Re­gional Vic­to­ria

Melbourne Official Visitor Guide - - Inside -

Head away from the city lim­its to dis­cover beau­ti­ful

districts boast­ing stun­ning beaches, fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory, rolling hills of vines and sen­sa­tional din­ing.

Gee­long and the Bel­lar­ine

Take the V/Line train to Gee­long (or hire a car from Redspot En­ter­prise) and get set for sum­mer fun. Check out the win­ners of pres­ti­gious por­trait com­pe­ti­tion, the Archibald Prize, on show at Gee­long Gallery (un­til 10 De­cem­ber). Head to Lit­tle Crea­tures, where you can tour the brew­ery be­fore kick­ing back at the can­teen for share plates, piz­zas and beer. No trip to Gee­long is com­plete with­out a wa­ter­front stroll. Check out the fa­mous Bay­walk Bol­lard Trail, where the tim­ber struc­tures are painted to look like char­ac­ters from his­tory, the vin­tage carousel and the en­closed sea baths, a fan­tas­tic place for a dip. Jump back in the car and head to Queensliff’s 360Q, over­look­ing the har­bour, to watch the sun go down and en­joy a spe­cial din­ner.

vis­it­gee­long­bel­lar­ine.com.au

Yarra Val­ley

This is the per­fect day trip from Mel­bourne. Taste some of the re­gion’s wines at TAR­RAWARRA Es­tate, then lunch at the charm­ing Healesville Ho­tel. Sam­ple the award-win­ning gins at con­tem­po­rary Four Pil­lars Dis­tillery. On the way back to Mel­bourne stop at Yarra Val­ley Cho­co­la­terie and Ice Cream­ery for a sweet treat.

vis­it­yarraval­ley.com.au

Phillip Is­land

Ev­ery­one loves pen­guins and you can catch these lit­tle cuties on their nightly sun­set pen­guin pa­rade at Phillip Is­land Na­ture Parks. They come out of the wa­ter af­ter a day’s fish­ing and wad­dle up the beach to their bur­rows in the dunes. There’s also an un­der­ground view­ing area that al­lows vis­i­tors to be at ground level to watch the pen­guins pass by. Book a trip with a tour com­pany to get there and back eas­ily.

vis­it­phillip­is­land.com

Bendigo

A trip to this beau­ti­ful gold rush-era town is eas­ily ne­go­ti­ated in a day, whether you travel by train or car. Take in all the sights when you ar­rive on the vin­tage Talk­ing Tram — you can hop on and off as you please, and the com­men­tary tells sto­ries of the min­ing days. Taste the best of lo­cal pro­duce and wine over a long lunch at Ma­sons of Bendigo. Later, check out the ex­hi­bi­tions at Bendigo Art Gallery. The Cos­tume De­signer: Edith Head and Hol­ly­wood, which fea­tures more than 70 cos­tumes from movies like Ver­tigo and The Ten Com­mand­ments, is the block­buster show on un­til 21 Jan­uary. Be­fore you head back to Mel­bourne, stop at the very cool Brew­house Cafe & Cof­fee Roast­ers for a caf­feinated pick-me-up.

bendig­o­tourism.com

Gipp­s­land

While there are a num­ber of post­card-per­fect beach towns along the Gipp­s­land coast — Venus Bay, Me­tung and Lakes En­trance among them — the jewel in this pretty crown is Wil­sons Promon­tory. You’ll need a car to get here, so hire one from Redspot En­ter­prise, then pre­pare to be in­spired by this 50,000-hectare na­ture re­serve. Camp at Tidal River or book one of the nearby cab­ins at Wilder­ness Re­treats, then get back to na­ture. Walk­ing trails, wildlife and gor­geous beaches are all wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered.

vis­it­prom­coun­try.com.au

Bal­larat

Jump on the V/Line train to Bal­larat and ex­plore the colour­ful his­tory of this gold rush town. The

Art Gallery of Bal­larat is a good place to spend an hour or two. Ro­manc­ing the Skull (un­til 28 Jan­uary) ex­am­ines this bony struc­ture’s use in art and why we con­tinue to be en­am­oured with it. The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes Shaun Glad­well’s vir­tual re­al­ity work, Or­bital Van­i­tas, which de­buted at the 2017 Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val. Just around the cor­ner, tuck into a tasty lunch at the funky Fu Man Lou Dumpling Bar. His­tory is on show at one of Vic­to­ria’s best-loved attractions, Sov­er­eign Hill, a re-cre­ation of a gold-min­ing town from the 1850s. If you feel as though you haven’t scraped Bal­larat’s sur­face, stay for the night at the ma­jes­tic Craig’s Royal Ho­tel.

