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TRAVEL / Mar ‘2018

Your Getaway Guide to Victoria

getaway guide Victoria
PHOTOS Steam Train at Puffing Billy Railway
TRAVEL / MAR ‘2018

Your Getaway Guide to Victoria

Fancy some time away from the routine of daily life? Dreaming of some sun or snow? Luckily Victoria has all of that, and more! 

Words COLLEEN WILLIS

PHOTOS Steam Train at Puffing Billy Railway

From its dramatic eye-catching coastlines, beautiful beaches, parks, skiing, wineries and amazing food there is plenty on offer for the whole family to enjoy.

DANDENONG RANGES and YARRA VALLEY

What a wonderful place to visit. So much to do! The Dandenongs and Yarra Valley are home to a multitude of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Highlights include:

  • Hedgend Maze Healesville
  • Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery Yarra Glen
  • Yarra Valley Dairy in Coldstream
  • William Ricketts Sanctuary Park
  • Binjarra Cultural Centre
  • Healesville Sanctuary
  • SkyHigh Mt Dandenong Restaurant and Attractions

For more information visit: www.skyhighmtdandenong.com.au or www.visitvictoria.com

Puffing Billy Steam Train

For all the little (and big!) train lovers out there Puffing Billy is a must. This well-loved steam train is more than 100 years old and runs from Belgrave to Gembrook through the beautiful forests and gullies of the Dandenongs.

For more information visit: www.puffingbilly.com.au

Trees Adventure Glen Harrow Park

Fancy an amazing adventure? Ever felt like walking through the treetops? Then this is for you! Anyone from the age of four and above can enjoy this. Bookings are essential.

For more information visit: www.treesadventure.com.au/glen-harrow-park

*Top Tip*

We all love a good playground, so see the link below for a great list of playgrounds and parks! www.visitdandenongranges.com.au/things-to-do/picnics-playgrounds

Wineries

Where to start?! You could spend months exploring them! Several places are family friendly and offer playgrounds and other activities.

     Accommodation

  • Big4 Dandenong Tourist Park
  • Quest Dandenong

For more information on wineries and accommodation visit: www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Yarra-Valley-and-Dandenong-Ranges

SNOW FUN 

If it’s the snow you’re after, you’re pretty spoilt for choice. From Melbourne, it’s easy enough to do a day trip or stay for a week.

Mt Hotham

  • Kids Snow Zone Program. Mighty Mites for 3-5 years and Kids Club for 6-14 years.
  • Harry the Snowdragon show. Most suitable for 3-7 years. Wednesdays and Saturdays from 4pm.
  • Kids snowmobile rides.

 

Accommodation

  • Davenport village in Hotham.
  • Dinner Plain, 10kms away, is a good alternative.

For more information visit: www.mthotham.com.au

Falls Creek

  • Riglet Park. Great for 3-5 years
  • Junior Workshop for 6-12 years
  • Teen Academy for 13-17 years
  • Pete the Snow dragon

 

Accommodation

The Falls Creek Hotel prides itself on being family friendly. It has a ‘Kool 4 Kids Klub’ (3 – 9 years) with fun and games from 7-9pm.

For more information visit: www.fallscreek.com.au or www.fallscreekhotel.com.au

Mt Buller

  • Bunyips Program for 3 – 6 years
  • Buller Kids for 7-14 years Ski and Snowboard
  • Buller Teens for 15-18 years Ski and Snowboard

Accommodation

Arlberg Hotel – Has a kids-stay-free offer and a kids area with a pool table and x-box.

For more information visit: www.mtbuller.com.au

Mt Baw Baw

If you’re a total beginner, Mt Baw Baw claims it is the best place to learn because of its smaller size and gentle slopes.

  • Kids lessons
  • Howling Husky Dog Sled Tours
  • Tobogganing

Accommodation

  • Alpine Flashpackers – Budget
  • Coora Valley Chalet – Mid range

For more information visit: www.mountbawbaw.com.au

 

 

These spots are just as great in the summer months as well!

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

This is one of the most stunning ocean drives I’ve ever been on. Some of the amazing things on offer include:

  • Bells Beach
  • Apollo Bay
  • Kennett River Koala Walk
  • Cape Otway
  • Port Campbell National Park
  • The Twelve Apostles
  • Tiger Moth World, Torquay (Lots of fun!)

 

If you feel like a swim then head to the famous Bells Beach or take a stroll along the Surf Coast walk.

For more information visit: www.greatoceanrd.org.au www.travelvictoria.com.au/regions/greatoceanroad/

Accommodation

There are plenty of choices on this route, from caravan/holiday parks, B&B’s, apartments and resorts.

