It’s a hard life at The Urban List, between eating through mountains of hot cross buns (not a hyperbole) and checking out the latest and Insta-greatest in Melbourne’s food-filled corner of the world. Sometimes you just need a break, somewhere different to eat, drink and half-heartedly exercise for the weekend.
Luckily, the Grampians are hosting a dreamy month-long food event running through April until 7 May. The Grampians Grape Escape (yes, their pun game is strong) celebrates the best food and premium wine in the region. Here are the 11 reasons you need a weekend away to the Grampians, stat!
#1 Long Lunches That Are Made For Every Indecisive Foodie
If you’re a breakfast board, “I’ll-take-one-of-everything” kind of foodie (and who isn’t?!) the Tastes Of The Grape is the perfect way to kick-off the Easter long weekend. Running on Saturday 15 April from 1pm, this long table-style lunch will feature local produce with matched wines from Grampians-based Great Western Wineries and Winemakers. Over a 6-course degustation lunch, matched dishes will include a trio of oysters and Vincotto Glazed Quail with grape & pecorino salad. Treat yourself—it’s Easter.
#2 It’s Home To One Of The Best National Parks…In Victoria!
The Grampians National Park stretches over a vast, rugged 150,000 hectares of land. From rock-climbing friendly to peaks that will get your heart rate going (and burn off some of those Cadbury Easter eggs…), there’s a ridiculous range of walks available for every active (and not so active) visitor. For reasonably fit walkers, The Pinnacle on the Wonderland Range is a spectacular highlight and a great walk to start on.
#3 Riverside Wine Festivals, Enough Said
As part of the Pyrenees Unearthed Festival, the banks along the glittering Avoca River will play home to the Avoca Wine Festival with regional wineries, food stalls as well as craft beer and cider. Live music, free kiddie-friendly activities and table games will also pop-up as part of the festival. Tickets from $25pp include a tasting pass to 17 local wineries, because the team clearly knows what their visitors want.
#4 Glamping & Festivals To Make The Most Of A Long Weekend
Skip the Melbourne queues over the Anzac Day long weekend and head to the Pyrenees Unearthed Festival instead. A buzzing, quaint town little-explored by bright-eyed travellers, Pyrenees’ long weekend program will make any Melburnian green. Think a bonfire and movie night, riverside markets and an art exhibition. Wine lovers can peruse boutique wineries, and budget campsites are available all weekend at Avoca Racecourse. More dosh for bottles can only be a good thing.
Alternatively, the Grampians has some of the best glamping in Victoria. From minimalistic glamping ‘pods’ to tents decked with artsy homewares, camping has gotten significantly better since you went to high school.
#5 They Level-Up Friday Date Nights To A Romantic Weekends
As part of the Grape Escape, two of Victoria’s most love chefs will be joining forces to serve you a lux, farm-to-fork experience. Royal Mail Hotel’s Executive Chef Robin Wickens and Head Chef of the Yarra Valley’s Oakridge Wines Matt Stone have created a once-off six-course menu. Expect organic, homegrown produce and local wines matched with each dish. A special couples weekend package includes accommodation, tickets to the Farm to Fork dinner and a chef-led garden tour among other things.
#6 Waterfalls That Will Leave You Speechless
You’ll have to trek a little over two kilometres to the base of the MacKenzie Falls, but trust us the views and Instagram opportunities are worth it. A towering, stunning cascade of flowing water, you can view the MacKenzie River pouring down Broken Falls at two different lookouts. Bring the selfie stick.
#7 Bring The Bike For The Most Scenic Rides Around
Bush trails, challenging hills and scenic rides that are oh-so-cruise-y means that every bike rider can have the wind in their hair (under your helmet of course). Paths wind through towns & villages, past historic cellars, and olive groves while narrow bush trails provide a range of grades for experienced riders. Don’t forget about the snack/wine/second lunch stops.
#8 Wine Down Fridays
To kick off the Grape Escape Weekend, a culmination of the Grampians’ finest food and wine, Montara Winery be providing wine, nibbles and good views to let you wine down before your big weekend of eating (and drinking). Live music from Tobias and Karin Page will run on the night.
#9 Wines, Wines And More Wines!
Enjoy Mount Stapylton Wines international award winning wines with a delectable three-course meal hosted at The Country Plaza. Repeat: International. Award. Winning.
#10 They Totally Have Adam Liaw
Capping off the Grampians Grape Escape Event, the aptly named Weekend Festival is set to showcase over 100 local producers from the region. Beer, wine, and cider artisans will also be on show (because what is the weekend without a cheeky tipple), plus Masterchef star Adam Liaw will be entertaining with live cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend. Just what you want before winter comes to Melbourne.
#11 The Most Diverse Rock Climbing
Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned rockie pro, the Grampians offers some of the most diverse vertical (hah) terrain in Victoria. Abseiling is also popular, although not something to DIY after a few wines on Friday. Local adventure companies have you covered on that front, with introductory up to advanced programs for both climbers and sailors.
Image credit: Provided.
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