Tourism

Nimons Bridge

Golden Plains Shire is a fantastic place to experience amazing food and wine, nature and recreation, arts and culture, and heritage offerings.

  • Eat: a list of cafes, restaurants, pubs and eateries spread across Golden Plains.
  • Stay: a list of accommodation offerings in, and just outside of, the Shire.
  • To do: a comprehensive list of fun and beautiful places to explore in Golden Plains, including iconic landmarks, heritage sites, walking trails, arts trails, festivals and more.
Eat
Lethbridge Wines

Established in 1996, Lethbridge produces savoury wines with intensity and finesse. Sit down at the tasting table inside the strawbale winery and sample wines alongside alter ego Between Five Bells. Originally planted to vineyard in the early 1800s, the site is perfect for vineyards. Current owners Ray Nadeson and Maree Collis searched the Geelong region taking soil samples before agreeing on the site. Lethbridge Wines is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed tasting - often with the winemaker - allowing you to learn more about wine and the Geelong region. 

Address: 74 Burrows Road, Lethbridge 3332 VIC 
Phone: 03 5281 7279 
Website: https://www.lethbridgewines.com/
Email: [email protected] 

Moorabool Ridge Vineyard & Cafe

Deep in the Valley perched on the edge of the Moorabool River is a shepherd's cottage built in 1856. This historic building is now home to Moorabool Ridge's tasting room. Taste the award winning cool climate red and white wines. The cottage is full of the delights of the vineyard, olive grove and farm. Shelves are stacked with gourmet jams, pickles, relishes and olive oil, all produced on the farm. Fine wine, cheese platters and focaccias' can be enjoyed in the wonderful succulent garden whilst watching the Moorabool River slowly slide by or order beautiful freshly baked cakes and coffee from the shade of the verandah. A place of peace and tranquillity, Moorabool Ridge is truly a special place to visit, stay for lunch, have a function (birthday or other celebration) or have a wedding ( service or reception). 

Address: 37 Spiller Road, Lethbridge 3332 VIC 
Phone: 03 5281 7224
Website: http://www.mooraboolvalley.com.au/ridge 
Email: [email protected]

Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro

Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro has a cellar door and bistro set on the beautiful Moorabool Valley just off the Midland Highway half an hour north of Geelong, 35 minutes from Ballarat. Their speciality wines include Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The food, lovingly cooked by the chef and owner Sue and her team include a wonderful array of wood-fired pizzas, antipasto tasting plates, salt and pepper calamari, an ever-changing seasonal menu, and much more. Clyde Park is a James Halliday five star red winery. 

Address: 2490 Midland Highway, Bannockburn 3331 VIC 
Phone: 0352817274 
Website: https://clydepark.com.au
Email: [email protected]

Rowsley Fault Vineyards

The Rowsley Fault is a geological fault formed about one million years ago that has layered these vineyards with gravels and clay over limestone. Located in the Moorabool Valley region, Rowsley Fault Vineyards have been able to focus on small plot viticulture and can offer an amazing range of varieties. Whilst they specialise in Pinot Noir, they also have an exciting range of exotic European varieties including Pinot Gris, Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre (Mataro), Zinfandel, Gamay, Viognier and Graciano. Rowsley Fault Vineyards' objective is to offer small volume production of these exciting varieties to a discerning wine drinker looking for new palate experiences. 

Address: 131 Lumbs Road, Sutherlands Creek 3331 VIC 
Phone: 0352811811 
Website: www.rowsleyfaultwines.com 
Email: [email protected] 

Austin's Wines

Grown in the rich limestone soils and cool climes of the Moorabool Valley, they have created a wine for sharing life’s best moments, both big and small. Bring your family and friends, pull up a chair, raise a glass and let’s make memories. Welcome to the Austin’s family. Austin’s grows and produces single vineyard, premium wines, and is owned and operated by second-generation family members, Scott and Belinda Austin. Harnessing 30 years of Austin’s winemaking history, they are driven to reshape the ‘typical’ Australian fine wine occasion into a vibrant, exploratory and welcoming experience. In the last five years, the business has seen significant business growth, driven by 6Ft6 nationally, and a boutique on-premise focus for its core Austin’s brand. Their philosophy is, and always will be, to create quality wine to be enjoyed with family and friends in an authentic, welcoming and enriching experience, through both their special occasion wine brand, Austin’s or their mid-tier range, 6Ft6. Visit the property through the event experiences, or taste the wines and be welcomed into the family. 

Address: 870 Steiglitz Road, Sutherlands Creek 3331 VIC 
Phone: 03 5281 1799
Website: https://austinswines.com.au/ 
Email: [email protected] 

Pettavel Wines

The Pettavel Australia boasts historical roots back to 1842. From hosting Prince Duke of Edinburgh in 1867 to entertaining five Prime Ministers in recent years, Pettavel as an established brand engraves all historical marks with these important events. As one one of main estate wine producers located around Melbourne, Pettavel owns Yarra Glen Meroo Vineyard, Geelong Strathmore and a vineyard in the Staughton Valley. Pettavel has four brands which include Reserve, Premium, Estate, and Meroo. Pettavel also supplies estate grapes and bulk wines. The Geelong winery Estate of 129 hectares is approximately 50 kilometers south west of Melbourne, 25 kilometres south west to the Melbourne Avalon airport and close to the amenity of The City of Geelong. The property is located within the well-recognised wine region in the Moorabool Valley of Geelong with a cool climate. The Moorabool Valley’s Mediterranean climate makes great contribution to the growth of interesting and unique grape varieties. The Vineyard includes Strathmore vineyards, French vineyard, Riverbank, Table grape area and a nursery. Visitors will experience viticulture of both old model in French Vineyard and the new model of Strathmore Vineyard where every step of the operation is fully automated.  

Address: 159 Muhlebach Road, Sutherlands Creek 3331 VIC 
Phone: 0425 806 669 
Website: http://pettavel.net 
Email: [email protected] 

Spence Wines

Spence Wines aims to make wine of the highest possible quality. Spence Wines exclusively use grapes grown in their vineyard, to ensure the best quality grapes are used. The resulting wines heavily reflect the site they are grown on. They are made in small quantities, have limited availability and are amongst the best from the region. To ensure the wines are properly developed, they are released with some bottle age and are suited to cellaring. 

Address: 760 Burnside Road, Murgheboluc 3218 VIC 
Phone: 03 5265 1181 
Website: https://www.spencewines.com/ 
Email: [email protected] 

Smythesdale's Best Kept Secret - Thru the Gate Cafe

Situated in Smythesdale, on the Glenelg Highway, tucked away behind 42 On Brooke, next door to the Supermarket is Thru the Gate Café. We offer simple homestyle fare including our famous Sausage Rolls and Devonshire Teas. Our 'Mopoke' espresso beans are roasted locally in the small village of Dereel, we try to keep it local where possible, sourcing our ingredients from local producers. The menu changes with the seasons - fresh salads in the Summer & warming soups in the Winter, there is always something Gluten Free and we can cater for other dietary requirements with prior notice. Open 10am - 4pm Thursday - Monday 

Address: Rear 42 Brooke Street, Smythesdale 
Phone: 0490 145 364 
Email: [email protected] 

In the Sticks Cafe

Located on site at Avalon Nursery. With their team, they had a vision to not only create a diverse and thriving plant nursery but to also create a community environment, a space for the entire community to enjoy. A large part of this plan came to fruition with the opening of ‘In the Sticks’ Café in early 2020 at Haddon. The café, as well as the two acres of landscaped gardens with winding paths, picnic tables, large grassed area and a rotunda, create a community space where everyone can gather. 

Website: 41 Kopkes Road, Haddon 3351 VIC 
Phone: 0413049518 
Email: [email protected] 

Provenir

Provenir is the passion of five founders who sought to produce the best quality meat, through highest welfare on-farm processing. At the heart of Provenir’s operation is an Australian first mobile abattoir, enabling Provenir to eliminate the stress associated with live transport, and capture the true provenance and quality their farmers work so hard to produce. Winner of Best in Class beef at the 2019 Australian Food Awards. Provenir invite you to experience the taste and difference of their exceptional quality grass-fed beef, processed on the farm. Feel good about the meat you eat and know the true provenance through Provenir’s traceability platform. Simply scan the unique QR code printed on every pack of beef to learn about the farmer that raised your beef, where it was farmed and reveal cooking tips to make you a hero in the kitchen. Provenir partners with select Victorian and New South Wales grass-fed cattle farmers, with a focus on supporting regenerative agriculture. Provenir’s artisan butchery is located in Bannockburn, a short drive from Geelong. Online orders are available for pick-up in person from the butchery in Bannockburn - by appointment only. 

