A Local's Look at Melbourne and Victoria
Follow in the footsteps of the regions’s expert residents
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Privately guided tours
- Private transfers
- Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
- Our help with restaurant recommendations and reservations
At a glance
Experience the coastal hub of Melbourne, located within the diverse south-eastern state of Victoria, through the eyes of a local with this incredibly special trip. A strong focus on favoured local highlights and private tours led by resident guides ensures that this Australian adventure will surpass your expectations.
The Mornington Peninsula region, blanketed with eucalyptus forests and patches of golden vines, is positioned south of Melbourne and serves as the starting point for this trip. During your stay, you’ll be taken on an extensive tour, covering various corners of the area, from the quaint seaside town of Mornington and the southernmost tip, Cape Schanck, to the vineyards of Red Hill, a multi-award-winning winery and the summit of Arthurs Seat, with unparalleled vistas.
Over the next two days, you’ll reside in the city of Melbourne to soak up its most relaxed atmosphere and truly understand why it has been named the world’s most livable city. A local will lead you through the labyrinth of lanes and backstreets, inside the heart of the metropolis, seeking out the best galleries and boutiques, as well as architectural landmarks.
Goulburn Valley, another wine-producing hotspot is next on the itinerary, and two nights will be spent in this beautiful location, sampling the regional produce. There’s no better place to dabble in the notable viticulture delights than at Tahbilk Winery, which dates back to 1860, and is one of Australia’s oldest wineries.
The following day, your private transfer will make a stopover at Hanging Rock, a striking geographical formation and sacred Aboriginal site. To take in the surrounding views, you can climb the rock, before enjoying a refreshment at the Hanging Rock Winery. You’ll then visit Piper Street in Kyneton, a small historical village, for a gourmet dining experience, as well as a 100-acre lavender property, just north of the spa town of Daylesford.
Daylesford, recognized for its natural springs, is where you’ll stay for two nights, enjoying a day of leisure to wander around the town or have a salubrious soak. The tour then sets off for the Grampians region via Ballarat Wildlife Park, and Ballarat, a historic city set on the Yarrowee River.
In the Grampians region, you’ll get an opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal culture with a visit to the informative Brambuk Cultural Centre, featuring exhibitions and multimedia shows. After this excursion, you can head off into the national park and hike to a point, looking out over the Grampians mountain range.
The final destination before you return to Melbourne is Port Fairy, a characterful town, sitting along the coast. Home to 50 buildings protected by the National Trust of Australia, this scenic sanctuary can be explored with a tour of its ancient culture and history. You’ll be taken to a 30,000-year-old volcano, Budj Bim, by an indigenous expert, and see historical remnants, as well as a seabird colony on Griffiths Island.
Example Trip Itinerary
Private transfer to your hotel
Accommodation in Mornington Peninsula
- 46 rooms
- Swimming pool
- Two restaurants
- Yoga lawn
- Spa space
The Jackalope is an ambitious boutique hotel blending art, design, fine dining, story telling, glamour and a hint of the surreal to the surrounding Willow Creek vineyard setting. It takes it name from the legendary giant horned jackrabbit, an enormous statue of which sits out front, along with a other site-specific art installations spread across the public spaces There are 46 starkly monochrome yet welcoming rooms with wonderful views and one off design pieces created by a whole host of Melbourne creatives. Outside you’ll find a black infinity pool and a yoga lawn. Restaurants include the headline Doot Doot Doot, with a contemporary four- or eight-course dégustation menu, and Rare Hare, a more casual option with all-day dining. The 19th century McCormick House, has stood gracefully at the end of Jackalope’s meandering driveway, has been reborn as the hotel’s bar, Flaggerdoot. Just a one hour drive from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula has long been known as Melbourne’s weekend playground, offering some of Australia’s best food and wine, golf, adventure, beach and leisure activities.
Just a 60-minute drive out of Melbourne city, you’ll discover a tucked away region boasting scenery dotted with cute hobby farms, quaint townships, rolling green hills and endless beaches. Begin with a short orientation of the township of Mornington before arriving at the harbour and Pier for views across Port Phillip Bay. Colourful bathing boxes can be seen along the foreshore of this very popular seaside town.
You might like to visit Cape Schanck, known for the cleanest air direct from the Antarctic and take a walk along the boardwalks that offer stunning views of the wild surf of Bass Strait. Journey through the rolling hills, pastures and vineyards of Red Hill where you can stop in for tastings of the regions cool climate wines, considered to be some of Australia’s finest examples of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.
