Melbourne Holidays – Phillip Island

Phillip Island lies just to the east of the Mornington Peninsula and is 140 km south east from Melbourne. Access by car is via the Bass Highway with an exit onto the Phillip Island Tourist Road that leads to San Remo and then across the bridge onto the island at Newhaven.

Philip island
Source : ytravelblog.com/

The island has a population of 7500 people.  It is known the world over as Australia’s motor cycle capital and is the home of the annual Australian MotoGP and Superbike races as well as V8 car racing.

Long before racing raised the profile of the island, it was recognised as a popular destination for bushwalkers, rock climbers, bird watchers and fishermen. Phillip Island has some of the best surfing spots in Victoria.

A popular attraction at Summerland Beach is the Phillip Island Penguin Parade of the Little (Fairy) Penguins and bookings are essential during holiday periods.

There is always an opportunity to get close to koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre with its unique tree top boardwalks and close up viewing areas of koalas in their natural habitat.

One of the hidden treasures on Phillip Island is Pyramid Rock, where you can enjoy views from Cape Woolamai to the Nobbies and watch a magnificent sunset. The coastal walk along the cliff tops allows visitors to explore the coastline between Pyramid Rock and Berrys Beach and has spectacular vistas in all directions.

Scenic cruises travel along the island coastline to Seal Rocks, a group of rocky outcrops lying 2 km off shore. A colony of up to 12,000 wild fur seals have made their home here and many of them regularly approach the boat to satisfy their curiosity.

The towns and parks on the island are well equipped for picnics and camping excursions. There are lots of toilet facilities, gas fired BBQ facilities, picnic tables and children’s playgrounds.

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Melbourne Holidays – Bellarine Peninsula

From the Mornington Peninsula on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay, a short trip on the “MV Queenscliff” connects passengers with Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula which forms the western side of the bay.

The road access from Melbourne is via Geelong which is the gateway to the peninsula. The Bellarine Peninsula is home to several historic villages and holiday resorts. One of the best ways to get a feel for the region is with a driving tour.

The compact size of the peninsula and the excellent road network make it easy to get around. The Bellarine features safe ocean and bay beaches, excellent wineries, theme parks, great dining and shopping, art galleries and beautiful countryside.

The ferry station at Queenscliff overlooks the treacherous waters of The Rip through which all shipping must pass when entering Port Phillip Bay.

The town takes pride in its historic fisherman cottages and restored Victorian period guest houses and hotels. Horse drawn coach and vintage steam train rides are a great way to see the town. Queenscliff provides lots of opportunities for leisurely browsing in the numerous the arts, crafts and speciality shops and the town’s historic buildings.

Anglers will find excellent fishing at Indented Head, St Leonards and Potarlington which also boasts an old steam powered mill from years gone by. The commercial centre of the Bellarine Peninsula is Ocean Grove which adjoins the pretty Barwon Heads, recognised by many for its role in a popular TV series, and its renowned golf course.

Australia’s largest air show attracts huge crowds and takes place at Avalon Airport near Geelong. This same city also hosts the annual National Celtic Folk Festival. October is the time for The Wallington Strawberry Fair.

Australia’s southern surfing capital is Torquay located just off the southern side of the Bellarine Peninsula. This is the home of the Bells Beach professional surfing competition. The area offers a variety of different type of beaches, suited for both family outings and serious surfing.

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Melbourne Holidays – Mornington Peninsula

Visitors to Melbourne can take an easy one hour drive south from the city to reach Melbourne’s favourite playground, the Mornington Peninsula which forms the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay.   The peninsula was the location of the first European settlement in Victoria.

The Mornington Peninsula is Melbourne’s favourite playground with ocean surf and long stretches of sheltered bay beaches. With three bodies of water enclosing the peninsula, there is an emphasis on water sports and aquatic activities. The area is renowned for its fine wineries, thoroughbred horse studs, orchards and wildlife areas.

After leaving Melbourne, visitors pass through Frankston, the gateway to the peninsula. The town offers beaches, golf courses, public reserves and gardens. A visit to Olivers Hill is recommended for the gracious old period homes and beautifully tended gardens.

Westernport Bay is, as the name implies, on the western side of the peninsula which is also known as The “Coast of Coves”. There are several very scenic golf courses in the area. The town of Hastings is the home port for a large fishing fleet and also boasts an impressive boating marina.

A visit to Coolart homestead is suggested for history buffs as well as a visit to the bird watching hides and platforms on Coolart lagoon.  Point Leo has a popular surf beach, but be warned, wetsuits will be needed.

