Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Warrnambool

Warrnambool

Victoria

Warrnambool is nestled into the rising contour of Victoria's south-west coast amid green dairying country and overlooking the deep blue of the Southern Ocean, where southern right whales can be see performing. The only city on the rugged Shipwreck Coast, Warrnambool has had a long and colourful history linked with the sea. Much of this history is on show at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum. Original buildings, a lighthouse and recreated port complete with ships provide a fascinating insight into the city's nineteenth century life. Warrnambool is known as Victoria's Southern Right Whale nursery. The giants of the sea return to Logan's Beach between May and October and can often be seen just 100 metres off the shore from the viewing platform in the sand dunes. Its location on the wide sweep of Lady Bay gives Warrnambool marvellous beaches that heave with beach goers over summer. Explore numerous coastal reserves and walking tracks with secluded beaches and rocky points, penguin colonies, and some good places for fishing and bird watching. The city has a thriving arts and events scene, excellent restaurants serving the best and freshest local produce and a relaxed cafe scene, most evident at the bottom end of Liebig Street. A few kilometres west of town is Tower Hill State Game Reserve, home to an ancient volcanic crater complete with lake and lava tongue. Discover a unique microcosm of botany and wildlife along the walking tracks. Popular local events include the Fun 4 Kids Festival, which celebrates imagination and creative spirit, and Warrnambool May Racing Carnival, country racing at its best. Warrnambool is approximately 265 kilometres west of Melbourne, or just over three hours by car along the Princes Highway. The scenic journey along the Great Ocean Road takes around five hours.

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Trentham

Victoria

Located on the Great Dividing Range, Trentham's main claim to fame is the magical Trentham Falls, Victoria's highest single-drop waterfall. The historic township also punches well above its weight in the high quality eating and drinking stakes, even for a region as gourmet-obsessed as Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges. Trentham is a small town with gold, timber, farming and even manufacturing in its past, and fine food in its present. Tantalise your tastebuds with bread baked in an historic oven, a gastro-pub with heritage gardens, providores, an orchard and olive grove, and more. There's no missing the majestic Trentham Falls, Victoria's highest single-drop waterfall. Take a picnic and enjoy it by the river to the sound of the thundering falls. Hikers are spoilt by the quality and number of walking tracks in the surrounding forest. For impressive and panoramic views of Mount Macedon, the You Yangs and the Dandenong Ranges drive to Blue Mount or McLaughlins lookouts in Wombat State Forest, or explore by foot or on horseback. Trentham is approximately 95 kilometres from Melbourne, or about one hour and 15 minutes by car along the Calder Freeway.

Malmsbury

Malmsbury

Victoria

Modern-day Malmsbury retains the spirit of its early years as a service centre for Victoria's gold miners with a beautiful streetscape that features numerous National Trust buildings, as well as the historic viaduct nearby. The historic Daylesford and Macedon Ranges village is best explored by setting out from the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens along the walking track to the old railway viaduct, built in 1859 using thousands of labourers to carry the Bendigo line over the Coliban River. One of Victoria's largest nineteenth-century engineering structures, the bridge section consists of five arched spans reaching 152 metres from end to end. Contemporary craftspeople provide more up-to-date sights around town. You can admire the works by local artists at Malmsbury Bakery & Gallery, while Bleak House presents sculptures amid 20 acres of beautiful rose gardens and orchards. For a hands-on art experience and memento of your visit, make your own jewellery at Made in Malmsbury. Make the most of Malmsbury's location in the abundant Daylesford and Macedon Ranges wine region. Call in to cellar doors and enjoy view-of-the-vine wine tastings and dining experiences at renowned local wineries including Ellender Estate, Birthday Villa, Tarrangower Estate and Zig Zag. Malmsbury is just over an hour from Melbourne along the Calder Highway.

Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges

Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges

Victoria

Travel through the charming villages dotted around Victoria's Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region and celebrate the enriching effects of water, from the luxury spas, the decadent food and wine, the lush environment, the thriving arts and crafts community, and the holistic therapies. Travel just an hour north-west of Melbourne to an area boasting the greatest concentration of naturally occurring mineral springs in Australia. Daylesford and Hepburn Springs were built up around these springs and you're spoiled for choice of spa and wellness centres, each using the water's mineral properties differently to ensure maximum relaxation and wellbeing. Head to these towns for the added indulgences of restaurants serving sumptuous local food and wines, luxury accommodation, and shops and galleries displaying unique local wares. Impressive mansions, striking landscapes and some of Victoria's finest gardens combine to create the old world ambience of the nearby Macedon Ranges. Tour Mount Macedon's heritage gardens, explore the 19th century streetscapes of Woodend and Kyneton lined with art and craft galleries and vintage emporiums, or visit the legendary Hanging Rock, the haunting backdrop to The Picnic at Hanging Rock book and film. The Macedon Ranges is also a cool-climate wine region known for producing outstanding sparkling wine, pinot noir and chardonnay. Visit the cellar doors of over 40 wineries and spend time chatting to winemakers. Find excellent shiraz and cabernet in the wineries around Sunbury. You'll also discover an abundance of local produce, with even the smallest regional towns offering award-winning restaurants, provedores stocked with the best local preserves, farm gates selling the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables, cheeses and meats. Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region is just an hour north-west of Melbourne along the Western Freeway or the Calder Freeway.

Maldon

Maldon

Victoria

Maldon is a quaint goldmining town that appears to have been plucked directly from the nineteenth century and placed down in Victoria's Goldfields region.. The National Trust declared Maldon Australia's first 'notable town' in 1966 due to its well-preserved nineteenth century buildings. Visitors are enchanted by broad footpaths shaded by corrugated iron verandahs, buildings and cottages made from local stone, old-fashioned shop fronts and deep stone gutters. High Street is cool and verdant in summer with its swathe of deciduous European trees that strike brilliant colours in autumn. Pick up a brochure from the visitor information centre to guide you around the town's historic streetscape. See the Post Office, Penny School, Battery, churches (Welsh, Anglican and Uniting) and the Court House. High Street forks into two main streets, both of which are perfect for browsing antique and collectibles shops and galleries. Discover homewares, books, chocolates, herbal remedies and beautiful imported lace. For a taste of Victoria's gold history visit the recreated 1850s goldmining town at Porcupine Township, wander around the North British Mine, visit the Beehive Mine Chimney and tour Carman's Tunnel. Take a drive up Mount Tarrangower and get a 360-degree view of Maldon and the surrounding countryside from the lookout tower. Climb aboard a steam-era train from Maldon to Muckleford and back with the Victorian Goldfields Railway. To get a taste of the area, follow the Maldon Taste of Gold food and wine trail. Sample local wines and produce from farmgates and cellar doors along the way. There are many regional events that showcase the area's gourmet strengths, so be sure to plan ahead. Maldon is 137 kilometres north-west of Melbourne or about 90 minutes by car via the Calder and Pyrenees highways.

Newhaven

Newhaven

Victoria

The tiny village of Newhaven at the entrance to Victoria's Phillip Island is an atmospheric spot to cast a line, catch a wave or have a dip. Newhaven's waterfront is popular with fishermen and water sports enthusiasts, ensuring there's plenty to do and see during a stroll along the beach. Soak up the activity while enjoying a picnic in the shadow of the bridge to the mainland. The calm waters of Western Port offer excellent sailing whether on your own boat or a charter. Nearby Cape Woolamai is more rugged, with excellent surfing, abundant marine life and the spectacular ancient pink granite coastline. Off-the-water activities are taken seriously in Newhaven, too. Nearby Churchill Island is the site of Victoria's first European settlement and offers visitors a chance to explore historic farm buildings and the original homestead. You can drive, cycle or even kayak to this historic site. Churchill Island is also known for its monthly farmers' market featuring a wide range of local cheeses, organic fruit and vegetables and free-range chicken products. Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is a delectable chocolate universe, while Bonsai Island Gallery is a tranquil place for a stroll and a chance to learn the art of bonsai. The National Vietnam Veterans Museum tells the story of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, featuring an impressive sound and light show. A range of accommodation options can be found in Newhaven. Newhaven is 126 kilometres from Melbourne, or around an hour-and-a-half by car along the M1 and the Bass Highway.

