Romantic Indulgence Touring Route
Inspiration and relaxation
Take a break from the hectic city pace and slow down amid Victoria's pristine natural landscapes. Reconnect and spend time together, treat yourself to a little bit of luxury, and explore the rolling hills, quiet bay beaches and manicured gardens that surround Melbourne.
Sample seasonal delights paired with impeccable local wines at renowned vineyards, from the Yarra Valley to the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas. Watch the sun set over the hinterland at a thermal mineral spring, stroll through seaside villages and along coastal trails, or sign up for a memorable wildlife encounter.
Nature lover or foodie, wanderer or romantic – you'll find plenty here that inspires and seduces. The only thing left to do is pack your bags and hit the road.
Melbourne to Geelong and the Bellarine
Start your romantic journey by travelling just 1.5 hours from Melbourne to the picturesque Bellarine Peninsula.
Set out along the Bellarine Taste Trail in style with Mustang & Co. Cruise around the magnificent Bellarine and Geelong region in a stunning 1966 Red Mustang convertible with the top down. Sip local varietals at cellar doors and then slow it down with lunch at Jack Rabbit Vineyard while taking in expansive views of Corio Bay.
Stretch your legs on a walk along one of the stunning surf beaches nearby, or take some time to explore the villages and seaside hamlets along the peninsula. Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff offer boutique shopping, cafes and providores.
Enjoy a night at the Vue Grande Hotel or Athelstane House in Queenscliff and round out your day on the peninsula amid heritage luxury.Food & wineGeelong wine regionExplore the Geelong wine region's diverse sub-regions from surf coast to volcanic plains making its food, wine and landscape resist any label.Road trips & itinerariesGeelong and the Bellarine DaytripSet off from Melbourne on a self-guided touring route of Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula and see seaside villages, vibrant towns and bay views.WineriesJack Rabbit VineyardHop to it for sophisticated cool-climate wines, an award-winning restaurant, cellar door, tasting room, bistro-style cafe and stunning coastal views.
Begin your day with a morning ferry ride across the bay from Queenscliff to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, keeping an eye out for playful dolphins on the way.
Take a walk along the sand and fill your lungs with fresh sea air before heading to the hinterland for a day of wine, food and indulgence.
Savour a delightful morning tea in the tranquil surrounds of Heronswood House & Gardens before climbing aboard the Arthurs Seat Eagle. Ride the gondola over the state forest to the highest point on the peninsula, taking in panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay.
Schedule lunch at the stunning Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, and leave time to explore the works of the renowned sculpture park. Wine lovers will enjoy further tastings of the Mornington Peninsula's wine offerings at nearby Crittenden Wine Centre and Merricks General Store.
Pick up something for home at the Red Hill Market or vintage stores in the villages of Red Hill and Flinders and then visit the famous beach boxes at Dromana, Mornington or Mt Martha.
Late afternoon brings a relaxing massage at Peninsula Hot Springs and a soak in a private bath of geothermally heated mineral water. Sunset can be seen from the top pool of this beautiful complex, with a 360-degree view of the peninsula.
Finish up your day by booking into the Woodman Estate Luxury Hotel in Moorooduc. Choose from the manor house suite or a private chalet lakeside and enjoy a meal crafted from seasonal, local ingredients at Woodman's – the onsite restaurant.Spa & wellbeingPeninsula Hot SpringsPamper yourself at Victoria's first natural thermal mineral springs and day spa, located just over an hour from Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula.ResortsWoodman Estate - Luxury on the PeninsulaWoodman Estate is best described as classic traditions with a modern twist.Universally acknowledged for it's unrivalled quality, service and style.Just...Food & wineMornington Peninsula wine regionSample your way around Peninsula's boutique cellar doors for the region's renowned pinot noir, plus chardonnay, shiraz, pinot gris and pinot grigio.Leisure activitiesArthurs Seat EagleSoar the heights of the Mornington Peninsula with scenic views across Port Phillip Bay towards Melbourne, around the coast and beyond.Gliding quietly through...CafesMerricks General Wine StoreEnjoy time-honoured hospitality and a classic country menu featuring seasonal produce and a great regional wine list including local beers and ciders.
Make it a slow start to the day and then continue around Western Port Bay to Phillip Island, with its abundance of native wildlife, pristine beaches and nature walks.
Stop in at the Koala Conservation Centre and get up close to these cuddly creatures as you take the boardwalk up to treetop level. Switch gears and get a dose of adrenaline on tour with the Wild Ocean EcoBoat. Cruise out to Seal Rocks and be delighted by the thousands of Australian fur seals that frolic off these shores and wave at you from the water.
Lunch at Cape Kitchen is recommended, with stunning vistas of the Southern Ocean and fresh local fare on offer. Follow up lunch by taking to the skies with Phillip Island Helicopters and enjoy views of the island you'll remember forever.
