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'Tis the perfect time to eat outdoors in The Murray

Stock & Barrel, Yarrawonga

18 Sep 2022 by Kate Hunter

‘Tis the perfect time to eat outdoors in The Murray

If it’s true we eat with our eyes, any meal enjoyed in The Murray is a feast.

As summer approaches, restaurants, cafes and bars are making the most of the warmer weather, preparing the best local produce and serving it with sides of sunshine and fresh air.

When you’re looking for a bite to eat with an outlook to savour, book a table or pull up a picnic blanket at one of these iconic eateries in The Murray.

Dine with a Murray River view

For daytime deliciousness within a stone’s splash of the Murray River, Mildura’s Powerhouse Precinct offers some brilliant options. Flanked by the river and parkland, Bobby & Me serves breakfast and lunch with quirky charm. Then there’s Shippy’s Café; a shipping container enjoying a new life as the place locals go for coffee, cakes, freshly made rolls and burgers.

For something on the fancier side, visitors to Moama should head for Morrison’s Winery & Brewery where the menu changes seasonally, but always use the best - whether it’s a fillet of Murray Cod or a selection of cheeses and a glass of their signature wine.

Alternatively head upriver, to family-run Trentham Estate Winery and savour a stunning lunch on the balcony overlooking the river, or even on the lawns leading to the waterfront. The menu changes according to what’s in season, so prepare to be surprised and delighted.

In Deniliquin, locals make a beeline for The Crossing Café for relaxed, sophisticated food that celebrates the region. The menu changes according to what’s inspiring the owner-chef that day, but one staple is their signature muesli served with yogurt, fruit compote and the house-made fruit toast. With plenty of outdoor dining to soak in the sunshine while you sip your morning coffee, the Crossing Café is situated just a few steps away from the Edward River.

Wine and dine among the vines

The low food miles movement is more than a slogan at Restdown Wines and Walking Trail, about 40kms from Barham, Echuca, and Deniliquin. Spend a few hours or even a day exploring the farm and wetlands, tasting the expertly crafted wines and relaxing over a platter laden with treats from local producers or Restdown’s own kitchen garden.

All Saints Estate is a heritage-listed winery and working vineyard near Wahgunyah in Victoria. Savour a woodfired pizza on the terrace of Bonnie restaurant while contemplating the lake or live it in Kin, with a view of the vineyards the perfect accompaniment to its modern Australian cuisine.

In the foothills of Woomargama National Park, you’ll discover Flyfaire Wines, makers of sustainable, low carbon, low chemical wines. Make your choice from the cellar door and enjoy it with a platter of local cheeses, fruit and specialties like smoked kangaroo.

Have you tried mead? It’s honey wine - possibly the world’s oldest fermented drink, and The Old School Winery and Meadery near Womboota practice the ancient craft of brewing it. As well as crafting a range of meads, The Old School also makes a range of fine wines, and you’re welcome to bring a picnic.

For families, Posh Plonk in Chiltern is a favourite; try the seasonal menu (the pizzas are always a hit) with gourmet platters and wine tastings also available. Posh Plonk is about more than sustenance; you’ll want to linger over a game of bocce, giant Jenga, or even badminton.

For decades, Monichino Wines has been a pocket of Italy in the Goulburn Valley. Still run by the family of founders Carlo and Margaret Monichino; the cellar door is open Wednesday to Sunday with the kitchen offering dishes with an Italian angle on weekends. Or you’re welcome to bring a picnic and relax with a view of the vines and a glass of one of the winemakers’ finest.

For more wineries like this, sip, swirl and sniff your way across The Murray’s finest vineyards.

Feel the romance of a lunch or dinner aboard a historic paddle steamer

The Murray’s iconic paddle steamers serve up more than photo opportunities. From their home Port of Echuca, P.S. Emmy Lou and P.S. Canberra offer onboard dining experiences as well as riverside campfires where you can enjoy the best of the region’s food and wine under a blanket of stars.

The decks of P.S. Cumberoona are the perfect place to take in the beauty of Lake Mulwala. Departing from Yarrawonga, let the afternoon slip by as you enjoy a delicious set menu lunch, or indulge in a sunset dinner cruise with a regional menu created in collaboration with acclaimed local restaurant The Naked Tree.

Sip cocktails on the waterfront

Take a seat on the terrace overlooking the river at Stock & Barrel at The Sebel Yarrawonga, Victoria where classic and contemporary cocktails are crafted from bespoke spirits, or choose from a long list of craft beers and fine wines – and exhale.

There’s no better place for a sundowner than the shore of Lake Mulwala, where Blacksmith Provedore offer a carefully-curated list of cocktails; if you don’t see what you fancy, their mixologists love to get creative.

Lake Hume locals know The Boatshed overlooking the weir is the place to go for cold craft beers, creative cocktails and fine wines to accompany a relaxed lunch or to celebrate the sunset.

At the western end of Lake Mulwala, the Criterion Hotel is a welcome sight for thirsty travellers. The cocktail list features old favourites and a few surprises, mostly incorporating locally made spirits, wines and mixers. Those in the know suggest trying the Homegrown Spritz.

Cheers to the warm season in The Murray!