Soak up the glory of summer
Make the most of the sunshine in regional Victoria this summer and catch some vitamin D, with a drink in hand, at one of our favourite bars, pubs and restaurants. Take in the views from a happening rooftop, dine alfresco style, or keep the fresh brews rolling in a beer garden.
Image: Hotel Sorrento, Mornington Peninsula
Chill out by the beach with a tasty dish and a refreshing drink in hand. Gaze at the sparkling waters of Port Phillip Bay at Hotel Sorrento, which is within walking distance of postcard-worthy beaches. Still on the Mornington Peninsula, pull up a seat at Ocean Beach Pavilion where you can grab a quick bite on the palm-adorned deck or enjoy free entertainment on the open-air terrace.
Head to Beach HQ Restaurant and Bar in Cowes for fresh seafood or Gippsland beef in a relaxed waterfront space, or visit the boating capital of Victoria in Paynesville on the Gippsland Lakes and dine from a modern Australian menu at Pier 70.
Image: Murphys, Geelong
Perch high above street level and make the most of killer views in regional hubs or landscapes worthy of a panorama at one of our fave rooftop bars. Relax in style in Geelong and get your sugar fix with a sweet cocktail paired with a decadent dessert at Sweet Cheeks. Kick on with a refreshing pint for a night of free live music on the vibrant rooftop or from the third-level sky garden at Murphys, or sample craft gin made in Torquay with views of the Geelong waterfront at Sailor's Rest.
Head to Bendigo to share a plate of charcuterie or a spicy prawn pizza in the main drag at Nimbus Rooftop, or jump across to Ballarat to experience a European-inspired bar with a carefully curated list of local and international wines at Ellington's.
The Grampians is the perfect place to settle in for an afternoon of delicious food accompanied by the sing-song of birdlife in a picturesque garden. The Wander Inn, nestled in the beautiful Wartook Valley, is a lovely spot to sip a drink close to kangaroos, while the Parker Street Project at Royal Mail Hotel is perfect for a relaxed meal prepared from fresh produce grown onsite.
Sunshine and brews
Image: Four Pillars Distillery, Jude's Gin Garden, Healesville
Head out to Healesville’s main drag and make the most of Four Pillars Distillery’s new gin garden. Sip on build-your-own negronis, share a gin and tonic paddle and snack on tasty cheese platters, all while soaking up the lively atmosphere. Cross over from the Yarra Valley into the King Valley and sample fresh beers straight from the source at King River Brewing.
Great Ocean Road Gin is another producer of local gin, with the added use of local botanicals and Indigenous ingredients such as kelp, salt bush, coast daisy, local honey and gums. While out by The Murray, the Goods Shed Craft Beer and Café is serving up traditional pizzas, 16 types of craft tap beer and much more, all in a historic old railway shed.
Dine by the vines
Lazy afternoons filled with sunshine, wine and plenty of grazing await at picturesque vineyards across Victoria. Wander three acres of vines on the south coast of Phillip Island at Phillip Island Winery, gasp at a panorama of mountains, vines and old-world charm at Ararat's Montara Wines, or stroll 80 rolling acres with a glass of sauv in hand at Mount Macedon Winery.
Image: Bank St + Co, Great Ocean Road
Want to enjoy regional Victoria's culinary scene, but don't want to venture too far out of town? Enjoy a spot of breakfast at Bank St + Co in Port Fairy, where the granola is served with fresh fruit, natural yoghurt and local honey, or enjoy a spot of day drinking in Warrnambool at Frolic. Frolic's range of hand-stretched pizzas perfectly complement the extensive wine and cocktail menu.