Review: Horses, Wine and Beer tour from Melbourne offers a winning day out
Melbourne is home to 'the race that stops a nation' and this tour will introduce you to many former champions of the track at Living Legends. You'll also have the opportunity to taste-test the liquid wares of a local winery and boutique brewery.
Meet some of Australia’s most famous retired racehorses on this fabulous full day tour from Melbourne to the Living Legends property at Greenvale. You’ll also enjoy a hearty pub-style lunch, a wine tasting, and the chance to try a range of craft beers. Duration: 8 hours (approx.)
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
Please note: The itinerary for this tour has recently changed. For an updated list of stops, visit the tour booking page using the button above.
Whether you’re into horse racing or not, you have to admire the pure athleticism of these majestic creatures.
Located 30 minutes’ drive north of Melbourne, Living Legends is a rural property that’s home to a number of retired equine stars. Melbourne Sports Tours offers a tour to the facility called Horses, Wine and Beer. It combines a visit to Living Legends with stops at a local winery and a boutique brewery. Now, as someone who loves nothing better than a cheeky punt and a pint during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend a day!
I meet tour guide Simon and the rest of the group at Melbourne’s Federation Square. Simon is very knowledgeable about horse racing. In fact, I’d call him a walking stats man! Before too long, we’re cruising up the long driveway at Living Legends, which Simon describes as ‘a retirement village for racehorses’. The significance of the name becomes clearer when we meet some of the residents, who between them have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money.
After a quick tour of the historic main house (built in 1843), we’re treated to a cuppa and traditional scones with jam and cream. Head trainer Eleanor arrives to show us around and as you would expect, she knows just about everything there is to know about her beloved horses. Every one of them has a story.
The horses are usually paired up or kept in groups of three. Eleanor explains that quite often the horses are familiar with one another, having trained together during their careers.
Firstly we meet Good Ba Ba, then Silent Witness — formerly the world’s top ranked turf sprinter. Efficient and Zipping (referred to as ‘Fish & Zip’!) are fairly standoffish until Eleanor lures them over with some feed. Brew, Fields Of Omagh (referred to as ‘FOO’) and Super Impressive put on a show as they receive their daily shower. Melbourne Cup winner Brew seems to love the water.
Paris Lane and Better Loosen Up (both Caulfield Cup winners) call Living Legends home, as do Rogan Josh and Apache Cat — who Eleanor describes as proper ‘BFFs’. Ex-racehorse and police mount Chief De Beers bunks in with big winners Maluckyday and California Memory, and Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power has the most unlikely of stable mates — a miniature horse named Toby!
It’s soon time to move on to our next stop — Gisborne Peak Winery — for lunch and a wine tasting. We taste our way through the estate’s excellent product list, and enjoy a glass of the wine of our choice with lunch. I should probably have picked a white to match my delicious prawn pizza, but I couldn’t go past the estate-grown pinot noir with its distinctive aroma of cherries and spice.
We make our way towards the town of Woodend — home to the famous Holgate Brewhouse. Holgate brews its own small batch beers. Some are part of the regular menu, while others are experimentals that change with the seasons.
On arrival at the brewery we’re presented with a tasting paddle of eight different beers, including two of Holgate’s most popular brews — Export Hills and an American-style IPA called Road Trip. There’s a chocolate porter named Temptress, a Belgian IPA known as Unflemished, the Hopinator and the 8% Belgian-style ‘Dubbel’ Abbey Ale called Double Trouble. They’re all sensational.
On the journey back to Melbourne we chat quietly or drift off to sleep. This Horses, Wine and Beer tour from Melbourne has been a champion day out!
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and much of North America. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.