Looking for a great weekend escape in Victoria? Whether you’re looking for a coastal break, an indulgent weekend or to take in a bit of culture, Victoria has it and more. What Victoria lacks in size it makes up for in variety. There’s the Great Ocean Road, famous for its spectacular coastal vistas and incredible rock formations, Phillip Island with its adorable fairy penguins and the Grampians, the Murray River and the Mornington Peninsula. Although these are all amazing places to visit, there are many less well known spots with a lot on offer. Accommodation options in Victoria are endless with luxury hotels, country resorts, eco lodges and bush camping just to name a few.
Rutherglen, around 3 and a half hours from Melbourne, is a small town near the Murray River border, in north eastern Victoria. The town itself is indicative of a country town and the surrounding countryside is green and inviting. It’s Rutherglen’s main industry, wine making, which makes it the ideal place to visit for a weekend of food, wine and culture. There is a good selection of wineries in the area to visit, of which most have a cellar door and many have on-site restaurants serving creative meals using fresh, locally grown produce and home grown wines. Rutherglen is also host to a number of festivals throughout the year, including Tastes of Rutherglen and the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout, both are a celebration of food, wine, music and fun! The Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway is a great Wangaratta hotel close to Rutherglen and more than 20 other local vineyards.
Only 48 kilometres to Mount Bulla and less than 3 hours from the centre of Melbourne, Mansfield is a great place to stay if you’re heading for the slopes for a skiing weekend. Away from the frenetic pace of Mount Bulla village but close enough to drive home to after a day of skiing, Mansfield has stunning scenery with mountain forests and lush grazing lands. With tree-lined boulevards and a central marble monument erected as a tribute to the group of local constables who killed bushranger Ned Kelly, Mansfield is a town filled with history and legend. There are several historic buildings worthy of a visit and even a zoo. Nearby Lake Nillahcootie offers water activities such as boating, fishing and swimming in the summer months, and its shores are the perfect place to lay your picnic blanket.
Motor racing enthusiasts will love Benalla, the home of Winton Motor Raceway which hosts the V8 Supercar, motorbike and superkart racing events throughout the year. In complete contrast to this, Benalla is also known for its historic botanic and rose gardens and is referred to as ‘The Rose City on the Lake’, with some of the best displays of roses in Victoria. The town is also linked to the legendary Ned Kelly and visitors can stand inside the portable cell that once housed Ned Kelly. The local museum has a good collection of Ned Kelly memorabilia along with displays depicting the region’s historic past. The Benalla Regional Art Gallery is one of Victoria’s most significant regional galleries and is home to an excellent collection of historic and contemporary Australian art. Choice Hotels’ Comfort Inn Benalla is a well priced, well located Benalla hotel with a great range of accommodation.
Just over two and a half hours from Melbourne, Sale is located on an extensive network of lakes and rivers and is a veritable playground for anyone into their water activities. An ideal way to enjoy the area is by boat, with a number of boat hire places locally hiring out both small runabouts, and larger self contained cruisers. The large lakes provide sheltered sandy beaches, tiny private bays and excellent fishing spots waiting to be discovered. Drop the anchor and row to shore and enjoy the many walking tracks and abundance of native flora, fauna and birdlife. Once you’ve seen enough of the lakes and rivers it’s only a short drive to famous 90 mile beach, where another range of water activities abounds. Whale watching, dolphin spotting, beach fishing, swimming and just lazing around the beach are just some of the ways you can spend your time. Choice Hotels has the four star Comfort Inn & Suites King Avenue hotel great for resting after a full day of water activities.
Next time you’re planning a weekend away in Victoria try somewhere a little different, with the natural beauty of Victoria as your playground, you might just find your new favourite holiday destination.