Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Mt Stirling

Mt Stirling

Victoria

Mt Stirling is a High Country destination for all seasons, offering a true alpine experience from its camping huts tucked into sheltered snow gum woodlands. Just half an hour from its sister peak Mount Buller, Mt Stirling is renowned as a cross-country skiing destination. Over 68 kilometres of pristine trails of varying difficulty are free to use and well sheltered by alpine ash and snow gum trees. Tobogganing and snow play are popular on Mt Stirling. Intermediate to advanced snowboarders revel in the unique back country experience, snowshoers can access unrestricted views of the surrounding region from the summit, while telemarkers love the freedom and untouched terrain. Mt Stirling features a number of refuge huts and snow camping areas for the ultimate alpine experience. There is also a permanent alpine camp with a central teepee boasting a pot belly stove, cooking facilities and insulated tents. Watch the sunset over the snow as you soak up the warmth of a camp fire. A well-marked scenic trail links Mt Stirling to the downhill resort of Mount Buller. Spectacular views from the top of Mt Stirling take in the dramatic Crosscut Saw, Mount Buller and Mount Buffalo. It's worth continuing to nearby Craigs' Hut, a cattlemen's hut and film set used in the making of The Man from Snowy River. Mt Stirling is approximately 245 kilometres from Melbourne, or around three hours and 45 minutes by car along the Melba Highway.

Omeo Township

Omeo

Victoria

Omeo, a pioneering mountain town on the Great Alpine Road in Gippsland is renowned for its gold mining history, high country cattle grazing and historic buildings. Many of Omeo's historical buildings have been preserved in the A.M. Pearson Historical Park and offer a sense of what life was like in the late 1800s in a booming gold mining area. See the town's original courthouse (1865), post office (1890s), gaol built of logs (1858), blacksmith shop, stables and waterwheel. The wine and gold drive from Omeo or Swifts Creek takes in the Cassilis historical area, once among the richest goldfields in the state. Walk or drive from the Omeo township to the Oriental Claims historic area, which remains the highest alluvial gold field in Australia. Omeo's rich history is matched by the magnificence of its scenic attractions. Just outside the town on the Great Alpine Road you can take in panoramic views of the Victorian alps and surrounding countryside at the Kosciusko Lookout. The Mitta Mitta River's waters provide excellent trout fishing opportunities as well as white water rafting adventures. You can also drop a line in the Cobungra River. Take a walk over the Bogong High Plains and see majestic spring wildflowers. Go four-wheel driving along the 17-kilometre Knocker Track for a different perspective of the landscape. Victoria's top snow resorts are a stone's throw from Omeo, which is just 40 minutes from Mount Hotham's famed downhill runs and Dinner Plain's cross-country skiing. Visit Omeo at Easter time for a weekend of equine activity, with the Omeo Rodeo and the Geebung Polo match both taking place. Omeo is 400 kilometres from Melbourne, or about four hours and forty minutes by car along the M1, the A1 and the Great Alpine Road.

Metung

Metung

Victoria

For a dose of style in Victoria's Gippsland Lakes, the destination must be Metung. A great base for water sports enthusiasts, this tiny picture-book village features fine food and wine and a handful of inspiring galleries. Metung's proximity to the Gippsland Lakes and sandy beaches mean there is over 400 square kilometres of water to explore. The village has a decidedly waterfront air and its compact size means you can enjoy sunset strolls along the water's edge to see docked yachts and cruisers, as well as the many quaint wooden boats. A leisurely cruise around the lakes is bound to include glimpses of pelicans and other birdlife and kangaroos grazing by the water. Small runabouts are also available for hire. Metung offers excellent fishing, particularly for bream, tailor, flathead, King George whiting and prawns in summer. Try your hand around Bancroft Bay, off Shaving Point and local jetties. Leave the cooking in the hands of the experts and make a booking at a harbourside restaurant for quality local seafood and wine. Pick an excellent restaurant for a fancy meal or find a sunny spot opposite the village green for a relaxed lunch and coffee. Metung's natural beauty attracts many artists who have set up farm studios, gardens and galleries to ply their crafts. The shores of Bancroft Bay feature a large rock known to the indigenous population as the Wallung. Part of the Batatuk Cultural Trail, the rock is the subject of a variety of stories told in detail at the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place in Bairnsdale. Metung is about four hours' drive from Melbourne just near Lakes Entrance, off the Princes Highway from Swan Reach.

Yanakie

Yanakie

Victoria

Connecting the mainland to Wilsons Promontory, the small town of Yanakie is in a bucolic rural location overlooking rolling south Gippsland farmlands. The beaches at Corner Inlet and Shallow Inlet - on either side of the peninsula - are only a few minutes drive from Yanakie. In addition to being top fishing spots, the beaches are great for swimming, bird watching, bush walking, photography or simply admiring the unspoilt spectacular scenery of this southern coast area. Stop in for a relaxing overnight stay at a B&B, self-contained cottage or caravan park before or after visiting Wilsons Promontory. Take advantage of the licensed general store to stock up on supplies. Yanakie is approximately 188 kilometres from Melbourne, or about two-and-a-half hours along the M1 and the South Gippsland Highway.