Address: 2430 Midland Hwy, Bannockburn 3331 VIC 
Phone: 0419 198 665 
Website: www.provenir.com.au 
Email: [email protected] 

Sonny

Sonny Cafe provides the perfect destination for that weekend drive to the country. Tapping into a bounty of local produces Sonny's friendly team deliver a fresh vibrant menu teamed with specialty small batch coffee. Sonny is is open 8:00am to 4:00pm Wednesday to Friday and 9:00am to 3:00pm Saturday and Sunday. 

Address: 15 High Street, Inverleigh 3321 VIC 
Phone: 03 5265 1553 
Website: www.houseofsonny.com 
Email: [email protected] 

Inverleigh Bakehouse

If you are in the mood for something a little indulgent then get yourself along to the Inverleigh Bakehouse. This 1868 Homestead converted into a retail bakery offers indoor and outdoor seating with a cottage style garden at rear and alfresco seating in front. Using traditional home baking methods, the Bakehouse offers a variety of products from artisan breads, delicious cakes, slices, pastries and salads to European delights such as potato bread and soda bread rarely seen here in Australia. The Bakehouse also serves organic coffee arguably the best in the region and has a café style menu available for lunch as well as breakfast on weekends. Whatever the day of the week do yourself a favour and visit the Inverleigh Bakehouse. 

Address: 5 High Street, Inverleigh 3321 VIC 
Phone: 0352651555 
Email: [email protected] 

Le Due Sorelle Cafe

Le Due Sorelle Cafe is located at Shop 2/38 High St. It is rated 3.2 by 14 Zomato users. Serves Coffee and Tea, European, Italian. The average cost for 2 mains and 2 beverages here is A$20 approximately. Listing provided in partnership with Zomato 

Address: Shop 2/38 High St, Bannockburn VIC 3331

Stay
Cedar Cottage

This 1850's cottage is located 40 kilometres from Geelong in the township of Shelford. This one bedroom accommodation set on twelve acres offers guests a unique and tranquil experience. Facilities available include breakfast provisions, linen and towels supplied, a queen size bed, optional fold out single bed, open fireplace, Foxtel, heating and cooling, barbecue facilities and pizza oven, claw foot bath and vintage style bikes for cycling. A 45 minute drive from Geelong, 15 minute drive from Bannockburn and a ten minute drive to Inverleigh. Minimum two night stay is required. 

Address: 1741 Bannockburn-Shelford Road, Shelford 3329 VIC 
Phone: 0408 595 093 
Email: [email protected] 

Moranghurk Shearer's Quarters

Moranghurk is a 1,035 acre sheep farm between Ballarat and Geelong just over an hour from the West Gate Bridge. The bluestone shearer's quarters accommodates up to 30 people in eight bedrooms in bunk beds. The large kitchen has a wood fired stove and original bread oven as well as modern cooking facilities. The small sitting room has an open fireplace and all rooms face onto a brick courtyard overlooking the Moorabool valley. Activities include tennis and bushwalking. It is ideal for family reunions, small conferences, bushwalkers, cycling groups and suits young and old. Please call for more information. 

Address: 3320 Midland Highway, Lethbridge 3332 VIC 
Phone: 0439 819 675 
Website: http://www.moranghurk.com/ 
Email: [email protected] 

 

Barunah Plains - Cool Cottage

Right in the heart of the stunning acreage of the Baranuh Plains Station, you will find Cool Cottage. A luxurious getaway in the Western District, at Cool Cottage you will feel truly hidden away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether your dream getaway involves snuggling up indoors to read a book by the open fire, exploring the neighbouring food and wine region, enjoying a picnic on the grounds of the working farm, sitting by the Warrambine Creek searching for the resident platypus, visiting the nearby Great Ocean Road or simply relaxing on the cottage verandah while breathing in the fresh country air – there’s something for all to enjoy. Relax in this two-bedroom cottage. One queen room and one king room with a full kitchen. 

