Cosy cabins you can stay in near Melbourne
Cabins are an ideal solution for when you want to get off the beaten track without having to sacrifice access to indoor plumbing. Whether you wanted to head north to the mountains, west to the spa country, east to the Yarra Valley or south to the sea, there's a cosy cabin ready with a comfy bed and wilderness to explore. Take a staycation: these are the best boutique hotels in Melbourne.
A weekend guide to the Mornington Peninsula
If ever a region were ideally suited to a motoring holiday it’s the Mornington Peninsula. Whether you’re seeking a family break, an outdoors adventure or a weekend of indulgence, its diverse attractions are best discovered by car. You'll find luxe accommodation, award-winning hot springs, gourmet restaurants, world-class wineries and pristine beaches and walking trails. It's only an hour from Melbourne, but it definitely feels like a world away. See how Mornington stacks up against Melbourne's other peninsula, the Bellarine.
Glamping at Mirador Springs
Mirador Springs isn't all that far from the M1. But in the short, winding distance between the highway turnoff and the blessedly well-signposted retreat, you'll go from flat farmland to a mountain of densely wooded eucalypt forest punctuated by laughing kookaburras and warbling maggies. On arrival take your immediate right, following the narrow track signposted "cottage and tent". Yep, Mirador Springs offers both, though we can only speak for the tent. This is glamping as it should be – that is, as far removed from camping as possible. Sure, you'll be staying in a canvas tent (which is a roomy twin-bell design), but it has pretty much all the comforts of your standard hotel room. That means you get a mini-fridge, microwave, pod coffee machine and kettle. If you forgot to bring food it’s no problem, with a stack of menus for local restaurants and takeaway shops provided. Or if you’re prudent you can arrange for a breakfast hamper to be delivered for a little extra moolah. No compost toilets here; Mirador's amenities take the form of a luxe outhouse complete with deep dish hot water tub, polished stone basin and a real toilet in all its flushing glory. Plus, with enough pot plants to make a gen Y weep, this washroom is better than a number of hotel loos. You might be wondering about the heating situation. Just as those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, those who stay in canvas tents should not expect central heating. But Mirador Springs has taken steps to
Where to find Victoria’s pink lakes
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That lake is that pink. And before you ask – it’s a completely natural phenomenon and not some camera trickery done to get more Instagram likes. Pink lakes are rare, and only a handful are found around the world. There are a couple in Western Australia (including maybe the most famous, Spencer Lake) and in South Australia, but Victoria is actually home to a few of its own rosy-hued lakes. Keen to see these liquid fairy floss lakes IRL? Here’s where to find Victoria’s best pink lakes. (Plus! Scroll down to the end to find out when is the best time to visit!) Check out more of Victoria with our guide to secret gardens, national parks and romantic getaways.
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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Art-pop vocalist and producer Rainbow Chan is touring this August, serenading audiences up and down the East Coast with her beguiling brand of electro-pop. The multi-talented musician and visual artist is playing a string of shows in support of her recently released album Pillar. The record follows 2016’s Spacings, which was nominated for several awards, and 2017 single ‘Let Me’, which earned a SMAC trophy for Best Song of the Year. Chan has performed everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to the 2019 Time Out Bar Awards, but if you’ve never heard her music, expect soulful melodies, glitchy beats and intelligent lyrics, often dealing with themes of culture and identity (Chan was born in Hong Kong and raised in Australia). Whereas Spacings was sweetly melancholy in tone, this album promises a more upbeat attitude and vibrant aesthetic, still delivered with her signature ethereal vocals and tight production. Rainbow Chan will be performing at Melbourne CBD's Horse Bazaar on August 17. Tickets are available now. Check out the Rainbow Chan website for more information, ticket links and special guests.
The top five winter experiences to have in Ballarat
We’re just going to say it: Ballarat is made for winter. The city seems to welcome the cold with a big open-armed hug, offering new kinds of experiences, exciting adventures and even after dark festivals filled with awe-inspiring light projections. If you’re planning a weekend away to Ballarat this winter, be sure to plan it around one of these great experiences. Head to a magical Christmas in July festival Throughout winter, Sovereign Hill is hosting Winter Wonderlights (Jun 29-Jul 21) a Christmas in July festival where punters can taste limited edition treats, frolic in faux snow showers and gaze starry-eyed at more than 15 kilometres of fairy light displays. The dark midwinter nights at Sovereign Hill will also be lit up by large-scale light projections that will be shown on 25 different buildings. There will even be a new “light tunnel” to walk through and a European-style street market. Have an adventure in Ballarat’s city centre The City of Ballarat is presenting a bunch of fun experiences over winter including the Ballarat Activated ArtWalk that lets you bring artworks across the city to life using your smartphone. Speaking of tech, the Ballarat Mining Exchange will be hosting the Winteractive Arcade (Jun 29-30 & Jul 13-14), where you’ll be able to take part in a multiplayer game of Snake and try augmented reality (AR). Plus, get your skates on for a pop-up ice skating rink, which lands next to Ballarat Town Hall from June 29 to July 21. See Sumatran tigers at
Melbourne’s Great Architectural Baking Competition
To celebrate 150 years of built environment education, the University of Melbourne is hosting a Great British Bake Off style competition. The brief: to recreate Melbourne’s architectural icons in baked form. The competition is open to the public, so if you’ve got what it takes to whip up a gingerbread Flinders Street Station or a Black Forest Federation Square, register online before Monday, 22 July to be in the running. If you're in it to win it, there are cash prizes up for grabs across three categories: general public ($2500), student ($1000) and People’s Choice ($500). Final judging will take place on Sunday, August 18, when the public is invited to view and vote on the best buttercream building or sponge skyscraper, alongside a panel of food, design and architecture experts. Visit the competition website for more information, and start drawing up plans for your meringue masterpiece.
Score a footy lover’s feast every MCG match day at the Cliveden
There’s no escaping the fact that in Melbourne the footy season means winter, and winter means cold, blustery days at the MCG. But locals embrace the chilly match days with gusto, rugged up in footy scarves and half-heartedly eating soggy yet scaldingly hot meat pies. As it turns out though, your match day dining need not be restricted to overpriced, oversalted tuckshop food. Just over the road from the MCG lies the Pullman Hotel, and boy does its restaurant and bar know how to whip up a footy lovers' feast. Every day that there’s a game on at the ‘G, in-house bar and restaurant the Cliveden hosts a feast that’s perfect for fueling up pre or post-match. You’ll want to loosen your belt a few notches before you get started on this mighty menu created by executive chef David Albert. The Cliveden's winter feast features gourmet sausages, grilled chicken thighs, slow-cooked meatballs with passata and a roast beef carvery complete with homemade gravy, mustards and condiments. Footy fans on their way to or from a match at the 'G will also get plenty of sides, including jacket potato wedges, freshly baked rolls (plus herb and garlic bread), three types of soups and new potato salad. There’s even something for the footy-loving veggo with a vegetarian pasta and pizza (you can also grab a slice of supreme or pepperoni pizza too). And just like at the MCG, the Cliveden offers fresh doughnuts (jam-filled or iced) as a sweet snack. The footy lover’s feast at the Cliveden Bar and Dini