Take a Mini Break in Victoria
Whether you want a holiday filled with gourmet treats and fine wine or action and adventure, you'll find it in Victoria. Spend a few days at one of the following spectacular destinations in the state to make the most of your next mini-break.
The Yarra Valley is often regarded as one of the best wine regions in the world, and it's for this reason that you should make visiting it a priority. It's less than an hour's drive from Melbourne, and boasts more than 90 cellar doors, plus a variety of world-class restaurants offering up fresh regional produce. Not to mention, there are rolling hills, lush pastures and vines as far as the eye can see.
If you're bringing the kids along on your day trip, try the family-friendly Acacia Ridge. The family-run winery offers affordable award-winning wines, BBQ facilities and is happy to cater to groups large and small. During winter, the team is happy to provide tastings matched with hot pastries to enjoy around an open fire. Sip on the Acacia Ridge Shiraz, which has been hand picked, fermented and aged in a blend of new and old French Oak. Look out for flavours of licorice and spicy black plum.
For a taste of luxury, check of Victoria and Australia tourism award winner De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate. The family-owned winery focuses on developing drops with minimal interference, allowing the wine to speak for itself. The plantings date back to 1971, producing a lean, minerally Chardonnay and uniquely tannic Syrah. Enjoy these at the cellar door, or with a meal from the Estate's restaurant Locale.
Indulge in a dish of potato gnocchi with pork shoulder ragu, fennel, chilli and pecorino, or opt for wild barramundi complete with cannellini bean cassoulet, cuttlefish, fennel, saffron and bottarga.
Daylesford is joined with Hepburn Springs to create an unbeatable team of spa towns, with 72 health-giving springs and over 30 spas, healing centres and wellness retreats between them. This is the perfect destination to include in your mini break if you're looking for a little time out, as there's no way you can leave Daylesford without feeling pampered.
Start your relaxing experience at Daylesford Day Spa, conveniently located in the town's central heritage building. It boasts six treatment rooms, where you can indulge in a range of treatments including Jurlique facials, relaxation and deep tissue massage, rose milk baths, aromatherapy spas, body treatments and stone or bamboo therapies.
For those recovering from a few hard weeks (or months!), try the detoxification package. This treatment starts with an exfoliation salt glow that can help to remove dead skins cells, and is followed up with a layer of vitamin-rich mud coated on your body. A personally tailored facial then removes your skin's impurities, with a full body moisturisation leaving your skin soft and smooth.
To get the best of both worlds, head to Hepburn Bathhouse next. It's Hepburn Springs' only historic bathhouse, and has been welcoming visitors since 1895. You'll find it located within the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, and can enjoy its traditional communal bathing in warm mineral water pools. There's also a range of hydrotherapies, such as spa and relaxation pools, an aroma steam room, salt therapy pool and spa couches, as well as a day spa dedicated to wellbeing treatments.
Finish off your day of pampering with a meal at The Perfect Drop, a popular and charming wine and food lounge. Enjoy zucchini and parmesan croquettes, seafood spaghetti with chili and garlic or lamb shoulder with carrots and currants.
Portsea is beloved by the rich and famous, so you can spend a good chunk of your mini break here admiring the mansions in the region. One of the best ways to do this is by taking the Millionaire's Walk to Sorrento, which will take you along cliff tops, through gardens and past private jetties to get the best perspective on how the other half live.
Portsea Golf Club is a must-visit for anyone handy with a putter. The popular club hosts members and visitors for casual play and tournament, with a course that is consistently rated as one of Australia's best. Recent developments on the greens and bunkers have seen the course blossom, and the natural drainage of soils in the area means golfers get a firm grip on the ground, no matter what time of year it is.
Visitors can book online or by telephone, with special rates available for large groups. Make sure you dress to impress, as this upmarket club does adhere to a smart dress code. The 18-hole course is currently on the Rolex World Top 100 list, famed for both its fantastic views and playing conditions.
Get underwater and dive amongst the wreck of HMAS Canberra, the first artificial reef created in Victoria for the sole purpose of dive sports. Board a boat and head from Portsea into the Bass Strait, dropping 28 metres below the surface to explore the ship's flight decks, engine rooms, bridge and galley.
The site is restricted to visitors participating in diving and snorkelling activities, and those who wish to dive must hold a current, industry recognised entry-level qualification. It's also the divers' responsibility to protect the beautiful marine environment they dive in, avoiding touching or disturbing any of the area's exquisite plants and animals.
Warm up after your dive with a trip to the Portsea Pier General Store and Cafe. Enjoy a perfectly brewed coffee, homemade beef and Guinness pie or treat your tastebuds to a passionfruit meringue tart. If you feel like something more substantial, there's an extensive breakfast and lunch menu that features everything from house-made apple and cinnamon granola through to to 'Famous Portsea Burger', packed with lean beef, caramelised onions and more.