Lancefield

Lancefield

Victoria

Break from the city and visit Lancefield on a trip through Victoria's Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region. Discover the vibrant arts scene, eclectic gift shopping, local food and award-winning wineries. Find something special to take home at a local book or gift shop that may even double as a gallery or cafe. Multiple levels of antiques and art at Macedonia will account for a few hours, and the monthly Lancefield Farmers Market has so much of the region's best local produce that you'll be planning your next visit before you've even left. Spend a weekend sampling wines at cellar doors around the Lancefield region and take in a drive on the historic Burke and Wills track. Acclaimed pinot noirs and chardonnays are sure to give you a taste of the depth of local winegrowing talent. Lancefield is an hour from Melbourne along the Melbourne-Lancefield Road.

Coldstream

Coldstream

Victoria

Best known as the place where Australia's most famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba lived, Coldstream is also the gateway to the Yarra Valley wine region. Learn about Dame Nellie's life and connection to the area in a fascinating exhibition at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, and see her Coombe Cottage residence where it stands on the juncture of the Maroondah and Melba highways. Coldstream is the natural starting point for a Yarra Valley wine tour, with some of the region's most well-known wineries based around the town. Start at Domaine Chandon and taste your way through Coldstream Hills, Rochford Wines and Oakridge, or sample local beers and ciders at Coldstream Brewery. Explore the surrounding country on two wheels - cycle the Warburton Rail Trail that extends 38 kilometres from Lilydale through grazing land and spring wattle to Warburton. Earn your wings at the Coldstream Airfield where the Royal Victorian Aero Club operates a Flight School. Coldstream is located 50 kilometres east of Melbourne. Travel along the Eastern Freeway, the Eastlink tollway, and Maroondah Highway.

Promonal

Pomonal

Victoria

Pretty Pomonal lies just outside the eastern border of the Grampians National Park. Popular as a nature walk destination and famous for its wildflowers, the town is known for its nurseries and gardens. To dazzle the senses with Pomonal's floral beauty, visit in spring for the annual Pomonal Native Flower Show and to visit the stunning wildflower nurseries on Wildflower Drive in full bloom. See the flowers along the Pomonal Tunnel Walking Track, which leads over the top of the Mount William Range and provides outstanding views of the adjacent Serra Range. The historic water tunnel was constructed in the 1870s to supply water to the mining town of Stawell. Nearby Gap Winery offers a range of wines to suit all palates as well as breathtaking views. You can pick up fresh fruit from the orchard on Lake Fyans Tourist Road and sample local lavender products, olives, and herbs as you make your way around the town. Pomonal is around 240 kilometres from Melbourne, or around two hours and 40 minutes by car along the Western Highway.

Harrietville

Harrietville

Victoria

Harrietville is the gateway village to the stunning Alpine National Park in Victoria's High Country and offers a host of adrenaline-pumping adventure activities and the fresh bounty of local farms and gourmet producers. Use Harrietville and its wide range of accommodation as a base to explore the Alps year-round, from skiing and snowboarding at Mount Hotham and Falls Creek in winter, to hiking Mount Feathertop amid wildflowers in spring. Dedicate enough time to explore the green and lush village. Follow walking and bicycle trails along the Ovens River, and enjoy a relaxing picnic, barbecue or swim at the beautiful Tronoh dredge hole, a reminder of the gold mining history and now the village's swimming lake. Gourmet local producers offer a range of produce that reflects the region's rich harvest. Pick your own berries from local farms and catch a fish in the surrounding waterways, or opt for a guaranteed catch in the trout farm. Harrietville is 350 kilometres from Melbourne, or just under four hours along the Hume Highway and the Great Alpine Road.

Dunolly

Dunolly

Victoria

Rich in gold history, Dunolly is situated in stunning bushland in the centre of Victoria's goldfields. During gold rush times Dunolly and the surrounding district turned up more gold nuggets than any other region in Australia and became known as the 'Golden Triangle'. Gold found in the area included the then largest gold nugget in the world, the 69 kilogram 'Welcome Stranger', which was found in 1869 in nearby Moliagul. See a replica of the famous nugget at the Goldfields Historical and Arts Museum and then try your luck at prospecting for gold. Hire a metal detector and pick up a map from Dunolly's prospecting store. Today Dunolly's attractive main street is lined with kurrajongs and gold rush architecture. Take a wander along Broadway, pick up a brochure from the visitor information centre located in the Welcome Stranger Café, and learn about the historic Cobb and Co building and Railway and Royal hotels. Browse through the collectible shops as you explore. Get on your bike and ride the Dunolly Cycle Tracks, a series of signed forest roads and tracks varying in length between 14 and 47 kilometres. As well as Dunolly, routes pass through the old gold towns of Tarnagulla, Bealiba, Waanyarra, Betley and Goldsborough. Dunolly is 178 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, just under two hours by car. Take the Castlemaine exit off the Calder Highway and travel via Castlemaine, Maldon and Eddington.

Great Western

Great Western

Victoria

Great Western has played an important role in Australia's winemaking history, with grapevines first planted in the area in 1863. Wine continues to be the town's drawcard, with a tour to some of Australia's best-known wineries a must for any visit to the Grampians region. Call into the historic wineries and see the gnarled old grape vines that put the town on the map. Explore the hand-dug 1860s cellars with the intriguing original barrels at Best's, and tour Seppelt's underground 'drives', one of the region's most popular activities. Make sure you try the famous sparkling shiraz from Grampians Estate. Taste local fare at the cellar doors, then explore Great Western village's old churches and see the old toll gate. Plan your visit for January and join the festivities for the Great Western Cup, one of the region's most popular horse racing events. Great Western is around two-and-a-half hours from Melbourne along the Western Freeway.

Information provided by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse

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