Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Daylesford

Daylesford

Victoria

Rejuvenation and indulgence are the order of a stay in Daylesford, Victoria's premier spa village and centre of decadent local food and wine, luxurious accommodation and boundless shopping. Base your Daylesford escape around the famous natural mineral springs with a rejuvenating spa experience at Hepburn Bathhouse, Salus or Peppers Mineral Springs. Book relaxing massages and silky, skin renewing rituals from the range of health and wellbeing practitioners who offer an array of natural therapy, holistic health and beauty treatments. Have a spa treatment come to you or relax in your chosen retreat, whether sleek modern studios or self-contained spa cottages that offer total tranquillity. Venture into the Tipperary Walking Track and Hepburn Regional Park for some natural R&R. Continue the theme of total indulgence with a meal at some of Victoria's best restaurants. Wine and dine at Daylesford's renowned Lake House Restaurant & Cellar. Book your breakfast table at Frangos & Frangos. Make a reservation for fine pub dining at the Farmers Arms, then supper at Mercato, where style and seasonal produce meet. With a population of just 3000, Daylesford's numbers swell as visitors flock to discover the secrets uncovered by early Swiss-Italian and other immigrant settlers during and after the region's gold rush. You'll see their influence in Daylesford's European-style gardens and architecture. Don't miss a visit to the grand Convent Gallery to pick up esteemed local art and craft Time your visit for the Regional Producers' Day in Daylesford each February, which showcases delicious local produce, or lose yourself in the larger-than-life pageant that is Chillout, the largest gay and lesbian event in regional Australia. Daylesford is 108 kilometres north-west of Melbourne or about 90 minutes' drive on the Western Freeway or the Calder Freeway.

Horse Riding in the High Country

Victoria's High Country

Victoria

The High Country in north-east Victoria is a special place with scenic alpine landscapes, a host of outdoor activities, gourmet food and wine and a fascinating heritage of bushrangers, horsemen and gold. Whatever the season, there's indulgence to be had in delectable cool-climate wines and innovative cuisine prepared by passionate local chefs in the gourmet villages of Beechworth and Milawa. The Muscat Trail leads to Rutherglen's wineries while smaller Bright and King Valley villages are perfect for a leisurely cycle to stock up on just-picked local produce. During the winter, the High Country is home to Victoria's best snowfields, such as Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek with their excellent skiing, snowboarding and accommodation options. When the snow disappears the outdoor opportunities increase, from four-wheel driving, mountain biking and horse riding to hiking on the high plains. Rock climbing, river rafting and fabulous freshwater fishing on the Delatite, Jamieson and Howqua rivers also beckon. There is stunning scenery year-round in the High Country. The alpine villages are crowned in pristine white during winter and cloaked with wildflowers in summer. Bright's majestic tree-lined streets are alight with colour during autumn. The region's fascinating gold rush and bushranger heritage can be uncovered in its historic towns and villages. Beechworth boasts grand nineteenth century buildings while Glenrowan is awash with historical sites and attractions documenting the last stand of Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. The proud and enduring spirit of cattlemen and rugged adventurers is on display in Mansfield. The Great Alpine Road, one of Australia's great touring routes, winds between Wangaratta, Bairnsdale and the Gippsland showcasing stunning alpine landscapes, heritage towns, and local food and wine. The High Country is easily accessible from Melbourne on the Hume Highway and the all-weather sealed Great Alpine Road.

Mt Buller

Mt Buller

Victoria

Mt Buller is Victoria's most accessible alpine resort, ensuring adventure, indulgence and relaxation can be reached in just a few short hours from Melbourne. Mt Buller's spectacular views and amazing ski runs makes it the ideal winter escape, while summer's clear skies, mild temperatures and fun-filled events will have you returning to the mountain in the off-season. With excellent hiking paths, gentle or thrilling mountain biking trails, four wheel-drive tracks and exhilarating horse riding tours, it's easy to explore every inch of Mount Buller's stunning scenery. Discover historic Craig's Hut, Bindaree Falls and Sheepyard Flat, or just admire the sweeping views from the 1,804-metre summit. Pack a picnic of local High Country supplies and join in summer events and festivals. You can even find accommodation on the mountain during summer. Mt Buller has become a premier ski destination for snow enthusiasts from across Australia and beyond, boasting Victoria's largest lift network. With 22 lifts capable of moving 40,000 people an hour, skiers and snowboarders have access to over 300 hectares of terrain. Runs range from wide beginner slopes to challenging black runs, plus three terrain parks and an ultra cross course. When it's time for a break, you can try tobogganing, snowshoeing or other sports, catch a movie or visit a day spa. A great range of events are held throughout the snow season at Mt Buller, including ski and snowboard competitions, food and wine festivals, film festivals and much more. Highlights include whiteOUT!, July's gay and lesbian snow event, while mountain biking is celebrated in the Bike Buller MTB Festival in March. Mt Buller is around 230 kilometres from Melbourne, or three hours and 20 minutes by car along the Melba and Goulburn Valley highways.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Porepunkah Pines Tourist Resort

Porepunkah

Victoria

Tucked into the junction of the Ovens and Buckland rivers, Porepunkah is a great base for exploring Victoria's alps and sampling the bountiful local produce and wines of the High Country. Pretty Porepunkah is a welcome stop along the popular Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. The renowned trail takes in the Ovens River Valley as it makes its way through the townships of Wangaratta, Beechworth, Myrtleford, Porepunkah and Bright, Rutherglen, Wahgunyah and Milawa. With a gentle gradient and no traffic to contend with it's perfect for all ages and fitness levels. The local produce and wine at farm gates and wineries in the surrounding valleys, including Boynton's Feathertop Winery, is worth travelling for. Fill your basket and prepare a locally-sourced feast at any of the self-contained accommodation around Porepunkah. Choose from bush cabins, camping and caravan sites, and B&Bs, many of which are located in peaceful spots with river views. Porepunkah's waters entice anglers, with trout and spiny freshwater crayfish in abundance. Relax at riverside picnic areas and take a dip at river swimming spots. For something more adventurous, head to the Porepunkah airfield for powered hang-gliding, microlighting, ultralight flying and scenic light aircraft flights. Base yourself in Porepunkah for winter adventures in Victoria's ski resorts. Porepunkah is approximately 320 kilometres from Melbourne, or around three hours and 25 minutes by car along the Hume Freeway and the Great Alpine Road.

Information provided by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse

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