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Hastings

Hastings

Victoria

Just a short journey from Melbourne, Hastings is an historic fishing village that's become a hub of vintage emporiums where forgotten treasures lie in wait to be unearthed by those with a keen eye. Tiny Tyabb is where to go for collectible finds. The Vintage Shed is a whole world of pre-loved treasure, with over 60 individual stalls to browse and exclaim over. Vintage clothing and accessories are across from the shed in the Vintage Emporium and emerging without a whole new wardrobe is unlikely. The historic Tyabb Packing House comprises two acres of old wares, antiques and vintage specialties, with a licensed cafe to aid the fossicking. Hastings is situated on an inlet on Westernport Bay. When the shopping is spent it's time to relax on the foreshore and watch the great birds assemble. Dine on the day's catch and sip regional wine, or stretch out the muscles strained by lugging shopping bags and furniture with a swim at the Pelican Park Aquatic Centre. Catch the fishing bug from watching the working fishing boats in the multiple marinas and join a fishing trip or cruise around Westernport Bay. Jump in and cool off at nearby swimming and surf beaches. Meet local characters, including the nocturnal bettongs, quolls, and pademelons at the Moonlit Sanctuary, and the koalas on French Island (catch the ferry from nearby Stony Point).

Yackandandah

Yackandandah

Victoria

A visit to the tiny High Country village of Yackandandah is like taking a step back in time - it's no wonder it's been classified by the National Trust in its entirety. Gold fever struck Yackandandah in in the 1850s. Gold rush history is there for the digging at Karrs Reef Gold Mine. Take an underground tour to experience life for the miners. Stroll through the historic local cemetery, notable for its large section of graves devoted to Chinese gold miners. The Historic Buildings Street Walk meanders through the old mining township; over original bluestone gutters to the elaborate façades built during the nineteenth century gold rush. There are thirty seven National Trust buildings in Yackandandah, with ten listed on the National Estate Register. Ornate shops with original fittings invite leisurely browsing, whether for antiques, gifts or handmade items from craft galleries. A handful of fascinating museums unlock the town's secrets. The High Country scenery surrounding Yackandandah is breathtaking year-round. Indulge your senses at the nearby Lavender Farm, and walk or drive through the picturesque Yackandandah Gorge. Spot native birds and animals in the bushland, or go bushwalking and horse riding. Yackandandah's location on the edge of the fertile Kiewa Valley means farm-fresh food and wine is ripe for the picking. Stop at boutique wineries and fill your boot with local meats, fruit, nuts, honey and preserves, and enjoy hearty meals in real country pubs. Popular local events include the Spring Migration Festival in September and the March Yackandandah Folk Festival. Yackandandah is approximately 310 kilometres from Melbourne, or around three hours and 20 minutes along 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.

Murray

Yarrawonga-Mulwala

Victoria

The twin towns of Yarrawonga-Mulwala, separated by the Murray River, boast a large and beautiful man-made lake and combine to make the perfect spot for golfers, anglers, water sports fanatics, bush walkers and campers. Known as Sun Country, the area features plenty of sunshine and a wide-open landscape. Wander along pretty sandy beaches to find your own quiet swimming spot on the river. Adventurous visitors can hire a canoe and explore the backwaters and lagoons. Alternatively, take a cruise or try your hand at waterskiing on Lake Mulwala. Play a round of golf on the largest public access golf course in Australia, with 45 holes on two championship courses and a nine-hole executive course. Mulwala's Pioneer Museum takes a comprehensive look at the early pioneering days of Australia. Make the most of being in this strong farming region and stop at farm gates to load up on fresh local produce. A Farm Gate Trail brochure is available from the local Visitor Information Centre. Yarrawonga-Mulwala is 285 kilometres from Melbourne, or about three hours 15 minutes along the Hume Freeway and the Benalla-Yarrawonga Road.

Curtain House

Curtain House & Nicholas Building

Victoria

Dubbed vertical laneways, the 1920s Swanston Street high-rises of Curtin House and the Nicholas Building boast the typically Melbourne mix of gallery spaces, boutiques, bars and eateries, but both add distinctly quirky stamps to the scene. The manually-operated lifts in the Nicholas Building are an attraction in themselves. Travel to floor after floor of studios, galleries and curiosities with commentary by the delightfully knowledgeable lift operators. Find craftspeople making the finest made-to-measure shoes, couture, hats and jewellery, or uncover collectable buttons, breathtaking kimonos and independent art at Blindside artist-run gallery. The busy studios within the Nicholas Building are not always open for browsing, but regular Open Studio days offer an opportunity to peek in and see artists at work. Further along Swanston Street is Curtin House, where taking the stairs is part of the adventure. The rooftop destination is worth the walk, with a bar, DJs, green "grass" and deck chairs, and a summertime program of movies illuminated by Melbourne's skyscrapers. Working down from the rooftop is a series of creative studios, a kung fu academy, fashion boutiques, specialty books,collectible vinyl, plus the perennially popular Cookie bar and the more refined Toff in Town. Take any tram along Swanston Street to reach the Nicholas Building and Curtin House, both of which are just a short walk from Flinders Street Station.

