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Food & wine touring route


Take a food and wine odyssey
301 km/187 miles, about 3.5 hours

Victoria produces some of Australia's most magnificent food and wine, and much of it is found in the state's south-east. Treat the senses to a range of cuisines from more than 70 cultures in Melbourne's vibrant restaurant, cafe and bar scene. From tapas, curries and Japanese fine dining to modern Australian, French and traditional Italian, Melbourne has it all.

Hit the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula regions to sample renowned varietals matched with gourmet food made from the freshest local produce at wineries. And for lovers of seafood and ocean views, there’s no better place to be than in one of Phillip Island's idyllic beachfront restaurants and cafes.

Start the day with a fragrant coffee in one of the cafes hidden away in the city's bluestone laneways and historic arcades. Degraves Street (off Flinders Street, opposite Flinders Street Station) is wall-to-wall with cafes and restaurants serving tasty breakfasts. Head north through the network of laneways and arcades to find great spots for lunch and dinner, specialty shops including fine chocolate retailers, and bars and music venues.

Top food and wine is never far away in Melbourne. Federation Square, Southgate, Docklands and Chinatown are all popular gourmet precincts in the city centre. Chinatown is reminiscent of the great eat streets of Asia, Southgate and Docklands overlook the river and Federation Square has become one of the city's favourite meet-and-eat places.

If you want to explore a little further afield, take a short tram ride to Lygon Street, Carlton, an area known as Melbourne's 'Little Italy'. Or try Victoria Street, Richmond for Vietnamese and other Asian, or Brunswick, Johnston and Gertrude streets for a youthful, eclectic scene with everything from tapas to intimate enotecas.

Leg 1: Melbourne to Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
56 km/35 miles, about 1 hour

Famous for cool climate wines, the Yarra Valley was chosen as a prime vineyard location by French Champagne house Moët & Chandon in 1986. Domaine Chandon is one of the region's finest vineyards, and the sweeping views from its Green Point Room encourage you to linger over an excellent lunch and Domaine Chandon wines.

De Bortoli Winery shot to prominence for its botrytis Semillons, and its popular and acclaimed restaurant. Cheese aficionados should visit the cheese room, where ripe cheese is matched with De Bortoli wines, and can be consumed on the balcony.

If you appreciate a game of golf followed by a glass of local wine and a meal prepared by an award-winning chef, put the Sebel Heritage at the top of your list. With two championship courses, two bars, a cafe and the noted Bella Restaurant, the Sebel offers a great day of golfing.

There are more than 90 wineries with cellar doors in the Valley. Place your wine itinerary and tastings in the hands of local experts to see the best. Victoria Winery Tours, Australian Wine Tour Company and Yarra Valley Winery Tours bring together wine tastings, lunch and Yarra Valley scenery in an exceptional day's touring.

Leg 2: Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges to Phillip Island
140 km/87 miles, about 1.5 hours

Phillip Island is deliciously close to the Southern Gippsland Wine Trail, so you can start sampling the region's distinctive wines before you reach the island. Once there, you'll find two wineries as well as a surprising number of restaurants and cafes.

Some are found in unlikely but scenic spots; you may find yourself enjoying a light lunch platter while Highland cattle graze peacefully in a paddock next door. Other restaurants welcome you to a sunny balcony with views of Western Port Bay, or to the foreshore of sleepy seaside village.

Highly recommended is the Foreshore Bar and Restaurant in the little hamlet of Rhyll, where the beachfront location is matched with fresh, innovative cuisine and a very easy-going ambience. The busier village of Cowes has a classic beachside esplanade, where Harry's on the Esplanade occupies a prime spot. Enjoy the Western Port Bay views and a superb menu based on regional produce and home-baked items and ice-cream.

For the sweetest treats, head for the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory and Cafe to sample high quality handmade chocolates then try making your own.

Leg 3: Phillip Island to Mornington Peninsula
105 km/65 miles, about 1 hour

Surrounded by water on three sides, the Mornington Peninsula offers visitors white sandy beaches that are within close proximity to the fine wines of the region's 50 cellar doors. Some of the Peninsula's best restaurants are found in the vineyards. Try Max's at Red Hill Estate for superb regional food and views over Western Port Bay, or Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove with its outdoor sculpture exhibition and large kitchen garden.

Enjoy an intimate dining experience at Vines of Red Hill, while Salix Restaurant at Willow Creek Vineyard is a multi-award winner. For some history and tradition, visit the 19th-century Morning Star Estate or the grand country retreat of Woodman Estate. Hickinbotham of Dromana, run by the third generation of this winemaking family, has a friendly and casual cellar door for sampling boutique beers as well as wines.

The Rocks Mornington sits right over the water; order live seafood such as oysters or crayfish straight from the tanks. The Peninsula is famed for its local produce, and there are plenty of sweet treats at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm and Mornington Peninsula Chocolates.