Walkers will enjoy the trail to Bushrangers Bay on the promintory and the tour of the historic Sorrento residences and guest houses. The same tour is available in horse drawn trams.

Charters out on the bay are available to enjoy the fishing or simply take any one of the many motor cruises to see the bay’s population of seals and dolphins.

For a change of pace, enjoy a family day out at the picnic races that are held regularly on the peninsula.

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Melbourne Holidays – Yarra Valley

Although the Yarra River is the major natural feature that impacts on the Melbourne and surrounding area landscapes, it is only a small river by world standards. It runs for just 242 kms  from its source at Mt Baw Baw to its mouth at the head of Port Phillip Bay. It is not very wide, nor is it very deep.

Yarra Valley winery

However it carries high levels of organic silt and over the centuries that silt has been deposited across the flood plains of the Yarra Valley, resulting in the rich soils that support a thriving agricultural region.

The history of wine in the Yarra Valley dates back to 1845 and the region enjoys the status of being one of Australia’s premier wine producing regions. 

The area has many wine routes providing opportunities for cellar door tastings as well as sampling the local products in any of the many fine restaurants found throughout the region. Guided tours of the wine routes are always available.

The Grape Escape, held in March each year, is the annual Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Weekend and provides a festival of wine, food and music.

As the Yarra River winds its way through the valley, its waters attract hordes of canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Sailing is popular on Sugarloaf Reservoir and hot air balloons drift over the valley providing an aerial panorama of the region.

The Yarra Valley provides testing bush walks and hiking, rock climbing for the adventurous and fishing for the keen angler.

For an insight into the Aboriginal history and culture of the region, the Galeena Beek Living Culture Centre is recommended. The Mount St Leonard Lookout is a much visited location and the renowned Healesville Sanctuary introduces visitors to the largest collection of Australian wildlife anywhere in the world.

With its rugged timbered hillsides and fine golf course, Warburton is the jumping off point for the gold mining and timber cutting relics of the upper Yarra Valley.  This is a popular area for rock climbing and absieling, hang gliding, caving and eco tours. The 38km Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is perfect for walking tours, cycling and horse riding.

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Melbourne Holidays – Macedon Ranges

This region is situated north-west from Melbourne at the bottom tip of the Great Dividing Range. Promoted as “Pure Indulgence”, the region is best known for its wines, historic homes, mountain retreats, mineral springs and the mystery of Hanging Rock.

Macedon Ranges
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The cool climate and rich volcanic soils at Macedon attracted grand homes and gardens. Tours are available to several of the historic homes. The lookout at the top of Mt Macedon provides wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding area as well as 20 km of bush walking tracks around the mountain.

Sunbury is the birthplace of the Ashes, a cricket trophy of great significance to followers of the game. The grandeur of yesteryear is evident in the historic buildings and homes throughout the area.

Local heritage items are displayed in The George Evans Museum as well as historic buildings now under the management of the Victoria University. Emu Bottom Homestead is the earliest homestead in Victoria and is classified by the National Trust.

Its only a short drive to Hesket, site of the famous rock formations at Hanging Rock. The history of Woodend is associated with bushrangers but now known for its markets, galleries, antique and craft shops, diverse range of accommodation and eateries.

Many examples of fine colonial architecture are to be found in Kyneton, a haven for arts and crafts lovers. An extensive collection of period pieces is on display in the Kyneton Museum and an original squatters homestead can be viewed in the museum grounds.

Malmsbury lies at the heart of Victorian bluestone country with its distinctive stone viaducts, bridges, mills and cottages. The local Botanic Gardens are considered on a par with Victoria’s best and is the home of the rare hybrid strawberry tree. Located at the north-east end of the Macedon Ranges lie Kilmore and Lancefield, one of the thoroughbred country areas of Victoria.

A popular local attraction is to ride Hudson Park in the old cable tram. The Dreamtime Emu Park is another popular attraction for visitors to the area. The twin towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are at the centre of Australia’s largest collection of natural mineral and freshwater springs. Lake Daylesford Central Springs has numerous pavilions and springs. This is an area of leisurely afternoon teas, stately homes and fine dining.

The adventurous visitor can try the river gorges, raging rapids and waterfalls in the surrounding streams.  The area has lots of good walking trails and can also be viewed from your seat in an train ride.
The nearby Lavender Farm at Yandoit is a popular attraction.

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Melbourne Holidays – Local Attractions

Melbourne holiday makers are well advised to take a trip on the free City Circle tram service to acquaint themselves with the attractions of this great holiday destination.

