Discover the best food and wine holidays in Australia – here is 68 to 81 of the 100 ways to holiday here this year.
68. Sample the dynamic food and wine scene in Orange, NSW
The Central West city of Orange has many attributes: a boutique wine region, a long-established reputation as the food bowl of NSW, elegant Edwardian architecture and deciduous trees with riotous autumn leaves; it’s also the birthplace of Banjo Paterson. But now, an influx of tree changers and returning residents have also shaken up the city’s hospitality landscape, redefining Orange as a foodie destination not to be missed.
We don’t make it to Orange’s two hatted restaurants, Lolli Redini and Charred Kitchen & Bar, but instead make a beeline for the newly opened The Arthouse Bar & Courtyard and Schoolhouse Restaurant in the historic Union Bank building. The restaurant showcases Orange region produce in a simple and vibrant way through a brasserie-style menu with nods to the Mediterranean.
Just out of town at Borrodell Vineyard, a lofty 1000 metres above sea level and also a cherry, plum and heritage apple orchard and trufferie, Sister’s Rock Restaurant is also elevating the local dining experience and is more than deserving of a stop on your itinerary.
Orange’s world-class cool-climate wine industry was first cultivated almost 40 years ago by a handful of innovators, including the names behind Canobolas-Smith, Bloodwood Wines, and Philip Shaw Wines; the cellar doors of which you can still visit today.
Nashdale Lane’s cellar door (and glampsite) is a 10-minute drive from the centre of Orange and well worth a visit for a tasting of its vibrant collection of award-winning, single-vineyard wines. A few kilometres further west of Orange, Heifer Station Wines runs its cellar door out of an old woolshed. It’s a proud family business and one that plays a big role in the local community. For four years it has hosted an annual drought-relief lunch, Feast for Farmers, and the morning of our visit is the night after Cold Chisel played A Day on the Green here on the property.
If there’s one place that epitomises all facets of Orange’s new energy, it’s Byng Street Boutique Hotel – a historic homestead that has been transformed into a 4.5-star hotel. Of its 22 guest rooms and suites, three are in the heritage wing. The rest are part of the hotel’s modern wing, which has been juxtaposed onto the back of the house with strong lines, light-filled spaces peppered with local artwork, and a pop artist’s palette.
Byng Street doesn’t fall short in the culinary department either. A two-course, à la carte breakfast showcasing fresh local produce is served in the Yallungah Dining Room.
Add these to your itinerary too: Ferment The Orange Wine Centre & Store is a wine bar and cellar door that is a perfect intro to the region’s offerings; Good Eddy is a hip cafe joined by a boutique and florist to form a cool retail hub called The Collective; The Sonic is a concept store that combines fashion, homewares and coffee.
69. Unearth the surprises of the Scenic Rim, Qld
The traditional country of the Yugambeh people, with World Heritage-listed rainforest and six national parks spread over an area of some 4000 square kilometres, driving Queensland’s Scenic Rim offers up scenery and surprises aplenty.
Start the journey by driving just over an hour from Brisbane to the small village of Harrisville to arrive at Summer Land Camel Farm. It’s the largest commercial camel farm outside of the Middle East, with more than 550 animals, many having been ‘rescued’ from Central Australia and brought here to breed and produce nutritious, organic dairy products: milk, yoghurt, cheese – including a wonderful Persian feta – and a highly awarded skincare range.
If it’s sheep cheese you prefer, your next stop should be Towri Sheep Cheesery in Allenview. Here Carolyn and Dallas Davidson will proudly introduce you to their 350 specially bred sheep and the award-winning hand-crafted cheeses.
Accommodating 12 guests in boutique comfort from late July, the Stables here will be available to book out in their entirety for a weekend of milking sheep, making cheese, cuddling lambs and collecting fresh eggs from the property’s chooks.
After all that cheese you’ll be in the mood for a few tempting vintages. The Scenic Rim is renowned for its prize-winning wineries where you’ll find a variety of styles, including some excellent fortified wines; the port at Bunjurgen Estate is particularly moreish.
Meanwhile, Scenic Rim Brewery at Mt Alford specialises in liquid of an amber hue. Try crafty brews combined with a homemade deli takeaway lunch that can be enjoyed at a scenic picnic spot nearby.
