Things to do outside Melbourne
Victoria’s landscape is at turns dramatic, romantic, pastoral and awe-inspiring. With award-winning wineries and some of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks only a leisurely drive from Melbourne, sampling the breadth of Victoria’s regional delights is an adventure to savour.
The undulating vineyards of the Yarra Valley are situated less than an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, and yet they feel a world away. One of Australia’s premier winegrowing regions, the Yarra Valley is home to a bevy of esteemed restaurants and providores of sumptuous local produce. Celebrating 35 years of excellence in 2013, Oakridge Winery continues to garner acclaim from critics and novices alike, while Eleonore’s Restaurant at the renowned Chateau Yering is an essential dining experience for the bon vivant.
Perched on a sweeping hillside, Yarra Valley’s idyllic TarraWarra Estate is a feast for the senses with its stylish restaurant, winery, art gallery and magnificent views. It’s difficult however, to imagine any view surpassing a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the region, culminating in a delicious champagne breakfast at Rochford Wines.
Home to Australia’s largest concentration of mineral springs, Daylesford is one of Victoria’s most indulgent destinations. From the splendour of the Lake House to the iconic charm of the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, Daylesford’s array of opulent spas, tranquil lodgings and eminent restaurants make it a perfect destination to unwind and rejuvenate.
A hint of European coastal life imbues Mornington Peninsula with an atmosphere at once refined and relaxed. With an impressive collection of world-renowned golf courses, picturesque seaside villages and famed restaurants and wineries, such as the beautiful Montalto and lustrous Port Phillip Estate, the Mornington Peninsula is a cosy medley of charm and character.
Largely responsible for Melbourne’s rapid development in the late 19th century, the rewards of the Goldfields are a little more intangible today, though certainly no less valuable. The Bendigo Art Gallery’s blend of heritage grandeur and contemporary dynamism is almost a microcosm of the region itself. Acclaimed and elegant restaurants in the vein of Whirrakee, The Good Table and Public Inn are among the modern riches of Victoria’s Goldfields.
The Great Ocean Road
Undoubtedly one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road winds through theatrical natural wonders and awe-inspiring panoramas. Taking in iconic sights such as Bells Beach, Loch Ard Gorge and of course, the imposing Twelve Apostles, this consummate touring route is a marriage of cosmopolitan villages and stunning seascapes. For an unforgettable and breathtaking view, take a helicopter flight over the rugged coastline.
For more information about things to see and do around Victoria, go to visitvictoria.com