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regions guide


NILLUMBIK


Address :
www.whereis.com.au
Nillumbik  VIC
Web-site : www.ntatourism.com

Taste divine in Nillumbik
By Miriam Blaker ý 2010

On the outskirts of Melbourne, just 40 minutes from the CBD, lies a world class region of small boutique family owned wineries waiting to be discovered. This region is Nillumbik and it can be found by taking the scenic route to the Yarra Valley, onto the Western Ring Road, via Eltham and through the rolling hills of Kangaroo Ground.

These vineyards are small boutique operations run by owner operators who love to share their passion for the exceptional quality wine they produce. The grapes are hand picked, and wines are largely hand made in small quantities, so the winemakers and growers know their vintages intimately. The following are suggestions for an easy driving tour with all wineries located within fifteen minutes of each other.

Stop 1 - Big Brekky at Samson Hill
Samson Hill Estate in Kangaroo Ground is the perfect place to stop for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. Their Big Breakfasts, served every Saturday and Sunday, are renowned in the area. The spectacular location of the restaurant and vineyard with views to the city skyline and surrounding mountain ranges is the perfect backdrop to experience relaxation, fine food and wine. Live Entertainment, Greek featured nights and local artist exhibitions are also a feature here.
Open: Lunch: 7 days, Dinner: Wed, Thurs, Friday, Saturday
Big Brekky: Sat & Sun / 9 till 11am
360 Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, Kangaroo Ground
Phone: 03 9712 0715

Stop 2 - Tasting at Redbox
Redbox Vineyard was named for the red box eucalyptus trees of the surrounding hills. This is a small intimate cellar room, with a warm and welcoming ambience. A patio outside with an umbrella beckons many to spend a lazy day sipping excellent wines and coffees just as good!
Open: Weekends and public holidays from 11am - 6pm, or by appointment
2 Ness Lane, Kangaroo Ground
Phone: 03 9712 0440

Stop 3 - Tasting at Kings of Kangaroo Ground
Further down the road is Kings of Kangaroo Ground, believed to be Australia's only post-office winery. The tiny tasting area is self-contained in the post office and, in keeping with the surroundings, visitors can try wines such as Postbox Red, Letterbox Chardonnay or BIN 3097 (named after the local postcode). Winemaker and Postmaster Ken King offers an informative tasting experience in idyllic surroundings - post your mail at the same time!
Open: Open Mon to Sat 10am to 6pm. Sun and public holidays 12 - 6pm.
15 Graham Road, Kangaroo Ground
Phone: 03 9712 0666

Stop 4 - A taste of Tuscany at Panton Hill
Travel an easy ten minutes through rolling hills to Panton Hill and you will reach Panton Hill Vineyard and Winery tucked away at the end of Manuka Road.
Enjoy warm family hospitality from owners Teunis and Dorothy Kwak in the beautiful tasting room. Sit in front of its huge open fireplace in winter and in summer relax in the tranquil courtyard or shaded seating area outside, overlooking the vineyard and bush.

Enjoy an informative wine tasting with Teunis or Dorothy, as they take you through the wide range of wines they have created using biological techniques, from the classic Yarra Valley dry varieties to their delicious sweet varieties such as Liqueur Chardonnay, "Aromatica" and Vintage Pinot Noir Port. Magnificent architecture reminiscent of Southern Europe, Mediterranean cooking classes and homemade jewellery for sale are all a feature here.
Open: 11.00am ý 5.00pm weekends, public holidays or by arrangement
145 Manuka Road, Panton Hill
Phone: 0408 101 523

Stop 5 - Stroll, shop and lunch in Hurstbridge
Five minutes drive from Panton Hill will take you to tranquil Hurstbridge, where you will find art galleries, quality gift shops, organic produce, craft shops and bric-a-brac outlets and a good choice of cafes and restaurants. Browse through the nursery and gallery at Bridges, explore the heritage trail and enjoy the rural village atmosphere.

Stop 6 - Tasting at Lovegrove Winery and Vineyard
From Hurstbridge head towards Kinglake and follow the signs to Lovegrove Vineyard and Winery in Cottles Bridge. The ten-acre vineyard houses a mudbrick gallery, courtyard and ample outdoor seating where picnickers are welcome. Visitors can not only sample fine wine but enjoy an antipasto platter made with fresh local ingredients and play a game of pýtanque.

The mud brick cellar door hosts regular art exhibitions from new and award winning local artists. Throughout many of Nillumbik venues you will find winemakers, artists and food producers collaborating to display their talents. It's an enticing combination.

Open: weekends and public holidays 11am - 6pm or midweek by appointment.
1420 Heidelberg-Kinglake Rd, Kangaroo Ground
Phone: 03 9718 1569

Stop 7 - Overnight at a Bed and Breakfast
There is a good range of accommodation available ranging from a luxurious mud brick studio in the hills to a self contained cottage in and around Eltham, Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge. Visit the local tourism association website http://www.ntatourism.com for a full listing of accommodation options.

On the third weekend in October every year these wineries, along with twelve other cellar doors that are not normally open to the public, will celebrate the Open Cellars of Nillumbik. They will offer two days of free tastings complimented by fine food, local art and live entertainment, a real highlight for wine lovers, and right on Melbourne's doorstep.
 
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