare and live music at the Precinct Bar & Restaurant.
The centrally located Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway offers modern and relaxing accommodation in the heart of the city, close to the train station, Merriwa Park, and the Murphy Street and Ovens Street shops.
In recent years, Sale has started to really develop a great food scene, and further afield there are some fantastic spots to venture out for day trips, including Ninety Mile Beach.
Your first port of call should be quaint local institution Mister Raymond, right in the heart of the town, and popular with the locals for their great coffee and fresh local produce.
There are some great wineries around nearby Maffra, so why not stop in at one or two on your way back? There is the excellent Blue Gables vineyard, and don’t forget the famous Maffra cheese!
Don’t leave Sale with having dinner at the award-winning Criterion Hotel. This local institution offers a truly gourmet pub menu that is hard to beat, within a modern pub setting. If you are lucky you might even catch some live music as well.
For accommodation in Sale, stay at the Comfort Inn & Suites King Avenue, located close to the centre of town and offering great facilities and outdoor space to really relax.
The City of Greater of Bendigo is a vibrant hub, offering plenty of options for exploring within the city itself.
There is a healthy mix of great breakfast options in and around Bendigo. For first timers, try local favourite Percy and Percy, situated in an old Milk Bar and offering carefully crafted coffee and food.
If you love the craft beer scene, visit in March when the famous Bendigo On The Hop beer festival rolls into town.
If wine is your choice of tipple, join a wine trail and have a tasting at Balgownie Estate or one of many other wineries in the region which offer delightful ambience with a modern menu.
There are plenty of options in the evening for food, including unmissable and modern Masons of Bendigo offering a welcoming relaxed ambience.
For a great stay, the Quality Inn Colonial and Quality Hotel Lakeside offer excellent access to the best attractions of Bendigo and surrounding towns.