A mere 2.5 hours drive down the Hume Highway and you will find yourself in Victoria’s ‘High Country’, a veritable food and wine mecca, where grapevines line the roadside and community spirit is strong!
The region, dotted with quaint historical towns and larger regional hubs, is home to an array of restaurants and cafes serving sublime locally sourced, seasonal produce and glasses of some of Australia’s richest wines. The area is particularly renowned for their Durif vines (a varietal of grapes giving rise to beautiful pitch black, full-bodied reds) and also for their internationally renowned fortified wines.
Apart from the many delicious bites and sips to be had, the area is also home to many breathtaking natural wonders and picturesque bicycle trails, making it the perfect region for a weekend escape. Here are our top tips for where to eat, see and stay!
Terrace Restaurant: All Saints Estate – Wahgunyah
Lunch at the hatted Terrace Restaurant makes for the perfect start to a weekend of food and wine bliss. Overlooking the picturesque grounds of the All Saints Estate, the restaurant (currently under the helm of British-born Head Chef, Simon Arkless) delivers an impeccable dining experience.
The menu is always evolving and seasonal, often featuring produce grown or animals reared on the property itself! Each dish is also matched perfectly to one of the estate’s award-winning wines, and staff are all too happy to assist with any questions, should menu indecision strike!
315 All Saints Road, Wahgunyah
PROJECT 49 Food and Wine – Beechworth
After a busy day of exploring – a drop into PROJECT 49 Food and Wine store for a glass of local prosecco or an aperitif, plus a few of their seasonal share plates, is the perfect wind down. Owners, Lisa and Rocco, have a created a warm and light-filled delicatessen and eatery that is cherished and revered by Beechworth locals and visitors alike.
The menu is compact and ever changing – spotlighting north-eastern Victorian produce wherever possible, with the couple aiming to always keep it simple – no more than five ingredients on each plate. The delicate burrata (made and delivered mere hours earlier) with grilled artichokes, pangrattato and pancetta and the mounds of prosciutto di San Daniele with frico are top picks.
46 – 48 Ford Street, Beechworth
Saint Monday Café – Yackandandah
Amongst the tree-lined streets of humming village Yackandandah, hides the lovely Saint Monday café – the perfect place for a cosy weekend brunch or lunch. Owners, Chris and Lauren wanted to create “a place to relish the good things in life” and to provide experiences “worthy of a day off”. The menu, featuring both hearty favourites and seasonal specials, will appeal to all tastes – presuming you don’t get distracted by the array of delicious, house-made cakes that adorn the front counter.
26 High Street, Yackandandah
Ox and Hound Bistro – Beechworth
Ox and Hound is the perfect place for a lazy Sunday lunch, to round out a beautiful weekend away. The beautiful, light-filled interior and white clothed tables will immediately transport you straight into the streets of France, with the menu featuring the most delightful French and Italian inspired bistro fare. The trout terrine with caviar, red cabbage gazpacho and horseradish (an explosion of flavour based around the freshest local Harrietville trout) is unlike anything we had ever tasted – a must try! Oh and make sure to book ahead if you can – Ox and Hound is a popular pick for both locals and visitors.
52 Ford Street, Beechworth
Beechworth Gorge – Beechworth
After all that eating and drinking, why not spend some time exploring Beechworth’s natural landscape. The plunging gorge with its magnificent cascade falls and views of the Woolshed Valley, are popular with walkers and cyclists. Be sure to bring your camera and some sturdy shoes though – the walk down into the centre of the gorge can get a little steep and rocky!
Gorge Road, Beechworth
Chiltern Historical town – Chiltern
A wander around the historical Chiltern is a lovely way to spend a morning. Originally a mining village, the streets of Chiltern have stood still in time, preserved and remaining relatively ‘untouched’, so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that you were walking around in the 1800s! In fact, the appeal of such historical streetscapes has attracted many a film crew to the town, over the years.
Chiltern Visitor Information Centre: 30 Main St / Hub 62: 62 Main Street, Chiltern
Pedal to Produce Trail – Rutherglen
Beginning at the Rutherglen Wine Information Centre, the ‘Pedal to Produce’ bicycle trail is a great way to spend an afternoon with a loved one or group of friends. With bikes, helmets and maps provided – all that is needed is a little pedal power and a wine-tasting ready palate as you hop (or rather cycle) between vineyards and local sites. Landmarks on the trail include Anderson Winery, Jones Winery and Vineyard, Rutherglen Estates and Tuilleries, the Rutherglen Gold Battery and Lake King.
Selected wineries around Rutherglen and Wahgunyah.
Grapevine Glamping: Cofield Wines – Wahgunyah
For the ultimate high country stay head to Cofield Wines to experience their brand new Grapevine Glamping experience in conjunction with onsite cafe Pickled Sisters.
Their glamping grounds consist of two luxury, bell tents (complete with king sized beds, heating/cooling, phone chargers, a mini bar and more!) overlooking the beautiful Durif grapevines, and packages include a daily breakfast hamper and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine! Generous dinner hampers can also be organised ahead – with all catering courtesy of the talented team at onsite café Pickled Sisters. There is also a fully equipped camp kitchen and bathroom – ensuring that every need is comfortably catered for! A truly unique accommodation experience.
Cofield Wines, Distillery Rd, Wahgunyah
George Kerford Hotel – Beechworth
A family-run business – the George Kerford hotel (consisting of the contemporary George Kerford buildings and art deco Linaker Nurses Quarters) is situated within the historic Mayday Village grounds. The grounds have a rich history – originally home to the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum in the 1800s, before becoming a self-sufficient village complete with working farms, a piggery, orchards, kitchen gardens and a sporting oval. Many of the buildings have since changed hands, though the grounds remain picturesque with tall tree canopies and beautiful floral-filled gardens. A lovely serene location to stay and an easy walk into the main streets of Beechworth.
Mayday Hills Village, Albert Road, Beechworth.
So what are you waiting for? Get your leave forms approved and bags packed – a delicious long weekend in the High Country beckons!
For more tips and insights on North-East Victoria, in addition to the many other food and wine regions within Victoria – check out Flavours of Victoria, 125 restaurants, wineries and producers with their signature recipes. You can also dicover Victoria’s High Country with our new-book, Travel Bites of Victoria: High Country.