For more information visit: www.big4.com.au or www.topparks.com.au www.greatoceanroadtrip.com

The Grampians

The Grampians have much to offer families, from camping, scenic walks, animals and more.

Highlights include:

  • Little Desert National Park.
  • Grampians National Park
  • Mt Arapiles
  • McKenzie Falls.
  • The Stawell Gift at Easter

For more information visit: www.grampianstourism.com.au

Halls Gap Zoo

Halls Gap Zoo is Victoria’s largest regional zoo.  It has a, giraffe, water buffalo, meerkats, rainbow lorikeet and more. Why not consider ‘adopting’ one of their beautiful animals? How awesome would that be!

Accommodation

Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.  Here you can camp, stay in a cabin or rent a house!

For more information visit: www.hallsgapzoo.com.au or www.hallsgaplakeside.com

PHILLIP ISLAND

What a gorgeous spot with lots of things to do. With everything close together you don’t have to spend ages in the car going from place to place.

Highlights include:

  • Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. Yum yum!
  • A Maze’n’Things
  • Antarctic Journey
  • Churchill Island Heritage Farm
  • Wildlife Coast Cruises
  • Caldermeade Farm and Café

Penguin Parade

Who doesn’t love a cute penguin? Every day at sunset the penguins arrive and strut their stuff while waddling over to their burrows. Truly awesome.

*Top Tip*

During peak times, pre-book tickets to avoid missing out.

Accommodation

  • A Maze’n’Things Holiday Park
  • The Waves Apartments

For more information visit: www.visitphillipisland.com

MORNINGTON PENINSULA 

The Mornington Peninsula is renowned for being a popular holiday destination with lots to do.

Highlights include:

  • Diving, fishing
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • The Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Park
  • Wineries
  • Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
  • The Big Goose
  • Visit village markets
  • The Enchanted Maze
  • Cape Schanck Lighthouse and Museum

For more information visit: www.thebellarinerailway.com.au or www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org

*Top Tip*

Follow the link below for a comprehensive list of food and wineries in the Mornington Peninsula.

www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/foodandwine

Accommodation

  • Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats (Some of these are even pet friendly)
  • Trumans Cottages (Mostly pet friendly)

For more information visit:www.familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au/mornington_peninsula

VICTORIAN GOLDFIELDS

Gold was discovered over 160 years ago…will you be the one to make the next big find??

Highlights include:

  • Ballarat – See the Lal Lal Falls
  • Bendigo – Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram Tours
  • Castlemaine – Old Castlemaine Gaol
  • Heathcote – O’Keefe Rail Trail,
  • Maldon – The Maldon Lolly Shop. An old time shop filled with sweet treats galore!

For more information visit: www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Goldfields

The Maldon Lolly Shop is full of sweet treats!

Sovereign Hill

Pan for gold at Sovereign Hill! Sovereign Hill is a living museum with working exhibits. It’s home to shops, schools, gold digging, underground mines and more. It’s been named Australia’s best ‘Major Tourist Attraction’ three times.

For more information visit: www.sovereignhill.com.au

Accommodation

For something different why not stay at Kryal Castle? It’s located approximately 8km’s east of Ballarat. Kryal Castle is a replica medieval castle with plenty of shows and attractions.

For more information visit: www.kryalcastle.com.au

THE MURRAY REGION

The Murray River is Australia’s longest river and a great place to visit. It’s home to wonderful wineries and gourmet food as well as many other exciting things.

Highlights include:

  • Fishing
  • Watersports
  • Paddle steamers
  • Houseboats
  • River Cruises
  • Port of Echuca Discovery Centre

 

Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement

Swan Hill is a town that carries a rich pioneer heritage. The Pioneer Settlement will really help you to embrace Australian history. You can chat to people from a bygone era while cruising the Murray on the PS Pyap. In the evening, enjoy a light and laser show.

For more information visit: www.pioneersettlement.com.au

House Boating

Hire a houseboat and be your own captain! Kids and captains alike will love an adventure like this. You might just have to stop at one of the many wineries though!

Accommodation

Lots of choice! Houseboats, tourist parks, resorts, camping and more.

For more information visit: www.murrayriverhouseboats.com.au www.visitthemurray.com.au

GETTING THERE

Thanks to its size, Victoria is very accessible by road and public transport.

For more information visit: www.visitvictoria.com/Things-to-do/Touring-routes

COLLEEN WILLIS

Colleen has roamed the world for many years on her own and with her husband and daughter, Rebekah. During this time, Colleen has been a teacher and an award-winning recipient of Flight Centre both in Australia and overseas. Colleen will guide you through family travel the way she knows best!