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Food, Travel

A Guide to the Grampians for Grampians Grape Escape

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The Grampians is a desination The World Loves Melbourne has enjoyed as a family favourite over the years. We enjoyed a stunning visit to Halls Gap and surrounds over several days thanks to Grampians Tourism with the upcoming Grampians Grape Escape in April with the grand finale weekend 30 April and 1 May 2016. Natural beauty, fine accomodation and top notch food and wine; a winning combination!

Visit the Grampians for luxury accommodation and the ultimate food and wine experience ahead of the month long Grampians Grape Escape (GGE). One of regional Australia’s longest running food and wine festivals, GGE runs throughout April culminating with the ‘grand finale’ on the weekend of 30 April and 1 May set among the spectacular Grampians National Park in Halls Gap. One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to take a short trip down the highway for a bushland and food and wine wonderland experience such as The Grampians.

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The World Loves Melbourne (David and Samantha) began our journey at one of Austyralia's finest wineries, greeted by wimemaker Ben Haines. Continually listed as one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in Australia, Mount Langi Ghiran is also one of Australia's most acclaimed producers of Shiraz.

The vineyard, with its towering granite cliffs and loamy red soils, encapsulates an extraordinary sense of place. Mount Langi Ghiran, or Langi, as it is fondly referred to by the staff, was originally planted in 1870.

A feature is the ability to enjoy a picnic here; and we brought along our own picnic and enjoyed a lunch at one of the outside tables with a glass of wine.

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Samantha from The World Loves Melbourne engaging at the Cellar Door.

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Bring your picnic lunch to Mount Langi Ghiran winery.

Best’s Wines, the Stawell side of Great Western, are this year celebrating their 150th year! This was a highlight of our trip to the Grampians with staff giving us an extensive tour and tasting at one of th emost delightful Cellar Doors in Australia!

Founded in 1866 in the Great Western wine region of Victoria, Best's Great Western is one of Australia's oldest continually family owned and operated wineries. Best's is known to have some of the oldest vines in Australia and produces extraordinary wines with great longevity.

Throughout the history of the winery, there have only been two owners - the Best family who founded the winery, and the Thomson Family with a fifth generation Thomson is now running the winery.

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Planted in the 1860s - are you kidding us? This is Australian winemaking history; and the wines here are top notch and award winning.

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With a reputation for producing exceptional Shiraz, Best's makes authentic expressive regional wines with a strong sense of place.

The Stables Cellar Door is a great place to taste their wines before experiencing the original underground cellar on their self-guided tour.

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Have you seen another Cellar Door in Australia like this - out of the 1800s but with a modern winemaking edge.

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Old American Oak barrels can still do the job...

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The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed an extensive tasting of Bests Wines including some back vintage wines Bests generously make available for punters than visit Cellar Door.

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Harvest Halls Gap is a foodie haven for anyone visiting the region.

Carly and Richard opened the business in November of 2015 and focus on first class accomodation with stunning views, superb cafe and provedore experience featuring local produce -  and they will introduce you to Frankie the pet pig.

Located in the middle of the stunning Grampians ranges, Harvest Halls Gap is the perfect chance to get away. Surrounded by kangaroos, emus and bird life, you will easily settle into the Halls Gap lifestyle. The property is located just off the main street with a mere one minute stroll to the Visitor Information Centre, eateries and shops.

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Stunning views surround in the heart of Halls Gap.

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Cockatoo action abounds and we cannot forget Frankie the pig...

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Our room at Halls Gap Harvest was named "The Grove"; with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, deck and stunning views. Highly recommended for your next stay (other rooms are excellent too). We wanted to keep it a secret for our own purposes but hey, we have to share this secret. If you're coming from Melbourne how good is is to have superb accomodation with a "foodie" kind of cafe next door with great coffee and food.

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The Grove; highly recommended accomodation with kangaroo friends enjoying the paddock next door at dusk.

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Next exciting stop was iconic restaurant The Kookaburra; which never ceases to be well patronised year after year. It's that country hospitality that drawn you in from the generous portions to the engaging service.

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The Kookaburra Hotel offers pub-style dining, in a lounge and bar, right in the heart of Halls Gap. Still offering the same fabulous food you have come to expect over the past 33 years, the Kookaburra Restaurant was in 2014 transformed into the only pub right in the heart of Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park.

Courtyard beer garden and bar open from 4pm with eight beers and ciders on tap, take-away liquor sales and a relaxed ambience.

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Duckling risotto has a reputation featuring slow cooked duck and parmesan; and we enjoyed this as a delightful and generous dish. We were glad the risotto wasn't too salty and appreciated the nuance of spinach stirred through the risotto.

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Rack of lamb was a "special" on the night and featured perfectly cooked lamb (tinge of pink) and crispy vegetables; all enjoyed with local wines.

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Whenever we see Sticky date pudding on a menu we have no sense of self control. Recommended!

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Kookaburra Hotel was packed we thought with locals; but we discovered that most of the diners were in fact tourists. Well done to Owner and Chef Rick; a delightful lhost (with his crack team) who told us charming stories of his several decades serving diners in the Grampians. We loved our dinner at Kookaburra Hotel.

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Day one of our trip to the Grampains was a stunner - see our article on part 2.