Healesville is the gateway to the Yarra Valley so, for a wine-soaked weekender, this is the place to be.
A hop-on, hop-off mini-bus service, Hop It, picks you up from Lilydale station and lets you choose which designated stops you want to explore and how long you want to stay. Stops include Yering Station, Domaine Chandon, Rochford Wines and Payten and Jones.
Four Pillars Gin has a must-try shiraz gin, while Alchemy Distillers has a citrus vodka and The Taphouse offers cider and beer tasting paddles.
The Yarra Valley is more than just wine. For non-drinkers, there's the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie with its decadent desserts and hand-made French and Belgian chocolate, Healesville Sanctuary’s wildlife shows and the TarraWarra Museum of Art.
For those wanting to chill out, drop in to RACV Healesville Country Club’s One Spa for a spot of pampering.
- arevo says: Get the Lilydale line train from Southern Cross Station and get off at Lilydale station (1 hour and 6 minutes) and cycle to Healesville (1 hour and 36 minutes).
Pigs may not fly, but cows do in this town. As homage to Shepparton’s dairy industry, the streets are paved with psychedelic-painted, life-size cow sculptures, including a winged model jumping over a crescent moon. Starting with three, the townsfolk now have a herd of about 90 as part of its Moooving Art outdoor exhibition.
There are so many instagramable cows – Nemo-cow, hippy-cow, zebra-cow, spiderman-cow and, of course, the ‘how now, brown cow’.
Set on the Goulburn River, ‘Shep’ as the locals call it is renowned as Australia’s food bowl with fertile farmland and farmgate produce. The Dookie Rail Trail takes cyclists and walkers past olive and orange groves, vineyards and seasonal crops, as well as wildlife like Willy the Wombat who lives beside the trail.
- arevo says: Get the Shepparton V/Line train from Southern Cross Station to Shepparton Station (2 hours and 55 minutes).
In the coastal town of Inverloch you can walk with dinosaurs, or rather the ghosts of the prehistoric creatures. More than 125 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the windswept Bass Coast leaving footprints that survive today at the Bunurong Marine Park. Some of Australia’s most significant dinosaur fossils have been found here, as well as the large footprints of three-toed dinosaurs imprinted in rock.
The South Gippsland Conservation Society runs the Bunurong Environment Centre which organises occasional dinosaur tours with palaeontologist Mike Cleeland. Check with the centre, which also has various family-friendly activities.
Inverloch is also home to sandy beaches, epic surf breaks and wineries like Dirty Three Wines and other places to explore, or you can settle back and watch the sunset from RACV’s Inverloch Resort which caters for all tastes and budgets with ocean-view villas and powered caravan park sites.
- arevo says: Get the V/Line Yarram bus from Southern Cross to Koo Wee Rup (1 hour and 10 minutes), then change to the Cowes or Inverloch bus to Inverloch (1 hour and 20 minutes).