St Arnaud

St Arnaud

Victoria

Settled during the gold rush of 1855 as 'New Bendigo', St Arnaud in Victoria's Grampians region boasts postcard-perfect heritage streetscapes and the distinction of a pub for every couple of hundred residents. Grand old buildings with cast iron lacework verandahs line the streets of St Arnaud, originally dubbed 'New Bendigo' but soon renamed to honour the Commander of the French forces in the Crimean War, Jacques le Roy de Saint Arnaud, who lies buried with Napoleon in Paris. This history is celebrated at the annual At Arnaud Festival in November. In 1861 the town's streets were surveyed by W.M. Wills who later tried unsuccessfully to cross the continent with fellow explorer Robert O'Hara Burke. St Arnaud's historic precinct features the 1866 post office, the old court house, Victoria's oldest fire station, and a host of notable pubs for refreshing drinks and chats with the locals. St Arnaud's manicured gardens and surrounding bushland can be surveyed from the lookout atop Wilsons Hill. The town is edged by St Arnaud Range National Park and Teddington Reservoir with their abundant native flora and fauna, and nearby lakes and rivers that are well stocked with fish. St Arnaud is approximately 240 kilometres from Melbourne, or just under three hours by car along the Calder Freeway and the Wimmera Highway.

Rutherglen

Rutherglen

Victoria

One of the oldest winegrowing areas in Australia and long known for its fortified wines, Rutherglen, in Victoria's High Country, continues to pioneer winemaking thanks to the innovations of the next generation of regional wine families. Once a major gold mining town, Rutherglen's heritage is reflected in the historic buildings now housing antique and bric-a-brac shops, tea rooms and restaurants. Enterprising winemakers have been taking advantage of the fertile land and mild climate around Rutherglen since the early 1800s, producing the renowned fortified wines, robust reds and crisp white wines. Visit the modernised cellar doors to meet fourth and fifth generation winemakers drawing on family tradition and cutting-edge techniques to keep Rutherglen on the map. Cellar door restaurants and the bountiful local produce guarantee great dining matched with some of Victoria's best wines. Local producers are justifiably proud of their honey, trout, Murray cod, cherries, berries, nuts, chutneys and preserves. Pick up a picnic hamper or stock up on supplies to take home with you. The Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre is a one-stop shop for premium wine tastings and local advice. Bicycles can be hired for embarking on the Muscat Trail past river red gum and secluded billabongs to 10 of the local wineries. Two wheels will also get you on your way on the Pedal to Produce Cycle Trail past local orchards, wineries and cafes, or the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail along the mighty Murray River. Popular local events include the Tastes of Rutherglen in March, Tour de Muscat (cycling) in October, and Rutherglen Winery Walkabout in June. Rutherglen is approximately 290 kilometres north-east of Melbourne or about three hours by car via the Hume Highway.

Kyneton Cafe and Shops

Kyneton

Victoria

All roads around the gold rush village of Kyneton lead to Piper Street, a modern-day gourmand's paradise long known for its heritage buildings and antique dealers. From its prime position on the Campaspe River in Victoria's spa region, Kyneton feeds Victoria and visitors with farm-to-table dishes at its bunch of acclaimed eateries. Local olive oils, smallgoods and farm produce all share centre stage and are available to take home from sumptuous providores. Explore the village's wide array of antique and vintage shops and galleries, as well as its National Trust recognised bluestone museum. Wander through the 19th century granite streets for more examples of preserved bluestone architecture. Kyneton's scenic countryside reveals treasures and historic reminders of the region's past. Fill your flask from the pump at the Kyneton Mineral Springs, and pack a picnic from the town's suppliers and savour it by the Campaspe River. Visit Kyneton's stunning local private gardens, which are periodically open to the public through the Open Gardens Scheme. The Kyneton Botanical Gardens were laid out in the late 1860s and early 1870s by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, known for his works with the Melbourne, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Malmsbury botanic gardens. Kyneton is around an hour from Melbourne along the Calder Highway.

Ararat

Ararat

Victoria

Ararat is the only Australian town to have been founded by the Chinese who flocked to Victoria during the gold rush, and it retains the impressive architecture of the era, as well as beautiful orchids and the fine wines of local vineyards. Explore Ararat's gold heritage with a stroll through the town, past impressive gold rush era buildings, some of which have been recognised by the National Trust. You can find out more about Ararat's unique past with a visit to the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre and the Langi Morgala Museum. Wander through the beautiful Alexandra Gardens, which features the famous orchid glasshouse, or view unusual exhibits of fibre and textile art at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery. For something unusual, inspect J Ward, formerly Victoria's asylum for the criminally insane. Visit Ararat for the annual Jailhouse Rock Festival then venture further afield to explore the Grampians National Park or nearby Mount Langi Ghiran, Mt Cole and Mt Buangor. Take a tour of the pioneering Challicum Hills wind farm, meet the winemaker at one of the region's wineries, or play a round of golf at the Chalambar Golf Club. Ararat is approximately 2.5 hours from Melbourne via the Western or Pyrenees highways.

Information provided by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse