With the arrival of winter and a long weekend around the corner here in Victoria, I’m thinking about how to make the most of it. Whilst the thought of basking on Lord Howe Island sounds dreamy, the reality is a tad less exotic.

Still, three days to relax, explore, discover, sleep in and indulge in our favourite pastime sounds pretty good, doesn’t it.

Whether you love your adventures wild and woolly or civilised, here are some ways to make the most of the coming Queen’s Birthday long weekend, regardless of the weather.

Wine & History collide

Shiraz anyone? The historic picturesque township of Heathcote, 1.5 hours from Melbourne, is the backdrop of Heathcoteonshow, three days of wine, music and festivities.

Over the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend there’s a huge array of events including wine tastings, craft breweries, masterclasses, food and entertainment. 26 cellar doors will open throughout the region. We went last year and had a great time sampling the best of the area.

Head for the heart of the Victorian goldfields in Maldon for some winter wind-down. Towards the end of June this sleepy gold rush town comes alive for their annual Winter in Maldon.

There’s loads to enjoy as restaurants, shops and cafes celebrate Christmas in July. The steam train ride from Maldon to Castlemaine is always fun too!

Winter Weekends along the Great Ocean Road

The spectacular Great Ocean Road is reason enough to take off for a few days of coastal recharge. Be invigorated at Wye River and enjoy a pub meal overlooking the ocean, stay in the lighthouse at Aireys Inlet or base yourself at Port Campbell. Visit the Apostles, walk the Otway Fly and get lost in the rainforest at Maits Rest.

The historic seaside town of Port Fairy will be celebrating winter festivity all through the months of June and July with special activities planned each weekend.

A snippet from their website gives an idea of what to expect:
“This year, we’re enticing you outdoors. When you might most want to stay inside, we want to remind you about the land on which you live, the coastline you reside by and dip into. Go to nearby reserves, plant trees, understand marine life, see an old street in a new way, embrace the chances to connect with environment and understand how to better protect it. Bring cups and containers with you to our events, carry a spare bag for the artworks, records, produce or surprises you’ll buy. Our festival tries hard to look after this planet and we hope you will too.” 

Visit www.portfairywinterweekends for all the details

Riverside Relaxing

Some of our most relaxing weekends have been spent camped by a river. In winter with a campfire as company, no crowds or mozzies and warming stews it’s a chance to slow down and savour the relaxation, the stargazing and doing bugger all nothing.img_9818

There’s something mesmorising about gazing into flickering flames, especially with the sound of a river nearby.  Our favourites? Lake Fyans, Murrindindi, Molesworth, Majors Creek, Walwa, anywhere along the Jamieson and Fry’s Flat in the Howqua Hills area are all up there.

How’s the serenity!

Mornington Magic

There’s coastal scenery, food, wine, adventure and relaxation all rolled into one on the Mornington Peninsula. Just an hour from Melbourne, the peninsula is quiet in winter, yet there’s still a tantalising array of things to do here.  It’s one for the romantics with it’s many wineries, restaurants, massages and hot springs.

Did someone say hot springs? A massage?  Yes! I’m coming.

There are loads of places to stay for couples like the Flinders Hotel,  Arthur’s Views or Dream Views or for a winter camping break by the foreshore head for beautiful Point Leo. Nearby Bushrangers Bay walk offers some of the best coastal scenery and walking close to Melbourne.

Bonus for wine lovers over the long weekend is the Winter Wine weekend.  

Catch a Concert

Be a tourist in your own city for a day or even a weekend. Leave the car behind and take the train in, hop on the free tram and enjoy lunch at Southbank. Check out an exhibition, visit the State Library, indulge in High Tea at The Windsor or go window shopping.

Book an overnight stay or catch a concert. Recently we saw two brilliant artists, Nathan Cavileri and Shaun Kirk perform at The Toff in Town. Shaun is just about to begin his regional tour of Australia. There’s always someone playing, like Conrad Sewell at The Forum Theatre in Melbourne on Friday 7 June. Check here for all his touring dates.

The Mind Body Spirit Festival is on over the June long weekend at the Melbourne Convention Centre. It’s Australia’s largest health, well being and Spirituality event. Come and be inspired and feel part of something much bigger. The city can be a chilled out place.

 Image credit:  Mind Body Spirit Festival

Beach Bliss

A winter sunrise from our van at Yanakie

Fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and wake to the sun kissing the shoreline. Winter by the beach holds its own magic. No festival needed. Book a beachfront cabin or site (off peak you won’t be battling the crowds) rug up and enjoy invigorating walks along deserted beaches.

It’s a sure fire way to blow away those cobwebs. Two of my favourite spots include Marengo Holiday Park and, just five minutes from the entrance to the Prom, at Yanakie.

Enjoy, wherever the weekend leads you. Wherever you are, whatever the weather, there’s always something new to discover and there’s always a way to be a tourist (and adventurer) in our own backyard.

Happy travels.

In love and light

“Winter means wild adventures, warm camp fires and thundering waterfalls”


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