We may be in the epicentre of one of Melbourne’s phreshest winters to date but what a lot of Melburnians don’t realise is that this is when some of Victoria’s best getaway destinations come out to play.
We’ve scoured the state for all of the best wine, cheese, accommodation and baby animals on offer, and put together three weekend itineraries every clique needs to pencil in this winter.
Unbeknownst to ninety percent of Victorians, Heathcote is a thriving wine region with untapped reservoirs of Shiraz, chocolates and jaw-dropping natural wonders. The best part is, it’s only a ninety-minute drive from the CBD, which makes it the perfect weekend winter getaway.
11am - Arrive in Heathcote and pull up at The Bank for brunch. Stock up on The Ministry Of Chocolate treats while everyone else is sampling Mitchelton Wines at the bar.
1pm - Drop into the local supermarket and pick up some supplies for a picnic in the Valley of Liquidambers—the location of your next Facebook profile picture.
3pm - Browse the shelves of local produce at the Heathcote Wine Club, make sure you stock up on organic hot chocolate.
5pm - Check in at Heathcote II, the most luxury country accommodation you’ll ever rest your head in and take in the sunset from your private balcony. Prepare yourself a lil summin’ summin’ for dinner in their fully-equipped kitchen, and choose a local wine from the in-house cellar.
11am - Grab your camera and hit the Pink Cliffs Reserve to pimp up your Instagram profile.
12pm - Arrive at Heathcote Harvest for a killer paddock to plate experience, and maybe a glimpse of some baby animals.
2pm - Squeeze in one last wine tasting at Shiraz Republic before hitting the road back to Melbourne.
Food & Culture Smorgasbord
Ballarat is more than just a historic gold rush town, and the hotspot for all major primary school excursions, it’s a pulsating hub of contemporary art, food and ice cold beers. It’s just a matter of knowing where to find them.
11am - Arrive at Yellow Espresso and kickstart your trip with a decadent brunch.
1pm - Wander over to the Art Gallery of Ballarat to appreciate the biggest permanent art collection in the country.
3pm - Grab a late lunch and a tasting paddle of local ales at the Athletic Club Brewery.
5pm - Check in to your accommodation (we highly recommend Lascelles) and freshen up for dinner i.e. have a cup of tea and cheeky nap.
7pm - Pull up a table (that you’ve pre-booked!) at Meigas, Ballarat’s home of authentic Spanish tapas, and dive into plates of garlic prawns.
9pm - Kick on with drinks and dessert at Hop Temple.
10am - Dine with the locals and have a late breakfast at the Unicorn Cafe.
12:30pm - Tick off a major Ballarat bucket list item and walk a lap of Lake Wendouree.
1:30pm - Find your signature scent at Ballarat’s resident fragrance boutique, Sweet Fern.
2pm - Enjoy a late lunch at The Forge Pizzeria before heading back to Melbourne.
Ritsy Relaxation Retreat
Folks aren’t overestimating Daylesford when they call it the relaxation capital of the state. It’s just the right amount of quaint and cute, but also modern and luxurious, and it makes for a perfect weekend getaway, no matter the temperature outside.
11am - Begin with brunch at Larder, it’s a little slice of Melbourne that’ll ease you into your country getaway.
12:30pm - Log a session at the lavish Salus Spa and enjoy a handful of treatments from their extensive menu, including a dip in their tree-top geisha tubs.
4:30pm - Clock into the Belvedere Social for a world class cocktail and a few share plates.
6:30pm - Make your dinner booking at the Lake House for an evening of award winning and seasonal cuisine. If you booked the months in advance the Lake House often requires (and paid the big dollars), you can then check into your room and spend the rest of the night talking about how this has been the best day of your life.
10am - Head to the Convent Gallery for breakfast and a spot of art appreciation (and even wedding location scouting).
1pm - Cosy up in front of the fire at Wombat Hill House and enjoy a hot lunch and a piece of cake (or four).
2pm - Stretch your legs and take a stroll through the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens before making the journey home.
If these great locations don't take your fancy, there's so much more to see and do in Victoria. Check out all of the run downs here.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni