Experience warm hospitality, stunning scenery and fresh alpine air on a two-day Australian wine tour in the high country of Victoria’s northeast

In this fourth feature of our “Go Beyond the Cellar Door series”, we explore the Strathbogie Ranges and the nearby Nagambie Lakes. The former is a cool climate wine region with high altitudes and granite-rich soils. This unique and relatively unknown area is perfect for those wanting an escape off the beaten track among misty mornings, shady gum trees and picture-perfect sunsets in historic Ned Kelly country.

Nagambie Lakes is known for its picturesque habitats of tall, shady red river gums and tranquil views of the Goulburn River and surrounding wetlands. This is another relaxing destination where visitors can enjoy premium wines, pristine habitat and quaint towns filled with cafés, local produce stores, antique shops and galleries.

Day 1 – Fowles Wine in the morning

The tour sets off from Melbourne with a 90-minute drive to Avenel in the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges. Spend some time exploring the small historic township where the infamous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly lived from the age of eight until his father’s death four years later. This highly diverse region incorporates farming land and forests, striking rocky outcrops, stunning vistas, glades and waterfalls, and has over 25 vineyards producing distinctive wines. The high altitude of the area (elevations of up to 600m), coupled with nutrient-poor granitic soils and a cool climate, results in wines full of intense character and elegance as well as stunning views across the central Victorian plains.

Multi award-winning Fowles Wine in Avenel crafts elegant cool-climate wines which you can enjoy alongside freshly-prepared modern European dishes featuring the finest local produce in the relaxed atmosphere of their Cellar Door Café.

Discover the standout varietals of the Strathbogie Ranges wine region with a wine tasting or embark on the Fowles Farm Heritage Experience – a guided wine tasting tour of the historic homestead of Killeen Station and a two-course lunch featuring the Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch wine range.

Fowles Wine’s vineyards among the rocky outcrops of the Strathbogie Ranges
Fowles Wine’s vineyards among the rocky outcrops of the Strathbogie Ranges

Day 1 – Historic Euroa in the afternoon

Take a slow and scenic drive to Euroa and spend the remainder of the day exploring the town and its picturesque surrounds. Euroa is situated in a rich agricultural district which is noted for its fine wool production and thoroughbred horse industry. Settle in for the night at the lovingly restored Euroa Butter Factory. Take a turn about the manicured gardens, pick up some local produce from “The Store” – located in the old butter store of the building – and enjoy a relaxed dinner of local and seasonal fare in the hotel restaurant.

Day 2 – Nagambie Lakes

Next morning, we pop into one of the many cafés in the colourful town centre for a quick breakfast before heading to Tahbilk Wines in the beautiful and ecologically diverse region of Nagambie Lakes. The unique climate of this region lends itself to viticulture, taking advantage of the cooling influence of the surrounding wetlands.

Tahbilk’s Cellar Door, housed above the original cellars
Tahbilk’s Cellar Door, housed above the original cellars

Established in 1860, Tahbilk is a story of innovation, entrepreneurship and survival. Not only it is Victoria’s and one of Australia’s oldest wineries, it also boasts the world’s largest and some of the oldest plantings of Marsanne as well as some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines. The winery and cellar door is set amongst beautiful gardens, original buildings and underground cellars dating back to the 1860s.

Experience all Tahbilk has on offer with A Day at Tahbilk – a guided tour of the historic winery, a guided wine blending session and, finally, a relaxed 3-course lunch with matched wines at Tahbilk’s Wetlands Café perched overlooking the wetlands.

Tahbilk’s Wetlands Café, overlooking the fully restored wetlands area
Tahbilk’s Wetlands Café, overlooking the fully restored wetlands area

Then walk off a long lunch with a stroll to Jacobsons Outlook, an attractive park which extends from the shops and down to the shores of Lake Nagambie, offering panoramic views across the lake. The tour ends a Wetlands Ecology session where an expert guide shares the work done to save the endangered species that live in the areas and the impact of the ecological work has on the winery and wines.

Pro tips: at Jacobsons Outlook, don’t forget to take a selfie with the life-size bronze statue of the great Australian racehorse Black Caviar who was born in Nagambie and won each of her 25 races.

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