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A Day of Gin, Wine & Cider with Port Phillip Ferries

Home > Melbourne > Bars | Day Trips
by Kerry Lander (subscribe)
Kerry has been writing radio copy for donkey's years, & also dabbles in short stories & travel writing. She works, plays and explores largely in the CDB and inner suburbs, gets everywhere by public transport and is the self-professed Zone One Queen.
Published August 6th 2019
Be whisky'd away for a ferry nice day on Bellarine Peninsula
It was a wintery weekend when this intrepid author, plus friend, decided to take a ferry trip. From Docklands to the Bellarine Peninsula, Port Phillip Ferries' regular service is the fun way to get away, avoiding roads, traffic, parking and train stations.
Port Phillip Ferries
The Bellarine Express ferry ready to depart from Docklands

Off With the Ferries Cafe at the Harbour Esplanade is the point of ticket sale (as well as online) and a replenishing coffee and snack before boarding. There is a café / bar onboard the ferry too.
Look for this cafe on Harbour Esplanade

As a first-timer on Port Phillip Ferries (and a seasoned ferry-rider in various international cities), the Portarlington-bound Bellarine Express was found to be clean, comfortable and light with plenty of seating, free WiFi and phone charging stations.
Port Phillips Ferries
Comfy interior seating and plenty of it

Being a blustery day, we didn't try the outdoor decks but imagined enjoying a beverage with a water view on a sunny smooth-sailing day. I've heard that whales can be spotted at certain times of the year.

There's any number of things to do on a day trip or weekend getaway to the Bellarine Peninsula. A good place to go for ideas is the Destination page at Port Phillips Ferries' website.

For us, being the aforementioned wintery weekend, what better activity than to plant ourselves beside a cosy fireplace at a whisky distillery. The Whiskery is just 10 to 15 minutes by Bellarine Taxi service from Portalington pier and set in a fitting rural surrounding.
whisky distilleries in Victoria
The Whiskery in winter, welcoming fireplace within.

We found the fireplace we were seeking, and noted the pleasant outdoor courtyard for the warmer months, to be served by a large window opening from a well-stocked whisky bar.
whisky distilleries in Victoria
A great place to relax and sample their gin brands.

The Whiskery is the cellar door for Bellarine Distillery. Opened in 2014 by Russ Watson and his team, their own whiskies are still in production, due around 2021. In the meantime, plenty of top-notch renowned whiskies can be enjoyed, complete with intensive staff knowledge. And Bellarine Distilleries' own gins Teddy & the Fox, and Rosey & the Rabbits.

We eagerly ordered a gin tasting, which was served up by a charming Whiskery chap, and then selected a cocktail of each gin, to appreciate the very different properties of each. All the while consuming a generous cheese platter, from a menu that also includes pizza and smoked fish. A very pleasant afternoon by the fireplace was achieved, and The Whiskery's team proved to be knowledgeable and attentive.
whisky distilleries in Victoria
A substantial cheese platter is on the menu, along with a smoked fish platter.

And the next day, after an evening's accommodation in Portarlington, we caught the commuter ferry back to Melbourne. Now with quite a few more passengers, it was surely the most comfortable commute ever, allowing one to relax, read, get on the laptop, enjoy views and the café.

Take note: The Whiskery is extremely popular, even in winter, and it was full to capacity by mid-afternoon while we were there. No bookings are taken, you must try your luck. It opens at 11am Friday to Sunday, so if coming by the weekend ferry which arrives after midday, don't mess about. Call a taxi and get straight there, or find your accommodation then do likewise. See the address details here.
whisky distilleries in Victoria

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When: The Whiskery is open Friday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm
Where: Docklands to Bellarine Peninsula, then to Scotchmans Rd, Drysdale
Cost: Port Phillip Ferries full fare ticket costs $16 each way.
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