The best wineries in Yarra Valley
It's easy to forget that the Yarra Valley, with its rolling green hills, swaying vineyards and old farmhouses, is less than an hour's drive from the CBD. The cellar doors of the region's famous wineries are open every weekend, and the winery restaurants are becoming some of the most sought-after dining destinations out of Melbourne. Hop in your car, bring a bottle of water and make a day of it. You'll come home with bottles clanking in your boot and a sense of calm in your heart. For more mini-break ideas, visit our guide to Victoria's best getaways. Alternatively, stay close to the city and discover Melbourne's best wine bars.
The Bellarine Peninsula is getting a swanky new luxury retreat and spa
The Bellarine Peninsula has plenty of salty, sandy beauty. But when it comes to accommodation, it's been lacking for some time. Aside from a few (albeit award-winning) holiday parks and the occasional hidden gem, the Bellarine couldn’t match the luxury retreats over on the Mornington. Until now. Photograph: Supplied Lon Retreat is a new luxury resort and spa opening on October 5, 2018 (just in time for you to book a Christmas retreat we might add). Taking over the former residence of Lonsdale Views, Lon Retreat has 360 degree views of Ocean Grove, the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse and the Heads (the perilous entry point to Port Phillip Bay). There are only seven individually designed luxury suites at Lon Retreat, meaning it’s perfect for a secluded getaway. The suites stick to a pared-back, earthy colour scheme with plenty of locally sourced and crafted ceramics, light fittings, art and furniture throughout the building. Guests also have access to a private beach, bar, pantry, gardens, a lounge with an open fireplace and of course the mineral spa. Photograph: Supplied Rates are slated to start from $360 per night. Lon Retreat opens October 5, 2018. Here's where you should drink while on your Bellarine adventure. Try one of Melbourne's most romantic weekend escapes.
The best hotels for a romantic getaway from Melbourne
We've travelled across regional Victoria to find beautiful, secluded spots where you and your significant other (or others) can relax, unwind and spend some quality time together. They are all within an easy drive of Melbourne, so make a romantic playlist, fuel up the car and book a romantic weekend away.
An insider's guide to Melbourne travel
Short escapes from Melbourne
Interstate trips from Melbourne
International escapes from Melbourne
Travel tips and tricks
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The 2018 Melbourne International Arts Festival is coming
Melbourne is known for its dynamic arts and culture scene year-round, but from October 3-21 it goes into overdrive when the Melbourne International Arts Festival takes over some of the city's most important public spaces, cultural institutions, galleries and theatres. If you're looking for a fiery public spectacle, French artists Compagnie Carabosse will be taking over the Royal Botanic Gardens with Fire Gardens, a series of huge, flaming installations that will light up the gardens for three nights only. The Royal Botanic Gardens will also play home to Lexicon, a new work (and the only Australian performance) by immersive circus arts troupe NoFit State. To follow on from last year's House of Mirrors, the trippy 1000 Doors will take over Arts Centre Melbourne's forecourt. It's a maze of doors, some locked, some open, some leading to corridors and rooms, and some leading to cupboards and dead ends. Visitors will be able to walk through the installation, opening whatever doors they fancy and discovering new and interesting pathways through the maze. Melburnian music lovers will want to nab tickets to 16 Lovers Lane, a one-night-only supergroup performance of the classic album with the original members of the Go-Betweens, Paul and Dan Kelly, Romy Vager, Laura Jean and Jen Cloher. Contemporary dance will also take centre stage with the Australian premiere of modern ballet A Quiet Evening of Dance, and a large-scale production of operatic dance piece Layla and Majnun. Check
Amex Eats: Dim sum to try in Melbourne
Melbourne is home to excellent Chinese restaurants that serve up dim sum with serious style. Whether you're after an elegant banquet, a hangover-soothing repast or some steaming hot dumplings, these restaurants have some seriously great dim sum dishes. At all these venues, you’ll be able to dine in confidence with the knowledge that they welcome American Express.
Fringe Hub: Festival Club
The beating heart of the Melbourne Fringe Festival is its raucous club, where art-loving audiences dance and drink at themed parties presented by different performers every night. The Melbourne Fringe Festival Club kicks off with the Opening Night Party on Thursday, September 13, complete with an opening ceremony lead by DJ Andrew McClelland of Finishing School fame and the Sydney duo the Dollar Bin Darlings. Other highlights of the program include All that Glitters is Blak, Fringe's very own First Nations dance extravaganza, as well as Queen of the Night a celebratory tribute to Whitney Houston. If you're after more nostalgia make sure you head along to the Year 10 Formal night, or 1992-1-OMG!, a super fun '90s themed pop party. If you're not into dancing, head in for the Test Drive comedy night hosted by Nath Valvo, the theatrical Circus Battle Royale, or sign up for All Gender and Sexuality Speed Dating. And that's far from it. For the full list of parties, head to the Festival Club website. It's open every Tuesday to Saturday night and it's totally free! It's not uncommon for queues to snake out of Arts House, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Find out more about the Melbourne Fringe's Festival Club here.
A celebration of retro gaming has landed at QV Melbourne
Do you long for the days of classic arcade games? QV Melbourne has heard your pleas and they’re hosting a free, three-week retro gaming festival called Game/On. From August 31 to September 23 QV Square and its surrounding laneways will be transformed into a gamer’s paradise complete with retro '80s fitout, a live game art mural, competitions and a selection of old-school arcade games. Here’s what to expect from the free Game/On festival at QV Melbourne.