Cup half full: high tea around Victoria

RoyalAuto magazine

Nothing hits the spot like a good cuppa. From high teas in heritage-listed surrounds to cosy cafes,
try these fresh picks for a perfect tea break in regional Victoria. 

Story by Krysia Bonkowski.
 October 2018


High tea heronswood estate

Heronswood Estate on the Mornington Peninsula.


The high life

Could there be a more refined way to wile away an afternoon than with high tea? These tempting high tea options, all close to RACV's regional resorts, offer a delightful way to enjoy a spring afternoon in the country.

In a grand estate overlooking Port Phillip Bay on the Mornington Peninsula, the Gothic-revival style Heronswood House makes a genteel setting for high tea on the last Sunday of every month. Take your tea with finger sandwiches filled with fresh pickings from the property’s famed gardens – which are also home to the famed Diggers Club gardening collective.

A little further inland on the Mornington Peninsula, Woodman Estate sits beside a lake on 50 acres of undulating fields and bushland. Partake in the estate’s high tea Wednesday through Saturday, featuring the full white-tablecloth experience, complete with tiered cake stands and a finale of oven-warm scones. Make a day of it by bundling in a leisurely soak, with the Peninsula Hot Springs and High Tea Package.

High tea garden lavandula
High tea garden lavandula
High tea garden lavandula

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm north of Hepburn Springs.


For a tea break with a difference, hop aboard Searoad Ferries on Sunday afternoons for High Tea on the High Seas. Over the leisurely two-hour return journey between Sorrento and Queenscliff, a spread made up of produce from the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas will be served to you on deck alongside a cuppa or glass of sparkling.

For a generous slice of history with your tea, Fortuna Villa in Bendigo has started opening its doors for regular high-tea tours. Guests arrive to the strains of a string quartet and are guided around the elaborate mansion – once owned by goldmining millionaire George Lansell – before being treated to blends from Melbourne’s own Tea Drop, accompanied by a traditional spread in the mornings or antipasto in the afternoons.

In Daylesford’s Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Wombat Hill House Cafe offers a relaxed high tea from Thursday to Monday. Raise your pinkies in the stylish cottage owned by the founders of the iconic Lake House, or in the idyllic kitchen garden on a sunny afternoon. Also in Daylesford, the luxe Bellinzona Resort offers high tea every Saturday, best enjoyed on the balcony overlooking the Wombat State Forest.

wombat hill high tea

Wombat Hill House Cafe in Daylesford.


rich glen olive estate high tea victoria

Rich Glen Olive Estate, Yarrawonga.


Devonshire delights

If you believe tea is best served with a fluffy scone and lashings of jam and cream, good country cooking has you covered. Follow the light to the Surf Coast for cream tea with an unbeatable backdrop. The charming Lightkeeper’s Cafe at Cape Otway Lightstation stocks blends from Apollo Bay’s tea & scandal, and dishes up Devonshire tea by the seaside. The cafe is open daily from 9.30am but you need to get in quick – the scones go fast. Closer to Melbourne along the coast at Aireys Inlet, Willows Tea House offers its popular scones and hot cuppas in the cute-as-a-button keeper’s cottage beside Split Point Lighthouse (made famous by the 1990s TV show Round the Twist).

Back in the Goldfields, Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm is a colourful patch of European countryside in a valley north of Hepburn. Stop by the on-site Cafe La Trattoria for a morning tea with generous, house-made scones flavoured with lavender from the farm’s fields. For the ultimate in spa-country pampering, the Sanctuary & Devonshire Tea package from the nearby Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa offers a long, lazy session in the mineral baths, followed by tea in the heritage-listed Hepburn Pavilion.

In the Murray River food bowl near Cobram in far-north Victoria, the explorer Hamilton Hume built Byramine Homestead in 1842. It is now a laid-back cafe and brewery that offers Devonshire tea on the lawns of the historic property. A little further west, Rich Glen Olive Oil harvest the trees surrounding their farmgate for their antioxidant-packed olive-leaf tea blends. Pick up a Pure Detox or Peppermint Tummy Tea to go, or linger in the cafe for a Yarrawonga Breaky Tea and a sweet treat.

high tea cape otway lighthouse

Cape Otway Lightstation.