Art & Design

How To Impress Your Out-Of-Town Mates | Regional Edition

By Sophie Colvin
5th Oct 2015

You’ve got mates coming from out-of-town, as in different state or country kinda out-of-town. Naturally, you want to show off glorious Melbourne, but you also want to flaunt her countryside charms too, she’s not just a one-trick-pony. Like wine. And nature. And wine. There are so many terrific day and weekend trips close to Melbourne, so we thought we’d give you a quick low-down on a few of them.

Great Ocean Road

Jump in the car and head outta town. If you think that the Great Ocean Road is a hectic amount of driving, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find it’s a cruisey hour and a half from Melbourne to Torquay.

Stop in at Torquay for breakfast. There’s a stack to choose from, but we can vouch for excellent eats at Front Beach Café, Sticks and Stones, Café Moby and Growlers.

If you stick around Torquay, head to the back beach and go for a paddle (between the flags, of course!). Take a wander to explore the coast or simply sit back and enjoy the fantastic beach.

If you’re keen for a bit more scenery, hit the road and continue on your merry way.  Stop in at the Split Point Lighthouse, where strange things happen, if you’re goin’, round the twist. Have you, ever, ever felt like this…

Continue on a bit further and you’ll come across plenty of beaches with steep paths from the cliff-top to the coast. More often than not, theses beaches are deserted and you’ll be able to lie on the sand or splash about in complete solitude.

Drive a little further and you’ll hit Lorne, one of our favourite coastal towns. If you’re after something casual, we insist you head along to Bottle of Milk – their burgers are to die for.

The Lorne Hotel has a cracking view and is a good spot to sit enjoy some froffies. Alternatively, hit up Go Ride A Wave and learn to surf and have a few laughs. (Don’t mix those last two suggestions, folks. They don’t go together.)

If you’re a hard-out foodie and want our best Great Ocean Road recommendations, here are our top five.


It’s the ‘other’ side of the bay, but it’s equally worth the trip.

Head down the Mornington Peninsula and stop in at the Peninsula Hot Springs. There’s a whole range of treatments and ways to unwind, but if you’re going with mates, we think relaxing in the hot springs is as good a way as any to enjoy the area.

Once you’re sufficiently soaked and steamed, head on to Sorrento and grab a drink and some oysters at Three Palms. While you’re down this way, you might as well indulge in a spot of retail therapy – pop into Emia for threads and White Nest for art, homewares and all things beautiful.

Trundle up the road to Portsea and head out to the Point Nepean National Park. You’ll be rewarded with the whitest sands and the clearest water you can imagine. It’d be a pity to travel all that way and not go for a dip. Head back in to town and grab a drink or two at the Portsea Hotel. We recommend that you either kick on here and stay for dinner, or mosey back to Sorrento and settle in for some no-fuss food at Smokehouse before heading home.


Daylesford is the perfect day-trip distance from Melbourne, though it’s a cracking spot to get away to for a full weekend as well.

Head north-west from the city and you’ll come to Daylesford, one of Victoria’s most delightful regional towns. There’s an absolute stack load of places to visit, eat and shop.

We’d head straight to Hepburn Bath House and Spa where you can relax in the mineral-rich waters of the region and relax with some dreamy spa treatments.

Head in to the township of Daylesford and take your pick between any one of a handful of cracking cafés and produce stores. Cliffy’s Emporium is our pick – it’s an eclectic pantry café that really is the ultimate country larder. You’ll also be able to grab something delicious at Harvest Café, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner over the weekend.

If you fancy yourself the ultimate picnic, head to Istra Smallgoods and scoop up anything your heart desires. Go nuts! There’s so many jars of pickles, cured meats, pâtés, breads and Eastern European sweets, so grab what you like and find yourself a spot to plonk down and indulge. Central Springs is lovely with lots of grassy areas and walking trails.

Back in town, make sure that you check out some of the markets on offer. The Mill Market is Australia’s largest indoor market of antiques and collectables, with over 140 stallholders. It really is the ultimate hunt for trash or treasure, but either way, it’s a fascinating adventure.

If all the exploring has left you hankering for a drink and hearty meal, you’ve got a few options. The Farmers Arms Hotel is cosy and welcoming and everything that you could want on an out-of-town trip, especially in winter. Rack of lamb and a glass of red, anyone?

Alternatively, if you’re after a little bit of Melbourne in the country, The Perfect Drop is a sophisticated wine bar. There’s excellent food and plenty of quality booze, so we’re confident that you’ll be more than satisfied.

If you’re turning this trip in to a whole weekend affair, The Whitehouse Daylesford is possibly one of the most picturesque and comfortable regional accommodation spots we’ve come across. You’ll need to book well in advance though – there’s a reason it’s popular.

Do you have out-of-town mates visiting, but want to stay city side? Check out our recommendations for impressing them here.

Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White for The urban List, The Whitehouse Daylesford, Shafir

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