Annie’s Provedore

Annie’s Provedore, Barwon Heads.

Google says:

‘Italian brekkie and lunch dishes, plus local wines, in a rustic delicatessen with communal tables.’

If there is a single most favourite place, of any sort, in Barwon Heads, this would have to be it. Legendary.

Photo: Ewan Bell



Healesville Hotel

Folk from Melbourne have been doing this for years: Drive out to the Healesville Hotel (about an hour from Melbourne), eat something, drink something – and then drive back home. A bona fide institution, especially for a lazy Sunday.



Cerberus Beach House

Perched at the bottom end of Half Moon Beach on the Bay’s Beach Road is a quaint little building called Cerberus Beach House – so named by the famous maritime wreck that serves as a breakwater, diving destination and general curiosity just a few metres off shore. Upstairs is a great restaurant, while the downstairs hosts counter service for drinks, snacks, ice creams and fish ‘n chips. It’s a perfect place to look back on Melbourne across the water and to stroll around and get some sand between the toes!



The Kiosk by d’Asporto

d’Asporto Kiosk, Williamstown.

This little place is at the end of Williamstown Beach on the famous Esplanade and is something that’s 100% Italian transplanted to a place that’s 100% English, at least by heritage. The sand and beach there are quite beautiful, complete with walking mats across the sand – is that an Italian or an English thing? (Hard to be sure.) Either way, it makes for a fantastic stopping point after a drive along and around the picturesque and history filled Williamstown foreshore and gives a lovely view back across the Bay.


Yarra Valley Dairy

Yarra Valley Dairy.

How many people would think the YVD to be the best thing east of Melbourne? Plenty. This farm yard building in the epicentre of all local produce and has proven popular for years. It begins with their cheeses, and just keeps on going, including wines and plattered charcuterie foods. And the views …

Photo: Roberto Seba



Oakridge Wines

Oakridge Winery, Yarra Valley.
Oakridge Winery, Yarra Valley.

The drive off the main road to Healesville up to the winery buildings is a wonderful introduction to what lies ahead, especially if the colonnades of trees are coloured for autumn – this is a great place to stop. For day trippers there is a lovely ‘linen service’ restaurant, complete with views north across the property and valley beyond, along with the cellar door tastings – two very good ways to enjoy the viticultural produce from Oakridge.



Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne.

In terms of landscape projects, this place started as nothing, except for the original native terrain, and just keeps on growing! Yes, it is the OTHER botanic gardens for Melbourne and focuses on native flora only. Well worth the excursion time from Melbourne CBD to just the other side of Melbourne.

Photo: David Mitchener



Du Fermier

Du Fermier, Trentham.

Annie Smithers: Cook, author and farmer.

Quote from website: Annie creates a seasonal menu each weekend. Sometimes the dishes are plated, sometimes shared, always they revolve around what is being harvested from the garden or taken from the store cupboard. The food is based on classic French farmhouse dishes that are to be enjoyed with friends and family.

This is a lovely place to stop for lunch while headed north from Melbourne. Actually, it is a complete reason to head north from Melbourne!

Photo: Robert Blackburn



Kalorama Lookout

There are a number of fabulous places to stop and admire views from along the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, once of our favourite scenic routes close to Melbourne. Most look to theist or north, but the view from SkyHigh Mount Dandenong provides a complete look back to the Melbourne skyline and beyond.