Collingwood

Collingwood

Victoria

It's mandatory to have a good time around Collingwood and your attempts are aided by ever-increasing numbers of bars and restaurants, making it consistently one of Melbourne's top dining and bar-hopping suburbs. Eat until you're told to stop at Cavallero, Wabi Sabi Salon, Panama Dining Room, Huxtable, Gigibaba, Easy Tiger or Jim's Greek Tavern. Find an old-school, no-nonsense pub for a counter meal and a pot of beer. It's close to impossible to get a bad coffee around Smith Street, with a host of cafes placing equal emphasis on sourcing their beans, designing their space, and serving great food. Try Proud Mary, Cibi, Mina-no-ie or South of Johnston. Collingwood leads the way when it comes to supporting artist initiatives and small galleries. Take a walking tour around Lamington Drive, Fehily Contemporary, 69 Smith Street and Compound Interest. Serious art aficionados must visit Australian Galleries, Ochre and Catherine Asquith. Chance upon a performance or exhibition at Collingwood Underground Theatre, set in an abandoned underground carpark. Try to get along to the iconic The Tote to see a live band at least once. You can also hear live music at Yah Yah's and the Grace Darling. Shopping in Collingwood is guaranteed to yield both bargain and one-off design piece. There are factory outlets flanking Smith Street; specialty design stores; designer and vintage furniture; Japanese curios; and rare records. Collingwood is less than three kilometres from the city centre and is easily reached on foot or by taking the number 86 tram from Collins Street.

Lake Mountain

Lake Mountain

Victoria

The closest snow resort to Melbourne, Lake Mountain is an adrenaline-pumping year-round destination perfect for premier cross-country skiing, challenging mountain biking and invigorating walking. Around 30 kilometres of well-marked ski trails wind through snowgum woodlands at Australia's top cross-country ski resort, a stone's through from Marysville. There are also toboggan slopes and snow play areas, making it an ideal and affordable destination for a family winter weekend. When spring arrives those trails are transformed by bright wildflowers that last into summer. Scenic lookouts on the plateau offer spectacular panoramic views of the Victorian Alps to the east, across to Melbourne and over to the surrounding foothills of the Great Dividing Range to the west. Exciting single-track mountain bike trails are dotted around the mountain, and dual flying foxes, dune buggies, laser skirmish, and much more keep the post-winter adrenaline pumping. Lake Mountain is approximately 120 kilometres from Melbourne, or around an hour and 45 minute by car along the Eastern Freeway, Eastlink tollway and the Maroondah Highway.

Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance

Victoria

A much loved Victorian holiday spot, Lakes Entrance occupies a spectacular position in the memories of holiday-makers and on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach where the Gippsland Lakes meet the Southern Ocean. Summer is spent on the water in Lakes Entrance. Cross the footbridge to the popular Ninety Mile Beach surf beach, patrolled by lifesavers during the summer months, or take a hike to 'the entrance' of the Gippsland Lakes. The Lakes Entrance township has an easy seaside charm that invites visitors to unwind and relax. It doesn't get much more laid-back than a boat cruise on the Gippsland Lakes, the largest inland network of waterways in Australia. You can get more active and hire a paddleboat or catamaran. Head to Jemmy's Point Lookout for sweeping views of the town, lakes and the entrance. Cycle the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail from Bairnsdale. Make Lakes Entrance your base as you explore the historic Nyerimilang Homestead and Park and the beautiful Lake Tyers Township and the Lake Tyers Forest Park. Lakes Entrance is renowned as a 'seafood capital' due to the large number of fishing trawlers operating in the area. Catch your own fish or savour the catches from fresh seafood shops. Play a round of golf at either one of the golf courses or tee off for fun at one of the mini golf parks. Lakes Entrance is approximately four hours from Melbourne along the Princes Highway. It is serviced daily by rail to Bairnsdale and then coach to Lakes Entrance from Melbourne.

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.

Echuca

Echuca-Moama

Victoria

Located on the Murray River, Echuca-Moama is a heritage river town, home to a fleet of paddle steamers and a great base for waterskiing, swimming, cruising or taking a houseboat holiday. From the Aboriginal word meaning 'meeting of the water', Echuca was once the state's most substantial inland river port. Paddle steamers traded along the Murray and Darling Rivers almost as far as the Queensland border and brought their cargoes of wool to Echuca for transport to the Port of Melbourne. Echuca's rich port history continues to draw visitors. The restoration of many original buildings rejuvenated the streetscape and the wharf now offers visitors a fascinating opportunity to experience a working steam port. You can take a relaxing hour-long cruise aboard one of the authentic paddle steamers or a leisurely one hour stroll on a self guided tour of the Echuca Wharf. The world's biggest fleet of operating paddle steamers is based at Echuca and each has its own history and character. Paddle steamers again travel the local waters, these days for recreation and nostalgia . Learn about pioneering days from the captain's commentary and enjoy refreshments as you cruise in comfort. Alternatively, hire a houseboat and cruise down the Murray River at your own pace. Echuca-Moama is a great family holiday destination. Its location right on the Murray River, its warm Mediterranean climate and the myriad of water based activities, including waterskiing, swimming and boating, make for endless family fun. Make time for a meal at Oscar W's Wharfside restaurant for fine Aussie dining. Echuca is just under three hours from Melbourne on the Hume Freeway/Northern Highway.