A Visit To The Valley
LOCATED LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM MELBOURNE’S CBD, THE PICTURESQUE GOULBURN VALLEY PROVIDES THE PERFECT DESTINATION FOR AN EXCITING DAY TRIP AWAY FROM THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE CITY.
PAMELA HALE SPEAKS WITH LEANNE HULM, EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF GOULBURN RIVER VALLEY TOURISM, AND RACHAEL BROUGH, SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR AT TAHBILK WINERY, ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VISIT TO THE STUNNING LOCALE.
Images courtesy of Goulburn River Valley Tourism
Referred to as ‘the heart of Victoria,’ the Goulburn Valley region is replete with opportunities for exploration and adventure. Whether you’re interested in curling up by the fire and indulging in local wine and produce from the comfort of a scenic winery restaurant, or you’d prefer to mingle with the locals at one of the many regional markets, there’s options to suit everyone. Here, Wineries of Victoria showcases what the area has to offer.
Hulm identifies the truly irresistible local offerings as a highlight of visiting the region. “From tasty treats and gorgeous gifts, to local produce and handmade jewellery, you’ll find a truly diverse collection of goods right across the Goulburn Valley,” she says. “Unique, fresh and varied – the local wares and beautiful produce in the heart of Victoria are there to be enjoyed!”
The bountiful yield of the region is made easily accessible through a rotating schedule of markets. For instance, the Nagambie Farmers’ Market is held on the fourth Sunday of every month at the stunning Tahbilk Winery, located a mere 90 minutes from Melbourne. After a morning stroll through the market, why not pre-book a guided tour or wine-blending workshop, both of which are offered at Tahbilk Winery. “Winemakers in the heart of Victoria are passionate about their craft and equally as talented,” Hulm says with regards to the abundant and diverse selection of wineries available to visit on your trip to the region. “With century-old varieties, exciting new drops, distinctive regional characteristics, and award-winning reputations, the Goulburn Valley is truly a wine lover’s paradise!”
Brough explains that the stunning heritage-listed Tahbilk Winery, which is the oldest family-owned winery and vineyard in Victoria, keeps its cellar door open for visitors seven days a week. “By stepping into Tahbilk Winery’s cellar door, you can really immerse yourself in a time gone by. The underground cellars date back to the 1860s and are still in use today. Some of the French oak barrels in the cellar are more than 150 years old,” she says.
To get the most out of your visit to the region, Brough encourages exploration of the area’s diverse offerings with a trip to the nearby Mitchelton Wines, which – unlike Tahbilk Winery – is inherently modern.
“For a stark contrast between old and new, Mitchelton Wines has a wonderful viewing tower, and in the basement of the tower is the Mitchelton Gallery of Aboriginal Art, which is a must-visit attraction!” Hulm agrees, reiterating that the variety of wineries on offer in the Goulburn Valley are worth exploring. “From the larger and better-known wineries to the historic family-owned and -operated wineries, each cellar door is utterly unique and has a beautiful story just waiting to be shared,” she says.
FESTIVALS AND FORESTRY
It’s not just the wine that proves abundant in the region; local produce of all varieties is also celebrated. Brough highlights springtime to early summer as one of the best times to visit the Goulburn Valley. The beauty of the countryside in bloom provides an idyllic location to celebrate the abundance of in-season produce, which is supplemented by plenty of events such as the highly anticipated Tastes of the Goulburn festival.
“Tastes of the Goulburn, hosted on Station Street in Seymour, is a fantastic gathering for everyone in the area to show off their produce, including all the brilliant wineries!” Brough says. “There’s a Producers Kitchen, where chefs, winemakers, cheesemakers and butchers demonstrate their skills for us all to learn. Some of the producers include Somerset Heritage Produce, Avenel Mushrooms, Locheilan Cheese, Avenel Butchery, and Sevenhills Goat Farm.”
Although the region is particularly active during spring, the Goulburn Valley provides wonderful offerings year-round. “The region has beautiful waters and lakes to beat the summer heat, and snowfields with warm and cosy retreats to escape the dreary city winter blues,” Hulm says.
With an abundant collection of spectacular sights, walking tracks and hikes available, there are plenty of activities to be enjoyed. “A welcoming oasis for lovers of nature, the mighty Goulburn River, magnificent lakes, towering forests, striking mountains and sweeping open plains are just some of the many beautiful landscapes found here in the region. Take time out to plan, explore, discover and enjoy this unique and diverse environment,” Hulm advises. “It truly is nature at its very best!”
For those looking to immerse themselves in natural environments, Brough recommends a walk through the beautiful Tahbilk wetlands and wildlife reserve; the serene location is replete with native flora and fauna. “It’s all signposted and has boardwalks, so there’s no chance of getting lost,” she says. “Other recommendations to explore include the Balaclava Mine in Whroo and the picturesque Polly McQuinns Reserve on the Seven Creeks – and make sure to pack a picnic!”
A day trip provides the perfect opportunity to sample the best of the Goulburn Valley’s plentiful offerings, but with so much to see and do, it’s almost inconceivable to attempt fitting everything in one day alone. Thankfully, there are plenty of diverse lodging options available if you’d like to extend your visit.
“From romantic weekend getaways to family-friendly retreats, the heart of Victoria has your accommodation covered with caravan parks, camping grounds, cosy cottages, comfortable hotels, and welcoming farmsteads,” Hulm explains. If the abundant offerings of the region seem like too much to fit into a day trip, why not consider staying a while?