The Inside Scoop from RACV Resorts

Travelling Well | RACV | Posted on 25 May 2020

Top places to add to your regional touring list, as recommended by RACV Resort staff.

There’s never been a more important time to support local businesses in regional Victorian towns than now. From fresh produce to local boutique shops, the staff from each RACV Resort share an inside scoop on their favourite local stores that either remain open or have moved online.

Jump to: Gippsland region, Mornington Peninsula, Great Ocean Road, Ballarat and Daylesford region, Murray River region.

Wandiful Produce, Bright. Photo: Emily Godfrey

Wandiful Produce, Bright. Photo: Emily Godfrey.

Gippsland region

Inside scoop from RACV Inverloch Resort

A local favourite

Serving popular Allpress Espresso coffee, the owners of The Local reluctantly closed their doors for a short time while they renovated their popular cafe to become COVID-19 safe. Now, people are rushing back to the popular coffee stop to enjoy their coffee, snacks and freshly baked pastries each day. 

The Local’s rear courtyard currently remains empty, but customers are hoping that they’ll soon be back there sipping on their hot coffee in the cool winter breeze. You're always guaranteed a smile at this little corner block cafe and a chat with one of the friendly Inverloch locals.

More than just a butcher

Chapmans Free Range Butchery has gone above and beyond to accommodate locals with their supply of top-quality free-range meat, and by extending their offering to also include a huge selection of pantry items such as milk, bread, butter and pasta. These staples are not just any old brand, with Chapmans’ owner, Mark, sourcing produce that is supporting 'local' and 'the little guy', offering a provedore selection that is second to none. With Chapmans broadening their range, customers no longer need to go to several locations to find quality supplies.

With home cooking on the rise and new ideas of what to cook thinning, Chapmans Free Range Butchery is keeping plenty of recipes and ideas flowing through their Facebook page.

Fashion and homewares

If there is one thing that the Inverloch village has to offer it's an enjoyable stroll up and down the main street, with a variety of shops to browse in. One store which you simply can’t go past is Mookah Studio. The Studio is operated by two local sisters Leisa and Nicole who, raised in the region, go above and beyond to bring together a curated collection of Australian and independent designers in the women's fashion and homewares space. 

To keep in line with social distancing regulations, Mookah Studio has restyled the store to ensure there’s more space for shoppers, delivering safer shopping experiences. They have also introduced a larger range of products online and are offering free delivery to residents in the local area. If you’re looking for that ‘something special’ whilst in Inverloch, Mookah Studio is your go-to store.

Barista making Coffee at The Local – Inverloch, Rob Blackburn

Barista making Coffee at The Local – Inverloch. Photo: Rob Blackburn.

The Local at Inverloch, Rob Blackburn

The Local at Inverloch. Photo: Rob Blackburn.

Mornington Peninsula

Inside Scoop from RACV Cape Schanck Resort

At Home Gin

Bass & Flinders Distillery is a small, locally owned distillery located in Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula. Specialising in bespoke spirits with unique local flavours, the distillery is renowned for their gin, but also dabbles in limoncello, vodka, brandy and more recently, hand sanitiser.

When the distillery is open, they host masterclasses where you’re guided through the process of blending your own gin recipe, allowing you to tailor it to your individual taste preferences, however since the distillery has had to close their doors, they have adapted their masterclass to one you can do from home. The At Home Gin Masterclass Kit allows you to try your hand at blending your own gin recipe using unique, all-Australian botanicals from the comfort of your own living room, with everything you’ll need including written instructions and video tutorials.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to change up your Friday night Zoom drinks with friends, you could opt for a virtual gin tasting instead. Choose from one of two At Home Gin Experiences to replicate the Bass & Flinders Gin Paddle from home, and if you can round up 8 people or more to purchase, the Bass & Flinders team will host a complimentary Zoom tasting session for your group. Visit their Facebook page for more details. (More: 11 of the coolest places to drink gin in Victoria.)

