If you are looking for a truly unique experience while visiting regional Australia, look no further than Restdown Wines and Walking Trail. We were lucky enough to be given a personalised wine tasting and tour of this stunning property, and what a genuinely special experience this was…
Their 1100 acre property sits along the Backroads Trail, across the border into New South Wales to where the sealed roads turn into dirt tracks – roughly 45 minutes out of Echuca. It was a super easy drive – don’t be scared off by the dirt tracks if you don’t have a 4WD – it is fine for normal cars to drive on, just take it slow and stay on the compacted, harder surfaces. The short bumpy section of the track, is well worth it, when you turn into the drive of the property and see what is waiting for you…
Upon our arrival, we were greeted so warmly by the owners – Don and Jo Hearn. Two of the loveliest, genuinely passionate, salt of the earth people we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting; and their cellar door was gorgeously rustic and inviting. Imagine a quaint, country style long table nestled in the sun, overflowing with platters of delicious food, country flowers and set with sparkling glasses, ready for our tasting.
To whet our appetites for our lunch and wines, we first took a guided bushwalk around the property – learning from Don about the wetlands. Their property is steeped in Aboriginal and early settlement history. The walk was over flat ground, less than an hour to complete the full loop, super relaxing and educational. We followed an old river system that existed around 25,000 years ago, and we saw remaining relics of an old Aboriginal hearth and scarred tree. Don pointed out specific budding flowers and plants, and explained that the land is now the natural habitat to a wide range of plants, animals, birds and insects. Kangaroos visit them often, and they even have a resident goanna! It truly is a stunning piece of Australian land, making it popular with bird watchers, historians, conservationists, school groups and nature lovers.
As much as this walk was scenic and tranquil, it’s more important to understand that the wetlands and the seasonal cycles are an integral part of the sustainability of Restdown. Don and Jo firmly believe in preserving their land, heritage and creating environmental sustainability. They do everything they can to protect their little slice of paradise by minimising their carbon footprint by using solar power; embracing organic and bio-dynamic practices and recycling their resources. They do as much of their production as they can by hand, and they regularly take on backpackers to work the farm during harvest and bottling season.
After our walk, we had worked up quite an appetite and were super keen to get stuck into tasting their delicious wines and eating lunch. Their wines are certified organic (no hangovers!) and are absolutely delightful to drink. We sipped on cold, crisp Wild Chardonnay, a deliciously balanced Semillon, a medium bodied Shiraz and a robust Merlot. The vino was very drinkable, and paired perfectly with lunch – antipasto platters full of local products, meats, cheeses, handmade bread and speciality produce handpicked from their own gardens. So fresh, so healthy – we literally couldn’t get enough of everything on offer, and secretly turned a few of us into kale lovers!
Their warmth, hospitality and passion was lovely to experience for a few hours – we felt so at home at Restdown, we honestly didn’t want to leave. We relaxed in the sunshine, with our bellies full and our hearts happy, played with the farm puppy, chatted with Don and Jo, and enjoyed the peace and serenity to the point of us seriously considering coming back in the harvesting months to help out and experience a small part of their process, alongside the backpackers! We can only imagine sitting on their jetty over the wetlands, watching the sunset after a satisfying day’s work, bottle of their chardy on ice… bliss!
Restdown Wines is a not to be missed experience if you are in the area, or even if you are not in the area – it is worth the special trip!