Address: 4484 Hamilton Highway, Hesse 3321 VIC 
Phone: 0409 158 706 
Website: https://www.barunahplains.com.au/ 
Email: [email protected]

Artrocks Artist Retreat and Accommodation

Nestled in the heart of rural Victoria just outside Geelong sits a beautiful 170 acre property named ArtRocks. It offers gorgeous views and rustic elegance. The peaceful environment of this magical property is perfect for those couples wanting an informal, fun and wonderful celebration. There are three types of accommodation at ArtRocks: bed and breakfast, artists retreat (sleeping up to four people in total, two per room), The Dormitories accommodation (sleeping up to 18 people in total, six per room) and La Boheme Cottage (sleeps four people in total, two per room). Private lounge rooms, bathrooms, landscaped outdoor areas complete this relaxed, peaceful and serene home away from home. 

Address: 199 Teesdale-Inverleigh Road, Inverleigh 3321 VIC 
Phone: 0417 522 010 
Website: www.artrocks.com.au 
Email: [email protected]

Barbie May's

Barbie May's is a new home built by a master craftsmen in the heart of idyllic Inverleigh which offers luxury country accommodation. The design of the property is based on practicality and versatility and can sleep up to eight people. The whole house is fitted with high quality modern facilities for cooking and relaxing. A large kitchen and pantry is stocked with a range of basics. Milk and sourdough bread are offered to guests for breakfast on their first morning. Beautiful white bed linen adorns the king, queen and four single beds. Eco toiletries pamper guests together with extra fluffy towels. In cooler months, a solid fuel heater will warm your soul and give you a centre piece to snuggle by. The back deck allows you to unwind with plenty of shade and sun. Only metres away from the historical bluestone Inverleigh Hotel this home will be the ideal base to explore the Moorabool Valley, Geelong and Bellarine and even the iconic coastline. Barbie May's is 25 minutes west of Geelong and 80 minutes from Melbourne. 

Address: 82 Napier Street, Inverleigh 3321 VIC 
Phone: 0409 416 034 
Email: [email protected] 

Pearl's Rail Trail Retreat

A romantic and family-friendly home, Pearl's Rail Trail Retreat is a great secluded getaway. The historic cottage built circa 1900s is in a peaceful location, walking distance to town, with the beautiful rail trail nearby. Features of this property include four-poster beds, a fireplace to be mesmerised with and a beautiful garden. 

Address: 54 Clyde Street, Linton 3360 VIC 
Phone: 0439 343 475 
Website: https://www.pearlsrailtrailretreat.com/ 
Email: [email protected] 

Linton Retreat Bed and Breakfast

Linton Retreat, architecturally designed. Linton Retreat Bed and Breakfast is in the most picturesque location on the Ballarat Skipton Rail Trail in a natural bush setting. Linton is one of country Victoria's best kept secrets, located 15 minutes to the nearest major shopping centre Delacombe Town Centre and 30 minutes to the Ballarat city centre. Linton Retreat is easy walking distance to the Linton shops and the Ballarat Skipton Rail Trail at your door step. The cottage has wonderful views, peace with double glazed windows and elegant chic furniture. The facilities have all the comforts and technology to support your stay, with two smart televisions, one upstairs and one downstairs, two split systems, one upstairs one downstairs to ensure you are perfectly comfortable during winter and summer. There are two toilets with the first in the main bathroom and the second upstairs. To keep you connected, the property is NBN connected with Wi-Fi. Linton Retreat can sleep up to six with a beautiful king bed upstairs and two double sofa beds available. The lounge upstairs converts into a double bed with a Japanese divider separating the king size bed for privacy and downstairs the lounge converts into another double bed. 

