It seems that the world’s industrial areas are being taken over by the food and beverage industry, and this brilliant location in the back blocks of traditional Mornington is no exception – with these guys knocking off craft beer, boutique spirits and great grub all in one hit. And note, with a good number of brewery venues dotted along the peninsula, Tar and Barrel makes for a great last stop of a tap-themed tour of the area before heading back to Melbourne. Cheers!
With a long and pretty driveway that provides a grand entrance into the grounds, Zonzo Estate hosts some lovely options for lunch and wine that include engaging views across to the east end of the Yarra Valley. Inspired by Italian way of life, the restaurant comes alive with fabulous woodfire pizzas in addition to pastas and other mains that form the comprehensive menu. (Try the ‘bianco’ pizzas for sure!) Choose seating outside when the weather is gentle, otherwise there is ample seating inside behind full length glass windows. And with a comprehensive selection of wines across white, red and sparkling categories there are a number of specifically Italian varieties and styles to generate interest – either to enjoy with a meal on site or bring home for another time! Bravo!
The final stop for most d’Luxe Port Phillip Bay tours is at St. Kilda Pier, one of Melbourne’s iconic tourist locations. With an 800m jetty heading to the Victorian era kiosk, penguin rookery and yacht club marina, it is a delightful way to move just slightly off shore and consider the bustling suburb behind, ever popular with tourists, as well as the city in the near distance. The place changes its face dramatically with the weather – bringing a hoard of colourful kitesurfing sails when the seabreeze comes through during the warmer months.
A bit higher up the hills than most vineyards and wineries in the Yarra Valley, this beautifully presented location takes the idea of hide-away very nicely for its own purposes. Off the main road heading towards Healesville and up Maddens Lane, then a quick left after a kilometre into Medhurst Road and there you are, with just a long entrance drive to manage before arriving at a most beautiful, modern wine tasting room and kitchen. Everything is smart here: the people, the wines, the architecture, the food – all set to pristine grounds playing host to a fine collection of modern outdoor sculpture. (Try the rosé … they are famous for it!)
Firstly … this place is so hard to describe. The first thing? It’s HUGE! But also just as important to say first is that it’s CRAZY. And also at the top of the list is that it is not where you would expect such a place! So, a bunch of guys have an idea for a craft beer that goes well – so well that they open up a brewery venue in Abbotsford, the beer heartland of Melbourne (if not Australia). But that place ends up getting too small, by way of popularity, so they take over a former industrial site in the middle of the ‘burbs that is about a million square meters in area. And to fill it they add a lagoon, bars with 72 taps total, playground, a tiki lounge, sun decks and so on. This is the perfect corner stone for a Melbourne craft brewery tour.
On occasion, the smaller and more off-beat places are the ones remembered best, and Quealy Wines can definitely find itself in that category. It can also find itself, quite rightly, in the category of ‘excellent wine makers’ at the same time, championing the growing and producing of some signature Mornington Peninsula varietals. Visitors go there primarily for the wines, as that is what the owners focus their attention on – and it’s a fun and enlightening experience to be there, being taken through their encompassing lists of white, red and speciality bottlings. Located just on the north side of Balnarring, it makes an easy addition to a tour itinerary.
Melbourne is blessed with many day-trip distanced orchards in all directions from home. Travel east and you will encounter Cherry Hill Orchards nestled between the lower parts of the Yarra Valley and the feet of the Dandenong Ranges – both stellar places to explore in their own right. Cherry Hill is expansive, and significantly larger than many neighbouring hobby farms and market gardens, and this gives it all the momentum it needs to host annual events that coincide the blossom season and harvest. Look at the calendar each year for late September festival and late November fruit picking dates – and keep an eye out for bottled produce in the way of ciders, spritzers and wines, and also the various food trucks that grace the lawned areas when the action is on.
Resting on the intersection of Main St. and the Centre of the Universe (honestly … that’s what the street signs give us!) is the charming, unusual, and sometimes kooky Radio Springs Hotel, named after the crash of an outer space … well … no, I’ll let the fellow behind the bar tell that story. In terms of location, the hotel is just off the country road that ambles from Woodend to Daylesford, about 60 minutes from Melbourne. It can be a destination all by itself or part of a larger itinerary.
It’s a VERY big day out, but Phillip Island represents on of the great tourist destinations out of Melbourne, with enjoyable driving there and return, with a host of interesting and enjoyable stops to make once there. Think: beaches, wineries, townships, animal life, headland views, GP race track, gentle walks, historical locations along with lots and lots of changing scenery in between.
The Alchemy Distillers lies in the heart of Healesville, which itself is the heart of the Yarra Valley, approximately 45 minutes drive from Melbourne’s CBD. (We won’t tell you what Melbourne etc. is the heart of!) The nice thing about this rambling place, which flows up from the main street through various rooms, passages and paths, is the variety of spirits they distill (for drinking, tasting and buying) – whiskies, gins, bourbons etc., and all with most interesting flavour profiles. Also on location is a neat food room with quick-serve fried chicken, burgers and similar comfort food. And the setting is pleasantly quirky, retro and all ’round fun to be in.