Hidden away in the very far away from Melbourne North West of Victoria is a sizeable town called Swan Hill. A country town that is hiding a delicious secret from the rest of Australia. After a recent visit, we wanted to share with you a quick food lover’s guide to Swan Hill.
Now where is Swan Hill exactly? Well it’s around a 4 hour drive from Melbourne in the North West of Victoria. Along the Murray River and bordering NSW. In all honesty, it is a long, dry, flat and rather boring drive. There’s no way to sugar coat this. It’s a bland as beans drive. If you do take this drive make sure you’re prepared for a road trip with plenty of snacks and have allowed time to stop to pee and stretch your legs.
The best spot to stop along the way is Bridgewater. The Bridgewater bakery has Honeybird coffee and really yummy cheeseymite scrolls. Also the public toilets are kept super clean and safe.
The Swan Hill town and surrounding region is home to an amazing range of producers, growers and wineries – all within an easy drive from each other. As the area is considered the heart of the food bowl there’s a lot of local produce being used in the foodie scene here. You’ll be surprised at what arrives on your plate. If anyone can tell me who makes the wonderful Persian Fairy Floss in town this food lover will be eternally grateful.
There are a whole heap of cafes in town. Seemingly every second shop is a cafe or a clothing store. It can be rather overwhelming when you first arrive to try and pick just one place to get coffee. If you’re walking down the main strip of town than pop by Cafe 202. It’s your classic cafe. Warm, open and with quite a good range of food on offer. There’s the cafe classic like eggs benedict or something a bit more adventurous than try the roast pumpkin with chickpeas and poached eggs. The coffee here is superbly presented and really is up to Melbourne coffee standards.
Cafe 202, 187 Beveridge St, Swan Hill VIC 3585
The best brunch in Swan Hill
Without a doubt you can’t go past the amazing food at High Thyme Cafe. With an ever changing menu based on seasonal produce, and literally who’s delivered what that morning it’s like a delightful game of brunch roulette. So pair together great coffee, amazing food and one of the most lovely owners ever and you know you’ve picked a winner.
Now if you’re after a touch of fine dining then pack your bags and wander down to Spoons Riverside. Again the town really isn’t that large and if you’re staying in town, and not at an out landing caravan park, than you can easily walk around. Spoons Riverside has some of the most delicious food on offer in town. Chef Peter has curated a unique menu using as much local and in season ingredients. Don’t pass by the pickled yabby and the lamb. Oh and make sure you leave room for dessert. There’s a reasonable beer and wine list, which will keep most people happy. I opted for an ol’ favorite in a Dal Zotto prosecco.
I’ll let the photos here do the convincing.
Spoons Riverside, 125 Monash Drive Swan Hill Victoria 3585
Brunch with BAE
Now we all know that brunch is the most vital meal of the weekend. You can’t go past High Thyme Cafe for your brunch with bae. It’s an eclectic and delicious cafe. Make sure you try the cold drip coffee and smoked bacon. If you don’t do bacon then I can highly recommend the banana bread.
High Thyme, Shop 2/257 Beveridge Street, Swan Hill
So why visit Swan Hill?
Well other than to feed yourself silly Swan Hill gets some amazingly sunny weather. In fac, the area gets more sunny days than the Gold Coast. Which is evident by the really well-tanned locals and the fact that so much food is produced in the area. It’s a great escape from the cold Melbourne weather. Just a warning though it does get hot here. It’s a dry heat and in summer 40c+ days are the norm. Visiting in March was a perfect time. Not only did I get to have fun at the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival it was warm, in the mid-30’s but not oppressively hot and miserable.
What about the wine?
Well, there’s no other wine to think about trying but Andrew Peace Wines. It’s the largest family owned and operated winery in Australia. The rose` was delightful as was the sparkling. As it was hot when I visited I didn’t try any of the reds, deciding instead to enjoy a glass or two cool wine by the river.
Where to stay?
I stayed at the Jane Eliza. It’s a simple, yet clean and centrally located motel. There are a lot of accommodation options dependant on your budget. Just remember that you are in a very regional area. There’s no Shangri La or Double Tree here. Just sayin’
What else is there to do in Swan Hill?
So perhaps you’ve eaten yourself to happiness or you want to walk off a food baby and are wondering what else does one do when visiting Swan Hill? For something a bit quirky you could visit the petite Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, which is just across the road from Spoons Riverside.
Or spend the day reliving the pioneer days at the Pioneer Settlement. The settlement has been running since 1966 and for many Australian families it was a must visit when growing up. I even found photos of my grandparents visiting the Pioneer Settlement in 1998! Times have changed since they visited and the town has grown and even has a nighttime laser show.
If you have a free evening than treat yourself to a river cruise. The cruise leaves from the Pioneer Settlement and goes for around two hours. This is dependant on the level of water in the river at the time of your cruise. It’s a great way to see along the Murray River without having to beg, borrow or steal a friends boat.
On your way home to Melbourne why not stop off at Lake Boga. It’s a gorgeous round lake and home to a historical museum. I won’t spoil the pleasure for you but dropping into the museum and you’ll learn all about the Catalina Flying Boat.
If you’re after more things to see and do check out the official Visit Swan Hill website.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.
Disclaimer – and now for the legal mumbo jumbo. Jean was hosted as a guest by the team from Visit Swan Hill. As per usual all views and opinions are my own.
Is this Australia’s most underrated city? Isn’t it time that you popped in to explore the hidden wonders of Adelaide?
Are you looking for a magical momo making class in Kathmandu? Well look no further Jean has done the hard work, eaten a lot of momos and has found you the perfect, pay what you like, momo cooking class. You can thank me later.
Melbourne has a new place for you to call home. Get ready to eat your way to happiness and explore the contemporary chic hotel lifestyle at Shadow Play by Peppers