It’s nearing the end of yet another year, and for many, this means it’s time for a little rest and relaxation. Whilst a lot of us will spend time away from home, seeking respite outside our 4 walls, there’s others, who need or want to stay a little closer to home. Being located in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs sees you spoilt for choice, with some of the states most popular regions
and attractions within easy access. This might just be the perfect opportunity to organise some enjoyable day trips to places you’ve wanted to visit, or those you haven’t been to for years.
Here’s 4 of our top picks.
Mornington Peninsula: There’s good reason that properties in suburbs adjacent to Eastlink have seen considerable growth since its opening. The freeway has improved accessibility to both Melbourne’s CBD and the Mornington Peninsula greatly. Whilst the beaches down south are certainly noteworthy, the Mornington Peninsula has some other gems that are worth exploring. A favourite amongst many are the Peninsula Hot Springs, where natural thermal mineral pools allow you to relax and rejuvenate in idyllic surroundings. There’s public or private bathing, a café and restaurant plus treatment rooms for those who want to enjoy a massage or some pampering. Another highlight of the region is the Arthurs Seat Eagle featuring state-of-the-art gondolas that provide breathtaking views of the Mornington Peninsula and its surrounds. You’re also spoilt for choice by the range of cafes, wineries and pubs in the region, many of which boast the use of local produce in their delicious creations. The Portsea Hotel which has been operating since 1876 offers some of the areas most picturesque views across Port Phillip Bay; it’s newly renovated and is due to reopen in time for a plethora of Summer holiday makers.
Yarra Valley: If you’re an avid wine connoisseur, it’s likely that you’ll already be familiar with much of what the Yarra Valley has to offer. There are in excess of 70 wineries in the region, with a large number of them offering tastings and cellar door purchasing. There are also many that have cafes or restaurants adjoining, showcasing local suppliers and produce, some of which are grown on site. Then there’s the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie; imagine 40 acres of emerging orchards, landscaped gardens, sweeping lawns, reclaimed wetlands and of course, more sweetness than any chocoholic dares to dream about under one roof. Promising a trip here, is a great way to end the day. If you plan your day trip in advance, there are additional events you can factor in, including the popular Yarra Glen Racecourse Market, the Yarra Glen Races and Rochford Wineries ‘A Day on the Green’.
Healesville: If you ask people what they know about Healesville, it’s likely they are going to tell you it’s home to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary; and they’d be correct. However, it’s not the sole reason to visit this picturesque town. There are a number of attractive picnic grounds, and foodies will love the vibrant café scene. Also offering a fun filled excursion is Hedgend Maze which offers a range of activities that cater for young and old alike. It’s set on 20 stunning acres, and owner Lea describes it as a growing ‘learning-scape’. There are a number of different attractions, including a variety of mazes, an 18-hole mini-golf course and a well-priced option for outdoor laser tag; a favourite with the competitive families amongst us.
Dandenong Ranges: You could plan a number of day trips and still not see all that the Dandenong Ranges has to offer. Where else could you travel through picturesque hills on iconic steam train Puffing Billy, ride your bike through endless amounts of scenic hills and valleys, or travel on foot through the lush green surrounds of the enchanting Sherbrooke Forest. William Ricketts Sanctuary where more than 90 different sculptures are carved into the rocks and tree trunks that line paths throughout the property is also another option. If travelling at a slower pace is more appealing, you can browse the various antique shops or craft markets in the region or enjoy a Devonshire Tea in one of the quaint tea houses on offer. Drawing a regular clientele is The Cuckoo, which is a traditional Bavarian chalet-style restaurant offering German smorgasbords, yodelling and folk dancing, as well as Sky High, a restaurant offering majestic views of the Melbourne skyline, by both day and night, courtesy of its position at the highest point of the Dandenong Ranges.
This is a great time of the year to explore your own surrounds and see why tourists visit regional Victoria time and time again. Enjoy making new memories with family and friends and recharge your batteries so you’re ready to take on 2019 with gusto.