Touring the Wine Regions in Victoria and New South Wales
For oenophiles like us, the wine regions of Australia are hard to beat as a travel destination. Most of us won’t have time to see the best wine regions of this enormous country in a single holiday, but for those with the usual time restrictions, the states of Victoria and New South Wales are perfect for a couple of weeks of vineyard touring. You can do both states or concentrate on one, depending on how much travelling you want to do and your insatiable thirst for some “cultured” booze fest.
The vineyards are best visited over the Australian summer, which is harvest time and also when you can be assured of warm and sunny weather conditions – Victoria and New South Wales receive their fair share of rain and cold weather during the winter! Summertime falls between December and February in the southern hemisphere, but autumn and spring can be pleasant too, and less busy.
The main wine region of New South Wales is the Hunter Valley, internationally famous for its Semillon, but there are also lesser known regions, such as Orange – known for its Sauvignon Blanc – and Tumbarumba, which produces Chardonnay. The Hunter Valley has over 120 wineries, which produce excellent Shiraz and Tempranillo, as well as Semillon.
In Victoria, the main wine region is the Yarra Valley, but the Mornington Peninsula also has some great wineries, particularly for Pinot Noir fans, and is conveniently located just outside Melbourne. The Yarra Valley is famed for its Chardonnay, sparkling wines, and Pinot; there are plenty of wineries to choose from.
Fly into either Melbourne or Sydney, the major travel hubs of Australia.
The best way to see the vineyards and tour the wineries is by renting your own vehicle – this gives you all the flexibility to spend however long you want in each place, and to plan your tour according to your own tastes. Of course you could rent a car, but to put an alternative spin on your trip, why not think about taking a bike out on the open country roads? There are various options for all sorts of vehicle rental and purchasing in Melbourne and Sydney, but a really unique idea is buying a used Vespa on Bikesales.com.au. If you’re only in Australia for a short time you can rent one, and if you’re travelling long enough to buy a vehicle, you can sell it on when you leave.
Bear in mind that a self-drive tour might not be the wisest option if you and your travelling partner/s want to make the most of the beverages of the region. Breathalyser tests are frequently carried out on the roads around the vineyards: if in doubt, don’t drive. There are plenty of tour operators in VIC and NSW, so if the designator driver is thinking about drinking, a tour or public transport is definitely the best way forward.
Everybody knows we get wasted on the road sometimes, well all the time, but getting wasted on fine wines would be so uncool.
DRINK AND TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY!