I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Queen's Birthday Getaway
Can you imagine a better way to spend the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend than in a quintessential Australian country town which just happens to be celebrating all that's good about that town, its people and the produce for which it and the surrounding district is renowned.
Heathcote On Show does just that, showcasing the rebirth of this historic little town which came into being on the back of the 19th Century Victorian gold rush, teetered on the edge of extinction when the gold ran out, reinvented itself as a centre for various agricultural pursuits and today lends its name to the Heathcote Wine Region, renowned as one of the world's great producers of, among other wines, Shiraz.
High Street Heathcote is awash with wine tasting venues including this one, The Bank Heathcote, Mitchelton Wines Cellar Door. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Over the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend Heathcote On Show will present a huge array of events including tastings, winery dinners, masterclasses, special vintage launches, food & entertainment and more than 25 cellar doors open throughout the region.
Participating wineries include Mitchelton Wines, Milvine Estate, Heathcote Winery, Meehan Vineyard, Merindoc, She-Oak Hill, Peregrine Ridge, Sanguine Estate and Silver Spoon Estate, far too many to list in full here so be sure you check the website for a complete list of participants and easy to follow maps of the Heathcote Wine Region.
Heathcote Wine Hub, located right in the heart of town, showcases wines from producers right around the Heathcote Wine Region. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
The High Street Heathcote Festival to be held on Saturday between 10 AM and 3 PM in Barrack Reserve. The festival will include a Farmers Market, local crafts and hand-made merchandise, a display of vintage cars, local wine makers and plenty of music and entertainment for the kids.
Mitchelton Wines Heathcote Cellar Door Master Class featuring new and old Heathcote wines. This event will be held at The Bank Heathcote starting at 3 PM on Saturday and bookings are essential.
Downing Estate will host a gourmet dinner and vertical tasting of 30 wines at Heathcote Golf Club on Saturday between 7 PM and 11 PM. Cost is $150 per person and bookings, again essential, can be made on (03) 5433 3397.
On Sunday Peregrine Ridge will host a vertical tasting of limited releases from the 2005 to 2009 vintages.
Without a doubt Heathcote has a wine, several probably, to suit every palate. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Visitors to Heathcote On Show will have the opportunity to win a fabulous prize valued at $1500 simply by purchasing 6 or more bottles of wine from any one of the participating wineries.
The lucky winner will receive:-
Two nights accommodation for 2-people at Cranford Cottage,
A Heathcote Harvest dinner for 2 valued at $100,
Lunch for 2 at Flynn's Cellar Door and Bistro,
6 bottles of Heathcote Wines,
A $60 gift voucher from Rutherford and Maine and
2 tickets to the Heathcote Film Festival to be held on August 27th.
And in case you can't make up your mind there are plenty of helpful staff on hand at all the tasting venues to provide invaluable advice and local knowledge.
Heathcote is 123 Kilometres north of Melbourne, a comfortable drive of just under 2 hours via the Hume Freeway and Northern Highway or via the Calder Freeway to Kyneton and then the Kyneton Heathcote Road. An interesting alternative route is via Lancefield and the Burke & Wills Track through the Cobaw Hills wine district.
Buses will operate between Bendigo and Heathcote on both Saturday and Sunday. See here for schedules and pricing.
Shuttle bus services will run throughout the district on both Saturday and Sunday departing from Heathcote Visitor Information Centre. Routes, schedules and ticketing are available on the day at the Visitor Information Centre. Telephone (03) 5433 3121 for more details.
Eat & Drink There
You certainly won't go hungry at Heathcote On Show with High Street, reputed to be the longest main street in regional Victoria, boasting more than 20 restaurants, cafes, pubs and tasting venues all serving up a great variety of food. They include:
So if you're at a loose-end or undecided about what to do this Queen's Birthday Long Weekend you could do much worse than take the family to Heathcote and enjoy some first class country hospitality sampling some of the world-class produce the region has to offer.
More Information Heathcote Visitor Centre, at the corner of High and Barrack Streets, is open daily, except Christmas Day, from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Tel: (03) 5433 3121
You can't beat a great Aussie drop and some of the greatest can be found in Heathcote. Image: Stewart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net
IS there ANY form of PUBLIC TRANSPORT to Heathcote? Is there a RAILWAY STATION?
or BUS service for people who want to come from Melbourne???
Accommodation is impossible in Heathcote as most is located 25-30mins drive away from the township. We've been trying to book October weekend for four (4) years running but always unsuccessful.
Heathcote's tourism group is dreadfully out of touch and inadequate for such a fabulous red wine location - especially in October for the big festival where all accommodation is taken up by winery staff!
They need to produce one (1) single, dedicated Accommodation Listing which can also be produced in print & mailed out + available at tourist info outlets.