Riddle us this: in one Melbourne weekend where can you buy apples and stone fruit straight from an orchard, take a walk in a national park and enjoy a barista-made coffee all in the same outing?
Located next to the Lysterfield Park and Lake, a 40-minute drive from Melbourne CBD, The Orchard at Montague sells fresh produce straight from the very place its grown, has an on-site restaurant and café and offers tours of its orchard and new state-of-the-art processing facility.
Your Melbourne weekend plans are about to be sorted with these six ways to experience The Orchard.
1. Dine with fruit orchard views
If you choose your breakfast, brunch, lunch or afternoon tea location based on the vista, book a table at the on-site restaurant – Stella's Kitchen – to enjoy an outlook of rows of fruit trees as you tuck into your meal.
With a man-made lake, landscaped lawn and apple and stone fruit trees less than 100 metres from the restaurant, soak up the scenery while dining on produce grown on the grounds.
As a nod to Stella Montague (the Montague family matriarch), the menu also features some of Stella's favourite recipes, including Stella's scones.
When visiting, keep in mind that fruit is seasonal, so depending on when you visit you might find the trees full of apples, peaches or plums, or blossoms with the next season’s fruit starting to grow.
2. Grab a takeaway barista-made coffee to enjoy in a national park
Forget packing the thermos, coffee sachets and miniature milk for your next national park escape.
Stop by the takeaway window at Stella's Kitchen for a ST Ali brew to sip as you explore the 1,300-plus hectares of Lysterfield Park and Lake.
You’ll also find hot snacks, cakes and treats available for when you need to refuel before your day’s adventure exploring this popular nature playground.
3. Shop fresh, local produce at Bill’s Orchard Gate
Do you love to shop at a local farmer’s market or independent greengrocers for your fruit and vegetables?
Stop by Bill’s Orchard Gate to pick up in-season produce straight from the orchard as well as fresh produce from our partner suppliers – such as herbs and vegetables.
As well as fridge and pantry essentials for home (read: bread and milk), Bill’s Orchard Gate stocks gourmet cheese, chutney and crackers – perfect for those last-minute supplies for your picnic basket.
You’ll also find Robert Gordon homewares, candles and handcrafted soaps and lotions for any last-minute gift ideas.
4. Refuel after an active escape in Lysterfield Park and Lake
Is there any better combo than a walk, run, bike ride or sail followed by a snack?
Book a table at Stella's Kitchen to refuel after working up your appetite around Lysterfield Park and Lake.
With a 5.5-kilometre Lake Circuit Trail, 24 kilometres of mountain bike trail and an Equestrian Trail – the national park offers an active escape for all paces.
If you’ve arrived by bike or horse, you’ll find bike racks and pitching rails with a water trough along the fence near the park entrance to secure your transport of choice while dining.
5.Learn about seasonal produce at our Tasting Bar
Just like learning about the different characteristics and flavours of a pinot noir or chardonnay at a cellar door, learn about the different taste profiles of apples and stone fruit at Bill’s Orchard Gate’s Tasting Bar.
With a passion for educating consumers about fruit, the staff at Bill’s Orchard Gate can help you find your perfect fruit match, by teaching you about the different textures and flavour profiles of fruit.
6. Book a tour to learn about fruit production
There’s a lot that goes into growing the perfect fruit, and now you have the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at The Orchard to learn about the growing, picking, packing and transport process.
Book a Facility Tour to learn how fruit is sorted and checked before it is packed with insights into the evolution of farming processes from the early 1950s to today.
If spending time amongst the fruit trees, learning about how fruit is grown and fruit picking is more your style, book a seasonal Orchard Tour. Note – these tours only run from November – April, when our fruit is growing on the trees.
Get to know more about our tours here.