Whilst in the region, there is also the opportunity to stop for cheese and produce tastings before returning to Melbourne via the summit of Arthurs Seat, the highest viewpoint on the peninsula where, on a clear day, there are panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay, beaches, peninsulas and Melbourne’s skyline in the distance
Private transfer to your hotel
Accommodation in Melbourne
- 188 rooms
- Two restaurants
- Cake shop
- Rooftop bar
Right in the heart of the Central Business District (also know simply as the ‘CBD’), the QT Melbourne is a stylish new boutique in old cinema befitting Australia’s most creative city. Expect eye-catching artworks and installations, a buzzing rooftop bar and popular restaurant with the rest of Melbourne right on your doorstep. There are 188 suites featuring bespoke designer furnishings, timber floorboards and gel-topped beds for the ultimate night’s sleep. The Pascale Bar & Grill is influenced by European bistros and guests can get a glimspe into the behind-the-scenes goings on thanks to the open kitchen. Korean and Japanese-inspired dishes can be found in the Hot Sauce restaurant while those with a sweet tooth will want to make a beeline for the on-site cake shop. A trip up to the rooftop bar with its views over over the city, is the perfect place to end the day.
- 12 suites
An exquisite conception of a collection of award-winning designers, this modernist-inspired residence featuring 12 suites, serves as a ‘home hotel’, with an additional level of luxury. Looking out across the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens or the city of Melbourne, each suite encompasses a spacious terrace, an ideal spot for tucking into the complimentary gourmet breakfast at the start of your day or for unwinding with a nightcap. Every fitting and furnishing has been carefully selected to enhance the hotel’s overall feel of understated sophistication. Fully-equipped kitchens, with laundry amenities and airy living areas, sporting mini-bars allow guests to feel completely at home. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the interior spaces with natural light, illuminating the muted or dark colour schemes, and the soft velvet elements. A designer in his own right, Melbourne chef, Scott Pickett heads the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant, Matilda 159 Domain. Here, the dishes are masterpieces of contemporary flame-grilled delights, made with local meats, and seasonal produce and created to match the equally enticing décor. If you aren’t dining in this low-lit, wood-panelled den, then you can enjoy a meal served by your personal butler in the comfort of your suite. During your stay, your on-call butler can assist you with reservations or recommendations for restaurants or activities in the city. Additionally, you can make use of the butler service to arrange yoga, Pilates or personal training sessions, or to book a treatment at a local salon.
The style capital of Australia, Melbourne, is best discovered with a local. On this half-day walking tour, your guide will reveal the city’s contemporary maze of designer boutiques, quirky galleries, historical lanes and arcades. The walk will take about three hours and will include speciality retailers, a little history, and attention to amazing architecture. Around about 50 interesting stores will be pointed out to you and in the afternoon you may return to those you like best. Share lunch and a glass of wine before you say farewell to your guide.
Private transfer to your hotel
- 58 suites
- Outdoor pool
- Fitness centre
Designed to reflect the natural surroundings of the beautiful Goulburn Valley, this remotely positioned accommodation, encircled by vineyards, promises the most serene and quality wine-filled escape. The interiors present a soothingly neutral colour scheme, with earthy tones, wooden touches and natural materials. Grey marble flooring is softened by woollen rugs, and expansive windows allow light to inundate the corners of the suites. You can opt for views of the vineyard, or the river, and conclude each day on your private balcony, with a glass of the nearby estate’s wine. Further sampling of local labels can be enjoyed at The Muse restaurant, alongside modern farmhouse cuisine on the banks of the Goulburn River. Fresh, seasonal produce plays a pivotal role in the dishes on offer, in a simple yet sophisticated setting. If you fancy packing a picnic and setting off for the day, The Provedore has all the cured meats and preserves that you need, hailing from artisans in the area. Guests who are happy not to leave the grounds can book a treatment at the spa, where botanical therapies and natural products are central to its ethos. You can also unwind by the infinity pool, and take a stroll around the shady lawns or through the vineyards.
Established in 1860, Tahbilk is not only Victoria's and one of Australia's oldest wineries, but also boasts the world's largest plantings of marsanne as well as some of the world's oldest shiraz vines. Set amongst beautiful gardens, Tahbilk's historic buildings and glorious underground cellars remain intact. Begin your day with a personally guided tour of the winery. Tahbilk's traditional red wines are fermented in the same vats that were used in the 1800s. In addition to the historic winery, Tahbilk has a modern winery, and employs up-to-date winemaking techniques and practices. You can learn why some older techniques are still preferred and where new practices produce a better wine.
