Have you ever taken a holiday in your own backyard? No, not your actual backyard or that grassy knoll in the far corner that’s a great arvo reading spot. We mean Regional Victoria: the beautiful and diverse destinations on offer to us each and every day of the year.
Don’t get us wrong, we all love a highflying jet that shoots us to the nearest tropical paradise and delivers us to plentiful fruit platters and Strawberry Daiquiris. But you wouldn’t even begin to imagine what you’re missing out on in your lil’ old home of Victoria.
So we’ve teamed up with Visit Victoria to encourage Melburnians to keep it local and holiday in their own backyard to truly appreciate what our beautiful country offers up. AND, there’s no better time than right now as the fabulous Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) is going regional.
Running from 4-13 of March 2016, MFWF will feature 72 events across regional Victoria, highlighting the amazing range of produce and experiences that Victoria has to offer. But remember—MFWF regional events are very likely to sell out, so ensure to get your tickets fast!
As Gwen Stefani said, ‘What are you waiting for?’ So here are our top picks for your Ultimate Weekend Away across regional Victoria to celebrate the 2016 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival—and make sure you stick around in these great areas to check out all the rest they have to offer! After all, it’d be a shame to stick to just a day trip...
Regional World’s Longest Lunch | Mount Sturgeon Homestead
Royal Mail Hotel’s 24,000-acre farming property is the backdrop for Dunkeld’s first World’s Longest Lunch on 4 March. Held in the Mount Sturgeon Homestead complete with a rustic woolshed and bluestone cottage accommodation, guests will be treated to a ‘nature-inspired’ menu from Robin Wickens. Most importantly, the four-course menu features produce sourced from Australia’s largest organic kitchen garden—how fantastic! Make a weekend of it in the picturesque Grampians with this wonderful event—tickets are $128 per person and include a four-course lunch with matched wines. Bookings are essential so click here to grab tickets now.
Mount Zero Dryland Feast | Mount Zero
This one's for all the Melbourne olive obsessives who love the oval-shaped delight. Former Movida executive chef, James Campbell, is returning to his family farm Mount Zero to give some lucky guests the opportunity to taste a perfectly matured batch of olives—as well as great local produce including extra virgin olive oil, five different grains and pulses from the 2015 season, local lamb, and turkey. There's even the special opportunity to stay the night in a Homecamp luxury tent and enjoy dinner and breakfast at the grove. It's the gift that just keeps giving... olives.Tickets are $88 per person (not incl. overnight stay) and bookings are essential, click here to book now.
Sea, Hill and Wood | Tamsin’s Table
This is the ultimate marriage between Gippsland’s best wine and food producers—and you could be amongst the lucky attendees. Graze over six-courses of classic Gippsland produce, then enjoy a drop of matched locally grown and handcrafted wines or spirits—all while capturing the spectacular ridgeline views over the Gippsland hills. Held on Saturday 12 March, it’s $198 per person and bookings are essential. Click here to book now.
Vineyard Polo | All Saints Estate
This one’s got something for the whole crew. Located in the picturesque All Saints Estate, you can watch a high-level polo match, drink wine, taste cheese and even take a guided tour around the historic vineyard. Nick Brown will be running wine tasting and appreciation classes, while Indigo Cheese Co is providing cheesy bites at your pleasure. It’s all happening on 13 March and there is a range of packages available ranging from $33-$168. Live music and entertainment will keep you groovin’ throughout the day. Hit the link to book tickets now.
Regional World’s Longest Lunch | Tahbilk Winery
This is a true blue Australian feast, if we’ve never seen one before. The lunch will be set along Tahbilk’s historic Long Bridge, which spans an impressive 80 metres and overlooks the stunning wetlands and billabongs of the Goulburn River. Hosted by Tahbilk and Mitchelton wineries, you’ll experience a magical three-course feast with matching wines while being serenaded by Italian soprano Stefanie Bellamio. Tickets are $133 per person and bookings are essential, click here to book now.
Sun Country Aboriginal Feast | Barmah National Park
Head to Victoria’s Murray region on Saturday 12 March for an experience you won’t forget. Join the Yorta Yorta people for an Aboriginal-themed dinner in the stunning heritage-listed Barmah National Park—and enjoy a traditional welcome, then engage in storytelling and conversation with local elders while you take in a three course dinner accompanied by local award-winning wines from Monichino. What a stunning way to get in touch with our Australian culinary roots. Click here to book.
Great Ocean Road
From the Earth to the Campfire | Inverleigh
Looking for an adventure that combines camping and delicious food? Well, we have the perfect event for you! From 12-13 March join Richard Cornish, Max Allen and Matt Wilkinson at Vortex Veggies in Inverleigh as they explore biodynamic farming—whilst delivering an impressive three-course feast by bonfire. You can round out your evening sleeping under the stars on the property—and it even includes a brekkie the next morning. Perfect! Book here.
Forage, Learn, Taste | Phillip Island
The Cape Kitchen in Phillip Island is hosting the most environmentally friendly event we can imagine: first you'll join the team for a foraging experience like no other, sourcing indigenous plants and seaweed from their very own private oceanfront garden. Then you'll be whisked to the kitchen where you will learn to use this produce in your own cooking, and gather some helpful tips to sustain our wonderful environment. It will all be capped off with an outstanding dinner overlooking the ocean as the sun sets. Tickets range from $88-$183 and bookings are essential, click here to save your spot.
Dumbo Feather’s Moving Feast | Mossy Willow Farm
Melbourne-based quarterly publication Dumbo Feather has teamed up with Mossy Willow Farm to bring us a moving feast like no other. You'll be transported after each course to a different locale on the property, from the alpaca paddock to the creek, with delicious food and inspiring conversation along the way. You can indulge in some slow roasted lamb, hot-out-of-the-oven sourdough rolls, and even a dessert buffet to seal the deal. It costs $150 per person—so if you're keen click here to book immediately.
MATT STONE’S ART OF BUTCHERY | OAKRIDGE WINES
Do you fear jointing a chicken, slicing a pig or cutting up a cow? Well not all of us can be as talented as Oakridge chef, Matt Stone, when it comes to the daunting task of butchery. So hop on down to Oakridge Wines in Coldstream on the 8 or 10 March to learn some pretty handy new techniques before taking a casual stroll on the vineyard grounds and returning to the hearty meal Stone has prepared just for you. Don’t worry; it’ll be matched with Oakridge’s award-winning wines as well. Tickets are $223 per person and bookings are essential so click here to book your spot now.
There is so much more to do this Melbourne Food and Wine Festival season—why not Wander Victoria for more great weekend away ideas, and how to extend your MFWF road trip to take in all that regional Victoria has to offer.
Photo credits: Supplied
Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Visit Victoria and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.