It’s far enough from Melbourne to feel that you’re actually going somewhere and actually getting away from the city, but not so far you can’t visit in a weekend.
It’s located in North East Victoria, which is a gorgeous part of the state – think alpine valleys, mountains, rivers, wineries and gourmet food producers.
But the best reason – you can tell everyone you’re going to the Wang.
In May, I visited Wangaratta as part of a bloggers’ trip with DD, Taz, Shellie and Veda. Very early one Saturday morning we piled into two cars and left Melbourne for the three hour trip north.
The Mornington Peninsula is one of my favourite day trips from Melbourne. It’s such a nice part of Victoria and only about 60-90 minutes drive from the city. There’s good food, lots of wineries, craft breweries, a couple of excellent cheeseries, and other produce producers.
Mornington Peninsula Tourism has recently launched Wine Food Farmgate, a program to help visitors discover all the great food and wine producers on the Peninsula. The program consists of a book, the website, a trail map, mini cooler bag and regional recipe cards, and features restaurants, wineries, produce growers and gourmet stores.
The other weekend, Alastair and I got together with Shellie, Haz, Gaz, Thanh and Michelle for a trip through our own Wine Food Farmgate trail.
Our journey started on Saturday, when we gathered for lunch at Yabby Lake Vineyard. After a lovely lunch (coming up in Part 2) our group split up to tackle a few different locations.
There’s something nice about getting out of Melbourne for a drive and lunch – even if it’s only down to the Mornington Peninsula or to the Yarra Valley.
When you go with friends it’s even better: you can sing along to cheesy songs (stop right now, thank you very much / the vengabus is coming / we are titaniuuuuuuuuum) and do some llama llama llama! spotting.
A wee while ago, Shellie organised a group of us on a trip to the Yarra Valley with lunch at Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company. Hargreaves Hill is a micro brewery, and the restaurant is in a very attractive former National Bank building.
Hey, remember when I went to Ballarat earlier this year? One place I wanted to check out was Open Pantry, which is a cafe on Ballarat’s Bakery Hill. In addition to serving breakfast and lunch, they also stock a range of grocery and deli items such as cheeses, small goods, pasta and jams for purchase.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit it in on that trip, but I got my chance recently on our latest op shop crawl. One Saturday, Haz, Gaz, Winceee, Daisy, Mr R and myself piled into a couple of cars and took a drive to Ballarat.
It was a slow, slow start, when we all somehow managed to sleep in. So upon reaching Ballarat, we stopped for an early lunch / very very late breakfast, as most of the group hadn’t eaten (sleeping in = no time to eat). Half of us ordered breakfast, and half had lunch.
You may remember some of my previous posts about trips down to the Mornington Peninsula. These trips are always fun. Part of the fun is getting to spend day with friends. Part of it is getting to poke around op shops looking for food blogging props. Some of it comes from stopping somewhere midway and having a relaxed lunch. But mostly? The fun is in llama spotting.
(Truth time: the last part is probably only fun for me.)
(Truth time 2: they’re not even llamas. They’re alpacas.)
In early May, I went with the usual suspects, Shellie, Haz, and Thanh, on another op shop crawl to the Mornington Peninsula. This one was the best trip yet – now that we’ve done it several times, we know what to look for and how to plan the trip for maximum op shopping efficiency.
And here’s a pro tip for anyone interested – Frankston is the mother lode for op shops.