Talented chefs here are passionately embracing the area’s abundance of farm-fresh veggies, meats, relishes, jams and of course, the dairy products. Two of the best are Daniel Groneberg, who runs the kitchen at Kooroomba; and Richard Ousby, who is a recent arrival at The Overflow Estate 1895’s pretty lakefront cafe. Be sure to sample the fruits of their labour while in town.
Food and wine are fine, but the real joy of a Scenic Rim visit is the magnificent countryside. From sedate, well-marked tracks, to challenging mountain scrambles, try these on for size:
Lower Portals Track (7.4 kilometres/three hours);
Mee-Bor-Rum Circuit (720 metres/15 minutes);
Mt Edwards Summit Trail (six kilometres/3.5 hours);
Rainforest Circuit (1.6 kilometres/30 minutes) and Mt Cordeaux Track (6.8 kilometres/2.5 hours);
Palm Grove Circuit (2.7 kilometres/one hour);
Curtis Falls Track (1.1 kilometres/30 minutes);
Witches Falls Circuit (3.6 kilometres/one hour);
and Moran Falls (4.4 kilometres/1.5 hours).
The Scenic Rim brims with stylish locations to rest your head after a long day of indulging: Spicers Peak Lodge boasts top-class cuisine; O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for great activities and walks; or Nightfall Camp for a unique luxury glamping experience.
70. Have a long weekend on Bruny Island, Tas
Crisp sheets on king-size beds and warm croissants in the morning – in a wilderness camp on Bruny Island. That’s the premise of Tasmanian Walking Company’s Bruny Island Long Weekend, an award-winning three-day trip that makes for the perfect escape on this much-loved island off the island: a microcosm of the best Tasmania has to offer in terms of food, wildlife, scenery and seclusion.
Days on this walk are spent traversing coastal heath, beaches and headlands, climbing through Gondwana rainforest and sampling produce straight from the source. Each night is spent at a custom off-grid camp built with luxury in mind, with an outdoor shower framed by eucalypts and dinner prepared using the most local of ingredients.
Or, DIY your own Bruny Island long weekend for the ultimate indulgence in nature – and nature’s bounty. With its thriving culture of food, wine and whisky, even the journey from the ferry port in North Bruny, over the narrow isthmus and down to your designer digs in South Bruny (the beachfront Cloudy Bay Beach House or Adventure Bay Retreat will do the trick) is like a progressive dining experience.
And on South Bruny, where rainforest reigns and rare white wallabies roam, there’s a berry farm, fudge shop and Australia’s southernmost vineyard, Bruny Island Premium Wines. Stretch your legs on some of the island’s walking trails, like the 5.4-kilometre Fluted Cape track, and pack backpacks for gourmet picnics along the way.
71. The sites and culinary delights of the Southern Highlands, NSW
The towns of the NSW Southern Highlands, just over an hour’s drive from Sydney, represent the perfect day-trip destinations, filled as they are with interesting shops, fun festivals ( including the annual Southern Pie-Lands), country scenery and an ever-increasing roster of cafes and eateries.
Any caffeine and food circuit of the area should include breakfast at The Boston in the town of Mittagong, a sleek space tucked into a historic ivy-covered sandstone terrace. The focus here is on seasonal food and serious coffee using Campos beans.
The sleepy little town of Berrima springs to life come the weekend when Sydneysiders and visitors from further afield flock here to shop the boutiques, enjoy picnics on the village green and score a table for cake and coffee at Berkelouw’s Book Barn Bookshop & Cafe on Bendooley Estate. The Bendooley Estate Restaurant is also open for lunch, but bookings are a must.
Moonacres Kitchen in the enviably situated village of Robertson serves a seasonal menu utilising produce sourced locally or grown on its own farm. The team also bake their own breads in the on-site bakery.
Moss Vale is a bit of a hidden gem in the Southern Highlands, with many visitors ending their journey once they hit the hustle and bustle of Bowral 15 minutes down the road. But that’s a mistake as this lovely town is a cracking spot to explore, with a collection of boutiques, including the beautifully curated Suzie Anderson Home. As for the cafe offering here, the bright and breezy Highlands Merchant has homemade sweet treats or, cross the road and grab a booth at the retro Bernie’s Diner for burgers, fries and counter staff in bow ties.