Award-winning cheese

Main Ridge Dairy is the only Farmhouse Cheesery and Dairy located on the Mornington Peninsula, meaning that all cheese made here is produced from the milk collected on the farm. From marinated chèvre to halloumi, Main Ridge Dairy produces 11 types of award-winning goat cheeses.

The Cheesery is usually a place for families and friends to gather and graze on delicious cheese platters while soaking up sunrays, but with the current restrictions in place it’s only open for cheese sales along with takeaway coffees and milkshakes on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am until 2pm. For those lucky enough to live close enough, Main Ridge Dairy also runs a home delivery service, so you can indulge in some of the best cheeses on the Peninsula without having to leave your couch.

Fresh from the farm

Located just a five-minute drive down Boneo Road from RACV Cape Schanck Resort, Hawkes Farm is a family run business growing vegetables and strawberries on their 56-hectare property. Their Farmgate Store not only sells their own product grown on site, but also a handpicked selection of produce from all over the Mornington Peninsula including Pure Peninsula Honey, Mock Red Hill sparkling juices, Baker Boys bread and Cape Schanck Olive Estate olive oil, just to name a few.

Considered as an essential service, they remain open for business from 8am until 5pm daily, with new stock being harvested and delivered daily. If you’d prefer to buy online instead, simply head to their online store to choose your produce, allow a minimum of two hours before pick up, then call the store when you arrive and they’ll deliver to your car. Winning a Gold Award for Excellence in Food Tourism in the 2019 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards, Hawkes Farm is a must visit when day tripping to or living on the Mornington Peninsula.

Flat lay photo of cheese platter

Cheese platters at Main Ridge Dairy. Photo: Peter Tarasiuk.

Goats roaming on farm

Meeting the family at Main Ridge Dairy. Photo: Peter Tarasiuk.

Great Ocean Road 

Inside Scoop from RACV Torquay Resort

Organic sourdough bread 

Founded in 2007, Zeally Bay Sourdough was the first fully certified organic bakery in Victoria. Each loaf uses the original 35-year-old family leaven, that was first created at Wholefoods Kitchen in Geelong in the 1980’s. The loaves are made, shaped and moulded by skilled hands over a total fermentation time of 30-42 hours, and then baked and packed by hand in Torquay. 

Zeally Bay Sourdough not only produces bread, but also a pantry range including muesli, granola and sourdough breadcrumbs. Luckily for all Victorians, you don’t have to live on the surf coast to be able to enjoy the popular Zeally Bay range. Visit their stockists page to find the closest retailer to you.  

Local brews 

Bells Beach Brewing released their first beer in 2015, winning a Silver at the craft beer award. In the years following, they continued to grow their range and worked hard to open their brewery and tap room in December 2018. Located in the heart of the surf industry, tucked behind the outlets on Surf Coast Highway, Bells Beach Brewing's tap room is usually the place to hang out in Torquay. 

With the tap room having to close, the owners have not wanted to leave their customers thirsty and are opening for takeaway each day from 12pm until 6pm. For local residents not wanting to leave home, the team are even offering free home delivery to Torquay, Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast daily from 9am until late. If you’re living a little further away, you can still enjoy Bells Beach’s brews by ordering from their online store

Fresh produce and specialty goods 

As you approach Torquay along the Surf Coast Highway from Melbourne, you’ll find Peach’s Torquay, a boutique produce store that lives by the way of ‘eat fresh, eat local’. Renowned for their selection of seasonal produce and specialty items from local growers, farmers and suppliers, Peach’s is a local favourite but also a must visit for picking up supplies on a trip down the Great Ocean Road. 

Due to social distancing measures put in place, Peach’s have extended their offering to an online order service where you simply send your shopping list before 3pm for next day delivery or pick up. Delivery is just $8 for orders under $100, and they’ll even deliver as far as Lorne and Birregurra depending on the day. The store is still open for walk-ins too, open from Monday to Friday from 9am until 6pm, and on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm. 

Plus, check out our weekender's guide to Torquay.

Baker flouring loaves of bread.

Zeally Bay Sourdough. Photo: Lauren Bamford.