Address: 57 Linton-Mortchup Road, Linton 3360 VIC 
Phone: 0439 343 475 
Website: https://www.lintonretreat.com/ 
Email: [email protected]

La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita offers luxury accommodation on a beautiful landscaped country property on three and a half acres in Batesford, ten minutes west of Geelong. The three bedroom suite comprises three king size bedrooms, a large main bathroom and separate toilet with handbasin and a large television/theatre room with gym equipment and can accommodate one to eight guests. Full cooked breakfasts are included with all bookings. There are two black Mercedes onsite which can be booked for wedding transportation, pick up and drops offs to Avalon Airport, footy drop offs and pick ups at the Cats Stadium. A great venue for bridal groups preparing for weddings (beautiful landscaped gardens available for photography), family holidays/reunions (children very welcome), and those just wanting to relax and enjoy time out. There is a large dining/entertaining alfresco area for guests booked into the Guest Suite. Other accommodation that can be booked separately is a self-contained one bedroom apartment. There is also a separate Queen Room with own ensuite which can be booked if extra accommodation is required (only available by calling La Bella Vita by phone as not listed). Check out the excellent video presented by Eat, Stay & Play on their website. 

Address: 8 Fleurs Lane, Batesford 3213 VIC 
Phone: 0418 814 111 
Website: www.labellavita.net.au 
Email: [email protected] 

Rocklea Farm

Rocklea Farm is located 15 minutes from Geelong CBD and 60 minutes from Melbourne and Ballarat. Do not accept walk-ins. Prior bookings only. With ten luxury bell glamping tents, all furnished with array of textural delights conjuring up a whimsical magical getaway from the modern world. Transporting you back to a childhood dream, festoon lighting will drape across the glamping paddock helping set the scene for your night away. Configured with a queen and double beds, bedside tables, hide rugs, occasional chairs and small mirror. All glamping tents will come with fine cotton linen and towels. Glamping tents have mains power connected to each site; if you need power for chargers, hairdryer or any other of life’s necessities you can. Just two minutes to Dog Rocks and Barwon River walking trails, five minutes to the historic Ceres Village and a stones throw from the regions best wineries. The Great Ocean Road is 15 minutes away, Bellarine coastline is 30 minutes away or take a trip into Geelong to visit our amazing local galleries, museums and restaurants. Rocklea Farm can arrange a variety of picnic baskets delivered fresh to your tent each day through one of the local, award winning caterers. 

Address: 159 Friend in Hand Road, Stonehaven 3218 VIC 
Phone: 0408 882 131 
Website: https://www.rockleafarm.com.au/ 
Email: [email protected]

'T Boshuus - Mudbrick Home Amongst the Trees

Our mud brick home, is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and is bordering on the Enfield State Forest. The 3 bedroom home is an ideal quiet and peaceful escape from urban life, featuring a wood heater, fully equipped kitchen, bathroom and laundry with a washing machine. Kangaroos often visit our backyard to feed on the grass. Lots of native birds can be spotted. We had a Tawny Frogmouth nesting near the house and even a visit of a koala, recently. 

Website: https://abnb.me/S1UC5ssj8W 

 

To Do
Golden Plains Farmers' Market

The Golden Plains and Moorabool Valley regions are famous for fresh food, local produce, free-range meats, flowers, award-winning wines, gourmet food producers, artisan goods and breathtaking scenery. Only 20 minutes from Geelong in the heart of Bannockburn, the Golden Plains Farmers' Market is held on the first Saturday of each month (except January) from 8:30am to 12:30pm and presents the best the region has to offer in a relaxed and friendly environment. So, come and enjoy a morning out with family and friends at the Golden Plains Farmers' Market. 

Address: Corner High and Milton Streets, Bannockburn 3331 VIC 
Phone: 03 5220 7239 
Website: www.goldenplainsfarmersmarket.com.au 
Email: [email protected]

The Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail

Race the train on the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail. Walk, cycle or ride your horse on the 53 kilometre trail and experience nature and history in towns, forests and farmland along the way.

