WINE / TRAVEL
Crossing the ditch for a holiday? Make sure to check out some of these top tips – or just let Scenic show you the way
Standing with my toes in the sand, the ripples from monster Bass Strait breakers rolling across my feet, I savour the sunset stroll along the beach at Lorne.
I’m on Scenic’s new 11-day Victorian Discovery itinerary from Melbourne, which explores regions from the Goldfields to Grampians and includes our next destination: the Great Ocean Road. While submerging my toes in saltwater is a delight, it’s far from the highlight of a holiday that includes bucket-list Victorian destinations and some of the state’s hidden gems. ON THE WATER Bucket list: Murray River paddle steamer The PS Emmylou – the vintage woodburning steamer briefly renamed the PS Providence to appear in the 1980s series All The Rivers Run – is the most famous vessel cruising the Murray River near Echuca. She regularly departs the historic port to meander below towering river gums. murrayriverpaddlesteamers.com.au Hidden gem: Barmah Wetlands cruise Barmah National Park is home to the world’s largest red river gum forests, with Kingfisher Cruises navigating the narrowest section of the Murray River – in the Narrows, or Barmah Choke, the water moves at twice its normal speed – to see some of the 236 bird, 50 animal and 500 plant species native to the region. kingfishercruises.com.au MUSEUMS Bucket list: National Sports Museum Stand on the playing surface of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and peek inside the players’ change rooms before exploring the National Sports Museum, which is home to Australia’s biggest collection of sporting memorabilia, including AFL, cricket, horse racing and Olympic history. nsm.org.au Hidden gem: MADE The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka stands on the Ballarat plot where miners and government troopers clashed on a December day in 1854 to not only tell the story of the epic gold rush rebellion but Australia’s journey to democratic freedom with the original flag of the Southern Cross just one treasure on display. made.org ANIMALS Bucket list: Phillip Island penguin parade Every evening as the sun sinks below the horizon, an army of little penguins emerge from the waves and waddle up a beach on Phillip Island’s wild south coast to complete the commute between fishing grounds far out at sea and hungry babies waiting in hillside burrows, with this procession passing spectators standing on elevated boardwalks. penguins.org.au Hidden gem: Warrnambool guardian dogs Anyone who’s seen the movie Oddball will know about the guardian dogs protecting the little penguins on Warrnambool’s Middle Island. Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village’s Meet the Maremma experience encourages travellers to learn about the program with a seasonal visit to the animals at home or out patrolling their duty station. flagstaffhill.com DINING Bucket list: Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Some of Melbourne’s beloved “green rattler” trams have become maroon mobile restaurants. The world’s first tram eateries carry passengers on a journey through the Victorian capital – along famous shopping streets, through the CBD’s concrete canyons, past famous buildings and beside the Yarra River – while they dine. tramrestaurant.com.au Hidden gem: Fowles Wine The Strathbogie Ranges, in Melbourne’s north, is making a name for fine cool-climate wines. Fowles Wines is a family-owned estate with the Cellar Door Cafe team subscribing to the “real food” principle and serving meals made from local ingredients, including produce from their vegie patch. Try their award-wining shiraz. fowleswine.com NATURAL WONDERS Bucket list: Great Ocean Road landmarks Travellers from around the planet descend on the Great Ocean Road every day of the year to see the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge. visitgreatoceanroad.org.au Hidden gem: Central Victoria’s mineral springs Rural Hepburn Springs is in the heart of Victorian spa country, where rich mineral fountains – discovered during the gold rush and protected when it was decided the water was more valuable than the nuggets – now directed into elegant establishments such as the Hepburn Bathhouse. There, travellers can soak or indulge in a pampering treatment. hepburnbathhouse.com The writer was a guest of Scenic
Clockwise from above, handler Phil Root with a couple of maremma dogs at Warrnambool; the elegant Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa; and the penguin parade at Phillip Island.