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Food & wine touring route

Victoria

  • Yarra Valley wine region, Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia

Regional flavours, country air
Breathe in the fresh country air and discover the good life, just a short drive from Melbourne's CBD. Live it up at world-renowned wineries and award-winning restaurants, and pop into artisanal breweries, bakers, dairies, and organic farms as you go.

Make your way from the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Yarra Valley to the magical gardens, fruit orchards and historic mansions of the Dandenong Ranges. Sample renowned varietals matched with gourmet ingredients at scenic wineries and fill your basket at local farm gates up and down the Mornington Peninsula. Finish your foodie adventure on the other side of the bay. Take the ferry over the waves to historic Queenscliff and savour the abundant food, wine and local produce all across the Bellarine Peninsula.

Day one: Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Begin your foodie adventure in the stunning Yarra Valley, following in the footsteps of wine legend James Halliday. Download the James Halliday Hand Picked Yarra Valley map and indulge in the pinot noir, chardonnay and cool climate shiraz – all varietals that made the valley famous. Tick off the favourites and then expand your knowledge with some sparkling whites, rosé and pinot grigio. 

There's more than enough choice for a full day of touring, including visits to Domaine Chandon, TarraWarra Estate and Rochford Wines. But you'll need sustenance as you go. Linger over lunch at Oakridge, visit Coombe Yarra Valley, once the home of Dame Nellie Melba for wine tasting or afternoon tea, or indulge at De Bortoli with specialty gourmet tastings combined with cheese from their on-site cheese shop.

If you'd rather hunt and gather, stop in at the Yarra Valley Dairy or the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and collect provisions for pre-dinner nibbles on your balcony at Yering Gorge Cottages, before heading to Meletos or Innocent Bystander for excellent wood fired pizza.

Day two: Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Start your morning with a drive through the Black Spur just beyond Healesville, a winding road through a cathedral of towering Mountain Ash trees and giant tree ferns.

Arrive at the Buxton Trout Farm, where you can fish for fresh trout or salmon, and have it cooked on a BBQ for lunch. Alternatively, take home a selection of dips and smoked fish to enjoy later. 

Had enough wine yesterday? Hit the Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail and spend the afternoon enjoying a different range of flavours. Visit Napoleone Brewery and Ciderhouse to get a taste of the new wave sweeping the valley. And be sure to visit Four Pillars Gin to see how Australia is influencing this classic spirit, using local native botanicals to create a distinctive flavour.

Top off the fine dining experiences with dinner at the award-winning Eleonore's at Chateau Yering, and spend a night in the chateau's luxury heritage accommodation.

Day three: Dandenong Ranges to Mornington Peninsula
Uncover the bounty of the Dandenong Ranges at gardens and orchards across the region. Fill your basket at farm gates and local provedores, or pick your own fruit right at the source. Stock up on fresh cherries in the height of summer at Cherryhill Orchards, or visit Rayners Orchards for stonefruit, citrus and quinces as the season cools.

Swap the road for the rails and book in for a sumptuous lunch on the Puffing Billy heritage railway. Revel in the old-world glamour of the historic dining carriage as you travel through lush rainforest and beautiful fern gullies. Alternatively, drive up to SkyHigh Mount Dandenong for a lavish lunch paired with sweeping views across the city and Port Phillip Bay.

Travel south to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, and settle into a late afternoon wine tasting at Crittenden Wine Centre, watching the shadows lengthen over the vines. If you're here late in the week, be sure to visit one of the peninsula's award-winning restaurants for dinner.

Stay overnight in the gourmet village of Flinders and experience the contemporary luxury of Quarters at the Flinders Hotel.

Day four: Mornington Peninsula to Bellarine Peninsula
Tempt the palate and treat the tastebuds as you make your way along the Wine Food Farmgate Trail. Fill your basket at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, Green Olive at Red Hill, and Heronswood Gardens. If you'd rather have someone else do the driving, take a tour with MP Experience and meet the locals behind the sensational regional produce.

Schedule a late lunch at Max's at Red Hill Estate and look out to Phillip Island across the water. Alternatively, stop for lunch at Montalto and combine a walk through their sculpture park and olive grove, with a stunning meal overlooking the vines. Peruse the cellar doors and sample wines of other nearby vineyards and then wind your way to the pointy end of the peninsula.

Ride the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff with Searoad Ferries and then head straight to Geelong where your accommodation at the Vue Apartments awaits. All settled in, take a 20-minute cruise along the Hamilton Highway to Gladioli in Inverleigh and savour the five-course tasting menu in a casual rural setting.

Day five: Bellarine Peninsula
Let the Bellarine Taste Trail direct you around this beautiful region. Visit berry, olive and tomato growers, and stock up at local farm gates and farmers' markets. Be sure to include a visit to Advance Mussel Supply in Portarlington, where you can purchase fresh-off-the-boat mussels, Angasi oysters and abalone.

Jack Rabbit Vineyard, which sits on the coast overlooking Corio Bay is a must for lunch. Follow it up with an afternoon exploring some of the other fine vineyards of the Bellarine, including Oakdene, Leura Estate and Terindah Estate.

Wine palate exhausted; make a beeline for Flying Brick Cider House, or Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong, before heading back to Melbourne in the late afternoon.