Just three hours north east of Melbourne, Victoria’s gorgeous High Country is the perfect weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne life. I’ve always wanted to spend more time in this gorgeous part of Victoria, so was delighted to head up with my family last weekend to experience the annual High Country Harvest.
While the High Country Harvest might be over for this year, there are so many things to see and do in the High Country that I had to sum up my top 7 reasons to visit below.
High Country Harvest
This year marked the 6th High Country Harvest, a festival running every May that celebrates the produce, growers, makers, chefs and brewers of the region. With a program of more than 50 events, I absolutely loved the official events I attended over last weekend, including ‘Yoga, Bubbles, Brekkie, Bliss’ at John Gehrig Wines, ‘The Art of the Harvest’ at Rutherglen Estates, ‘Estate on a Plate’ at All Saints Estate and a tasty ‘Autumn Warmer’ at Scion Wine.
Speaking of Billson’s Brewery, this is a must-visit when you’re in Beechworth. New owner Nathan Cowan has made a tree-change from his life as a Marketer in Melbourne, and has the most incredible vision for this historic site. Billson’s has been making traditional cordials since the 1920s (using water from their very own spring), however Nathan is looking to expand and is working towards an establishing a brewery, whisky distillery, cafe and even potentially a loft yoga studio. Definitely recommend any gents in need of some personal grooming head to the new on-site Barber too – it’s definitely up there with one of the coolest Barbershops I’ve seen!
The High Country Harvest is the perfect way to experience the region if you’re a first time visitor, so definitely clear your schedules for the 7th High Country Harvest in 2019!
7 Reasons to visit Victoria’s High Country
The Gorgeous Townships
The High Country region is huge, and emcompasses many picturesque towns including Beechworth, Rutherglen, Bright, Mansfield, and Milawa. Every town has such a fascinating history, and some of the most incredible gold-rush era architecture. The beautiful streetscapes and gorgeous boutique shops make a stroll through the region’s towns a must-do, and provide the perfect backdrop to that killer ‘gram photo.
While it’s hard to play favourites, I’d definitely suggest you make time for a visit to Beechworth – it’s one of my favourite towns in regional Victoria due to its array of shopping, dining and beautiful 1800s buildings.
It’s a Wine Lovers Paradise!
If you’re a vino fan, you need to pay a visit to Rutherglen – one of Victoria’s ultimate food and wine destinations. There’s 20 award-winning wineries in this town alone!
We were lucky enough to visit Rutherglen Estates, All Saints Estate and Scion Winery. All three wineries we visited were so different, and it was so interesting hearing about the wine varietals that are specialised in the region including Marsanne and my favourite, the Durif!
From the stately All Saints Winery in Wahgunyah (where we enjoyed the most incredible lunch at the hatted Terrace Restaurant), to the quirky Scion Winery just outside of Rutherglen, we loved tasting the distinctive, hand crafted wines of the region.
Forget three meals a day when you’re in the High Country, you’re going to need to make room for Breakfast, Morning Tea, Elevensies, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Evening Canapes, Dinner and Dessert (plus snacks in between..). The local produce in the region is beyond delicious, from handmade artisan chocolate to meat sourced from nearby farms, and vegies freshly grown in view of your dinner table.
For a special treat, I couldn’t recommend Provenance in Beechworth more. Awarded ‘two hats’, owner-chef Michael Ryan focuses on regionally focused produce that is fused with Japanese flavours and techniques. Make sure you leave room after the 10-course Degustation to sample some of the unique Japanese whiskeys (they are perfect for popping a little fire in your belly for the walk back to your hotel on a cold night!)
Cycling, Hiking and Skiing
The High Country is the perfect place to visit year-round, as you can hit the ski fields in winter, and enjoy the gorgeous rail trail and mountain biking options in the warmer months. Or if you’re like me, and prefer a more sedate pace on your weekend getaways, there’s endless trails to enjoy a morning walk before getting ready for an epic day of eating, drinking and relaxing!
There’s something for Everybody!
The High Country is one of those destinations that is can tick the boxes for every visitor. Planning on travelling as a couple? Or with kids? Or ridin’ solo? The towns, experiences and activities in the High Country ensure there’s something for every style of visitor.
Special shout-out to Scion Winery, with their awesome kids corner at their Cellar Door. Best idea ever for parents travelling with little ones, who also love to chat all things vino. Thanks Rowly and Sally for making us feel so welcome!
I also can’t forget the best Kids menu I’ve ever seen at All Saints Estate (panko crumbed chicken schnitzel anyone?!), along with the innate hospitality of everyone we met in this region – we truly felt so welcomed as a family group.
Love a B&B? Or prefer 5 star luxury, or the convenience of an Air BnB? High Country has got you covered whatever the case! We were lucky enough to stay at the Tuileries during our time in Rutherglen, and absolutely loved our night at this gorgeous hotel! Our King Vineyard Room had the most incredible, uninterrupted view over the vines, and it was was the perfect place to have a morning coffee and enjoy the morning sun. If you’re travelling with the family or a larger group, I also checked out their 2 bedroom apartments and can highly recommend too! And bonus – the Rutherglen Estates Cellar Door is literally right next door. Win!
Our 2 bedroom Cottage at Golden Heritage Accommodation was also perfect for us as a family. The views again were incredible – we spotted ducks, horses, and a myriad of local birds. My kids were enthralled! Having all the comforts of home meant we could enjoy a lazy weekend breakfast before heading out to visit the sites.
You can check out the full range of accommodation options in the High Country here.
Thanks so much to Tourism North East for hosting us during the High Country Harvest.