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Weekend getaways from Melbourne

Shannon Barker

Raise your hand if you need a holiday. Do you have your hand up? Maybe you have both hands up. Let’s be honest, most of us could not be happier to say goodbye to 2020. Why not start the new year on a much needed high, with a weekend trip away from Melbourne? We’ve compiled a list of locations for you to get the most out of a short or long weekend away. Respark your desire for adventure or put up your feet and ease into a good bottle of vino. We’ve sprinkled in a little something for everyone to look forward to the coming year.

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Lorne

Home to good surf, good food and a thriving arts community, Lorne is a seaside gem only two hours drive from Melbourne. Take a dip in the inviting waters of Loutit Bay, or if you would like to try your hand at surfing, head out to Lorne Point and Cathedral Rocks.

With a bustling art and music scene, Lorne is the home of the popular Falls Music and Arts Festival, which has seen the likes of Iggy Pop and Courtney Barnett play in this small coastal town. Head out to the Cuda Bar and Restaurant to catch some live local music on the weekend, or grab a drink and sit on one of the bars' many balconies facing the ocean and enjoy the cool breeze.  

If you like waterfalls, there are 10 to be found within a 10 minute drive of town! Check out Kalmina Falls trail and walk the 8km circuit through lush tree ferns to see the cascading 15-metre waterfall. End your trip with a visit to Endota Spa and recharge your batteries before your drive back home with a spa treatment.

Apollo Bay - Via Visit Victoria, photo by Paoli Smith

Apollo Bay

With a distinctive half moon shaped shoreline, edged with spinifex and rolling green hills, this peaceful coastal town can be found just off the Great Ocean Road. Positioned between the Great Otway National Park and the Southern Ocean there are many activities to look forward to during your stay in Apollo Bay.

Unsurprisingly, this seaside town is a seafood paradise. If you’re looking for some of the freshest seafood in Victoria, head to the Fishermans Co-op at the last working fishing harbour on the Great Ocean Road. The co-op has been running for 70 years and serves fisherman's catch fresh off the boat.

Head into the Great Otway National Park to explore the many tracks that traverse the region or sit by the seaside enjoying world famous southern rock lobster in the salty sea breeze. You really can’t go wrong with a weekend away in Apollo Bay.

TOP TIP: Looking for somewhere to stay? Holiday Great Ocean Road has choices of beach cottages, apartments and holiday houses to choose from.

French Island - Via Visit Victoria

French Island

Accessible only by boat, French island is located a short 15 minute ferry ride from Stony Point, this island is also a national park and is home to the most significant population of koalas in Victoria. Enjoy your weekend away from the city with a trip exploring lush wetlands, dense woodlands and stunning beaches (did we mention the island is also dog friendly?).

Try your hand at 4 wheel driving or bring your bike and cycle along the many tracks that can be found on the island. Naturaliste tours offer guided day tours for those wanting to learn a bit more about the island's wildlife and its history. If you’re planning to stay, you can’t go past glamping on French Island to experience a bit of luxury while surrounded by the wild and rugged beauty of the island.

Bright - Via Visit Victoria

Bright

Explore the sites and attractions of Victoria's high country with a weekend getaway to the scenic town of Bright. This alpine town is bustling in the winter months but has often been overlooked for its summer activities. After a picturesque drive along the Great Alpine Road, enjoy a beverage or two at the Bright Brewery or take a walk down the Ovens River which runs right through town.

See the views from Mount Buffalo or head over for a dip at the Porepunkah swimming hole. Bright has many well known bike tracks if you're after more action on your weekend away. Cycle the Seven Peaks track which takes you across all seven of the alpine peaks.

Daylesford - Via Visit Victoria

Daylesford

Daylesford, a town synonymous to many with relaxation, wellness and healing. Famous for its natural mineral springs, there are many places in the region to come and benefit from the mineral rich waters such as The Lake House Spa which also offers treatments and massages. Neighbouring Hepburn even has a mineral rich bathhouse for you to enjoy.

When you're not soaking away the aches and pains of the last year, check out some of the local famous food and wine. Koukla Dayelsford showcases some of the region's fresh produce with a stunning dining experience under a vine covered veranda. Alternatively, buy some fresh produce from the Sunday farmers markets and get cooking at one of the many holiday accommodations that can be found in the region.

TOP TIP: Head here at the end of February for the Chill Out Festival, the largest country queer pride event in Australia!

Carmichael Falls Walk - Via Visit Victoria

Falls Creek

Falls creek is the perfect place to get the blood pumping on your weekend away. Mountain biking, hiking and water sports are just the start of the adventures that await you here. The picturesque Rocky Valley Lake has beautiful blue waters where you can swim and cool off during the summer heat, and why not try your hand at sailing or kayaking while you’re at it?

If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, take a drive along the scenic Begong Alpine Way, a 230km drive with stunning views that loops through the peaks and valleys of the high country.

Looking for accommodation? Check out where to stay on your weekend away to Falls Creek here.

Yarra Valley - Via Visit Victoria

Yarra Valley

Who wouldn’t want a weekend away with good food and good wine? Well, we all know the Yarra Valley is home to some of the best wine in Victoria, but it is also home to some of the best produce the region has to offer. Take the U-Pick Trail and fill your belly with the best hand-picked seasonal fruits and veggies in the Yarra valley. There is also fresh local ice cream, jams and cakes to indulge in for those wanting a full spectrum of gastronomic delights.

Head to Healesville Sanctuary and get up close and personal with over 200 species of native wildlife. The sanctuary contains many open walkthrough exhibits for you to observe the many colourful birds and marsupials that call this place home.  

The Yarra Valley has many first class accommodations for you to stay during your weekend away, but why not go for something with a little bit of luxury and book a room at Chateau Yering.

Bendigo - Via Visit Victoria

Bendigo

A merging of the old world and the new, Bendigo has become more than just a historical goldmine. It is a bustling hub for the creative arts scene, and also a growing foodie destination.

Historic architecture housing both modern art and Australian artworks dating back to the 1850’s, Bendigo Art Gallery holds many exhibitions and events throughout the year and is well worth a visit. Continue on down View street and check out some of the smaller local galleries and street art around town.

Head over to The Capitol theatre and catch some of the shows put on by the local performing arts community before going out for dinner at one of the towns five star dining experiences, such as Masons of Bendigo, an industrial-chic restaurant serving modern Australian style food.

If you’re looking for some unique accommodation ideas, why not stay at Balgownie Bendigo Winery, complete with your choice of holiday cottage or glamping experience amongst the vineyards, for a holiday you won't soon forget.

Header image: Lorne Pier - Via Great Ocean Road Tourism Photo by Belinda VanZanen

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