5 Great Days of Food and Wine

5 DAYS - 4 NIGHTS

From the freshest coastal seafood, to family run, boutique wineries and fine-dining regional restaurants – your tastebuds won’t know what hit them! So here’s to all the great food and wine just waiting to be discovered on the Great Southern Touring Route. Bon appetit!

DAY 1

Avalon to Anglesea

Depart: Avalon

O/night: Anglesea

Distance: 113 kilometres 

Morning

Your culinary adventure could begin at Avalon Airport. Avalon is Victoria’s quieter second airport, which means you can grab your luggage and be on the road in a shake of a lamb’s tail! Speaking of lamb, it might sound a little odd but the first place to stop for great food and wine is the National Wool Museum in Geelong. Black Sheep is a restaurant in the heart of the museum, serving up classic Italian fare and gin cocktails with a twist. If it’s a little too early for the hard stuff, grab a coffee and wander the museum. You’ll discover the Australian story of wool, fibre and textiles – it’s quite a yarn.

Now to experience the best wine, beer and cider the Bellarine Peninsula has to offer. The region is known for its boutique, family run, cool-climate wineries with stunning bay views. If you feel like finding your new favourite drop, we recommend visiting Jack Rabbit, Leura Park Estate and Scotchmans Hill. And don’t miss Oakdene with its unique wine tasting experience in the ‘Upside Down House.’ Yes, it really is upside down, you haven’t had one too many wines, promise!

Afternoon / evening

If cider and beer are on your mind, head to Flying Brick Cider Co and order a tasting paddle, or Queenscliff Brewhouse for handcrafted flavour to suit every beer lover’s tastebuds. Now it’s time for something sweet, so make a stop at Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

For more local food and wine inspiration, visit The Bellarine Taste Trail website, otherwise, it’s time to check-in to the Great Ocean Road Resort in Anglesea for the night. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and bushland, the resort has seven room types to choose from. And if you haven’t had enough amazing food and wine, The Coast restaurant offers a variety of Australian fusion dishes and sharing plates. Can’t hurt to look at a menu, right?

DAY 2

Anglesea to Port Fairy

Depart: Anglesea

O/night: Port Port Fairy

Distance: 280 kilometres 

Morning

Have a nice lie in before enjoying a cooked or continental breakfast at the resort (and plenty of coffee) before a taking the 3 km morning stroll from Anglesea to the idyllic Point Roadknight Beach. If it’s a sunny day, take a dip or watch the local surfers doing what they do best!

Afternoon / evening

If time is on your side, the award-winning Brae is a restaurant, guest suites and a working organic farm. To quote from the website, it’s ‘…a place to be immersed in nature and eat from the land.’ Helmed by top Chef, Dan Hunter, an ever-changing set-menu showcases a unique Australian cuisine built on an immense respect for nature. Brae is one of the greatest of the great food and wine experiences on the Great Southern Touring Route, you will need to book in advance!

If you’re feeling a bit more fancy free, pop the charming town of Forrest into your GPS, or Forrest Brewing Company to be exact. You’ll arrive at a small-scale operation where all the beer is brewed onsite and bottled by hand. Made with pure Otways water, select grains and local hops, you’ll want to get your hands on one too! Save the other hand for a delicious grazing platter.

If you’re after something stronger, stop at Timboon Distillery for some great single malt whisky, or as Owner and distiller, Josh Walker, calls it, ‘liquid gold.’ Then, while the light’s still golden, wind your way down to Port Campbell and see the 12 Apostles. These majestic rock formations are among the greatest sights on the Great Southern Touring Route, so make sure you take a peek.

On the way to Port Fairy, more wine tasting at Basalt Wines awaits. Their amazing local wines are the perfect aperitif before a delicious dinner at Merrijig Inn. It may be Victoria’s oldest inn, but the food philosophy is thoroughly modern. The menu is rewritten daily using whatever their garden and local farmers produce, the wine list is progressive and the cocktails are some of the most impressive you’ll find anywhere. And the best part… it’s an inn, remember, so your room really is within stumbling distance! Or you may wish to try Ashmont Motor Inn a short stroll from Merrijig Inn.

DAY 3

Port Fairy to Halls Gap

Depart: Port Fairy

O/night: Halls Gap

Distance: 156 kilometres 

Morning

It would be a shame to leave the lovely seaside town of Port Fairy without taking a look around. Take a morning walk along the Moyne River to see the boats moored along the jetties, then head into town and browse the charming boutiques for artisan souvenirs. Break your fast at an amazing café like Bank St + Co, and it’s time to hit the road again!

You’ve appreciated so much great food and wine already, so what about art and wine? On the way to Dunkeld, make a stop at Hamilton Gallery. A local treasure for almost 60 years, Hamilton Gallery presents a range of exhibitions, programs and events that aim to stimulate enjoyment of the visual arts. To stimulate your tastebuds, make the short drive to Pierrepoint Wines, a family run winery with food and wine that celebrates everything the region has to offer.

