Harvested fresh from fertile volcanic soil by the weathered hand of a knowledgeable local. Food and beverages produce in the Otways just taste better. Join the Otways Harvest Trail to taste the reasons why.
Brae by Dan Hunter
A common belief is that quality dining options cannot be found in regional areas but thanks to some visionary chefs with a passion for regional produce this belief is fast changing.
The Otway region is home to Brae by Dan Hunter, a modern 30 seat restaurant focused on utilizing the benefits of the location and eating from the land. Located near the small town of Birregurra just over 1.5hrs from Melbourne the town’s people are certainly proud of their local celebrity chef!
The trophy cabinet at Brae is overflowing with recent accolades including
- Chef of the Year - Dan Hunter Gourmet Traveller Awards 2016
- Regional Restaurant of the Year The Age Good Food Guide 2016
- Named No. 87 in the list of the World’s Best Restaurants
- Restaurant of the Year The Age Good Food Guide 2015
- Named No. 4 Restaurant in Australia in Australia's Top 100 Restaurants by the Australian Financial Review
Each day the menu is created using the highest quality ingredients that are available from the fruit and vegetable garden plus supplies from local farms and other sustainable producers across Victoria.
The restaurant is open on the following days and bookings are essential.
Dinner - Thursday to Saturday
Lunch - Friday to Monday
Something is brewing in the Forrest
Describing themselves as equal parts microbrewery, eating place and mountain biking hang-out the Forrest Brewing Company is owned and operated by a brother and sister team, Matt brews the beers and Sharon runs the business.
Housed in the renovated old general store in Forrest, the brewery produces four regular beers available all year round and on occasion wheels out a seasonal brew or two. Everything beer related is done on site including brewing, hand bottling and labelling.
The menu is casual and tasty featuring locally sourced ingredients and guests are welcome to dine in their cycling gear if they so choose given that the venue sits right in the heart of Victoria’s leading Mountain Biking hub with a world class array of tracks and trails on offer.
Forrest Brewing Company is open seven days a week. Bookings are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays.
Sunday to Wednesday: 9am - 5pm (serving breakfast & lunch)
Thursday to Saturday: 9am - late (serving breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Hot on the Otway Harvest Trail
Delicious wine and fresh berries served with a slab of locally made cheese and some bread from the local bakery, these are what holidays are made of and no you don’t have to be in Tuscany or Provence to indulge your palate. These delicious treats can be found all around the Otways.
Using the Otway Harvest Trail to guide your taste buds around the country roads, gather your loot for an indulgent holiday feast. Stop off for some fresh berries and homemade jams at Gentle Annie Berry Gardens, then continue on and collect a bottle of berry gin and local cider from Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm & Cidery. Did someone say wine? Choose from over 6 wineries plus the Forrest Brewing Company for a brew or two to keep the grownups happy. You certainly will not find it difficult to stock the picnic basket as you tour the farm gates, provedores and cellar doors.
Exhausted from tasting and shopping? Let local chefs prepare a meal for you at one of the excellent dining options from celebrated Brae restaurant to the family friendly Wonky Donkey in Forrest. You are spoilt for choice in the Otways, and you don’t have to do the dishes!
Quality dining in the Otways
Fertile volcanic soil, plenty of rain fall, crisp air and a insistence for organic produce has been the key ingredients for the Otways emergence as a premium dining hub.
Keeping busy on the Otway Harvest Trail, visitors to the region have a life times supply of fresh treats scattered throughout green pastures and hilly forests. Here are a few restaurants using local produce to serve out city quality meals:
A modern restaurant set on 30 productive acres. The Age Good Food Guide 2015 Restaurant of the Year.
Open for dinner daily & lunch Friday - Monday
Cape Otway Lightkeepe's Cafe
Visit the Light keeper's Café for a tasty lunch, morning or afternoon tea.
Open Daily: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Colac Botanic Cafe on the Lake
Café menus are created seasonally using locally produced foods. We are renowned for quality food & stock an extensive range of The Pickle Gallery’s jam, relish & chutney which are available at the café.
