Victoria

MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VIC

February 22, 2017

Following the resounding success of the inaugural “Ladies Weekend” to Halcyon House in October 2015, we agreed it should be an annual event (you can read about our Halcyon House trip HERE

For our next “Ladies Weekend” we all faced time constraints, and to maximise time together, we opted for a location that was easily accessible to all…The Mornington Peninsula. It was 15 years since I was down that way, and my memories of it were hazy at best; I remember it taking forever to get there, and once there we were at pubs or house parties. I never really got a good sense of the place. These days, with new roads it takes just over an hour from the city centre…and what a revelation; the combination of coast, bush and vineyards that I find so enchanting in South Australia, just a quick drive from Melbourne!
I enjoyed it SO much more than I expected.

Here’s how we spent our weekend…

WE ATE.

There’s no shortage of excellent food options, for all budgets in Mornington…indeed lots of produce could not be more local with farms aplenty and lots of wineries having their own veg plots, so it’s all spanking fresh, and in season to boot. We arrived in time for brunch on the Friday morning, so headed to Foxeys Hangout, and got stuck into some tapas and a glass of Rose. It’s a very small restaurant, with views looking into a valley with perfect rows of vines…pretty special!

After driving around for an hour or so, taking it all in, we stopped off at Montalto, where we had a glass of perfect sparkling, whilst sitting in the sun in the gardens. The cafe menu looked delicious, but we were still full from Foxeys, and so have added it to the list for next time.

At Polperro the next day we had a sensational Mod Oz lunch, matched with their very special, very buttery Chardonnay. It’s really worth checking Polperro out, it’s such a beautiful spot, with views of vines and bush from every window.

My very favourite of the trip though, was Petit Tracteur, the French Bistro run by the folk at Ten by Tractor. The dining room is in a conservatory, with greenery everywhere, it feels like you could be in a French garden…a glass of Blanc de Blancs with oysters, steak tartare, the most perfect pommes frites…Heaven!

We grabbed some breakfast foods and a quiche and salad from The Red Hill General Store…be warned though; don’t enter the premises if you’re hungry! Everything is very enticing, and before you know it, you’ve bought way more than you can eat, and it’s not cheap! (but it is all DELICIOUS!)

FOXEYS HANGOUT
795 White Hill Road
Red Hill, VIC, 3937
MONTALTO
https://montalto.com.au
33 Shoreham Road
Red Hill South
VIC, 3937

POLPERRO
150 Red Hill Rd,
Red Hill, VIC, 3937

PETIT TRACTEUR
1208 Mornington Flinders Rd
Main Ridge, VIC, 3928

RED HILL GENERAL STORE
141 Shoreham Rd,
Red Hill South, VIC, 3937

WE SPA’D.

We thought it would be a bit of fun to hit up the Peninsula Hot springs, switching between pools, and relaxing in the warm water. To be honest, it was a bit weird. We had been allocated a time slot of 9am, and it was super busy when we got there. Several families (with children of all ages), what seemed to be a hens group, big groups of tourists with selfie sticks and little regard for personal space! Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, feeling self conscious when in a bath (in swimmers!) with strangers? I felt like I was eavesdropping on other peoples conversations, and likewise, they were listening in on mine. STRANGE! I did however, really like the Turkish Hamam, and plunging into the adjacent ice bath, but overall it was not as we anticipated. We later found out that there is a seperate, private bathing area, which you can enter at an additional cost. Maybe next time!

PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS
Springs Lane, Fingal, VIC, 3939

WE WALKED.

But not very far! We had hoped to do the Bushranger Bay walk from Cape Schanck Lighthouse (a 2hr return walk), but running low on time we did the very easy Cape Walk down from the lighthouse, to a pebbly beach below.
Next time, Bushranger!

We stayed at a friends house, but there are plenty of accomodation options at

https://www.stayz.com.au
http://www.visitmelbourne.com/Regions/Mornington-Peninsula/Accommodation
http://www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org

 

DAYLESFORD & HEPBURN SPRINGS (SPA COUNTRY), VICTORIA

August 11, 2016

I have a soft spot for Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. It was the very first place Mez and I holidayed at when we first started seeing each other, seventeen years ago! My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were married there, at a beautiful Tuscan styled villa…very romantic!

Spa Country is an hour and a half drive north west from Melbourne, located at the foothills of the great dividing range…Mez had been working in Melbourne, and being school holidays we took advantage to visit family, and leave the kids with Mez’s mum (thanks Nanny!) and run away to the country.

