Is your regular $100 Hamburger getting a little stale? I was recently lucky enough to discover a hotspot of first-class food and wine on offer. And the best part? It’s just a short flight from both Sydney and Melbourne. A peaceful, welcoming country town perfectly set up for private pilots, let me tell you why Milawa makes for the perfect weekender.

Situated at the northern end of the picturesque King Valley, the Milawa Gourmet Region has a long-standing reputation for excellent food and even better wine. The township of Milawa lies at the heart of the region and is bursting with local producers, restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries. No matter your tastes, you’re sure to find something in this little corner of the world that’ll make you want to come back.

Just 108nmi from Melbourne and 280nmi from Sydney, the journey to Milawa is a good-sized flight to sink your teeth into. It is short enough to make either a perfect weekend destination or just a leisurely day trip. It’s certain to satisfy your flying itch and have I mentioned the incredible scenery? The pristine natural beauty of the alpine region and the Snowy Mountains will be on display as you approach from the north. If you’re approaching from the south, you’ll experience the beautiful Lake Eildon and rolling green hills. Either way, you’ll get a glimpse of the magnificent Victorian High Country as you fly into the quiet, grass airstrip owned by one of Australia’s most celebrated winemakers, Brown Brothers.

The Brown family have been hand-crafting exceptional wines in Milawa since 1889 and have been welcoming private pilots looking for a quick getaway since the airstrip was built in 2002. Landing amongst the vineyards, it’s just a short walk over to the famous estate. With the airstrip directly across the road from the main complex, it’s truly amazing just how quick you can go from touching down to kicking back with a glass of wine in hand. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to head straight to the Cellar Door and taste a range of award-winning vintages, varietals and even some small-batch experimental wines made in Brown Brothers’ micro-winery; the “Kindergarten”. From the Cellar Door, it’s time to grab a meal at the awardwinning Patricia’s Table restaurant or some delicious cheeses and finger foods while you taste the range in the Wine Bar. There are also a variety of tours and experiences on offer, with function rooms available for those looking for somewhere to hold their next group or club event.

While you might be on the edge of a food coma already, you’d be missing so much if you let your adventure end here! There are plenty of other hidden gems peppered throughout this scenic region. I recommend renting a bike and exploring the many local producers only a short ride from town.

Heading north will bring you to the old Milawa Butter Factory, now the home of the Milawa Cheese Company. Wander through the century-old building and experience a wide range of delicious handmade farmhouse cheeses. The Butter Factory is also the site of Wood Park Wines’ Cellar Door, Off Centre Gallery & Studio, the Walnut Tree Boutique Gift Shop and the Milawa Kitchen, a modern French-inspired bakery and bistro. Only a 15-minute return ride from the airstrip, a trip to the old Butter Factory is not to be missed! On your way back, stop in at Milawa Mustards, makers of some of Australia’s finest mustards and condiments since 1982.

For the sweet-tooth, a ride eastward will take you to Walkabout Apiaries, owned by a family of beekeepers dedicated to providing exquisite Australian honey, beeswax candles and mead. If you’ve never tried it, believe me; mead was the chosen brew of the Vikings for good reason! It’s sweet, delicious and will keep you warm for the rest of your ride! Continuing east for a 30-minute round trip, you’ll quickly find yourself in the town of Oxley, home to another notable and picturesque winery; John Gehrig Wines.

If you’re on the hunt for something a little stronger, a short trip south and you’ll find yourself at a personal favourite of mine; Hurdle Creek Still, a small batch Gin & Liqueur Distillery. Here you can watch the still in action and taste the final products all under the roof of a beautifully transformed farm shed and it’s only 15 minutes’ ride from the airstrip. If you’ve ever wondered how it all works, the distillers themselves are always up for a chat and will be happy to answer any questions you have.

A visit to Milawa can make for a pleasant day trip, but spending a night is certain to make your journey that much better. There are myriad fantastic accommodation options that will allow you to forget about your 8 hours bottle-to-throttle and give you more time to explore this fantastic region in all its glory.