Open Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm & Weekends during the peak season
30 Fusion Restaurant Colac
Overlooking Colac’s Memorial Square, Fusion Restaurant Colac offers modern Australian cuisine, utilising the region’s best produce & harvest from chef Duncan Green’s own organic vegetable garden.
Open daily for lunch & for dinner Mon - Sat
Bespoke Harvest licensed café and restaurant features a mix of seasonal produce from our garden and surrounding farms that capture the taste and flavour of the Otway’s. On weekends chef Simon Stewart fuses these ingredients, with an array of culinary influences to create an eclectic dinner menu.
Open Sun - Thurs: 10am - 4pm & Fri - Sat: 10am - 4pm | 6pm - late
All these restaurants plus wineries, pubs, breweries, farm gates and markets can be found on the Otway Harvest Trail.
Plenty to wine about
The Otways are littered with wineries opening their doors to the general public for tastings and grommet treats. Most of the wineries are set in the lush and fertile belt between Moriac and Forrest, offering scenic outlooks to enjoy as the perfect after taste of a delicious, award winning wine.
Specialising in Pinot Noir & award winning Pinots & ‘Blanc de Noir’ made exclusively from estate grown fruit. Enjoy a platter & glass of wine at cellar door.
Open 11am - 5pm weekends & Mon - Sun during peak season
Brown Magpie Wines
The estate produced wines are hand crafted using traditional techniques. Limited & pre-releases are available exclusively at the cellar door.
Open 11am - 4pm weekends & Mon - Sun during peak season
Dinny Goonan Wines
Visit the cellar door to experience medal winning wines of exceptional quality; enjoy a vineyard platter & soak up the atmosphere of our boutique winery.
Open 11am - 5pm weekends 7 Mon - Sun during peak times
Gosling Creek Winery
Premium estate made wines, light seasonal food at the cellar door. Free live music every Sunday afternoon. Great views. Free BBQs.
Open 11am - 5pm weekends & Mon - Sun during peak times
Home to the Prickly Moses Handcrafted Beer and Forbidden Fruit Ciders, as well as the Estates own range of wines, you be sure to find a favourite beverage during your visit.
Open 11am - 5pm, Fri - Sun.
Enjoy award winning Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Sparkling wines from our vineyard. Function centre & gourmet catering available on and offsite for that special occasion (including full party hire).
Open 11am - 4pm Thu - Mon (phone ahead)
All these wineries plus restaurants, pubs, breweries, farm gates and markets can be found on the Otway Harvest Trail.
Numerous berry farms surrounding Pennyroyal Valley offer pick your own (PYO) berries. Apart from being scrumptious, PYO is a lot of fun, especially for the littler ones. Fill your buckets with vine fresh strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries and bramble berries within the November to March season. Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm is the oldest working berry farm in the south west of Victoria and grows everything organically. After working up a country appetite, most of the berry farms have an onsite cafes that know just the trick.
Open to public berry farms in the Otway region include:
Gentle Annie Berry Gardens and Farmhouse Cafe
Pick-your-own berry and fruit farm using organic practices. Licensed café with a local and sustainable approach offering lunches, Devonshire teas, home baked cakes and espresso coffee. Produce store with home-made jams, chutneys and honey.
Open 10am - 5pm Thu - Mon (Nov - Apr) & Mon - Sun (Dec - Jan)
Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm & Cidery
Since 1985. Organic PYO berries and Teahouse in season. Light lunches, Devonshire teas, artisan preserves. Real cider – “Crucible” – and farm made berry Gins. Fully self contained cottages available all year.
Open 10am - 5pm, Mon - Sun (Dec - Jan)
Take home fresh
It's not just the local restaurants and cafes that have access to the Otways deliciously fresh produce. Check around the corner and you just might find an open farm gate or farmers market. There are also plenty of providores scattered about selling fresh and prepared treats.