vis­it­bal­larat.com.au

Great Ocean Road

It’s the great­est drive in Vic­to­ria, so hire a car from Redspot En­ter­prise and head to­wards Lorne. Stop at Swing Bridge Cafe & Boathouse, a sim­ple beach shack where tasty burg­ers and toasties are served with a view of the wa­ter. The ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion is the 12 Apos­tles, best ob­served as the sun goes down. Book a cabin at Bimbi Park, where you’ll be amazed at the koalas in the trees over­head. Be­spoke Har­vest, where pro­duce is sourced from the neigh­bour­hood, is the per­fect spot for din­ner be­fore you head back to Mel­bourne the next day.

vis­it­greato­cean­road.org.au

High Coun­try

Get ready for gourmet ad­ven­tures. Hire a car from Redspot En­ter­prise then head to­wards Mi­lawa. Here, you’ll find Brown Broth­ers. Try the dif­fer­ent va­ri­etals at the cel­lar door be­fore lunch at the ca­sual Epi. Cu­ri­ous. Drop into Mi­lawa Cheese to stock up on farm­house ched­dar, then drive to Beech­worth. Check into the ro­man­tic Free­man on Ford B&B be­fore in­dulging in a mul­ti­course din­ner at Prove­nance.

vic­to­ri­ashigh­coun­try.com.au

Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula

This beau­ti­ful re­gion, just 90 min­utes’ drive from Mel­bourne, blends rolling coun­try­side and stun­ning beaches. Hire a car with Redspot En­ter­prise to get you there. Jump into the sad­dle for a win­ery tour of a dif­fer­ent kind with Horse­back Win­ery Tours. Soothe any aching mus­cles with a soak at

Penin­sula Hot Springs. Then, on the way back to Mel­bourne, stop at Red Gum BBQ for slow-cooked, Amer­i­can-style meats in a beer hall at­mos­phere.

vis­it­morn­ing­ton­penin­sula.org

Daylesford and the Mace­don Ranges

Plan a ro­man­tic get­away. Set the GPS in your Redspot En­ter­prise hire car for the Lake House for an amaz­ing lunch on the deck. Stroll along Daylesford’s Vin­cent Street ex­plor­ing the ex­cel­lent bou­tiques and an­tique stores. Check into the out­stand­ing vil­las at Clifftop at Hep­burn be­fore head­ing to the Ar­gus Din­ing Room for in­ven­tive mod­ern Aus­tralian cui­sine. In the morn­ing, re­lax in the min­eral wa­ters at the Hep­burn Bath­house & Spa then re­turn to Mel­bourne.

dm­r­ex­plore.com.au

The Mur­ray

The Mur­ray is the long­est river in Aus­tralia, and Mil­dura (it’s best to fly there) is one of the big­gest towns on its length. On ar­rival, take a his­toric cruise with Mil­dura Pad­dlesteam­ers, or hire a kayak from Wild Side Out­doors and do your own pad­dling. Stay the night on the wa­ter with Mil­dura House­boats and treat your­self to din­ner at the fa­mous Ste­fano’s Restau­rant.

visit­the­mur­ray.com.au

Grampians

This re­gion is a na­ture lover’s par­adise. Base your­self at Halls Gap — the Halls Gap Lake­side Tourist Park now has glamp­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion — and take on the many hikes in the area. Start at Bram­buk – The Na­tional Park & Cul­tural Cen­tre to tackle the eight-kilo­me­tre Boro­nia Peak walk that of­fers great views of

Lake Fyans. Kids will love vis­it­ing the an­i­mals at the Halls Gap Zoo. The fam­ily-friendly bistro at the Kook­aburra Ho­tel serves up great coun­try pub meals.

vis­it­grampians.com.au

12 Apos­tles, Great Ocean Road

Tar­raWarra Es­tate, Yarra Glen

Bay­walk Bol­lard Trail, Gee­long

Word on theStreetDaniel (53) from Port Mel­bourneWe’d seen Gee­long’s Restau­rant Igni had won a num­ber of pres­ti­gious awards, so we de­cided to book din­ner and stay in town for the night. It was well worth it. Aaron Turner’s eight-course menu with matched wines was sub­lime — it’s like he cre­ates art for the taste­buds. It’s a meal my wife and I won’t ever for­get.restau­rantigni.comBendigo Art Gallery

Did You Know?Dan Hunter’s restau­rant Brae, in Bir­re­gurra, en­tered the World’s 50 Best Restau­rants list in2017 at num­ber 44?Wil­sons Promon­tory

Wilder­ness Re­treats, Wil­sons Promon­tory

Ar­gus Din­ing Room, Hep­burn Springs

Penin­su­laenin­sula Hot Springs, Fin­gal

Mi­lawa Cheese

Bram­buk – The Na­tional Park & Cul­tural Cen­tre, Halls GapWord on the StreetRod (37) from Yar­rav­illeFor a few years, I’ve been ex­er­cis­ing on a climb­ing wall, but I al­ways wanted to try the realthing. Mount Arapiles in the Grampians is a pre­mier rock-climb­ing des­ti­na­tion, so I booked aguide through The Climb­ing Com­pany. They’re all lo­cals and re­ally helped me find my feet. I’m now a con­vert and can’t wait to get back there.climbco.com.au

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