Fresh baked loaves of bread on shelf.

 Freshly baked Zeally Bay Sourdough. Photo: Lauren Bamford.

Ballarat and Daylesford Region  

Inside Scoop from RACV Goldfields Resort

Breads and pastries 

The delicious French bakery-pastry shop in the heart of CreswickLe Péché Gourmand, remains open for takeaway over this time. With a never-ending list of fresh breads, individual and large cakes, pastries and pre-made baguettes, and of course hot coffee for the cool autumn mornings, there’s something to please everyone whether sweet or savoury. Le Péché Gourmand is available for takeaway from Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to 3pm with pre-orders available online

Gifts for him 

Whether you’re looking for a present for your brother, Dad, male best friend or newly befriended neighbour, Buster McGee has curated a collection of men’s clothing, grooming products and gifts from around the globe, and is offering free local delivery around Daylesford and free Australia-wide shipping for orders over $100.  

If you’re looking for the perfect outfit for yourself, try their new service Buster McGee inFit. For those living within the Hepburn Shire, select three items of clothing and they’ll be dropped off to your door to try in the comfort of your own home, free of charge. If you don’t quite like the look, Buster McGee will come and collect the items the same day. For more details visit the Buster McGee website

Handmade chocolate  

After opening in 2003, The Chocolate Mill fast became a local favourite for those visiting the Ballarat and Daylesford region. Using only the finest Belgium fair trade chocolate by Callebaut, all chocolates and their fillings are made onsite at the premises in Daylesford.  

Ensuring that you have all the comfort food you need on hand, The Chocolate Mill have put together a Quarantine Survival Kit containing six of their most popular products including Rocky Road, Coconut Crunch Bark and Milk Hot Chocolate, to help you get through the time in isolation. The Chocolate Mill is currently open on Fridays through to Sundays for nearby residents or is available for online orders Australia-wide with just a $10 delivery fee. Plus, RACV members can show their membership card to save 10 per cent on chocolate purchases.

Inside of country patisserie

 Le Peche Gourmand.

Treats at country bakery.

 Treats at Le Peche Gourmand.

Murray River Region 

Inside Scoop from RACV Cobram Resort

Top Australian produce 

Manto Produce is a family run farm located just 1km down Campbell Road from RACV Cobram Resort. The region produces some of the best fruit and vegetables grown in any region of Australia, providing locals with the best pick of the bunch. As not all types of produce is able to be grown in the local area, Manto Produce travel to Melbourne markets three times a week to pick up additional items such as mangoes, bananas and pineapples, ensuring a large variety of fresh quality produce is available to residents along the Murray River. 

The Farmstore also stocks fresh bread, eggs, honey and olive oil, meaning you’ll be able to stock up on almost all your fresh supplies from the one store. Open daily from 8.30am until 6pm, locals can visit and hand select what they need, or for those time poor, ordering online ahead of pick up is an option as well as delivery to nearby suburbs. 

Olives, olive oils and more 

Rich Glen Olive Estate began back in 1997 when a father and son team along with many helpers planted 36,000 olive trees. In 2001 they built a state-of-the-art processing facility to harvest, crush and press the olives within hours, producing one of Australia's healthiest, tastiest and most versatile extra virgin olive oils. The farm remains family owned and run, producing not only delicious olives and olive oils, but a range of other gourmet delights, as well as products for the body and home. 

Rich Glen Olive Estate’s Farmgate Store and Cafe are currently closed, however they have recently opened R.G Provedore in Yarrawonga, offering a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, cheeses, homemade meals, preserves and pantry items either made at the farm or sourced from local producers, and of course Rich Glen products are also available for purchase as well. R.G Provedore is open from 9am until 4pm on weekdays, and from 9am until 1pm on weekends. If you can’t make it there in person, you can continue to shop Rich Glen’s range online

If a visit to R.G Provedore has made you hungry, visit their recipe page for inspiration to create your next meal.

With so many resorts to choose from, find the moments you'll remember at an RACV Resort