I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
Published April 25th 2017
A valley for a king (and queen)
The King Valley, about 3 hours north from Melbourne, offers beautiful scenery, delicious wine and food and a chance to explore a number of interesting villages and places. It is best to stay a few nights to truly appreciate what this lovely part of Victoria has to offer.
Enjoying the many Wineries This is after all one of the major reasons people visit the King Valley. Most of the wineries have an Italian dimension to them, either the wine makers family came from Italy or the wines are made from Italian grapes or both. The King Valley is named the Australian home of Italian wines and many of the winery names reflect this strong Italian heritage. Pizzini, Dal Zotto, La Cantina, Politini, Sam Miranda and Politin and their winemakers, usually all family members, have their own stories to tell.
La Cantina make wines with no added preservatives thereby retaining the full characteristics of each wine. Wines made include cabernet sauvignon, cabernet shiraz merlot, chardonnay and saperavi, along with Italian varietals dolcetto and nebbiolo. Dalzotto is the prosecco pioneer of Australia, the family motto being " One family, an Italian heritage, cool, high altitude climate most suitable to sparkling's and finely textured wines ". Other Italian grape wines such as sangiovese and nebbiolo can be enjoyed at this winery and adjoining Trattoria where cooking is under strict supervision of the family matriarch, Nonna Elena.
Pizzini wines pride themselves on multiple Tourism Awards for their winery as a tourist destination as well as on their large selection of Italian wines. The cooking classes led by Katrina Pizzini attract guests from all over Australia wanting to learn the secrets of Italian cooking. You can also stay at the vineyard and wake up to a glorious misty morning in the valley.
Chrismont wines, having recently built the architecturally unique space for their cellar door and restaurant have brought modern dining to the region. The Chrismont Restaurant and Larder, inspired by Sicilian and Northern Italian heritage offer delicious and authentic dishes accompanied by breathtaking views.
Time for lunch
Visiting Beechworth Beechworth , known for its famous Beechworth bakery, has a lot of history to explore (as well as those treats from the bakery). It offers much in the history of the Gold Rush period and colonial culture. The historic precinct with its well-preserved and often majestic buildings, and the old gaol offer fascinating glimpses into life as it was in colonial times.
Tanswells Hotel, part of the well-preserved history of Beechworth
One of the popular attractions is the regular outings of the re-enactment group which adds to the atmosphere of Beechworth streets. There are many other historic locations to discover including Woolshed Falls, Flat Rock, Ingram's Lookout, the Cemetery and Mayday Hills. If your feel like a walk you can take the trail to Lake Kerferd past some of the old mine shafts.
For antique and bric-a-brac shopping there are opportunities for that too. Beechworth Antiques and Crozzy's Collectables are just a couple of the shops that may have that special something you have been looking for.
Tasting in Milawa In Milawa you can stock up on tasty local food for a picnic or to take home. Major attractions include the Brown Brothers Winery with its Epicurean Centre, the Milawa Cheese Company , Milawa Mustards and the Olive Shop. And if you can't decide between the camembert or goat's cheese, the seeded or hot mustard or the lemon or classic olive oil, don't worry, you can taste them all. You can also purchase all kinds of food gifts and accessories related to food for friends and family.
Exploring the countryside There are many wonderful natural wonders to discover in and around the King Valley. One of these is Power's Lookout, offering an excellent vantage point over the valley. It was once the haunt of the 'Gentlemen Bushranger' Harry Power, whose story as one of Australia's infamous bushrangers and his connection to Ned Kelly and his family can be followed here.
Stunning views over the King Valley from Power's Lookout
Lake William Hovell is an all time favourite in the King Valley, especially in the warmer months. It offers everything in terms of leisure activities on and around a lake. There is a picturesque recreational area perfect for BBQs, there is walking and hiking, fishing, canoeing and of course, swimming when the weather is warm. It is very accessible and safe for children.
Staying in the King Valley There are many options for staying overnight or longer in the King Valley, suited to all tastes and budgets.Casa Luna Gourmet Accommodation markets itself as "a food lover's retreat, with warm hospitality, privacy, lovely views, and rural peace and quiet". Its owners ensure that you will be well looked after and will cook for a special occasion or just a casual meal.
Eating inside or out at Casa Luna - the choice is yours
Mt Bellevue offers self-contained accommodation amongst the vineyards and stud cattle of this working farm. Why not enjoy the views from one of the cottages and sip one of the vineyard's own wines after a day spent exploring the valley?
The Mountain View Hotel is a boutique gastro-pub situated in Whitfield and offers four fully refurbished units, one of which is a 2 bedroom unit. It has a bar, a dining area and a beer garden in which to enjoy lunch or dinner seven days a week.
Closer to Beechworth, what about staying in a purpose-built tent in the middle of a Reptile Park? A (glam)tent at Beechworth Wildlife Stays accommodates six, is self-contained and provides all the luxuries of modern living, high-quality linen, a beautiful bathroom, kitchenette, a television, ceiling fans and ducted heating and cooling. Oh and you can also help feed the farm animals, experience feeding time with Billy the crocodile or cuddle a python.