52 Great Weekends

No 17: Birregurra

This quaint, peaceful country town oozes refined charm with meticulously restored township facades that nod to a rich historical past. Birregurra, an Aboriginal word thought to mean ‘kangaroo camp’ became a thriving town in the 1900’s with its railway being the lifeblood of the vast Otways timber industry.

Today, even the toughest food critics flock to these hills for the freshest farm gates, growers and producers, breweries and winemakers of the Otway Harvest Trail and some of the finest dining destinations in the country – Brae is consistently recognised as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Get a taste for luxurious life on the land at the Warilda farm stay retreat and spa, then earn your keep helping tend to the friendly farm animals. Before visiting ‘Tarndie’ one of Victoria’s oldest homesteads and sheep farms. Walk the farm trail and learn how their resident Polworth sheep have been turning grass into fine quality woollen garments for 6 generations.

ITINERARY

As soon as you arrive at Warilda, the relaxation begins. The pine-lined driveway leads you to your magical boutique guest cottage complete with private waterside sundeck and incredible view of the farm. The space is cosy and set up with every necessary.

Quiet, private and chic.

2PM: WARILDA DAY SPA & BATHING

Put your robe on, change into the cozy spa slippers and forget the world exists at the onsite Day Spa Cottage. Owner, stylist and celebrity masseuse Denise Pinot offers a range of indulgent treatments that will make you feel like a VIP yourself. Then life back and soak up the Otway country air during your unique open-air bathing experience surrounded by pine trees, farmland and nature. Bliss.

DINNER: BRAE – ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST RESTAURANTS

Brae translates to hillside or gentle slope and that’s exactly where chef Dan Hunter’s world-renowned restaurant, guest suites and working organic farm are located – the rolling hills of Birregurra. Consistently recognised as of the World’s 50 Best, Brae feels less like a restaurant and more like a welcoming country house where guests can be surrounded by nature, walk the farm paths and connect with the sustainable, ethical and regenerative food from the local land. The ever-changing degustation menu is served like a leisurely long lunch, guests graze on at their own pace with rounds of fresh seafood, meat and veggies, and desserts.

SUNDAY: EXPLORING THE HISTORIC TOWNSHIP

7.30AM: BREAKFAST WITH THE WARILDA ANIMALS

Early risers can enjoy their contintenial breakfast and the sunrise from their private balcony or sundeck. The free-range farm animals might pop by for a visit, it’s breakfast time for them too! Then help Denise feed the friendly horses, alpacas and sheep, all kept in line by the bubbly blonde kelpie Abby. You won’t want to leave this little slice of farm heaven.

11AM: THE HILLS COME ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF 100-YEAR OLD MUSIC

The Birregurra Zither House has breathed new life into the local creative community through the Zither – a 100-year old instrument. It has an ethereal, harp-like sound that anyone can play without needing to be able to read music. This is the only Zither house in Southern Hemisphere and the local residents have embraced it creating a musical community with group workshops held every Tuesday and Ensemble Practices are held every 3rd Sunday of the month from 11am. They might let you listen in if you’re in town on time.

LUNCH: OTWAY ARTISAN GLUTEN FREE BAKEHOUSE

Baked at the foothills of the Otway’s this small, gluten free bake house is a perfect lunch stop offering handmade, healthy and wholesome, preservative-free food in the center of the historic township.

1PM: YIELD RESTAURANT & PROVIDORE – CELEBRATING ALL THINGS LOCAL

Yield is your one-stop-shop celebrating all things local – championing hundreds of local and Victorian makers, growers and farmers. Yield brings them all together – from wine, beer and spirits, cheeses, preserves, condiments and cured meats, hot and cold meals, to handcrafted ceramics, cheese boards, knives and spoons. You won’t leave Yield empty handed and you’ll be supporting the region too!

2.30PM: THE HISTORICAL HOMESTEAD, SHEEP FARMGATE & WOOL SHOP OF ‘TARNDIE’

‘Tarndie’, or more formally known as Tarndwarncoort was built in 1840 and is recognised by the National Trust as one of Victoria’s oldest surviving homesteads. For 6-generations the Dennis family have been keeping the farming spirit of their early ancestors alive processing the world famous naturally dyed and hand spun yarns from their very own the Polwarth sheep – Australia’s first breed of sheep. These hard-working residents are members of the first, original flock and to this day turn grass into luxuriously soft woolen garments.

Sunday’s are a great time to see this world-famous wool in action. Tarndie provides a community Crafty Sunday’s space for spinners and crafters to connect and create with one another – turning their Polworth wool into fine shawls and throws, baby items and warm socks and beanies.

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Getting there

Birregurra is 90 minutes from Melbourne via the M1 inland route.

Top 5 things that made the weekend great

  • Staying in the cosy and chic Guest Cottage at Warilda Farm Stay

  • The Warilda Spa open-air bathing experience looking out onto rolling farm fields

  • Dining at Brae – consistently recognised as one of the world’s best 50 restaurants

  • Exploring the historic township of Birregurra

  • Visiting the historic homestead and sheep farm of ‘Tarndie’

Enjoy a great weekend from farm-stay to table at this charming country town

 

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Warrnambool

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.