Isabelle Legeron's Guide to Wine Touring in Victoria
Published: August 2009
The Travel Channel ‘Journey into Wine’ team produced this feature on Australian wine. They travelled to Melbourne with Cathy Pacific.
Wine touring is, quite simply, wonderful. But for all those of you that remain wine fans, rather than fanatics, so need a little something extra to explore alongside the sipping and the spitting, here are five brilliant things to see and do in Victoria when you’re on a wine trip but need a break from the boozing:
For a great overview (quite literally) of Victoria why not try a hot air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley or even over Melbourne itself. For more info and prices visit: www.globalballooning.com.au
Cuddle a koala or a kangaroo in the Yarra! The Healesville Animal Sanctuary is home to more than 200 species of Australian wildlife, and visitors can join a keeper on a behind-the-scenes tour where you can get up close to the animals. And if you grow especially fond of one in particular you can always adopt it for as little as $50 for 12 months! For more information on the sanctuary visit www.zoo.org.au Or if you’d prefer to see the animals in the wild go bushwalking instead. Kangaroos are a dime a dozen so you won’t be disappointed!
Drive a steam train and not just any steam train; learn to drive Australia’s oldest steam train! What’s more you’ll be driving through the rainforests of the Dandenongs, so gorgeous sight-seeing along the way as well. Visit: www.puffingbilly.com.au
If the pocket book needs topping up why not go prospecting or panning for gold! And there’s nowhere better to do this than in Bendigo, which at one time was one of the richest towns on the planet thanks to its gold mines. You can visit a mine itself at The Deborah Central Gold Mine www.central-deborah.com, which some say was named after the prostitute who serviced the miners (!), or try out your luck tracking down a nugget with Bendigogold World www.bendigogold.com.au
But best of all, if you choose wisely, you can even find wineries that promote extra curricular activities themselves! Like that you’ll be able to walk off (or indeed eat off) your wine before you hit the next cellar! A few great examples include:
The Giant Steps Winery for its beautiful bakery and phenomenal pizza! www.giant-steps.com.au
Yering Station for its monthly in-house farmers market and restaurant with great views. www.yering.com
TarraWarra, for the art lovers among you. Wine producers Eva and Marc Besen always dreamt of sharing their inexhaustible passion for Australian art with visitors so they developed a magnificent Art gallery. www.twma.com.au
De Bortoli for Cheese tasting to complement your wine. www.debortoli.com.au