Take the wheel and discover somewhere new
AFTER another difficult year filled with stretches of isolation and restricted movement, getting behind the wheel to discover somewhere new that provides space to breathe and a chance to reconnect is a perfect antidote.
Less than two hours’ drive away, the beautiful Grampians region awaits, full of adventures, wide-open spaces, diverse cultural experiences, and breathtaking landscapes.
Between Ararat and Halls Gap lies Moyston, a township rich in history and a perfect stopping point for road trippers.
A township that originated with the goldrush in 1857 and went on to become the birthplace of Australian rules football, Moyston holds a significant place in Victoria’s history and offers a slice of the past, great food and wine and a welcoming community.
For lunch, the Moyston General Store is a must-visit with a Persian inspired menu, standout coffee and a large deck to spread out and take in the country atmosphere.
Footy fans can visit the monument of Thomas Wills, co-founder and captain of the Melbourne Football Club, and even kick a football on the grounds of the Moyston Cricket Ground.
The Grampians is one of the oldest and most celebrated wine regions of Australia, so it’s no surprise to find Moyston is home to the award-winning boutique winery, Clayfield Wines.
Employing sustainable organic vineyard practices and traditional winemaking techniques, the classic regional cool-climate flavour of the Grampians is found in the Clayfield Grampians Shiraz ‘Black Label’, the winery’s flagship wine and an excellent drop to add to your wine rack.
Established in 1999, a visit to the winery and cellar door will be guided by winemaker Simon Clayfield who generously shares his extensive knowledge and 35 years of experience in winemaking.
This alone is worth the trip but be sure to give this small batch winery a call and book in before you arrive.
Spring is one of the best times of the year to visit the Grampians region as the national park comes alive with wildflowers and the canola fields bloom with bright yellow crops.
For the best views of the sprawling canola fields, head to Willaura from Moyston, but go via Maroona, and admire the striking backdrop bursting with colour.
Generally, the fields are at their best from mid-September to mid-October so now is your last chance to catch the canola until they bloom again next spring.
Once you hit Willaura, park the car and pop into Willaura Bakery, the oldest continuous bakery in Victoria known for their moreish vanilla slice.
Also located on Main Street is Willaura Candle Co where you can pick up a hand poured natural soy candle.
The town has a great little playground for the kids to stretch the legs and enjoy their bakery delights.
From Willaura, the 15-minute drive to Glenthompson offers similarly breathtaking scenery and to complete the roundtrip back to Ballarat, head through the township of Lake Bolac, home to a 27-kilometre freshwater lake.
Alternatively, stay a while in the region and explore more of the vast landscapes, local businesses and ancient history that form the heart of the Grampians.
The above road trip can be completed in a day, or if you are a serious wine drinker, take a slightly different route and stop in at Mount Langhi Ghiran, one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in Australia, Mountainside Wines, a boutique winery at the base of Mount Cole, and finish up at Clayfield Wines in Moyston.
For information on the Grampians, Clayfield Wines, accommodation, and more, please visit visitgrampians.com.au.