Along with the arrival of spring, Melbourne and regional Victoria have welcomed a host of new openings from tours to breweries.
Windsor is now home to the ground-breaking contemporary gallery dedicated entirely to female and female-identifying artists, the Finklestein Gallery. Created from a realisation of the underrepresentation of women across Australia's art collections. Recent figures released by The Countess Report, a project and online resource on gender equality in the Australian art sector, show that national commercial galleries show just 40 percent women artists and state museums are even lower at 34 percent. The gallery is set to showcase works from emerging and established artists, including the likes of Cigdem Aydemir, Louise Paramor, Deborah Kelly, Coady, Lisa Roet and Kate Baker. International names the will include South Africa's Kim Lieberman and London-based visual artist Sonal Kantaria. Basement 2, 1 Victoria Street, Windsor
The Southside of the Yarra River is about to get a lot boozier with the introduction of Patient Wolf’s brand-new distillery and public bar. The production facility will feature a 220L copper still by Müller ("the Bentley of stills") and, come 2020, a 1000L still from Germany. When it arrives, Patient Wolf's new Southbank spot will become one of Australia's largest urban gin distilleries. At the 30-seat bar, visitors can expect a seasonal drinks menu featuring gin and tonics, classic cocktails and experimental gin combinations. Alongside drinking at the new bar, the team plans to run tours of the Distillery, as well as gin masterclasses, and bottles for takeaway – including limited-edition and distillery-only releases. Patient Wolf Southbank Distillery is expected to open early September 2019. Opening hours will be Thursday, Friday 4-8pm and Saturday, Sunday 10am – 5pm. 34 – 36 Market St, South Bank
Founded by Amelia X, this Italian restaurant is a both a tribute and a way to honour her Nonna Amalia. Growing up cooking and eating has always been about the family gathering around the dinner table for a shared experience. The aroma of home-made meals using South Gippsland seasonal produce emanates and fills the entire space and the menu comprised of new and traditional dishes showcase the passion behind the preparation. This restaurant is a way for Amelia to open her arms and say ‘please, come and eat at my table. Let us share this experience together’, just as her Nonna did. 32 Victoria Road, Loch Village, 3954
Located in the stunning Mitta Valley along the Mitta Mitta River, this new kid on the block is well worth a visit. The lush valley is the perfect location, and owners Tim and Alec have lovingly hand-built the entire operation from what was just a paddock when they bought it. Now brewing with hops grown on site and serving their core range plus seasonal favourites, even a delicious full-flavoured mid-strength, tasty bar food and woodfired pizzas. Sit back and enjoy the stunning views on a sunny day - it doesn’t get much better around here. 1639 Mitta North Rd, Mitta Mitta
Founded in 1865 during the height of the Gold Rush, Billson’s was once the leading supplier of beer in Victoria’s North East. is one of Australia’s oldest breweries. Thanks to the Nathan and Felicity Cowan, this historic Beechworth brewery has been restored and is again producing premium craft beers after an almost 70-year brewing hiatus. Currently on tap is Bilson’s crafted beers which includes a lager, pale ale, golden ale, dry apple cider and hard ginger beer. A curated selection of local wines and small-batch sodas, gourmet cordials based on traditional recipes and methods and liquors are also available. Ordering snacks and locally sourced charcuterie & cheese boards and snacks off the bar menu help round out the local sampling experience. Book a Historical ‘behind-the-scene’ guided tour to delve into over 150 years of Bilson’s tradition and explore the brewery museum that displays an impressive collection of old brewing equipment, bottles and beer paraphernalia. Open daily from 9am to 5pm. 29 Last St, Beechworth
Visitors to the stunning Wilson’s Promontory National Park will be able to explore the beautiful granite coastline and unique wilderness in a 2½ hour cruise on an amphibious boat – the first tour of its kind for Victoria. While cruising the waters of Bass Strait and Victoria's first marine national park, visitors are advised to keep their eyes peeled for sightings of seals, migrating whales, leatherback turtles, dolphins, sharks and many species of coastal birds. The journey explores caves, coves, rocky islands, and southernmost tip of Australia’s mainland, South Point, with the prehistoric boulders of Mount Oberon in the background, white quartz sands of Norman Beach in the foreground and the colossal Skull Rock. From 23 September, the tours will run daily and bookings are open now.
Red Sparrow is Melbourne’s first and only 100% vegan pizzeria, bringing quality pizzas with a flair for experimenting with new flavours and pizza combos. Well known for their unique dipping sauces for leftover crusts, their style and flavourshave simmered up a pizza hotspot for vegans, vegos and even the most passionate of meat lovers. After opening in Collingwood in 2017, the pizzeria has now opened a second venue in Melbourne's inner-city neighbourhood of Prahran. 260 Chapel St, Prahran, Victoria, 3181. (03) 9533 8490.
Once a nondescript and rundown 1970s commercial premises,is now a brightly coloured Latin American tapas style restaurantin the heart of Ballarat. Visitors can expect varied meats and fishes that compete and complement native vegetables and fruits such as maize and plantains, while capsicum and tomato feature heavily too. Once a nondescript and rundown 1970s commercial premises, the venue has been completed transformed and refitted with Latin American themes including crucifixes, altars, ceramics and painted masks spread over the wall. 36 Armstrong St N, Ballarat Central, Victoria, 3350. (03) 5309 3070.
Fook Shing brings modern and vibrant South East Asian food to a historic pub on Kyneton's popular foodie destination Piper Street. Named after the infamous Chinese Detective who was posted to this region during Victoria’s Gold Rush, the Pub has been subtly themed and has a number of dining and drinking spaces including open fires and outdoor spaces for the sunnier days! With 6 beers and local cider on tap, an interesting wine list with lots by the glass and a few fun cocktails there is something to suit everyone. 82-84 Piper St, Kyneton, Victoria, 3444. (03) 5422 6560.
Discover the rich history and cool bars of Melbourne’s whisky and gin scene on the Melbourne: Whisky Bars and Gin Joints Tour by Melbourne Drinking Tours. Blending tales of shipwrecks, sly grog shops and distilling bans with some of Melbourne’s coolest whisky and gin bars, this is a rollicking adventure from Victoria’s early spirit making past to its modern craft scene. Visitors will enjoy whisky and gin tastings from Victoria and around the world with snacks included. Visitors will learn about the man dubbed the Ned Kelly of Victorian whisky, how Victoria led whiskey and gin production in the 19th and early 20th century, and the many whisky shipwrecks off Victoria's coast.
Tours are held Friday nights at 7:30p. Bookings are available here.
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