This freewheeling, laidback artist haven is the west coast’s answer to Byron Bay, albeit shot through with some culture to counterbalance the beach life. UNESCO world heritage sites, museums, world-class coffee and architecture all lend a cosmopolitan air to the port city where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean. Freo offers a warren of walkable streets in the compact city centre and white sand beaches for snorkelling or windsurfing nearby. It was also the birthplace of Australia’s craft beer industry, when Matilda Bay Brewing Company started brewing for the local Sail and Anchor hotel in 1984. Fellow industry trailblazer Little Creatures still has a Fremantle brewery on Fishing Boat Harbour. Drop in for a tour, a tasting or a pizza and a pint of their seasonal beer (often only on tap at the brewery) on the dog-friendly deck. You can even grab a loaner bike to explore town before returning to the brewery for a sixer of pale ale to knock back later. Little Creatures, 40 Mews Rd, Fremantle 6160. 08 6215 1000. littlecreatures.com.au. Mon-Fri 10am-late; Sat 9am-late; Sun 9am-11pm.
You’ll find Red Hill inland on the Mornington Peninsula and, because of this, it’s often overlooked in favour of the seaside villages and their Instagrammable beaches. But if you stop for a visit you’ll hit upon the epicentre of the peninsula’s boutique burgundy industry, set in a pastoral landscape filled with passionate bon vivants who relish a good drink and a bite to eat. It makes sense that it’s also home to Red Hill Brewery. The microbrewery is set back from Shoreham Road, nestled among its own hop fields, and it’s where in-the-know locals go to heap trays with brisket and ribs cooked low ’n’ slow Southern-style. The barbecue menu pairs perfectly with a schooner of the brewery’s imperial stout. There’s even an on-site holiday cottage that backs onto the brewery and becomes a particularly appealing option after a Saturday spent sunning and pounding pints on the brewery patio. Red Hill Brewery, 88 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South 3937. 03 5989 2959. redhillbrewery.com.au. Fri-Sun 11am-6pm.