We walk you through the best ways to experience Victoria.
We all know Melbourne offers a sumptuous selection of eateries, from hole-in-the-wall establishments to celebrity-chef-run restaurants and bustling fresh produce markets. There’s never a shortage of places to explore when visiting Australia’s cultural capital, so why not eat and drink your way through this cosmopolitan city? Here are our top three picks for couples and families.
The Hardware Société
Start your morning at the renowned Hardware Société café, tucked away at the end of Hardware Lane. This small eatery has a bright, clean interior and al fresco dining, which offers guests a view of the bustling lane. The restaurant is best known for its egg dishes and for the mini, freshly made donuts they pair with every coffee. If you you’re not a morning person, don’t be discouraged – the café is also acclaimed for its lunch menu. The staff are friendly, polite and ensure an excellent experience that will leave you wanting more.
Picture This Ballooning
This is the romantic adventure all couples seek. Well-worth the early morning wake-up call, this hour-long flight gives you a full view of Melbourne during sunrise and peak hour. Revel in panoramic views of the city itself, the Dandenongs and Port Phillip Bay. Your hot air balloon has a camera attached to the outside, which captures you and your partner experiencing the views during the flight. Afterwards, you can enjoy a full champagne breakfast for a small additional fee, which is the perfect end to a romantic morning exploring Melbourne’s skies.
This upbeat bar is the perfect way for couples to experience Melbourne’s bumping nightlife. The original Gin Palace in Melbourne was notorious during the 1800s; its name was a term used to describe disreputable and socially-undesirable drinking houses in the USA. Fast forward to 1997 and times have changed. On the cusp of Melbourne’s laneway revolution, Melbourne residents welcomed this new establishment, which has been a popular place to savour a range of specially concocted martinis ever since. The quirky décor, coupled with the friendly and occasionally cheeky bar staff makes the outside world quickly slip away.
For the Whole Family
Rentabike at Federation Square
Rally the family and discover, by bike, more of Melbourne than you imagined possible. Beginning in the heart of the city, Rentabike at Federation Square is the perfect guided bike tour for the family. A local guide will lead you on an exploration through Melbourne’s cultural streets, parks, shops, cafes, neighbourhoods and landmarks. Riding past numerous markets, the tour provides you with samples of gourmet treats, cheeses, wines and lunch. It’s an engaging experience that’s the perfect way to get your bearings and start your Melbourne holiday.
The Little Penguin Bus
Just a scenic two-hour drive southeast of Melbourne lies the land of adorable penguins—Phillip Island. The Little Penguin Bus company offers a variety of day trips to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, where the whole family can experience these little cuties. After the little penguins have done their march up the beach (normally before sunset), the bus will take you back to Melbourne. If you want to explore more of Phillip Island during your visit, book a night at Ramada Resort by Wyndham Phillip Island.
In Victoria’s south-west, Torquay is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, and also home to one of the most famous surf breaks in Australia, Bells Beach. It’s the kind of place where you want to get outdoors and explore everything that’s on offer.
Tiger Moth World
The best way to capture the beauty of Australia’s southern coast is by air. A Tiger Moth adventure flight is an experience you won’t soon forget. Fly over the world-famous Great Ocean Road and enjoy the views while satisfying your adrenaline addiction. If you’re not adventurous, don’t worry – you can choose aerobatic flights or exploratory tours, which are a lot less terrifying!. Although the planes are private flights which only include the pilot plus one, Tiger Moth World has put together packages for two where you can enjoy seeing your partner’s adventure flight from take-off to landing.
Endota Day Spa
Located at Wyndham Resort Torquay, the Endota Day Spa is the ultimate day spa experience, and includes views of the picturesque Zeally Bay. There’s even a double room available for couple’s treatments (perfect for a loved-up getaway). Endota’s qualified therapists offer premium facials, massages and other beauty treatments, making an extended stint in the day spa the perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring.
For the Whole Family
Torquay Farmers’ Market
Start your Saturday morning with a visit to the Torquay Farmers’ Market (open from 8:30am to 1pm). This European-style farmers’ market runs all year round and features breads, meats, cheeses, wines, vegetables, dips, sweets, honeys, and much more. Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee while strolling around the stalls filled with fresh local produce. Located a short distance from the beach, it’s the perfect morning activity for the whole family before you head down to catch some sun.
Popular with both locals and tourists alike, this unique beachfront restaurant has long been one of Torquay’s favourites. Growlers is located on the Torquay Esplanade, and offers breathtaking ocean views. It’s also great for the whole family; the sandy beachfront beer garden doubles as a play area for children. Stop in at any time of day to relax with a coffee and milkshakes, or stay on for a delicious meal. The diverse menu, which includes fresh seafood, contemporary Aussie cuisine and Mexican, has something for the whole family.
Point Danger Marine Sanctuary
The Point Danger Marine Sanctuary is perfect for a day-long family outing, where everyone can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking or kitesurfing. At low tide, the beach that curls around Point Danger is wonderful for reef-walking. Children love to explore the hidden treasures that inhabit the rock pools from anemones to mussel beds, Chinaman’s hat and sea cucumbers. Pack a picnic lunch for the family, and relax as your children are entertained for hours.