Afternoon / evening

Royal Mail Hotel in the picturesque town of Dunkeld is also a celebration of place, and an Australian icon. Home to two restaurants, the more casual Parker Street Project and the two-hatted, fine dining Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, that has an ever-changing tasting menu. This place is so great, you could go to Parker Street Project for lunch and come back to Wickens for dinner for the ultimate Great Southern Touring Route food and wine experience. Up to 80% of the produce is grown on-site and the wine cellar contains 25,000 bottles, leaving you with unparalleled choice… although you definitely won’t mind Executive Chef Robin Wickens curating your tasting menu for you!

In the afternoon in Halls Gap, head to Reed Lookout to see the sunset over Victoria Valley and surrounding ranges, it looks like a painting.

For less naturally occurring works of art, you also could add an extra night here and travel about an hour further north to start the Silo Art Trail. The Silo Art Trail is Australia’s largest outdoor gallery. The trail stretches over 200km, linking Brim with neighbouring towns Lascelles, Patchewollok, Rosebery, Rupanyup and Sheep Hills.

DAY 4

Halls Gap to Daylesford

Depart: Halls Gap

O/night: Daylesford

Distance: 187 kilometres

Morning

No trip to the Grampians would be complete without taking a hike, plus you might want to walk off some of the past few days of deliciousness? No judgement! Get up with the local birds and kangaroos and head to The Pinnacle Lookout. The walk and lookout are one of the highlights of in the region, and hikers are rewarded with stunning views of Halls Gap and the Grampians’ many peaks. There’s also a choice of three trails that vary in distance, so there’s something for every fitness level.

Now you’ve walked up a thirst, stop for some wine tasting on the way to lunch in Ballarat. Don’t miss Seppelts Great Western’s fascinating cellar tour, and Mount Langi Ghiran, Fallen Giants, Grampians Estate and Blue Pyrenees Estate are also well worth a look.

Afternoon / evening

Make a stop for lunch in the historic Ballarat, but don’t judge a building by its façade when you arrive at The Provincial. 1909 on the outside, with modern European restaurant Lola on the inside, the menu is locally sourced and seasonally driven.

A boutique experience in the heart of Ballarat that tastes as good as it looks. From food to fur, before you leave Ballarat, make a stop at Ballarat Wildlife Park and cuddle a koala! Awww.

Back on the road again, and you’re bound for spa country, Daylesford… so why not have a relaxing, afternoon spa experience? Try Peppers Mineral Springs or Lake House for their indulgent spa experiences.

Now you’re all bathed and ‘Zen,’ you’re ready to indulge in Daylesford’s best local dining and accommodation. Set on six acres of country gardens that extend down to the waters of Lake Daylesford, Lake House is part restaurant, hotel, spa, wedding venue and the list goes on… it truly sets a benchmark for regional hospitality.

Have dinner in the two-hatted restaurant, and enjoy spectacular views to go with your modern, locally sourced fare. So local, much of produce is sourced from the restaurant’s own Dairy Flat Farm. Culinary Director Alla Wolf-tasker AM’s creative flair makes the seasonal menu something truly special, and matched wines from one Australia’s best wine lists takes the whole experience to another level.

After the sublime dining, you don’t have to float away from the table far. There’s a range of uniquely styled, luxurious suites available at the property. Yes please!

DAY 5

Daylesford to Melbourne

Depart: Daylesford

O/night: Melbourne

Distance: 112 kilometres 

Morning

When you wake up at a place like Lake House, you need to make the most of it, especially because it’s the last day. So dry your eyes and enjoy a delicious breakfast there, then partake in some of the amazing Lake House activities. You can take a hike, hang by the pool or jump into the jacuzzi or sauna… there’s no hurry. You may decide to brunch at Cliffy’s a local café full of character and buzz. Whatever you decide to do, you must go for a walk around the lake and meet the (very vocal) local birdlife before you go.

Afternoon / evening

Did you know, as well as being known for ‘spas,’ Daylesford’s also famous for its eclectic mix of interesting galleries and gorgeous boutiques? Head into town for a stroll through the character-filled streets and you just mind find some incredible gifts for loved ones back home… or a little something for yourself!

For your final great lunch, you could be spontaneous and wander into any of the wonderful cafes in town, or perhaps a local winery slightly out of it. Otherwise, for food that feels like a big comforting hug at the end of your journey, there’s Beppe. This friendly neighbourhood trattoria serves up traditional Italian cuisine with a modern take. Homemade pasta to send you home happy. Let’s raise a glass of Beppe Pinot Noir to all the great food and wine on the Great Southern Touring Route. And the greatest thing is, there’s always more to come back and discover.

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