Grampians Olive Co, Victoria © Rob Blackburn Photography
The best places to eat and drink in The Grampians
Drive three hours northwest of Melbourne to discover the ‘Gastronomic Grampians.’
By Carla Grossetti
The Grampians is a true haven for any food lover. From the artisan produce found at local markets to the award-winning restaurants and top-notch breweries, here is where to eat and drink in The Grampians.
The nature of the Grampians is captivating – as are the flavours found within it.
Fuel up at quaint cafes
Of course, any foodie tour of the Grampians begins with breakfast. Koopmans Dunkeld is a café housed in an airy 110-year-old mechanic’s garage, with polished concrete floors and original signage hinting at the building’s history. Expect excellent coffee and ‘brekkie’ classics with smashed avocado on toast.
In the small town of Hamilton, The Roxburgh has fostered a community attitude since opening in 2007. The family-run café is housed in a two-storey bluestone building and serves a stellar Rox Coffee Roast. Plus, The Roxburgh stages regular art exhibitions and laneway gigs.
Livefast Lifestyle Café is led by a team of young creatives who are as passionate about rock climbing as they are about serving quality food and coffee. Luckily, you’ll find the café in leafy Halls Gap near ragged crags that are considered some of the best in Victoria for rock climbing. Order an espresso and muffin to give you the energy you’ll need for your own rock climbing expedition with Absolute Outdoors.
Be sure to try: The cauliflower and green pea fritters at Livefast cafe.
Make dining the destination
World-class chefs have put down roots in the Grampians, opening eateries worth travelling for. The Royal Mail Hotel is home to Australia’s largest working restaurant kitchen garden. And dinner at on-site restaurant Wickens is one of the most coveted bookings in the Grampians. The best seat in the house is near the glass-fronted wall framing views over Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt. Enjoy a stay in the smartly renovated hotel.
The Parker St Project is The Royal Mail Hotel’s more casual offering, yet it remains one of the smartest eateries in the Grampians. While the menu changes often, expect small plates such as salad of duck liver parfait and stinging nettle gnocchi to be followed by poached rhubarb with white chocolate mousse.
The Bunyip Hotel is a country pub located in the township of Cavendish. The property offers three cosy suites for those who like the luxury of pairing good food with a place to lay their head. This rustic restaurant, run by chef James Campbell (of Sydney’s MoVida), is perfectly placed for a wander along the Wannon River after indulging in the Sunday Chef’s Table.
Be sure to try: A chef-led tour of The Royal Mail Hotel’s kitchen garden to learn about the restaurant’s sustainability principles.
Stock up at a farm gate
The Grampians’ dining scene is built on what grows locally, so why not go straight to the source? The Grampians Olive Co. was established in 1943 and is home to one of Australia’s oldest olive groves. Head here during harvest season when you can watch the team cold-pressing fresh organic olives into oils.
If the flag is flying, Five Ducks Farm is open. Pick up a selection of products and preserves from the Pomona providore for a carefully curated picnic: think blackberry and shiraz jam, quince jelly, ice cream and free-range eggs as well as grab-and-go meals like lamb curry and carbonara.
It’s not just the award-winning extra virgin olive oils on offer at Red Rock Olives that make a trip to the working farm memorable. Visitors to the Victorian property can also purchase artisan vinegars, olive salt, dukkah, tapenade and table olives.
Be sure to try: The Blood Orange-infused Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil at The Grampians Olive Co.
Relax at breweries and cellar doors
The name says it all at Best’s Cellar Door, which was established by brothers Joseph and Henry Best in the 1860s. Known for its shiraz and rieslings, visitors can enjoy a tasting in the old stables and a tour of the subterranean cellar door from the 19th century.
The wines on offer at Seppelt are also produced from vines that were planted in the 1860s. Explore the maze of underground tunnels known as ‘the Drives,’ which make up the largest underground cellar in the Southern Hemisphere.
You will have to play paper, scissors, rock to determine the designated driver when you detour to Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co. The independent craft brewery in the Grampians offers the trifecta of live music, great food and small-batch craft brews. The Stone Cold Hazy wheat beer is a must-try.
Be sure to try: The Progressive Dine Deep experience at an underground dining room at Seppelt.