Bowral has much to recommend it, from its annual Tulip Festival to the Bradman Museum. But it’s the cafes that will keep you coming back for more. Head to the must-visit Dirty Janes antique market to browse the vintage stock and then head to Harry’s On Green Lane, with its bookshelf-lined feature wall or The Press Shop, a cafe-cum-stationer. The eclectic Elephant Boy Cafe is another favourite with locals and out-of-towners.
72. Tour the wineries and distilleries of McLaren Vale, SA
A 45-minute-drive south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale is the birthplace of South Australia’s wine industry, but there’s also a spirit of disruption to be found here in the innovative wineries, craft breweries and boutique distilleries that are diversifying the region’s offerings.
Never Never Distilling‘s new distillery and bar encapsulates everything that’s cool, covetable and quality about the award-winning gin brand. You’ll find it on the top of Chalk Hill – offering spectacular panoramas of the region.
Meanwhile, Inkwell Wines has just opened McLaren Vale’s newest luxury cellar door wine-tasting experience, occupying the top floor of a two-storey building made from shipping containers.
And Mitolo Wines’ cellar door has recently relaunched its restaurant as Little Wolf, an osteria-style eatery that presents like a relaxed wine bar with food to match the glass and experience.
All this serves to complement the region’s most famous architecturally adventurous offering, the d’Arenberg Cube – a madcap, five-tier temple to wine complete with a contemporary gallery, the Alternate Realities Museum, on the ground floor.
Other cellar and distillery doors to check out include Hither & Yon; boutique offering Settlers Spirits, with its gin masterclasses; and McLaren Vale Distillery, which is taking a leaf out of Tassie’s book to pursue the whisky trade.
For somewhere to stay that distils the blend of old-world inspiration and contemporary styling typical of the region, look no further than The Vineyard Retreat McLaren Vale, a working vineyard offering boutique accommodation. In a sleek and polished take on the quintessential, one-room ‘in vineyard’ dwellings traditionally found in the northern Rhône, its two cadoles overlook shiraz and old vine.
73. Go luxe in the Barossa Valley, SA
Jim Carreker, co-owner (along with wife Helen) of luxury vineyard retreat The Louise and its acclaimed restaurant Appellation, in South Australia’s Barossa Valley shares the best experiences to be had in the region.
Two Hands Wine have carefully crafted one of the best wine experiences in the valley and it’s an absolute favourite with our guests. Their Flagship Experience takes guests on their own private tour of some of the valley’s most hidden and exceptional vineyard sites.
Just over a year ago Seppeltsfield Road Distillers opened just 300 metres from The Louise. The gin itself is top-notch but it’s the warm welcome that is the true luxury of this special new addition. From distillery tours with head distiller Nicole to cocktail-making courses with their tasting room manager Bec, you’ll feel at home in an instant.
A five-minute drive from The Louise, Seppeltsfield Wines the winery itself is unique in the world, with the longest and only unbroken collection of single vintage tawny since 1878. Tasting my birth year tawny from the barrel is an experience I’ll truly never forget. Located on the winery grounds are several other must-do cultural icons including top regional restaurant Fino, art gallery JamFactory and boutique natural skincare company Vasse Virgin.
The Barossa is a true culinary region and it all starts at the Barossa Farmers Market every Saturday morning. The best way to experience the market is with chef Matteo Carboni as you start his Saturday cooking class at enoteca and cooking school Casa Carboni. Matteo offers an Italian perspective on Barossan fare and can teach you to make some of the most delicious pasta, among other great recipes.
The Eatery is a new restaurant with a long history. Owned and run by Elli Beer, it’s one of the best spots to enjoy a long lunch. Here’s a local tip: a special menu is available if you book ahead. Elli has recreated some of her mum Maggie’s famous recipes from her much-loved restaurant, The Pheasant Farm. Expect pâté, pheasant pie and other dishes from her greatest hits.
74. Road trip through the Yass Valley, NSW
The Yass Valley presents the perfect long weekend escape to the country, complete with quaint towns, impressive cellar doors and quality cafes and restaurants using the abundant local produce. Here, the ideal itinerary.