Melbourne

Melbourne’s yellow and green trams are a much loved part of the city landscape, faithfully carrying the local population to and from work and transporting visitors to the many popular attractions to be found throughout the city. A popular tram ride for visitors is the trip to St Kilda Pavilion and the pier.

Flinders Street Station is the pivotal point for all the suburban train travel throughout Melbourne. This Australian landmark is where generations of Melburnians have arranged to meet under the clocks. 

In more recent times, the nearby Crown Casino towers over the Yarra River and provides the city with entertainment and gaming. Melbourne is a very “walkable” city with mostly flat terrain and gentle inclines and there is no shortage of great walks throughout the city. 

Many a visitor to Melbourne has called in to have a drink in the company of Chloe at Young & Jacksons Hotel, arguably Australia’s most famous hotel. Any tour that takes in Melbourne’s history should include St Pauls Cathedral, the historicCaptain Cook’s cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, Como Homestead in South Yarra and Ripponlea near St Kilda. The Old Melbourne Gaol is best known in Australian history for being the prison where the bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged. 

For magnificent panoramic views of the city, a recommended visit is the Rialto Towers observation deck on the 55th floor. A popular city destination is the Queen Victoria Market to see the produce vendors in action. For a change of pace, visit the Melbourne Aquarium where the adrenalin junkies can swim with the sharks.

Melbourne is home to Australia’s most diverse ethnic mix. Anglo Saxon, Italian, Greek, Chinese and Vietnamese are just some of the nationalities to be found in Melbourne’s shops and restaurants. A Melbourne event not to be missed is the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March – April when all the great cuisines of these various cultures are on display.

Melbourne prides itself on being Australia’s art capital and art lovers should plan to visit the National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre. Open air concerts at the Myer Music Bowl are a Melbourne institution.

Sports lovers will find plenty to choose from in Melbourne. The crowd atmosphere at a football match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a memorable experience.  The ground is the home of cricket during the summer and in winter it becomes the headquarters for the AFL (Australian Football League) also known as “Australian Rules” football.

The southern fringes of Melbourne are home to Werribee Park Zoo, Werribee Park Mansion and gardens, and the adjoining Victorian State Rose Garden. For those with an interest in things aeronautical, a visit to the Air Force Museum at Point Cook is recommended.

Any visit to Melbourne should allow for day trips, or preferably longer, to the magnificent regions surrounding Melbourne. Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, the Yarra Valley and the Macedon Ranges are just some of the destinations that should feature on any Melbourne travel itinerary.

A Melbourne car rental will allow the independent traveller to reach all of these attractions with a minimum of fuss and bother. If you plan on an extended self drive tour, there are plenty of campers, motorhomes and 4WD campers that will meet your requirements.

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Melbourne Holidays – Phillip Island

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Melbourne Holidays Guide

Melbourne is one of Australia’s premier holiday destinations and attracts millions of visitors each year. Melbourne is the gateway to Victoria and sits astride the Yarra River at the very top of Port Phillip Bay.

It is Australia’s second largest city (population of approx 4 million) with a mix of modern high rise towers, preserved historic Victorian era architecture and magnificent parks and gardens.

Melbourne dinasty

Some of Australia’s most well known natural attractions and holiday destinations are to be found in the areas surrounding the city. Melbourne is the perfect base for travel to the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges, the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island, to name just a few highlights.

The city is renowned for its great festivals, sports spectaculars, gourmet food and wine and its vibrant arts scene. The calendar of events in Melbourne extends throughout the year with events for every taste and age.

The cosmopolitan Melbourne restaurants, the mix of modern and historic, lively entertainment, boutique shopping and non-stop cavalcade of festivals and events all combine to make Melbourne holidays an experience for all ages.

Travel is simple on the excellent network of Melbourne transport consisting of trams, trains and buses that criss-cross the city and surrounding areas. To see the best that the city offers her visitors, a rental car is highly recommended as the metropolitan area covers a large area and many of the major attractions are just beyond the city outskirts.

Melburnians love their sport and the city boasts some of Australia’s major sporting venues.  The Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the Australian Open Tennis Tournament, the Australian 500cc MotoGP, the Melbourne Cup horse race and spring racing carnival all take place in Melbourne and attract huge crowds.

The AFL final is played at the end of September and attracts crowds of up to 100,000 people who cram into every possible vantage point at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Melbourne accommodation choices are many and varied, ranging from 5 star luxury hotels to economy motel accommodation for the budget conscious traveller.  Patrons of the smaller boutique hotels are well catered for in Melbourne.  Due to the many major events and festivals throughout the year, Melbourne hotels and apartments can be difficult to find.

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