For many expats, living in different country means exploring the life – geographically, intellectually as well as culturally- of their new home. Travelling is often one of the most exciting explorations and I believe this also applies for many Indonesians living in Melbourne and surrounding areas. Weekend getaways are very popular among my Indonesian friends and as a local I would like to give you an insider tips of beautiful places in our state to explore while you live here.
First of all, Australia has four seasons (spring, autumn, winter and summer) while Indonesia has just two (wet and dry). This often makes visiting places in Australia and Victoria tricky, where some activities are suited to a particular season. Here, we have compiled a list of four of the more unique places to go in Victoria with your loved ones at a particular time of the year.
- Warrandyte National Park (Spring)
Warrandyte State Park is a state wildlife park located 24 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. Its size and reputation is not as prominent as Wilson Promontory State Park in Victoria’s south, and it does not share the same reputation for gold as Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill further to the north. Nevertheless, Warrandyte State Park is lush and beautiful with the Yarra River winding through the Warrandyte Gorge. The park is a haven for picnickers, bushwalkers, canoeists, birdwatchers and those who enjoy peace and solitude. Warrandyte also has its own unique chapter in the history of gold mining in Victoria. It is believed that Victoria’s first gold discovery was made Warrandyte in 1851. There is only one road in and one road out of Warrandyte, meaning that on very hot summer days it is closed off to avoid fire risk- so be sure to get down in spring to enjoy the best of what it has to offer.
- Yarra Valley (Autumn)
The Yarra Valley is one of the most stunning places you can visit in Victoria, located approximately 90 kilometres or a 1.5-hour drive to the east of Melbourne. This is the perfect spot for anyone interested in fine dining, wineries, breweries and also the deliciously tempting Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. Early autumn is harvest time in the Yarra Valley, so it’s a great time to explore the region. It is also the perfect place for hot-air ballooning for those wanting to enjoy some breath-taking views of the valley. Many hot-air balloon providers operate within the Yarra Valley, consider trying Go Wild Ballooning, who offer an amazing experience at an affordable price.
- Lake Mountain (Winter)
On those miserable Melbourne wet winter days you might want to consider a skiing trip to Lake Mountain, two hours east of Melbourne (near Marysville). While a little bit further out of Melbourne and not as well-known as Mt Buller, this gorgeous spot is no less beautiful. The perfect getaway spot for skiing or a hot drink in the middle of a Melbourne winter. Make sure to book in early as accommodation will book out quickly during peak periods.
- Torquay (Summer)
Torquay is a beautiful seaside town at the east end of the Great Ocean Road. It caters perfectly to tourists while also maintaining an authentic “small town” feel. Home to some of the best surfing, swimming and scenic beaches in Victoria, it is one destination not to be missed. Victorian tourists flood there in the summer months to escape the heat and enjoy the beach walks, nearby national parks and local cuisine, including some ripper fish and chips from Bell Street Fish and Chips. If mouth-wateringly delicious fish and chips beside a beautiful beach sounds like your sort of thing, then make your way down to Torquay before summer ends!
This is a guide only as the weather in Victoria is often unpredictable. As they often say; if you don’t like the weather in Victoria just wait ten minutes….
Text and pictures: Tim Flicker