Your petrol tank is full, your bag is packed and you have snacks on hand; you’re ready to road trip to Rutherglen!
As your three-hour drive from Melbourne finally comes to an end, you’ll turn into Rutherglen’s Main Street and see a heart-warming sign, “Sydney may have a nice harbour but Rutherglen has a great port”! The historic Rutherglen offers so much more than just this: interesting people, excellent produce, delicious food and even better wine.
(Below is just a snack size sample of how to maximise the delicious food options Rutherglen has on offer. Don’t be surprised if you get hooked after your first weekend away and immediately plan your next trip to the region – it happens to the best of us!)
If you left Melbourne nice and early you’ll be ready for breakfast and caffeine. Located on Main Street, Zest Studio’s specialty is cakes but the friendly kitchen team will also present you with a plethora of breakfast options. You could indulge in anything from chocolate croissants or corn fritters to simple eggs on toast. Toby’s Estate coffee complements every meal, which you can enjoy in the gorgeous courtyard any time of year. If you’re in need of a sugar hit, treat yourself to one of their specialty shakes!
After refuelling, you’ll want to dedicate at least a few hours to Jones Winery & Vineyard. This restaurant, winery and art gallery combo has so much to offer. Established in 1860 by the Jones family, the vines at this historic yet stunning vineyard have a lot of stories to tell. Start with a wine tasting at the Cellar Door – if you’re lucky, Mandy and Arthur Jones will be there to share a few stories with you. If you’re not short on time, book into the restaurant next door for a feast to follow. Odds are you’ll leave feeling very full and a bit tipsy but don’t worry, you can check out the art gallery until you’re ready to leave!
Public Service Announcement: Book a table for Thousand Pound in advance. You don’t want to take a chance and miss out on this one. Featuring floor-to-ceiling wine racks and exposed white brick, this wine bar and restaurant is always pumping, and rightly so. The wine list features the best of the region, and the food menu designed by The Terrace’s, Simon Arkless, is really something else. The steak (your choice of hanger, porterhouse or petite hanger) is the main event, but don’t underestimate the starters. Our recommendations? House-made croquettes, crispy school prawns, pan-fried saganaki cheese.
On day two, go to Hub 62 for breakfast and coffee but stay for the cake and the art. The front counter is filled with homemade delights like cranberry and oatmeal slice, wagon wheel slice, hummingbird muffin and baked lemon cheesecake. The cafes showcases a rotating list of exhibitors, so there’s always something new to peruse.
Lake Moodemere Estate
Lake Moodemere Estate is the type of place that can make you fall in love with visiting wineries. As you walk in past the gardens you’ll see the breathtaking view of the lake. The atmosphere created by owners, Belinda and Michael Chambers, is enough to make you stay a while but it’s the wine that will grip you in. The wine here is enchanting, make sure you taste them all at the Cellar Door. The Lakeside cafe offers a three-course lunch and an a la carte menu, including its famous Moodemere lamb.
You may want to play some golf as lunch digests, and you can! There is a golf green floating on the lake and if you get the hole-in-one you take home $1,000 worth of wine.
Celebrate your win with Belinda’s durif chocolate cake!
The Moodemere Lakehouse
This luxury accommodation, located on the premises of Lake Moodemere estate, offers stunning views of the lake on one side and vineyard views on the other. You’ll get complete privacy here, a little home between the trees and vineyards where you can enjoy good company and great food. Breakfast is included in your stay, and with a fully equipped kitchen, a bath, stunning deck and private fire pit you’ll never need, or want, to leave.
This trip was planned in association with Explore Rutherglen for an article on Smudge Eats.