The three-hour drive south-west from Sydney, through the stunning scenery of the Southern Tablelands, delivers you to the town of Yass, once the hub of all things sheep related.
After strolling past former bank buildings, the imposing post office complete with clock tower and elegant courthouse, head to the interesting local collective of Trader & Co. for lunch and seriously good coffee courtesy of socially conscious locals Six8 Coffee Roasters.
Finish a busy day with dinner at Clementine, a ’50s weatherboard cottage owned by Brooke Sainsbery and Adam Bantock, who curate a menu of European classics and local wines.
The landscape surrounding the town of Murrumbateman, a 20-minute drive from Yass, is home to some of the region’s best cold-climate wineries. Park the car and use pedal power to navigate your way from one to the other down quiet country roads.
Standouts include: Shaw Wines, The Vintner’s Daughter, Clonakilla; and Murrumbateman Winery. Most offer cheese and share plates to accompany wine tastings. Swing by Robyn Rowe Chocolates to grab some hand-crafted treats to enjoy later with your cellar door purchases.
Yass isn’t the only town worth attention in these parts. Nearby Binalong, the childhood home of Banjo Paterson, also has ties to bushrangers such as Ben Hall; a mural in Pioneer Park recounting the death of bushranger ‘Flash’ Johnny Gilbert at the hands of the police, and there’s some impressive period architecture.
Twenty minutes away is Bowning, one of the area’s earliest settlements; check out the Cobb & Co. Coaching Station, Troopers Cottage and the Bowning Hotel, a quintessential Aussie pub where local legend has it, Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson used to drink.
The accommodation offering in Yass is just as impressive, including the design-driven Abode Murrumbateman; Tallagandra Hill Winery has three self-contained, stylishly decorated cottages to choose from; and Yass Tiny Farm and Accommodation has two eco-friendly, off-grid options.
75. Explore the hip highlights of the Adelaide Hills, SA
A swathe of innovative and imaginative new eateries and establishments are making use of South Australia’s superlative produce and transforming the Adelaide Hills into a culinary destination that celebrates community, sustainability and its market garden history. Here are some highlights.
Lot 100 is a sustainably minded collective set on an idyllic 84-hectare property and former cattle pasture in the Hay Valley. Today it’s home to five different producers – who variously make everything from cloudy apple juice to gin and wine – as well as a paddock-to-plate restaurant serving meats cooked over the fire pit and wood-fired pizzas straight from the oven.
Patch Kitchen & Garden is as cute as it sounds: a licenced cafe set in what was originally Stirling’s post office and general store back in the 1880s. Its all-day breakfast and lunch menus are all about being fresh and in-season and guests are invited to enjoy the rambling villa and gardens it’s set on.
Based in Uraidla, Lost in a Forest is an eclectic, wood-fired oven pizza bar operating out of a 130-year-old church with stencil art covering the walls. It also acts as an unconventional cellar door for Ochota Barrels, a minimal-intervention wine label from part-owner and former punk bass player Taras Ochota.
The 150-year-old Uraidla Hotel was given a quirky makeover a few years ago with community and sustainability at its core: the funky interiors use upcycled furniture and the market garden-inspired menu leans in towards vegan and vegetarian options. On site today there’s also a bakery, cafe and brewery and chickens roaming the gardens. See also the Crafers Hotel and the Stanley Bridge Tavern for more historic pubs in the Adelaide Hills that have been reinvented imaginatively.
The Summertown Aristologist, with its handmade crockery and glassware, is a cellar door with a community focus serving natural wines and a simple, ever evolving menu of hyper-fresh and seasonal meals. Founded three years ago, this hatted restaurant has become something of a destination in itself.
For accommodation, head to CABN’s first-ever off-grid offering, Jude, sequestered in the Adelaide Hills for a suitably hip overnight crashpad. Or check into Mount Lofty House’s new luxury lodge Sequoia or a boutique room at the historic Crafers Hotel.
76. Catch the ferry to Geelong, Vic
Hitch a ride from Melbourne to Geelong on a boat with barista-made coffee, no less: this new 1.5-hour journey with Port Phillip Ferries across Port Phillip Bay and skirting the Bellarine Peninsula will deliver you straight to the heart of Geelong’s dynamic wining and dining scene.
