Truffle hunting is the best winter game. You get rugged up, you follow a cute dog around some oak trees, and the end result is delicious pungent truffles.
Truffles are harvested in winter, and in Melbourne, the season runs from June until the end of August. Due to overwhelming demand, many truffle farms are beginning to offer tours for people who are keen to unearth their own truffles.
There are six working truffle farms outside of Melbourne, mainly around the Daylesford, Gippsland, Otways and Mornington Peninsula regions. The truffle enthusiasts over at Truffle Melbourne partner with these truffle farms each year to host exclusive hunts throughout winter.
Looking for more fun winter activities? See our guide to the best things to do this winter in Melbourne.
Truffle hunts near Melbourne
Located in the Gippsland town of Grantville, Truffle Paddock is a truffle farm that harvests both French black winter truffles and Italian white bianchetto truffles. Truffles are grown underground and are found with the assistance of truffle pigs or truffle dogs, thanks to their keen sense of smell. At Truffle Paddock, you’ll be aided by the very talented Spice and Arrow – these dogs will take you around the farm’s 600 truffle trees in search of subterranean gold.
Head along on an exclusive six-person tour with Truffle Paddock’s experienced truffle farmers and try your luck at finding these elusive treats. Pre-hunt you’ll dig into coffee and Truffle Paddock honey on toast, then be treated to truffle-dusted scrambled eggs and a glass of champers on your return. Hunts run on Sundays throughout July and August for $130 per person. More information here. Truffle Paddock hunts are sold out for 2019.
Spice and Arrow also frequent the Truffle House, a truffle farm located in the hills of South Gippsland in Jumbunna. Here you’ll join the dogs in a black truffle search around the property and hear some exciting truffle tales from the farmers. You’ll also get to taste some truffle dishes and enjoy a glass of wine by the fire. The Truffle House truffle hunts run on Sundays throughout July and August for $139 per person. More information here.
Visit this 1,000-tree truffle farm near Ballarat and meet the super-smart truffle dogs Harry and Narla. Your day starts at 10am, where you’ll get to see the truffle dogs in action, then enjoy the fruits of their labour in a six-part tasting. There will be tea, coffee and morning tea available, plus a glass of Champagne during your post-hunt meal. Black Cat Truffles offers truffle hunts on weekends throughout June, July and August for $120 per person. There’s also a special Burger, Beer and Truffles hunt available for the same price. More information here.
Head southeast towards the Mornington Peninsula and Red Hill Truffles. This truffle hunt is led by farm owner Jenny McAuley and her trusty truffle dog Thomas, who will take you through the oak and hazelnut trees across this private farm. On the tour, you’ll learn about the truffle harvesting process and have the chance to taste, smell, photograph and purchase freshly harvested truffles. After the hunt, you’ll get to enjoy fresh truffle produce and truffle-infused dishes. Red Hill Truffle hunts run on weekends throughout June, July and August for $135 per person. More information here.
This popular truffle farm near Daylesford has been hosting truffle hunts since 2010. Truffle Treasures invites you to follow the canine scent of truffle detectives Abbie and Holly as they seek out subterranean black gold. A fireside chat follows the dig, and there are fresh truffles available for sale. Truffle Treasures hunts run on Sundays throughout July for $85 per person. More information here. Truffle Treasures hunts are sold out for 2019.
Head along to a farm tour, truffle hunt and lunch at one of the state’s oldest truffle farms, Wongarra Farm. This 35-hectare farm is located in the southern part of the Otways, with beautiful views over the ocean. Truffle dog Riley will take you around the farm in search of Perigord black truffles, and then you’ll get to enjoy a light lunch littered with truffles. You can also purchase fresh truffles and other produce on the day. Wongarra Farm runs truffle hunts on Sundays throughout July for $120 per person. More information here.
Dog-friendly tour company Gourmet Pawprints is also offering BYO dog truffle hunts this winter (NB your dog will not be able to find truffles – it's best to leave that to the professionals). More information here. Gourmet Pawprints truffle hunts are sold out for 2019.
Looking for more winter activities?
Victoria’s alpine region is the place to be come winter. Snow has fallen on the mountain tops making it a prime escape from the hustle of the big city, whether you’re a skier, snowboarder, tobogganer or ardent hot chocolate fan. Victoria has five major alpine resorts you can choose from, including Mt Buller, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain. So how do you decide where to visit? We’ve put together this handy list that sets out everything you need to know about Victoria’s alpine resorts, from where to stay to entry prices and even off-season activities.