Victoria has it all. The weather might be four seasons in one day, but when the state has so much to choose from in landscape you can forgive it. Mountains, beaches, national parks and wineries – it is an adventurers paradise and a gastronomical wonderland and if you plan your trip the way we advise it will be a getaway that feeds your belly and your soul.
You fly into Melbourne and when a city buzzes the way she does, you hit the ground running. Drop your bags at The Jazz Corner, a boutique hotel which sits on top of the world-class music venue Bird’s Basement. The hotel is in a great spot, 5 minutes’ walk from Queen Victoria Market and a 6 minute drive from Etihad Stadium. It is cool and quirky with all your mod cons.
Then it is time to refuel, grab a coffee from to Operator25 Cafe, maybe even their pulled pork eggs benedict and time to get your shop on. Want to hit up a location with everything under one roof, head to The Emporium but whatever you do don’t miss Lonsdale Street, home to some brilliant Australian designers.
Once you have done enough damage, head back to the hotel for a quick costume change and then it is off to drinks at Ponyfish Island a hidden gem of a floating bar in the middle of the Yarra River. Get there early for the sunset.
Dinner is at the hottest Japanese joint in town. KISUMÉ. If you’re with a group or in town for a special occasion, book the chefs table, sit back and enjoy the best food on the menu selected to your specific taste.
Today is for history buffs, with the Old Melbourne Gaol your first stop. You’ll learn about the darker history of the city, and make sure you do the City Watch House tour while you’re there – in the nicest way possible, you’ll be treated like a criminal.
You’ll want to take a load off after all that touristing. Grab a tram, head to St Kilda and park yourself at Donovans for a long, long lunch. Donovan’s is sophisticated and cosy, don’t go past the fish pie.
After lunch, skip desert, I promise it is worth it.. stroll down Acland Street and grab a sweet treat at Monarch Cakes, it’s been there for 80 years, with good reason.
If you’ve still got room, a great option for dinner is Chin Chin. Perhaps one of the coolest places Melbourne has to offer with its very own cocktail bar. The perfect place for picking at a few key dishes, described as quintessentially Australian with a South-East Asian injection. Each item on the menu packs an flavour filled punch.
Today, it’s time to hire a car and get out of the city. Victoria has a rich history, and one of the most interesting aspects is the Gold Rush during the 1800s.
Drive out to Ballarat, about a 90 minute journey. Wander through the town which has an old world charm and there you can learn about the Gold Rush and the Eureka Rebellion.
For lunch, there are great restaurants to try out. Lola is well known and highly rated, or maybe the Mitchell Harris Wine Bar for various wines and grazing plates.
Tonight, you’ll be staying at Hepburn at Hepburn, a boutique luxury collection of one bedroom villas located around 45 minutes drive outside of Ballarat. Is it worth the trek? Absolutely. The villas are sexy and stylish and ooze class. Sweet dream.
Today is all about relaxation, you’ve earned it, you’ve been busy.
Sleep in, enjoy the property, it is yours for another night. Explore the local area using any one of the walking tracks leading from the property into the surrounding forest, or treat yourself at the Hepburn Bathhouse.
Alternatively, hop in the car and take the two hour drive to The Grampians, think Victoria’s version of the Blue Mountains. Here you’ll find secluded waterfalls, wineries, and spectacular views, on the way back stop off at Underbar Ballarat, an incredibly cool underground restaurant that seats just 12 people, time it right though they are only open on Friday and Saturday night!
Today you head home but not before seeing the Great Ocean Road, a two hour drive from your accommodation.
The Grotto and the 12 Apostles are a must. Simply magnificent and not to be missed.
After that head into Apollo Bay for lunch at La Bimba, everything the served at the restaurant is locally grown, or caught, the snapper, baby squid, king prawns and oysters don’t come any fresher than this.
Work you way back to Avalon Airport for your flight home, about a 2 hour drive, however if you’re a surfer or loved the movie Point Break, factor in a few extra hours and stop by the world famous Bells Beach.
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