Attracted by fertile soil and clean water, food producers and wine growers have founded their farms and vineyards in the most beautiful parts of the state. Here, they welcome visitors with open arms to try their wines and taste their food. Throughout Victoria, visitors will find food and wine trails mapped out showing the road to take and the places to stop along the way.
Geelong and the Bellarine
With its wide beaches, secluded seaside villages and vineyard views over Port Phillip Bay, the Bellarine Peninsula, simply because of the folds of the landscape, hides its food and wine gems down country lanes and secluded streets. The Bellarine Taste Trail boasts more than 40 food and wine destinations, including farmgate producers, provedores, unique wineries, beer and cider and award-winning cafes and restaurants. The lesser known Moorabool Valley, located northwest of Geelong, is home to picturesque villages, rolling hills, rivers and valleys, and some amazing food and wine experiences that are highlighted on the recently launched Moorabool Valley Taste Trail (website coming soon). The inspiring new trail features wineries, farm gates, cafés, restaurants, produce stores, events, and markets, all worthy of a roadtrip inland.
The Mornington Peninsula is a patchwork of green pastures, vineyards, orchards, olive groves and native forests surrounded by picturesque beach lined coast. The Mornington Peninsula Wine Food Farmgate Trail has more than a dozen suggested routes with maps that connect wineries, restaurants, breweries and like-minded food and wine business with dining rooms, farm gates and cellar doors. Along the way, visitors can take in venues such as Mock Red Hill (cider) and Red Hill Cheese for award-winning cheese.
As the Yarra River sweeps down from the forest clad Yarra Ranges, it forms a fertile swathe of rich grazing land, vegetable farms and vineyards. This is one of the world’s great regions for cold climate wines and, as such, has attracted big names like French company Domaine Chandon but also small winemakers such as Frenchman Dominique Portet. These and more are highlighted on the James Halliday Hand Picked Yarra Valley Trail, while a range of additional trail maps feature food, cider and even the region’s best picnic spots.
Following the course of the Ovens River, the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is one of the world’s best gourmet cycling trails. It winds along a disused train line through grazing country, hops gardens, and vineyards towards the Victorian Alps. It passes wineries, breweries and restaurants for a total of 100 kilometres, and, among others, takes in the cellar door of the Morris Family’s winery where visitors can taste outstanding table wines, fortified wines and sherry-like apera made in a traditional solera system. It also leads into historic villages like Beechworth where former winemaker Ben Kraus at Bridge Road Brewers makes craft beers that are considered some of the nation’s best.
Great Ocean Road
The hinterland of the Great Ocean Road is formed by a mountain range cloaked in eucalypt and rainforest that gives way to rich rolling green countryside. With high rainfall and rich earth the farmland of the Otway Ranges can be explored on the Otway Harvest Trail. This is a touring map that highlights places where visitors can meet growers, producers and good food, wine and beer makers – and taste and buy their product. From the ripe summer berries of Beechy Berries at Ferguson to the highly regarded sparkling wines of Blakes Estate, this is a trail to explore the countryside, pick up some great produce and enjoy some great food. The 12 Apostles Taste Trail showcases the award winning cheese, whisky and wine, chocolate, crayfish, ice cream, yoghurt, strawberries and beer of offer near one of Australia’s state’s most iconic natural wonders. The route takes visitors on a 70km loop that includes the coastal attractions east and west of Port Campbell.
Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges
With roadside fruit and vegetable stalls, charcuterie producers, bakers, popular farmers markets and some of Victoria’s best known restaurants, this region boasts historic villages perched amongst a huge swathe of forest and fertile volcanic farmland. A Tasty Little Touring Map is the perfect guide to exploring the producers of the region.
Bendigo, a Grand Victorian era city, is surrounded by scores of historic towns that were built from the great wealth of the 19th century gold rush that make up Victoria’s central Goldfields. A superb new smartphone App (search for Bendigo Food N Wine) lets visitors explore the cellar doors, farm gates and restaurants of the region, while the Bendigo Winery Cycling Trails brochure showcases four Winery Cycling Trails that explore the highlights of the region.