The weekend is fast approaching and you and your significant other need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. As tempting as it may be to escape reality on the big screen from the comfort of the couch (damn you, Netflix), there’s a whole world out there just waiting for you to Instagram it, so we have compiled this very bookable list of Melbourne’s best mini break destinations, guaranteed to score you more brownie points than the Flour Markets and Country Women’s Association combined.
#1: Holgate Brewhouse
Since its inception in 1999, the Holgate Brewhouse has outgrown its humble beginnings in Paul and Natasha Holgate’s backyard, to its current home in a gorgeous 19th century red-brick Hotel in Woodend. Tour the microbrewery with its cascading beer waterfall, lickable pale-ale wall paper and little orange men running around… well not exactly, but a microbrewery tour is a must and better than any golden ticket if you’re a beer fan. Pop in for the day and pair off the tasty Holgate range with some fine cuisine in the hotel restaurant, or, if a quiet brew turns into a few, book a night in one of the guestrooms at this famous family-owned brewery.
#2: Peninsula Hot Springs
Founded by Charles and Richard Davidson in 1997, the Peninsula Hot Springs should be high on the bucket list for relaxation. Situated on the brothers’ 42acre site, the natural hot mineral baths will take the edge off any navigationally challenged argument on the roadtrip down to the Peninsula. With a myriad of facilities including Turkish steam bath (Hamam), reflexology walk, sauna, cave pool, massaging thermal showers, as well as a 360degree view Hilltop pool. The closest you’ll get to nirvana without a time machine to the 90’s.
#3: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
Ignite all your senses at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. Set in the picturesque backdrop of the Yarra Valley, Ian and Leanne Neeland have created a wonderland that’s giving Willy a run for his money. Watch their team of talented European Chocolatiers at work, and visit the showroom stocking over 250 different chocolate products. Before that watering mouth of yours spills, be sure to enjoy the free tastings. Guests are encouraged to soak in the Yarra Valley views from the café, serving breakfast, light lunch and of course… CHOCOLATE! Roam and explore the lawns, gardens and nearby wetlands conservation area and take in what the Yarra Valley has to offer.
#4: Little Creatures Brewery
The latest creature to join the family, the Geelong edition of the much-loved Little Creatures Brewery is well worth the travel time. Fly on over to the old Valley Worsted Mills and grab yourself a pale ale and a bite to eat. Tag along for a tour of where the magic happens, just be sure to not steal the fizzy lifting drink. Plus on the second Sunday of each month join the team for music, home baked goods, illustrations, jewellery, preserves, homewares, coffee and of course a cold beer.
#5: Seppelt Wines
Located in the heart of the Grampians, Seppelt Wines has been in the mini break game since the 1860s. Sample some of their renowned cool climate wines whilst enjoying the winery's rustic cellar door experience. It’s open seven days for tastings, and is one of the best Melbourne mini breaks going. Be sure to grab a coffee coupled with a light lunch or cheese platter.
#6: Daylesford Cidery
Established in 2003, Daylesford Cider Company is set on 30 acres in Victoria's beautiful central highlands and is one of our fave Melbourne mini breaks. The orchard contains 18 traditional cider varieties with more than 1700 trees. Whilst sipping back a cider why not enjoy a pizza in the courtyard from the woodfired oven.
#7:The Piggery Café
Headed up by Vue De Monde chef-restaurateur Shannon Bennett, The Piggery is the perfect brunch spot to widdle away your afternoon in the Dandenongs. With its own dedicated bakery, be sure to find some coffee-accompaniments in the form of caneles, buns and brioche. However, with a name like Shannon Bennet at the helm, the breakfast and lunch menu is hard to look past. When you’re done feasting, get all whimsical playing a spot of croquet or plan a visit the nearby Alfred Nicholas gardens.
Looking for a longer adventure? Check out our epic Grampians itinerary.
Image credit: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie