A class act on the road to Victoria’s High Country, and Australia’s best-preserved gold mining town, lovely Beechworth boasts some of the best food and drink the state has to offer.
Located on the edge of the Victorian High Country – and a terrific stopover on a road trip between Melbourne and Sydney or Canberra – Beechworth is one of Australia’s classiest country towns.
With 32 buildings listed by the National Trust, it has buckets of gold rush and Ned Kelly bushranger history, which can be explored in the Historic and Cultural Precinct. Its bullock dray-wide streets are lined with old-fashioned Victorian shopfronts housing restaurants, boutiques and gift shops that rival the best big city offerings. Not only that, it’s located on a rail trail that visitors can walk or cycle, offering a relaxing way to explore some of the exceptional wineries that dot the surrounding undulating countryside.
Best hotels in Beechworth, Victoria
1860 Beechworth Victoria
Beechworth is home to a range of interesting historic accommodation options that fit with the spirit of the town. This place does just that. It is a beautifully restored horizontal timber-slab hut hand-hewn from mountain ash trees in 1860, located in a pretty locale overlooking Spring Creek. There’s an open fireplace, leather lounges, fine linen on the king-size bed and a fully-appointed kitchen. The coffee table is made from blacksmith’s bellows and the dining table is crafted from reclaimed blue gum.
Freeman on Ford B&B
Located at the heart of Beechworth’s Historic Precinct and crafted out of a two-storey 1876 red-brick former bank building, this luxury bed and breakfast has four Victorian-era guest rooms with ensuites, and two 1930s-style suites with large marble bathrooms. There’s a pool and heated spa in the private formal gardens, and undercover parking in the stables. Additionally, guests have use of the formal dining room and sun-filled dayroom overlooking the garden.
George Kerferd Hotel
Located in the beautiful tree-filled heritage gardens of the decommissioned Mayday Hills lunatic asylum, this four-star hotel has a great bistro and an outdoor swimming pool. The services on offer don’t stop there – equipped with tennis courts, garden walks, cycling and fishing, this place has everything you’ll need for an enjoyable business or holiday stay.
Top restaurants in Beechworth VIC
Beechworth’s most awarded restaurant is located in the high-ceilinged 1856 Bank of Australasia building. It’s hard to go past Chef Michael Ryan’s degustation menu of exquisite local delicacies, often featuring a touch of Japanese seasonings and ingredients, which you can enjoy with expertly matched wines. It offers rooms with king-size beds and ensuites with rain showers in its beautifully appointed coach house and stables.
The Ox and Hound Bistro
If only every country town had a classic bistro like this one. Occupying a classic heritage shopfront with enormous windows and a pressed-metal ceiling, touches like wicker chairs, French posters and branch chandeliers complete its charming look. The menu leans towards French- and Italian-inspired dishes that rely on seasonal local produce, while the wine list features a beautifully curated collection of local Beechworth wines.
For a good old-fashioned Aussie meat pie or sausage roll, vanilla slice or sponge cake, you can’t go past this bakery, which started here in 1984 and now thrives in seven other locations across Victoria and New South Wales.
Bars and cafes you can’t miss
Blynzz Coffee Roasters and Café
Start your day at this cosy café, where the small-batch roaster and eatery offers four different roasts and an all-day breakfast menu on weekends. Blynzz gives its customers a unique opportunity to enjoy the process of coffee roasting and a great meal, all at once.
Bridge Road Brewers
One of Australia’s benchmark craft beer producers, this place offers visitors the complete craft beer experience in a 150-year-old coach house and stables. Owner Ben Kraus has been a trailblazer in brewing European-style beers from scratch without any preservatives or pasteurisation. There’s a 10-tap tasting bar and a large family-friendly beer garden with a children’s play area. Ben’s partner Maria, who hails from Austria, offers the best pretzels this side of Munich, and a mighty fine pizza (the secret to Maria’s dough is the liberal use of their Bavarian wheat beer in the mixer).
Cellar Door Wine Store
This great establishment is not just a fabulous wine shop, but also a casual wine bar that specialises in vino from some of north-east Victoria’s best wineries, including Giaconda and Castagna. Furthermore, a carefully curated selection of imported wines and rare spirits, cheese and charcuterie plates can also be found here.
The Press Room Wine Bar
Located in Beechworth’s historic printery, this establishment’s fireside Twisted Chimney Lounge is a fabulous spot to enjoy cocktails, both local and Spanish wines and beers, and Spanish-inspired tapas.
One of Australia’s oldest breweries, Billson’s has been renowned many years for its all-natural, small-batch cordials, traditional sodas and premium mixers, and now, once again, its craft beers.