In 2019, Hop It launched as the first-ever hop-on, hop-off bus service for the Yarra Valley. Unfortunately, things derailed a bit in the following years as a result of the global pandemic, so the company temporarily pivoted to wine delivery. But once lockdowns became a thing of the past, Hop It sprung back and became fully operational as a hop-on, hop-off service through the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. And now, in exciting news, Hop It has added another region to its list: the Bellarine Peninsula, home to delicious cool-climate wines, distillers, brewers and more.
With most food and wine tours, you don't get a lot of say in the itinerary. There isn't much flexibility if you want to stay longer at a certain stop, or if you prefer spirits or beer to wine. Hop It stepped in to fill that gap, offering a flexible choose-your-own-adventure style of journey with five routes across three regions (Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Bellarine Peninsula).
Each route is jam-packed with venue partners to choose from, ranging from booze producers and chocolate shops to top-notch cafés and restaurants. So, what's on the agenda?
For the Yarra Valley, you can choose from the red route along the Maroondah Highway, which includes many of the most well-known wineries (Chandon, Oakridge) and distilleries (Four Pillars), or the more boutique green route through the Melba Highway and Healesville, which includes more independent and boutique makers like Mandala Wines, Balgownie Estate and Hubert Estate.
If you'd like to explore the Mornington Peninsula, you can choose from the orange route, which highlights family-run and boutique wineries, breweries and distillers (Point Leo Estate, JimmyRum), and the soon-to-be-available blue route, which will have a stronger focus on produce and wellness venues like the Peninsula Hot Springs. And in the newly added Bellarine route, which will officially launch at the end of March 2023, you'll get to choose between noteworthy vineyards (Jack Rabbit, Scotchmans Hill, Terindah Estate), distillers (Farmdog Brewing, the Whiskery) and more.
When you book your tickets, you can plan up to four places to visit for as long as you like — and if you change your mind, that's fine too. Tickets start at just $70 per person and all tastings, food and other purchases are at your own expense. You can book for up to five people, so decide if you want to go solo, surprise a partner or friend with a day out, or invite your whole family to join in.
On the day, you just have to meet at the pick-up spot either in the CBD or somewhere along the route's journey and you'll be dropped back off later in the day. Booking availability depends on the route, but tours run from Wednesdays to Mondays.
For more information and to book tickets, head to the website.