It’s that time of year when the clocks have been wound back, the sky is turning a wintery blue and autumn leaves are glowing orange before they fall – all round a pretty spectacular opportunity to get those wheels rolling in the direction of Victoria’s mighty High Country! For this trip, we’ll be stopping in at the Beechworth Bakery to taste-test their world-famous pies and do a quick tour of the town before heading on to Rutherglen, our weekend destination. So, if you’re up for another road trip adventure (including visiting some of the sites in the area connected with the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly), strap yourself in for a fantastic ride!
How to get there
From Melbourne taking the Hume/National Highway M31 – Beechworth is just over three hours away making it the perfect lunchtime pit-stop – with Rutherglen about another easy 35-minute drive.
Best tyres for the drive
Maxxis (of course!), with RAZR MT811 all-terrains the perfect match for any SUV or 4×4 heading to Victoria’s High Country. Offering a versatile and robust mix of on-road comfort and performance with off-road agility, handling, traction and puncture resistance, the AT811 is designed and built to make any and every road trip super safe and smooth in every way!
When in Beechworth
Whether you head straight for a Beechworth Steak or are a bit bolder and decide to give the original Ned Kelly pie a real Aussie go, when in Beechworth, you can’t go past the iconic Beechworth Bakery to get your weekend truly started!
A gold rush town and gateway to the Victorian Alps, Beechworth has heaps of history and heritage buildings to explore, along with distilleries and breweries to visit surrounded by some of the state’s most beautiful countryside. Take a walk through Beechworth Historic Park, visit the Beechworth Historic Courthouse where Ned Kelly was tried, even have a picnic at nearby Lake Sambell if time allows! Be sure to call in at the Beechworth Visitor Information Centre – a hub of advice and information which help you make the most of your time in this historic town.
Roll on to Rutherglen
Once in Rutherglen you’ll quickly discover that a weekend is definitely not long enough to get around to your choice of cellar doors, try out some of the amazing local restaurants and enjoy all the art and culture that this High Country town has up its sleeve. And, while these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg, here are a few to get your ride underway…
Generations-old vineyards …A renowned Victorian winegrowing area (with fortified wines such as Muscat and red varieties topping the list), Rutherglen has an abundance of wineries and cellar doors where you will be welcomed by passionate and knowledgeable vignerons and experts. With many of these being within a stone’s throw of the town, you don’t have to go far to raise a glass and enjoy! Plus, if you time your trip right, bookings are now open for the must-do Rutherglen Winery Walkabout — back on the calendar in June.
Farm fresh produce… It’s not just grapes that are grown on the land around Rutherglen, so finding a great quality, farm-fresh meal is an extra easy feat. With a restaurant and café culture devoted to local ingredients, you’ll be spoilt for choice … check out the popular Pickled Sisters Café (where you can also book in for a cooking class) or Jones Winery Restaurant to whet your appetite.
You can also buy berries, olives, jams and a selection of other homemade produce of the area direct from their source. Don’t go past Gooramadda Olives (check out the olives, cheese and the fantastic views!), while at Earthcare Farm, choose from a range of home-grown jams (go the mulberry!) — along with chutneys and sauces full of Rutherglen organic goodness.
The arts… When it comes to the arts (old and new), Rutherglen also glows! While the Tastes of Art exhibition (featuring over 400 works) is already over for this year, you can walk the Arts Rutherglen Sculpture Trail, visit the Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery at De Bortoli Rutherglen Estate as well as soaking up the town’s impressive street art. Also check out other upcoming events including the busking championships set to take place in Rutherglen’s main street.
Walk or cycle the trails…If you’re keen to get out into the fresh air, there’s plenty of opportunity to park your vehicle and see the town’s many sights on foot or bike. The variety of local trails will take you to wineries, through historic streets and into the surrounding countryside. Put on your walking shoes for the 9.2km Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Walk from Rutherglen to the Murray River, cycle the easy 18km Carlyle Loop (which also incorporates the rail trail) or savour the experience of the “Pedal to Produce” route, sampling Rutherglen’s wine and produce as you go! Plus — no visit to Rutherglen is complete without a close up look at the Rutherglen Wine Bottle (once the town’s main water supply in the shape of a wine bottle) – an iconic landmark in the town.
Where to stay…From motels in the main street to cosy cottages in vineyard or riverside settings, Rutherglen and its surrounds offer plenty of options to get your accommodation needs easily sorted! Tuileries at De Bortoli and Lake Moodemere Estate are two of the local wineries where you can book in for a vineyard stay with a view, while the Murray Rest Cottages are also popular if you’re looking for somewhere convenient to kick back and enjoy everything Rutherglen has to offer.
Before you go.. Load up the bikes, fishing rod, kids and anything else you need to make this mini autumn break complete – including an empty esky to bring some delicious High Country fresh produce home with you! And finally, don’t forget to check those tyre pressures before you set off while the tyres are still cool (including the spare if you’re not on Run Flats). If you need your tyres checked by a professional or advice about a new set, talk to one of our friendly, conveniently located Maxxis dealers – they are always happy to help get you safely on your way!