Home to both sandy beaches and verdant countryside, rugged coastal trails and ritzy wine country, Melbourne’s western peninsula is a holiday overachiever. The Bellarine comprises a collection of storybook seaside towns fronting Port Phillip Bay, and is still what many consider to be a well-kept secret. Food and wine is a point of pride here, with impressive cellar doors, distilleries, farmgate shops, artisan producers and restaurants at every turn. Here are seven diverse ways to eat and drink like a local while in the Bellarine.
Enjoy true farm-to-plate dining at Basils Farm
This winery and farm possesses some of the Bellarine’s loveliest vistas, looking out over glittering Swan Bay towards Queenscliff. It’s all about wholesome living here with fruit trees, veggies, herbs, almonds and berries grown organically, while wine is made with minimal intervention. Take a walk through their bucolic gardens before seeing that hard work come to fruition in vibrant dishes at their Farm Café. Freshly picked produce sings in zucchini goat’s cheese tarts and shiitake mushroom gyoza, paired with a Basils Farm Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
Drink wine from a vintage tram car at Terindah Estate
Terindah Estate’s wide open lawns and postcard water views make it a much-loved destination for visitors to the Bellarine. With 40 hectares to their name, they certainly have the space to diversify their offering, and that they do. If you’re looking to impress, book lunch at the Shed with its spectacular floor-to-ceiling glass windows and polished modern Australian menu. For a more casual bite head to the outdoors deck for wine flights, grazing boards and comfy lounges. Where you’ll find us, however, is the Peter’s Odyssey Tram Bar – a sun-soaked, fully refurbished W Class tram looks across Corio Bay to the You Yangs.
Feast on Texas-style smoked meats and boozy desserts at Bellarine Estate
Keeping it in the family is key to Bellarine Estate’s spirit, with founders Peter and Lizette Kenny’s clan taking care of everything from growing to bottling. Specialising in chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz, they produce complex, cool climate wines that you’ll want to both drink and save. Drop by the cellar door for tastings and a hearty lunch courtesy of their on-site smoker, which spins out American-style brisket buns, saucy pork ribs and Reuben sandwiches piled high with smoked pastrami. The liquor isn’t confined to the wine list either, with boozy desserts like a G&T slice and Espresso Martini panna cotta sure to be table pleasers.
Sip craft gin in picture book surrounds at the Whiskery
As the cellar door of the Bellarine’s only distillery, the Whiskery is where the locals go to get a stiff drink in a slice of paradise. The original farmshed has been renovated into a warm, rustic space perfect for sipping spirits, while a fairytale garden outside beckons during summer. Pay them a visit to try gins including the zesty, citrus-forward Teddy and the Fox, the pinot noir barrel-aged Rosey and the Rabbits, and the navy-strength Old Dodger neat or in refreshing cocktails.
Buy tomatoes as good as the ones in Italy at Lonsdale Tomato Farm
If you’re passionate about your tomatoes, you’ll know that the tinned ones you get at supermarkets is a universe away from the sweet, umami brightness that characterises the good stuff. Your sugo will never taste better than after a visit to Lonsdale Tomato Farm’s shop, where their highly regarded vine-ripened tomatoes come in every shape, variety and colour imaginable. While you’re there you can pick up zingy chutneys, herbs and other gourmet goods so you can go home and cook like you live in Tuscany.
Rip into next-level sourdough croissants at Ket Baker
Artisan bakery Ket Baker’s passion for sourdough is so serious that they’ve made a 100 per cent commitment to it. That means not only their loaves but every croissant, danish and pastry that leaves their oven is made from sourdough. Owner and head baker Miek Paulus’s reverence for great bread is infectious, and they’ve quickly become the hottest ticket in town for carb-loving locals. Pick up one of their famed loaves for later, and a few treats for now – their pain au chocolat is filled with Belgian chocolate and takes five days to make, resulting in an intense tangy flavour and texture unlike any croissant you've ever had.
Take home delicious smoked fish products by Bellarine Smokehouse
Just like it says on the label, Bellarine Smokehouse is salting, smoking and selling premium fish to zhuzh up your salads, sandwiches and charcuterie platters. Ora King salmon from New Zealand, barramundi pâté, wild-caught eel, local trout – if someone can catch it, they’ll smoke it. Using traditional smoking techniques with no additives or preservatives, they’re all about finding first-class fish and adding nothing but salt, smoke and time to create something special. Find them at farmers markets or at their Shed Door, where they also sell a range of gourmet treats to go with your fish.
How would you like to win a fantastic road trip experience tasting all this delicious stuff? Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine and Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism are giving away two unforgettable Victorian escapes. Simply head to Visit Geelong and The Bellarine or Visit Great Ocean Road on Facebook or Instagram, answer a few simple questions, and you’ll be entered into the draw. Good luck!