23rd Nov 2012 4:46pm | By Alex Harmon
Once upon a time, the southern hemsiphere was given very little respect when it came to its drinking habits – well, there was no problem with the quantity consumed, but the quality was considered lacking.
That’s long changed, though, meaning Australia and New Zealand produce some of the tastiest drops going. So, during your next trip, make an effort to see where the magic happens.
Whatever your tipple, wherever you’re based, there are tours taking you out to the site of production and giving you an insight into how those charged with filling the bottles go about their craft. And, of course, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to sample the produce along the way.
From Sydney, you can head north to the Hunter Valley or, from Melbourne, head east to the Yarra Valley. These are Australia’s two biggest wine-producing regions and make for sprawling, picturesque vistas which are perfect locations to watch the sun go down with a glass in hand.
Of course, if you’re not into the vino, Australia’s boutique beer scene is booming – and the Cooper’s plant, in the suburbs of Adelaide, is one of the best-known old-school ales going. It’s a venerable family business, where they’ve been making their beer the same way for generations, so make the most of your chance to peak behind the curtain.
If you prefer the stronger stuff, then head to Queensland, to the Bundaberg region, which gives its name to Australia’s favourite brand of rum – as well as the advertising campaign that first conceived the drop bear.
Or, if you’re thristy enough to leave Australian shores altogether, make the trip across the Tasman to New Zealand, which is currently the toast of wine-lovers the world over. If you’re on the North Island, then Hawke’s Bay is bursting with winery tours, and the same goes for Central Otago down south. Don’t worry – if you’re just rattling around in between, you’ll still be able to find something.
TNT’s favourite drop of the moment is at 4 Pines Brewery in Manly. If you haven’t checked out their beer, do it now. But steer clear of the Space Beer, unless, of course, you actually are hanging out in the outer stratosphere.