Three Coastal Getaways to Help You Escape the City This Autumn
Where to eat, drink, explore and sleep at these seaside getaways.
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When it comes to weekend getaways, Victorians are more than a little spoiled for choice. Whether you love exploring rugged cliffs and coves on hikes to hidden beaches or you prefer long spa days spent soaking in steamy hot springs, there are endless opportunities in Victoria for whichever mini-holiday you've been dreaming of.
From the Great Ocean Road and Torquay to Cape Schanck and Inverloch, these three itineraries are jam-packed with enough food and drink, historical attractions and outdoor adventures to satisfy any weekend traveller.
The little seaside town of Torquay might be known for its great surf, but it has a lot more to offer than just waves. Start your time there right, with a visit to the Pond Cafe. The laidback, open cafe has a friendly atmosphere and even better food and coffee. Hot tip: the pork belly tacos are to die for and the beef bibimbap is the post-surf feed you'll crave for weeks after visiting.
Now that your stomach is sorted, why not get your blood pumping, too? The Torquay section of the Surf Coast Walk is the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with one of Australia's most treasured landscapes. For the full experience, you can start at Point Impossible and slowly trek the 5.7 kilometres all the way to Yellow Bluff, or you can tackle smaller sections, including Bird Rock to Bells Beach (3.2 kilometres) or Yellow Bluff to the Torquay Promenade (1.6 kilometres). And if you're after something more adventurous, you can catch the views from up high with Spring Creek Horse Rides.
However you choose to spend your day, you'll have certainly worked up an appetite again. Enter MoVida. Less than an hour's drive down the road, the Lorne outpost of this Melburnian favourite serves up its Spanish tapas and dishes to share, like the pulpo and gamba or adobo cazon and patatas bravas, alongside vast views of the ocean. After a feed, drop into local favourite Blackman's Brewery to sample a fine selection of local beers in the courtyard.
And when you're ready to rest and recoup, make tracks to the RACV Torquay Resort. With views of the coast, the resort has relaxation covered. Join a yoga class, zen out in the sauna or book into the spa. One Spa has an extensive menu of treatments that focus on all areas of the body. Opt for a calming facial, a hot stone massage or luxe pedicure; slip into three hours of hammam bathing with relaxation and vitality pools, thermal stone and steam rooms and 'experience showers'; or treat yourself to a the Bells Beach Body Bliss, offering two hours of full-body exfoliation, a body wrap, full-body massage, scalp massage and hammam bathing. And even if you don't have the time for a long experience, there are several treatments available under an hour.
The Mornington Peninsula's proximity to Melbourne means that the region has long been a favourite for weekend getaways. But even with a beautifully rugged coastline, phenomenal dining experiences and storied historical attractions, some parts remain quite secluded, like Cape Schanck.
Set up your home base at the recently opened RACV Cape Schanck Resort. Here, you'll wake up surrounded by dramatic landscape and lovely sea views before enjoying breakfast at the Cape restaurant and maybe even a quick morning massage at the One Spa. Once you're ready for the day ahead, make tracks to the Cape Schanck Lightstation. Built in 1859 and made of limestone, the lighthouse is set along the Bushrangers Bay Nature trail, offering some of the best coastal scenery you can find near Melbourne.
From there, it's only a short drive to Laura at Pt Leo Estate for an unforgettable dining experience. And it's not just the food that's incredible; along with the restaurant, the grounds feature a vineyard, sculpture garden and one of the most picture-perfect views of the entire peninsula. After a highly local meal that takes you on a culinary journey through the Mornington Peninsula, continue the epicurean exploration at the Bass and Flinders Distillery in Dromana. Sample gins made with Australian botanicals like mulla mulla flowers, sandalwood nuts and even native gravel ants or take a gin masterclass where you'll get to blend your very own gin recipe.
Finally, if you're after some more luxury to fill your day, spend time soaking away your city-bound worries at Peninsula Hot Springs. Book the Bath House package, and hop from thermal mineral pools to an ice cave to a hilltop pool with 360-degree views. Hot tip: if you book the stay and bathe package for RACV Cape Schanck Resort, a trip to the hot springs is included with your stay. Plus, after a long day of exploring and relaxing in equal measure, when you arrive back at the resort, you can refuel at the Cape again. Serving dishes that hero regional produce, chef Jeff Pelham heads up the kitchen with a wealth of experience gained at the two-Michelin starred London restaurant, The Square. Opt for the chef's four-course tasting menu paired with wines from neighbouring vineyards, and taste your way through the Peninsula via olive oil made just five minutes down the road, wagyu from a farm in Ballan and cheeses from Mount Martha, less than 30 minutes from the resort.
Set at the mouth of Anderson Inlet, Inverloch is a picturesque beach town that more than lives up to its hype as one of Victoria's hidden gems, with a fantastic offering of cafes, wineries and bars — not to mention proximity to some of Gippsland's best walks and hikes.
They say that The Local has some of the best coffee along the coastline that stretches between Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory and, whoever 'they' are, they're right. Let the friendly staff and the Allpress Espresso put you in a great mood before taking in the Bunurong Coastal Drive – a 14-kilometre trail filled with stunning sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches and incredible vantage points like the Eagles Nest car park. And, if that's not enough action for you, you can always set out on foot to explore one of the world-renowned walks in Wilsons Promontory. If the weather's warm, there's more than a few coves to sneak a dip into along the way.
After exploring, head to Archies Couch because there's nothing like a cold frothy after a long walk. Not to worry though if wine is more your style — Dirty Three Wine has both pinot noir and riesling, but it's the pinot you'll want to try. The winery grows the same pinot grape but in three different dirts so you can sample the influence of terroir in each. For something a bit more substantial, Tomo's sushi always delivers. The eatery was opened by Tomo Ezaki (ex-Ocha) so you know the food will be top-notch — but here you won't have to wait three months to get a table. And when you're not trekking, sipping or chewing, you can relax in your own coastal cabin or villa at RACV Inverloch Resort to take in some truly incredible water views.
Ready to go? We're giving away $10,000 in travel vouchers to spend at the Victorian RACV Resort of your choosing. Enter here and start planning your coastal escape to find your happy space in Victoria. For more inspiration, head this way.
Published on April 10, 2019 by Eleanor Scott