Being a “foodie” means a true commitment to finding the newest and most exciting places to eat and drink. Foodies want something unique, something that presents a story and of most importantly places that will offer up some pretty snappy Instagram posts!
Well, Melbourne might be the foodie capital, but there is a place just on your doorstep that is full of all the right ingredients, and it’s totally easy to get there.
The Bellarine Peninsula is still a secret to some, but to those in the know there’s enough to keep the palate (and Instagram) excited for days. It’s a place where the farm land meets the coast and this creates an environment for a range of produce that tempts many.
Cool climate wines, goats cheese, olive groves, blueberry farms and more.
And all you need to do is step onto Port Phillip Ferries in Docklands to get there. As you take in a stunning cruise across the bay you can almost taste the Bellarine. Cruise past the famous mussel farms and view the rolling hills of Portarlington that lead to the many great places to enjoy.
Once you arrive in Portarlington you might take a short stroll up to the main street to the Portarlington Bakehouse. Every great regional town has a great bakery, and this one doesn’t disappoint. How about a cooked breakfast, available all day long, or if you’re in the mood for sweet they deliver on all the classics, including a killer vanilla slice.
Looking for the local pub? Portarlington has one of these too. The Grand Hotel has stood tall in Portarlington since 1887 and good affordable pub fare can be enjoyed inside the historic building, or outside in their beer garden.
Image: Terindah Estate
But there’s so much more to discover, so arrange to be picked up by one of the many tour options from Portarlington Pier, to take you beyond the town centre. Book a tour with Fergos Bongos or call the Portarlington Beach Motel for their courtesy bus and head off to the wineries and other gems around the region. Chat to them about what you would like to see and they’ll help build a tour for you. For The Love of Grape are very experienced at showing off the assets of the region and Christians Bus Company are starting up some great tours as well.
It goes without saying that the wine is good, but the Bellarine wineries also offer up the most incredible bay vistas and delicious food. You can’t go past Terindah Estate, where you can enjoy The Shed menu or relax on the deck, while across the road Jack Rabbit Winery offers a casual café or a la carte restaurant.
If you’re interested in an educated wine experience you can’t go past Scotchmans Hill, one of the oldest wineries in the region, with the newest cellar door to admire.
The famous Portarlington mussels are a must on any visit. There’s a popular farm gate, just up the road from Portarlington, that started as a small shop to sell their produce. The Little Mussel Cafe soon evolved so that visitors could enjoy mussels almost fresh off the boat, and cooked to perfection in a range of delicious flavours and sauces.
The eating area also offer tasting plates, fresh oysters, mussel chowder, mussel arancini balls, mussel pies and their famous scallop pies. Wash them down with local wine, beer, cider and even a mussel stout.
But there’s still so much more than wine and mussels. They’ve got olives, goats cheese, tomato farms and blueberry farms. Your best bet is to head straight to The Bellarine Taste Trail for all the foodie goss. Once you’re done drooling, call your tour guide and get going.