Here’s what we packed in to our 48 hours…

WE SPA’D…

On the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa website I found a deal for lunch, a massage and unlimited access to their ‘sanctuary retreat’. Starting with a light Ploughmans style lunch, we killed some time sampling mineral water straight from the source. There are several pumps set up, and you are welcome to try them all out. We noticed that several ‘grey nomads’ were filling up loads of water bottles; how thrifty! After our final pump, ‘Sulphur Springs’, we head back to the Bathhouse, where we have several hours of free time in the sanctuary retreat before finishing up with our massage. This is a private bathing area, with multiple baths of varying temperatures and mineral compositions, and you’re welcome to move between them as you please. At first I’m concerned that we’ll get bored, but floating around and chatting is so relaxing, time flies. We finish up with an hour massage, and it feels it’s over almost as soon as it’s begun; the mark of a great massage!

Hepburn Bathhouse & Pavilion Café
Mineral Springs Reserve Road
Hepburn Springs

WE ATE…

We ate very well! Local restaurants and cafes really champion their local produce, and with all those minerals in the water it’s no wonder everything tastes so alive. We had breakfast TWICE at Larder, it was that good! An interesting array of breakfast foodstuffs, and perhaps most importantly, excellent coffee. I could have happily spent an afternoon at The Belvedere Social, going through their menu and wine list! A very cool spot in the centre of town, serving the best of local. Dinner at The Farmers Arms is a must; its a beautiful old pub on the road in to Daylesford, the servings huge, the food is hearty and delicious.

The Larder
57A Vincent St, Daylesford

The Belvedere Social
82b Vincent St Daylesford

The Farmers Arms
1 East Street
Daylesford

WE WALKED…

Spa country is surrounded by bush & forest, and it seems such a waste to me that it’s not better known for its walks. We did two, and the whole time we were walking we only came across wallabies and echidnas! Breakneck Gorge to The Blowhole took us a couple of hours, (just over 6kms return) and is an interesting mix of gorges, rocky outcrops and bushland interspersed with prickly pear cacti (leftovers from Swiss Italian migrants who settled in the area from 1850) We also did Breakneck Gorge to Golden Springs (4.5 kms returns) in an hour and a half.

We stayed at:

Breakneck Gorge
booked via DayGet

IMG_2346

IMG_2351

IMG_2360

IMG_2365

IMG_2369

IMG_2385

IMG_2411

IMG_2412

IMG_2441

IMG_2446

IMG_2456

IMG_2459

IMG_2471

IMG_2477

IMG_2490

IMG_2491

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

April 21, 2016

To be fair, this post should be called ‘an arvo in Melbourne’…

I spend a bit of time in Melbourne, visiting family, but it’s been years since I actually spent any time in the city proper. My friend Sophie moved from Sydney to Melbourne a few years ago, and so when I am able to, we catch up, but it’s usually on her side of town…St Kilda way, and my mother in laws is northeast of town, as such, the city and all it’s offerings is largely avoided.

This time, Soph and I were keen to catch the Andy Warhol|Ai Weiwei exhibition before it closed. We decided to meet at popular Melbourne lunch spot Chin Chin, then stroll down the hill and across the river to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Chin Chin cranks! It’s super busy, and we snag the last two seats at the bar, surveying the kitchen, watching the assembly line; it barely stops. We have a killer kingfish sashimi, laab, pineapple fried brown rice, betel leaves and a barramundi and pork salad. Good food, and even better people watching from our elevated vantage point.

Full as, we stagger down the hill, stopping briefly at Hosier Lane to check out all the legal graffiti.

Then on to the NGV.

The gallery is busy, the exhibition is chockers, and it’s easy to see why. The Warhol stuff is recognisable, and evocative of the time, almost as if Warhol had his own social network, photographing everything, everyone. It’s relatable, accessible, and most importantly it’s fun! Everyone is snapping away on their smart phones, and it’s encouraged! The Ai Weiwei side of things is big and brash, and interactive! Selfies with the foil balloon installations are pretty much mandatory, and indeed some of the other pieces are selfies themselves of sorts. I wish I’d brought the kids along with me, as there is a brilliant dedicated kids area, with multiple photo booths, a drawing corner, and a room full of Brillo and Heinz boxes to stack and play in. There’s a running cat theme through the room, as it transpires Ai Weiwei is somewhat of a crazy cat man! SO much fun!

A great afternoon, thanks Melbourne.
I’ll be seeing you soon.

we ate at

CHIN CHIN
125 FLINDERS LANE,
MELBOURNE 03 8663 2000

we went to
NGV International
180 St Kilda Road Melbourne
ANDY WARHOL | AI WEIWEI
Adults $26
Concession $22.50
Child $10
(General entry is free)

IMG_2528

IMG_2575

IMG_2582

IMG_2610

IMG_2611

IMG_2612

IMG_2615

IMG_2642

IMG_2679

IMG_2686

IMG_2655

IMG_2653

IMG_2652

IMG_2603

Copyright © 2017 THE WINDOW SEAT. Theme by Maiden Sites