 

Take a Joy Flight

Scenic flights and flight school.  From the extreme to the serene, you'll find something that suits you happening at Lethbridge Airport 3429 Midland Highway Lethbridge VIC

Corindhap Avenue of Honour

The Corindhap avenue of honour, located on Colac-Ballarat road, was planted to commemorate those who served in the first world war. The avenue was planted on the 15th September 1917 as a mark of admiration for the men of Corindhap who had left to fight in the great war. Over the last few years some of these majestic trees have reached the end of their life but rather than chopping them down for firewood, the Corindhap community decided to keep the lower trunks intact and commissioned local artist Viktor Cebergs to fashion sculptures that would reflect the commemorative spirit of the site. The result is that the old trees have been transformed into sculptures depicting imagery of war.

Bunjil's Lookout

Taking its inspiration from the creation story of Bunjil the wedge-tailed eagle, the lookout boasts spectacular views of the Moorabool Valley, while structure itself includes intricate carvings of Bunjil and his six helpers.

Explore the Heritage

Local stories live and breathe in our historic sites and townships. The region has a rich gold mining history with over 300 disused mine sites, including Jubilee Mine, and many historic gold mining towns such as Smythesdale, Linton and Steiglitz.

Walk the Trails

With everything from bush tracks, a Rail Trail or township and heritage walks, there’s something for everyone in Golden Plains.  Take your time and explore the region on foot, with so many different trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty.

Moorabool Valley Taste Trail

The Moorabool Valley Taste Trail encompasses the rolling hills and magical valleys of the region north west of Geelong, from Inverleigh to Meredith, Anakie to Ceres and everywhere in between. As well as the farm-fresh food and eateries, the region is home to some of Australia's best-regarded wineries, with each vineyard and cellar door on the trail bringing distinct flavour, personality and variety. Visit the Moorabool Valley Taste Trail and taste it for yourself. 

Website: www.mooraboolvalleytastetrail.com.au 

Kuruc-a-ruc Trail

The 13.3 km of the Kuruc-a-ruc trail travels through this historic gold mining countryside and links the three goldfield townships of Dereel, where the trail begins, Corindhap and Rokewood. The unsealed Trail is suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists of all abilities.

Brisbane Ranges National Park

Little more than an hour's drive from Melbourne takes you to the state's richest wildflower habitat.  Set in a low range of mountains dissected by rocky gullies, the unusual geology of the Brisbane Ranges National Park has preserved plants that have long since vanished from other parts of the region. There are a number of options for bushwalking ranging from short walks to three-day walks. This park is also popular for picnicking, scenic drives and camping.

 

Nimons Bridge

Nimons Bridge was Victoria's fourth-tallest timber trestle bridge when built, and is the third-tallest surviving example. It is also the second-largest composite bridge combining traditional timber piers with RSJ spans and a timber deck. The bridge is the most visually spectacular timber-trestle rail bridge in Western Victoria and is among the most spectacular timber-trestle rail bridges surviving anywhere in Victoria. It is part of the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail. The bridge is located at Galatea Road in Newtown, Victoria.

Rainbow Trail

The trail is approximately 35 kilometres in length and can be travelled on foot, bicycle or horseback, through rolling countryside. Trail conditions vary from the made roads to bush tracks of varying surfaces. Passage over the trail will expose the traveller to open countryside and native bushland, most with an historic gold influence.

Steiglitz Historic Park

Steiglitz Historical Park

Situated in the Brisbane Ranges between Geelong and Ballan, Steiglitz is almost a ghost town today. At the height of the 1860s gold rush, it had more than 1500 residents, four hotels, a newspaper, a variety of shops and even an undertaker. A tranquil setting for a bushwalk, picnic or discovering spring wildflowers. Our favourite spots include the Crossing Picnic Area and the former Steiglitz Courthouse.

Parks Victoria administers the site and provides a Visitor Guide here.

Flagstaff Hill Lookout

Located just outside Linton, this lookout lets you see right across Golden Plains, with views that span the Otways, Grampians, Bass Straight and the incredible broad acre farmlands.

Enfield State Lookout

This park is an important haven for wildlife, but during the gold rushes the peaceful landscape was dominated by tents and diggers from around the world. The digger’s lifestyles are often reflected in local place names like misery creek and surface point. Surface point was a chines settlement in the 1860s, and there are still relics to be found there, including round mine shafts and a memorial.

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