Whether seeking epicurean pursuits or action sports, head to Victoria’s High Country
See and do
The heartbeat of High Country is Beechworth, one of Victoria’s most picturesque towns and one that is championing produce like few can dream of in Australia. Start the day with a walk around town and discover its historical roots highlighted by its gold rush architecture in the form of 30 National Trust buildings around town. Discover the Historic and Cultural district, the gaol and the 1850s Telegraph Station.
The region is a hive of produce – everything from honey to cheeses, beer, cider, berries and of course wine. There are seven accessible wine regions up here and prominent ones are Beechworth, Milawa, King Valley, Alpine Valleys and Rutherglen, all producing standout reds and whites (see ‘Must see’).
Take a drive down ‘Prosecco Road’ in the King Valley and discover a wine trail that’s been turning heads thanks to its picturesque hills featuring varietals both well known and obscure. A couple of years ago, the six major winemakers in the valley got together and created the food and wine trail that’s a holy grail for lovers of the sparkling Italian white.
Up in Falls Creek, it’s all about mountain biking in the summer and skiing in winter. This resort has a number of top hotels (see ‘Where to Stay’), bars, restaurants and action-packed activities to fill a weekend or a week.
Eat and drink
Beechworth’s Provenance restaurant doesn’t just top local foodie lists – it’s on the wish list of many nationwide thanks to its two hats, courtesy of acclaimed chef Michael Ryan’s set and degustation menus. Given the array of top notch wines on the list, the matching-wine menu is a steal at $155 a head, but you’ll also be more than happy with the Provenance menu with three courses for $80. The roast chicken and Milawa duck breast dishes are highlights. 86 Ford St, Beechworth 3747. 03 5728 1786.
Hit the pizzeria at Bridge Road Brewers, where a Golden Ale, Pale Ale or IPA washes down an apple and blue cheese pizza so well. Here, expect very good quality food and beer at reasonable prices (almost all pizzas are under $20 for a large). Also make sure you give the pork ribs and lamb burger a look-in. 50 Ford St, Beechworth 3747. 03 5728 2703.
For more casual dining across the region, also consider Gigis of Beechworth, Beechworth Bakery, Green Shed Bistro and the Stanley Hotel.
Hit the hay after a degustation at Provenance in the eating hall’s own mini boutique hotel, which is luxuriously decked out and features a private courtyard, king size beds, L’Occitane amenities and flat screen TVs. 86 Ford St, Beechworth 3747. 03 5728 1786.
In Milawa, a standout hotel is Lindenwarrah, sister property of the Mansion and Werribee Park and Lindenderry in Red Hill. The hotel has a country-house feel and features 40 individually designed rooms and two suites, which are a must-book if they are free. There’s also a restaurant that features seasonal local produce and Merlot vineyard on-site, something quite appropriate given Lindenwarrah is located next to Brown Brothers winery. Don’t check-out without a swim in the heated pool and a massage from the spa. 223 Bobinawarrah Rd, Milawa 3678. 03 5720 5777.
High up in the alps is the hip and urban chic QT Falls Creek Resort and Spa, a hotel that sets the benchmark for alpine accommodation in Australia. It features oversized apartments with large lounge rooms, kitchenettes and spas (on some decks), as well as commanding views of the Kiewa Valley. Dine at Bazaar restaurant and sip on martinis at Stingray (only open over summer). 17 Bogong High Plains Rd, Falls Creek 3699. 03 5732 8000.
Must see: High country wineries
Stock up at Time Out’s top high country cellar doors
01 Brown Brothers, Milawa
The most well known of the region’s winemakers, Brown Brothers is known for its bustling cellar door and variety of mainstream and quirky varietals on offer, from sauvignon blanc to tempranillo. Sample the sparkling wine range and ensure you try the limited release vermentino. Milawa-Bobinawarrah Rd, Milawa 3678. 03 5720 5500.
02 Pizzini, King Valley
Long live prosecco! Up at Pizzini, that’s the first wine you’ll tuck your beak into and you’ll most likely leave with some nebbiolo, sangiovese and riesling as well. At Pizzini, you can make a real experience of it, thanks to its cooking school and B&B on site. 175 King Valley Rd, Whitfield 3733. 03 5729 8278.
03 Campbells, Rutherglen
Rutherglen is most well known for its fortified wines, but the shiraz and durif are also top notch at Campbells, a winery that has been producing top drops for 140 years, spanning five generations of winemaking. Murray Valley Hwy, Rutherglen, 3685. 02 6033 6000.
04 Boynton’s Feathertop, Alpine Valleys
Flanked by Mount Feathertop, Boynton’s is worth a visit for its stunning location alone. It’s here you come for the alpine air and winemaker Jo Marsh’s range of reds, particularly the shiraz, and the cabernet blend. Great Alpine Rd, Porepunkah 3741. 03 5756 2356.