Check into your accommodation early at Clifftop Accommodation or Oak Tree Lodge and put your feet up before heading off to the legendary Penguin Parade at sunset. Take the Ultimate Tour to be on a private beach with just 10 guests, or view them from the new Penguins Plus area where you’ll be right up close to these adorable birds as they make their way home to their nests.Tour operatorPhillip Island HelicoptersThere is just no other way of experiencing the majestic Phillip Island coastal scenery than from the air with Phillip Island Helicopters. Phillip Island...Wildlife, zoos & farmsPhillip Island Nature ParksSee Phillip Island's little penguins emerge from the sea, peek at life inside a burrow, and spot other Australian animals at this wildlife wonderland.RestaurantsThe Cape KitchenCape Kitchen dishes up carefully prepared regional produce, famous Victorian wines and unique dining experiences alongside breathtaking ocean views.Wildlife, zoos & farmsKoala ReserveWander through the tree-top boardwalks and see koalas up close in their natural habitat at Phillip Island's Koala Reserve.Tour operatorWildlife Coast CruisesSpot seals, whales and more on environmentally accredited wildlife, twilight and lunch cruises, from Phillip Island to Wilsons Promontory.
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Head north to the lush gardens and national parks of the Dandenong Ranges. Take a morning ride through fern gullies and rainforest on the Puffing Billy Steam Railway or make a day of it by booking in for a gourmet on-board lunch.
Take a stroll through the giant Mountain Ash forest and then spend a few hours exploring the quaint hill villages of Sassafras and Olinda, where you can pick up antiques and artworks, and then sample the popular local Devonshire tea.
Discover the bounty of this fertile region during the summer months. Fill your basket with cherries at Cherryhill Orchards (pick them from the trees during the summer season) and stock up on stone fruits at Rayner's Orchard. And if you're visiting in September or October, make sure you set aside time to experience the magic and colour of the Tesselaar Tulip Festival.
Press on to the rolling green fields of the Yarra Valley in time for a late lunch at TarraWarra Estate or Coombe Yarra Valley, which boasts an acclaimed restaurant, winery and country house that was once home to the legendary opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.
Wrap up the afternoon by catching a spectacular sunset from the observation deck at SkyHigh Mt Dandenong. Settle in for a sumptuous dinner with the twinkling lights of the city below or head off to the award-winning Eleonore's Restaurant at Chateau Yering, where you'll be spending the night. After dinner, while away the evening amid the old-world architecture and manicured gardens of one of the valley's iconic retreats.History & heritagePuffing Billy Steam RailwayAll aboard for a ride on Australia's oldest steam railway, through thick forests and lush fern gullies, or travel first class for olden-times romance.RestaurantsEleonore's Restaurant at Chateau Yering HotelTreat yourself to a night of elegant, multi-award-winning contemporary fine dining in the historic 19th-century Chateau Yering.Local produceRayner's OrchardRayner's Orchard currently grow over 450 varieties of fruit and is around an hours drive from the city centre, located in Melbourne's food bowl, the Yarra...DestinationsOlindaPerch yourself high above Melbourne and surrounds and observe the striking seasons in the beautiful public and private gardens of Olinda.RestaurantsSkyHigh Mount Dandenong and Scenic LookoutAt SkyHigh Mount Dandenong you will get some perspective and escape the noise and pressures of the concrete jungle. Less than an hour from the Melbourne...DestinationsSassafrasFollow a well-worn road to a relaxing weekend in charming Sassafras, a popular destination for city dwellers since the nineteenth century.
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Start the last day of your romantic journey with a hot-air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley at sunrise. Watch from above as the vineyards and farms come to life and then enjoy a champagne breakfast when you land.
Stay inspired after your balloon flight with a wander through the manicured landscapes of Alowyn Gardens. Discover the French-inspired parterre garden, the forest garden and Wisteria archway. If you're visiting between December and April, set aside time to see the famous Amazon lillies at the Blue Lotus Gardens.
Healesville Sanctuary is next and offers the chance to get up close to some of Victoria's iconic wildlife. Sign up for the Wade with the Platypus, or experience a Magic Moment with some of the other friendly locals – hand feed an echidna, or give a wombat a tickle behind the ear.
Savour a seasonal lunch at De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate, soak up the atmosphere at Domaine Chandon, or sit overlooking the vines at Meletos or Oakridge.
Lastly, pop into the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery for a sweet treat or gift pack for someone special before taking the short one-hour drive back to Melbourne.WineriesDe Bortoli Yarra Valley EstateWith over 80 years in the game, there's not much the De Bortoli family don't know about wine. Pop in for a taste of their famous cool climate wines.CafesMeletosDine in a refurbished farm house at the Yarra Valley's Meletos. Specialising in local flavours, this cafe showcases the best of country hospitality.Wildlife, zoos & farmsHealesville SanctuaryWatch for waking koalas and peek at a joey in a kangaroo's pouch, meet keepers or observe vets in the animal hospital, all in an Aussie bush setting.Food & wineColdstream TrailFind out what's in season and what's on the vine along the Coldstream Trail – located on Melbourne's doorstep and just five minutes from Lilydale.Parks & gardensBlue Lotus Water GardenThe Blue Lotus Water Garden is located in Melbourne's beautiful Yarra Valley and is famous around the world for the seasonal display of magnificent lotus...