Posted on April 23 2014
On a long weekend or any weekend for that matter, it’s always refreshing to take a break from the city and explore. Here is our guide to 3 of our fave weekend trips from Melbourne. Get in your car and ride!
1) THE GRAMPIANS
A 3 hour drive West from Melbourne city, the Grampians National Park is expansive. It’s hard to surpass the beauty of the stunning craggy ranges and sweeping vistas. Laced with many walking tracks and tramping spots, waterfalls, luxury accomodation and gastro dining, amongst some of the Australia's oldest wine-making grapevines, it’s well worth the extra nudge driving to get to this region.
Secluded, individual lodges with amazing views of the mountains. Sit by the log fire, get toasty in the spa, spread out in the ample living areas, and contemplate the beauty around you.
51 Birdswing Road, Halls Gap
(03) 5356 6243 www.borokadowns.com.au
Royal Mail Hotel
The Royal Mail Hotel is a famous must-go-to destination in the Grampians. Enjoy the award-winning accommodation as well as the fine dining of produce grown in the hotel’s very own garden. Set on just over an acre, the Royal Mail Hotel Kitchen is one of Australia's largest kitchen gardens and produces 65-80% of the produce used in the kitchen. You can tour the gardens hosted by the hotel’s resident gardener on select days – get in touch with the hotel to book.
98 Parker Street, Dunkeld 03 5577 2241 www.royalmail.com.au
This historic winery was founded in 1865, and ‘Seppelt’ has now become Australia’s largest wine brand. Particularly interesting are the underground cellars known as The Drives, tunnels covering 3km which were originally dug by gold miners in the late 1800’s. The Drives have been used for nearly 150 years for sparkling wine maturation, and can store over 1.5 million bottles. Daytime tours of the drive operate daily*, and private and night time feasts in The Drives can be arranged. Enjoy the Seppelt sparkling’s and shiraz in particular.
36 Cemetery Road
Great Western (03) 5361 2239 www.seppelt.com.au
*Daytime tours of the Drives everyday at 11am + 2pm, 1 hour duration.
Climb the Pinnacle
The name gives you an indication of what’s to experience – this is high with spectacular views!
The Grampians National Park spans nearly 1700 square kilometres, the best walks are in Halls Gap.
Horsham Art Gallery - famous for its Australian paintings and photographs.
21 Roberts Ave, Horsham, (03) 5362 2888.
Hamilton Art Gallery – thousands of works of art, including colonial paintings and modernist additions and fine arts. 107 Brown St, Hamilton, (03) 5573 0460.
Roz Greenwood Old & Rare Books
Specialising in the western Victorian area. 107a Parker Street, Dunkeld (03) 5577 2365.
2) PORT FAIRY, GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Port Fairy is a charming harbour village and packs a lot of punch for it’s weight; in 2012 Port Fairy was named the most livable town in the world...! Located on the Great Ocean Road about 4 hours from Melbourne, Port Fairy is Victoria’s oldest port and still maintains one of the state’s largest fishing fleets. Stay over night in this romantic town and enjoy unspoilt beaches, fine dining, and wander amongst some of Victoria’s oldest architecture and wharf. Port Fairy is also home to several festivals. Find out more at www.visitportfairy-moyneshire.com.au.
Recently completed, the Drifthouse offers 4 unique seperate apartments to stay in. All of them are beautifully fitted with touches of luxury. Untraditional and surprising, the Drifthouse is very cool and inviting, you won’t want to leave.
98 Gipps St, Port Fairy (03) 5568 3309 M: 0439 969 282 www.drifthouse.com.au
Menu’s changed daily based on what’s in season locally.
1 Campbell Street, Port Fairy (03) 5568 2324 www.merrijiginn.com
Time and Tide
Indulge in a High Tea at Time and Tide, right next to the water. Bookings a must.
21 Thistle Place, Port Fairy (03) 5568 2134 www.timeandtidehightea.com.au
Port Fairy Day Spa
Pamper yourself at the 5 star spa; they have an indoor salted pool with massage jets, bliss!
56 Bank Street, Port Fairy (03) 5568 1161 www.portfairydayspa.com.au
Discover Port Fairy
Meander the cottage lined streets and historic buildings and pubs, walk the causeway which leads to Griffith Island with a walking track past the old lighthouse, swim at the unspoilt beaches, try and spot whales and dolphins that frequent the waters, partake in the seasonal festivals.
Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, the Port Fairy Folk Festival in March, Moyneyana Festival in summer, and the Port Fairy Winter Weekends.
Drive through mountain roads surrounded by ferns and lofty eucalypts to reach Daylesford, a place brimming with scenic beauty and hot springs. The natural resource of hot springs has encouraged the development of multiple spa’s and other indulgences such as gourmet food & fine wines. Lonely Planet has named Daylesford region “Australia’s best indulgent escape” destination. Also nicknamed ‘the Spa Country’, Daylesford is just 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne.
There are lots of other small villages to explore in the surrounding region, including the book loving village of Clunes and the Macedon Ranges.
The official visitors guide to Daylesford and The Macedon Ranges is a fantastic guide to the area, download here: www.issuu.com/daylesfordmacedonranges
Peppers, Hepburn Springs
It’s easy to see why this special place has a wealth of awards under it’s belt. Peppers is a picturesque retreat, offering fantastic accomodation, a mineral spa, onsite restaurant and bar, guest lounge, and leafy gardens. Rooms and suites vary in features, splash out and book the Italian styled Villa Parma with a group of friends.
Peppers 124 Main Road, Hepburn Springs (03) 5348 2202 www.pepperssprings.com.au
For cottages and other accomodation to rent, try Dayget.com.au. We particularly like the look of ‘Mount Olive cottage’.
The Lake House
"Daylesford's Lake House is the success story of regional dining that everyone looks to for inspiration" - Australian Gourmet Traveller. People venture to Daylesford just to dine at The Lake House. The restaurant is overseen by executive chef Alla Wolf-Tasker, and produce is sourced from local regional suppliers. Why you are there, make the most of the day spa.
4 King Street, Daylesford (03) 5348 3329 www.lakehouse.com.au
Fine dining restaurant located in the grounds of Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat. Accomodation and degustation packages available.
124 Main Road, Hepburn Springs (03) 5348 2202 www.theargusdiningroom.com.au
Wombat Hill House
Simple refined food in a modern rustic setting, from the same people who set up The Lake House.
Car Entry off Central Spring Road, Daylesford (03) 4373 0099 www.wombathillhouse.com.au
The Farmers Arms Hotel
A mix of old and new charm; located on the road between Daylesford and Musk.
1 East Street, Daylesford (03) 5348 2091 www.thefarmersarms.com.au
Daylesford Cider Company
Real cider, as it should be.
155 Dairyflat Rd, Musk (03) 5348 2275 www.daylesfordcider.com.au
Breakfast and Beer
As it sounds! Cosy and well supplied.
117 Vincent St, Daylesford (03) 5348 1778 www.breakfastandbeer.com.au
A spa treatment is a must when in the Daylesford area, and so spoilt for choice. The Swiss new what they were doing when they settled here in the 1800’s.
Peppers Mineral Spa Retreat, Hepburn Springs
Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa
Shizuka Ryokan Japanese Country Spa
Daylesford Day Spa
Daylesford Macedon Produce Harvest Week Festival
This year it’s happening 25 Apr-4 May. The website full of the best restaurants and places to go for great produce in the region, click here: http://dmproduce.com.au/
Peruse the Daylesford Weekend Market, take a train ride on the Heritage Train Ride, walk up Mount Franklin (Daylesford-Castlemaine Road). Pick up all kinds of cullinary treats at Cliffy’s Emporium. Art enthusiasts will enjoy The Convent Gallery (corner Hill and Daly streets, Daylesford, (03) 5348 3211), where a renovated mansion houses Australian and international artists.
Explore the surrounding villages; coming up in May is the Clunes Booktown Festival 3-4 May.
What better way to celebrate books than to browse the more than 50 book shops and stalls that transform the township of Clunes each May (3-4 May 2014). New, second-hand, collectable and out-of-print books are all available within a square kilometre during the festival.
For more information on any of the above, and the other great regions of the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, visit www.Visitvictoria.com/Regions.
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***NOTE: The opinions and topics covered in this Blog are intended as a conversation with the reader, and reflect my own personal views and opinions, and are not intended to represent expert knowledge or advice.