Summer is coming, so it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity to get away for the weekend. As the city warms, tourists flock to Melbourne – so Melburnians, in turn, flock to regional Victoria.
Here are our best summer hotspots for a quick escape – without the crowds.
#1 Bushrangers Bay
Sure, you could head down the Mornington Peninsula for the regular old haunts like Portsea and Sorrento, or you could head to Bushrangers Bay and discover stunning, clear rock pools so deep that you can swim in them.
Lined by dark, brooding cliffs, this hidden beach down a walking track at Cape Schanck is well worth the hike – especially when you spot ‘roos bouncing across the path in the early morning.
Head towards the cliffs on the left, as you’re facing the sea, and you’ll discover the Instagram-worthy rock pools.
Up-and-coming wine region Heathcote is known worldwide for its Shiraz, but it’s still relatively unknown as a weekend wine destination, even though it’s only 90 minutes’ drive from the CBD.
If you’re strapped for time, head to the High Street, where a bunch of cellar doors bring together the best of the region in a handy, walkable hub. If you have a little time, however, pop into Sanguine Estate for a tasting, then head to Merindoc for one of their amazing local-produce antipasto platters over your tipple of choice.
When you’re all wined out, head to the Pink Cliffs for a walk through the strange geological landscape, which was carved out by gold mining in the 1880s.
#3 Point Addis Marine National Park
Surfers from Melbourne usually head to Torquay, Jan Juc or Bells Beach to catch a wave, but as those beaches fill up quickly during the summer months, we prefer to head to a little-known cove at Point Addis.
Tucked in between Bells and Angelsea Beaches, the marine park is not only stunning, it’s a great spot to learn to surf. The flat approach to the beach makes for long-riding one-to-three-foot waves that aren’t too intimidating, and as a bonus, it’s dog friendly and off-leash.
#4 Bellarine Peninsula
You might already know Geelong’s main beach and waterfront, complete with Ferris wheel and a fun ocean pool featuring high diving boards and floating pontoons. Stay a little longer in the Bellarine, however, and you’ll discover even more.
Point Lonsdale is the perfect spot for a pretty seaside walk to the lighthouse on the point, while the beaches surrounding are teeming with rock pools. Portarlington is known for its Australian Blue mussels, so don’t miss a lunchtime feed by the water with some of the freshest in Australia.
When you think of Healesville, you probably think of the gateway to the Yarra Valley – and the first (or last) stop for wine tasting at the iconic Giant Steps cellar door. However, there’s way more to this little winery-dotted region than wine tasting.
Head to the Healesville Sanctuary for some one-on-one time with a wombat, or a paddle with a platypus. Then, grab a bite at the iconic Healesville Hotel, or pick up some amazing antipasto at their grocer next door, Yarra Valley Harvest, and stay the night.
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