On the waterfront itself, just minutes from the ferry berth at the 19th-century carousel, you’ll find Melbourne hospitality royalty steeped in Geelong heritage in the shape of The Beach House; a cool, breezy 120-seater cafe and takeaway kiosk right on the beach.
A few blocks back from Geelong Waterfront you’ll find creative artery Little Malop Street, packed with all manner of hip places to eat and drink. Seek out European-style bar and deli food at The Continental, the old-world charm of wine bar and store Geelong Cellar Door and new-kid-on-the-block restaurant The Arborist Geelong.
77. Tour the Mornington Peninsula’s hinterland, Vic
The food and wine spoils of Victoria’s geographically blessed Mornington Peninsula are well known. Not sure where to start? Pocket-sized wine region Red Hill, whose microclimate creates optimum conditions for cold-climate wines, might just be the ticket.
An hour’s drive south of Melbourne, this hinterland seems sleepy on the surface, but packs a punch. You’ll find boutique wineries with on-site fine-dining restaurants: plan a show-stopping lunch at Ten Minutes by Tractor, Montalto or Polperro Winery (which also offers luxury accommodation by way of four vineyard villas and the newly renovated Polperro Farmhouse).
Then there’s a suite of firsts: Mornington Peninsula’s original craft brewery, Red Hill Brewery, is here alongside its first artisanal distillery, Bass & Flinders, and cider making biodynamic pioneers, Mock. Also in the area are a few innovative wildcards: the brutalist landmark Port Phillip Estate, Pt Leo Estate with its on-site sculpture park, and the famously ostentatious Jackalope Hotel and its restaurants Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare.
And there’s plenty more to explore besides: tuck into a platter at Red Hill Cheese, stop in for all-day tapas and a farm tour at Green Olive, pick strawberries at Sunny Ridge, eat pizza in a converted packing shed at The Epicurean Red Hill and drop in at Merricks General Wine Store, which hosts a program of events that showcase fine art, wine and food.
78. The sights and baked delights of Musk, Morpeth and more
A trio of bakeries located in perfect weekend-away locations have honed the cooking classes concept down to concentrate on one thing in particular: the equally challenging and rewarding pursuit of the perfect sourdough.
Musk: The Bake House at the new Dairy Flat Farm & Lodge is the latest project from Alla Wolf-Tasker and her family, owners of the celebrated Lake House in nearby Daylesford, which not only produces fresh-from-the-oven breads and pastries for their growing roster of properties (including Wombat Hill House Cafe), but also offers regular sourdough classes on site.
The Introduction to Sourdough Baking classes are conducted by head baker Michael James and include instruction on how to make a variety of sourdough products, from baguettes to delicious doughnuts.
Morpeth: Housed in the historic Arnott Bakehouse in the pretty Hunter Valley town of Morpeth and run by Stephen and Allison Arnott, Morpeth Sourdough’s classes combine Stephen’s knowledge as a sourdough master baker (and member of the most famous baking family in Australia) with Allison’s experience as a master of food microbiology.
Once you’ve finished learning the art of making sourdough, explore other culinary attractions in the area such as the restored tea room at Campbell’s Store and sampling the wares of Morpeth Brewery & Beer Co. at the Commercial Hotel.
Mudgee: Rebecca Sutton of Mudgee Sourdough School, who learnt the art of sourdough baking herself in 2018, will take you through her 10-hour, hands-on classes that begin with how to develop a starter and end by taking a finished baked loaf (and crumpets and pizza) from the oven.
79. Hit the road to Mudgee, NSW
Mudgee might just be the perfect country town – a place that balances old-school charm with plenty to satisfy the 21st-century palate. The NSW town is surrounded by rolling hills studded with vineyards that serve epicurean fare alongside their award-winning drops.
To get a taste of everything, time your visit to coincide with Mudgee Farmers’ Market on the third Saturday of every month or the Mudgee Wine + Food Festival in spring. Or go on a Mudgee Farm Walk, where you’ll join a guided visit to two farms (different each month) to engage with their farmers and be part of a real paddock-to-plate journey.
Or simply swing by any cafe or restaurant in town or surrounds and let the goods come to you: our picks are Alby & Esthers, tucked away in a gorgeous courtyard off Mudgee’s main drag; Roth’s Wine Bar, which has been serving up food, wine and music for almost a century; elegant Zin House on the organic and biodynamic Lowe Wines property; and unique fine diner Pipeclay Pumphouse at Robert Stein Winery.
