There’s nothing quite like sipping a glass of fine wine while looking out over the vineyard it comes from, especially when it’s surrounded by the stunning beauty of Australia’s best-loved wine regions.
Enjoying a cheeky weekend in wine country is one of the must-do Aussie mini-breaks, and even if you’re not a wine connoisseur, you’ll enjoy great local produce with the wine regions upping the ante in their gourmet food offerings.
A survey by accommodation booking site lastminute.com.au has identified Australia’s nine favorite wine regions, with most within a weekend getaway distance from major cities.
“With many of our most famous wine regions within a couple of hours drive of our main cities, a weekend escape to wine country is the ultimate way to combine a food and wine fix with fresh country air,” – lastminute.com.au spokeswoman Kate Norris.
“Australian wine regions are also really starting to raise the stakes against big-city destinations for delicious eating experiences, with the Barossa clearly leading the charge.”
Here’s a guide to Australia’s top wine regions:
1. The Barossa, SA
Drink: It’s all about the shiraz in the Barossa. Not to be missed are Artisans of Barossa, Seppeltsfield and Rockford, as well as Barossa’s most famous winery, Jacobs Creek.
Eat: If you’re looking to treat yourself, book a long lunch at award-winning Hentley Farm. Other great options include Harvest Kitchen and Ferment Asian.
Sleep: There are plenty of accommodation options in the Barossa however if luxury is on your mind, head straight to Barossa Pavilions. The Novotel Barossa Valley Resort is also a great option if you’re after centrally located, resort style accommodation.
2. Margaret River, WA
Drink: Some popular taste testers include Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Sandalford, Leeuwin Estate and Xanadu.
Eat: Hit up the local deli and pack your own picnic filled with fresh produce and local delicacies. Have a sweet tooth? Don’t miss the local chocolate and fudge factory. Alternatively, if you’re after a long, lazy winery lunch, put Voyager Estate at the top of your list.
Sleep: After a big day of indulging in food and wine, you are going to need somewhere cozy to retreat. Cape Lodge is a boutique stay filled with romance and luxury; while Willy Bay Resort offers comfortable apartment style accommodation with vineyard views.
3. Hunter Valley, NSW
Drink: Just a two-hour drive from Sydney CBD is the Hunter Valley — a wine lover’s playground famous for its Semillon. Sample a drop or two at Keith Tulloch Wine, Scarborough Wine Co, Mount View Estate and Audrey Wilkinson.
Eat: Wash down the wine at local foodie hot spots such as Bistro Molines, EXP Restaurant, Muse Kitchen or Cafe Enzo, for a more casual lunch.
Sleep: The Grand Mercure Apartments at The Vintage not only delivers private and comfortable apartment style accommodation, it’s also the perfect spot to tee off, with an 18-hole course on site. Or if you’re looking to impress that special someone, you can’t go past Spicers Vineyards Estate.
4. Yarra Valley, Victoria
Drink: Champagne lovers note: Domaine Chandon, established by French champagne house Moet & Chandon, is a must-do. Other fabulous wineries in the area include Yering Station, Rochford Wines, and TarraWarra Estate.
Eat: A Yarra Valley food safari is not complete without getting a sugar high at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Other great dining options include Isabella’s at Rochford (post wine tasting) and the oh-so-delicious high tea at Dame Nellie’s home, Coombe, The Melba Estate.
5. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Drink: The cool climate grapes in this region are all about the pinot noir. Make sure you put Port Phillip Estate, Paringa Estate, and Crittenden Estate at the top of your to-do list.
Eat: If you are after something a bit special, try the degustation dinner at Woodman Estate. Like many wine regions, some of the best dining options are located within the wineries. Hot tips include Ten Minutes By Tractor and Foxeys Hangout in Red Hill.
Sleep: For a slice of country relaxation with a side of luxury, Lindenderry at Red Hill offers the perfect guesthouse experience. Staying at Peppers Moonah Links Resort is a great way to share your #winetime with #beach time.
6. Clare Valley, SA
Drink: Just two hours from Adelaide, Clare Valley is all about the Riesling. Make sure your wine trail includes stops at Taylor’s, Stone Bridge Wine, Pikes and The Wilson Vineyard.
Eat: Enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the English style gardens at the local icon, Skillogalee Winery. Or for a more casual affair, Wild Saffron, located in the main town of Clare offers breakfast and lunch, plus takes the hassle out of cooking with picnic hampers and delicious gourmet take-home produce.
Sleep: Overlooking the lake and golf course, the Clare Country Club is close to the town of Clare, plus the local wineries. For B & B style accommodation complete with a cozy fireplace, check into Brice Hill Country Lodge.
7. Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Drink: If you’re a sparkling wine fan, the Jansz Wine Room is right up your alley. Other highly recommended cellar doors include Pipers Brook Vineyard, Bay of Fires Wines and Moores Hill.
Eat: There’s nothing like a long lunch with rolling vineyard views and Josef Chromy Wine does not disappoint. Stillwater in Launceston is perfect for a special occasion.
Sleep: Base yourself in Launceston, the gateway to the Tamar Valley. The Red Feather Inn located just out of town in Hadspen is a luxury B & B which strikes the right balance between warm country styling with French influences and modern touches.
8. Mudgee, NSW
Drink: Start your weekend with a cheese platter and glass of chardonnay at Logan Wines. Enjoy a drop of rose at the unassuming Skimstone cellar door and relax with a riesling at picturesque Lowe Wines.
Eat: The Zin House will instantly have you feeling like you’ve rocked up to a friend’s rustic country house for a lazy afternoon of grazing on local delicacies. Still got room in the stomach for dinner? Head to Pipeclay Pumphouse, with all produce on the menu coming from the property’s paddock, or from the local region.
Sleep: Just five minutes from town and set on 40 acres, Mudgee Homestead Guesthouse is a character filled country B & B which will relax you into “Mudgee time” immediately. Alternatively, stay in the heart of town at the Perry Street Hotel — A Fox-and Co hotel.
9. Scenic Rim, Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland
Drink: Queensland is known for its beaches, not its wine regions, but don’t let that stop you from heading inland to check out the grape vines in the Scenic Rim. Follow the trail and check out Witches Falls Winery, Cedar Creek Estate, and Albert River Wines.
Eat: For views over the Great Dividing Ranges, The Polish Place is a great place to stop for a bite to eat, while The Gallery Cafe also offers a fabulous lunch.
Sleep: Base yourself at the Witches Falls Cottages nestled perfectly between the Witches Falls Winery and the Tamborine National Park. Other great options include Cedar Creek Lodges
and The Escarpment Retreat.
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