Decades ago a professional cyclist called Basil Halsall decided to buy a stretch of land on the shores of Swan Bay, using the land to grow various crops. Basil has moved on, but his farm continues to thrive as a winery and paddock-to-plate café.
On a sunny day, regardless of season, visitors can be found spilling out of the café and onto the sprawling, green hillside while enjoying lunch, coffee or just a glass of wine. The menu here draws – wherever possible – from the farm’s own vegetable garden, which you can walk through freely. Basils grows a large number of fruits and veggies, as well as raising chickens, ducks, sheep and two stroppy yet nice enough llamas.
The dedication to local produce makes the café stand out in a country swimming in smashed avo and pork belly. But what many come to Basils for is the wine, with the cellar door open seven days a week. The Bellarine is a cool-climate wine region, so the pinot noir should definitely be on your radar. The wines here are so popular staff often have to put a limit on the number of bottles per guest, but if you can’t buy a bottle for yourself you can always order it in the café.
Better still, Basils Farm welcomes well-behaved canine companions, so not even Fido needs to miss out on the farm’s spectacular view of Swan Bay. Hate crowds? Come on a grey or drizzly day, where you can stretch out inside the café.
Basils Farm café is open 9am to 4pm weekdays and 8am to 5pm on weekends. The cellar door is open from 11am daily.