Poke your nose around the plethora of other pretty country towns in the region, each distinctive in its own right. Starting with Rylstone, this sandstone-hewn heritage town and its surrounds are known for their olive estates and wineries. An extension of the Mudgee wine region, the town hosts Street Feast, with its popular long table lunch, each year. There’s also handmade dumplings to be had at 29 Nine 99 and good coffee at places like The Saffron Kitchen & Cafe.
In between, squeeze in the scenic drive from Rylstone to Mudgee to visit the village of Lue and its local icon of a pub, the Lue Hotel – serving cold beers since 1912. Thirty kilometres north of Mudgee, Gulgong is a former gold mining town that feels like a time capsule back to the 19th century.
You can even visit the oldest still-operating opera house in the southern hemisphere: the Prince of Wales Opera House opened in 1871 and in its heyday saw the great Dame Nellie Melba grace its stage. The town and surrounds are a haven for ceramicists and artists, and an international clay festival is held here every two years.
80. Upgrade your next cellar door visit with Ultimate Winery Experiences
Ultimate Winery Experiences, a consortium of premium wineries dotted across the country, acts as a portal to the heart of Australia’s most unforgettable wine experiences. Here are some ways to seriously upgrade your next cellar door experience.
Spend a day in the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine-growing region, with Tyrell’s, one of the originals: the Sacred Sites Exclusive Experience centres on a private tour of century-old vineyards with a member of the Tyrell family themselves.
The Cape to Vine Day Trip is a guided walking tour and in-depth food and wine experience along the Margaret River cape that culminates in a private tour and five-course paired lunch at Margaret River’s founding wine estate, Vasse Felix.
The Centenary Tasting is the ultimate tour offered by Barossa Valley’s Seppeltsfield, one of Australia’s oldest wineries, and will see you visit the Seppelt family homestead before heading to the 1878 Centennial Cellar to taste your birth year Tawny and the legendary 100-year-old Para Vintage Tawny.
A three-day private jet tour from Melbourne, this rarefied Golf, Wine & Art Tassie experience encompasses golf at Barnbougle’s iconic courses plus a day at Mona that includes a behind-the-scenes tour and tasting at on-site Moorilla winery.
Explore the history of an iconic Aussie wine producer with this VIP experience at Penfolds Magill Estate in the Adelaide Hills, which includes a visit to the winery’s vintage cellar.
At the foot of picturesque Mt Cotton, a short drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Sanctuary by Sirromet’s two-night Ultimate Winery Escape includes a stay in blissful bushland surrounds, an eight-course paired dinner at Restaurant Lurleen’s and a winery tour.
81. Enjoy the earthy spoils of the Margaret River region, WA
Victorians will soon be able to hop on a flight in the morning and be sampling the epicurean delights and sights of the Margaret River region by the afternoon. Jetstar’s new Melbourne to Busselton route is set to connect the country’s east coast straight to the heart of one of our best wine regions. Here is a hitlist.
Howard Park Wines, a 10-minute drive from the coastal hillside hamlet of Gracetown, and one of the foremost architectural buildings in the Margaret River wine region, with its symphony of native timber, concrete and steel influenced by Feng Shui design.
Nearby Amelia Park Wines also scores serious architecture points for its cellar door. Five minutes in the other direction, Vasse Felix is the region’s founding winery (established in 1967), and remains one of the best. Don’t miss Leeuwin Estate half an hour further south, either – for its art gallery.
Margaret River’s dining scene is on the rise and rise, too, and is a region that rewards exploration: from Arimia, the off-grid restaurant and cellar door you’ll find at the end of an unsealed road to the Chinese-Malaysian menu found at Chow’s Table at the organic House of Cards winery.
And its increasingly hip towns serve up haunts like Yarri Restaurant + Bar (Dunsborough) with its modern Australian menu, and Miki’s Open Kitchen (Margaret River), which specialises in tempura. Throw into the mix award-winning breweries, craft distilleries and indulgent retreats – along with natural wonders like world-class surf breaks and tall-timber forests – and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect long weekend.