Following this, you will learn about the art of winemaking in the form of blending, the motto being that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Guided by a wine ambassador, you will start with individual wines and blend them to create a wine that is truly yours. A 750ml bottle of your blend will be yours to take away. It's then time for lunch! Tahbilk's Wetlands Café is perched overlooking the wetlands providing an ideal setting for a relaxed lunch with some fine wines. Enjoy a two-course lunch created with the finest local produce and a matching glass of wine at each course. Finish the day by walking through the wetlands with an expert guide who will explain the restoration work that has been completed, the work being done to save endangered species and the impact the ecological work has on the winery and wines.
Begin your touring today at Hanging Rock, a sacred Aboriginal site for the Wurundjeri people, and the evocative setting to Peter Weir's 1975 film, Picnic at Hanging Rock. You can almost sense the mystical power of these imposing boulder outcrops. Visit the Hanging Rock Discovery Centre to gain a fascinating background on the area's history, mystery and geology. Then ascend the rock to the 105m summit for a bird's-eye view over the surrounding flat plains and farmland, and the thickly forested Macedon and Cobaw ranges. One of the finest vineyards in this cool-climate wine-growing region, Hanging Rock Winery, is nestled on sloping land near the foothills of spectacular Hanging Rock. It was established with the aim of making Australia’s finest sparkling wine. The cellar door offers an intimate wine tasting experience.
Piper Street in Kyneton, long known for its heritage buildings and antique dealers, is now a modern-day gourmand's paradise. Without doubt, the star dining experience is Source Dining, a boutique country restaurant serving contemporary food using what is grown in their extensive kitchen garden and by small local producers. Located ten minutes north of Daylesford is a 100-acre lavender property once farmed by Swiss-Italians who came to Australia in the 1850s. European-style gardens frame and meander around the original stone buildings. Productive vegetable and herb gardens were established to supply the cafe, La Trattoria. Lavender was planted out to provide quality materials for the creation of farm-made body lotions and creams, room mists and insecticides and essential oil.
Accommodation in Daylesford
- Award-winning restaurant
- Wine cellar
- State-of-the-art spa
- Cooking school
Slow down to the rural pace of life at this elegant lakeside retreat with a multi-award winning restaurant, a collection of the region’s best artwork, secluded waterfront suites and expansive grounds of olive groves and dappled forests. This alluring house on the shores of Lake Daylesford draws foodies from across the world to its celebrated restaurant that serves up modern Australian fare. The menu is reflective of the seasons and local produce is brought in daily from neighbouring farms to be masterfully crafted into culinary delights by the co-owner and head chef. Their award-winning cellar perfectly compliments your dining experience. Choose from spacious suites and rooms resting on the waterfront with private lake access, or the luxurious lodge suites and studios, individually designed with contemporary country décor. Each suite has an indulgent ensuite featuring textured stone and marble with heated floors and is decorated with original artwork from Lake House proprietor and resident artist Allan Wolf-Tasker. Your day begins with the aromas of freshly baking bread, ground coffee and seasonal flowers which are brought in daily. Later stroll the numerous walking tracks through poplars and pine oaks which are home to kokkaburras, cockatoos and gang gangs. Take in the collection of artwork that is dotted around the edible gardens, relax in a quiet nook overlooking the tennis courts, or nestle down in front of the open fire with a book from the library. For the ultimate relaxation head to the state-of-the-art spa, with ten different decadent treatment areas.
Come face to face with Australia's unique wildlife at the award-winning Ballarat Wildlife Park. Join a park wildlife keeper on a private tour of the park offering the opportunity to interact with or hand feed kangaroos, tree kangaroos, koalas, wombats and many more. Indulge in lunch at Lola by The Provincial Hotel, which sits pretty on Ballarat's historic Lydiard Street. Built in 1909, the iconic building has housed a myriad of publicans and hoteliers, each enriching the hotel with greater grandeur.
Accommodation in The Grampians
- 41 rooms
- Nine cottages
- Two properties for larger groups
- Two restaurants
Dunkeld’s historic Royal Mail Hotel is idyllically located at the southern end of The Grampians National Park, offering spectacular mountain views, endless hiking and nature activities combined with some of Australia’s best food and wine. Originally established in 1855, the hotel retains its historical charm while providing guests with contemporary, architecturally designed facilities that take advantage of the stunning natural surroundings. The Royal Mail Hotel has been long known as a destination dining experience which sees diners travel from all over the country and internationally to sample the hotel’s seasonal menus. The dining options focus on fresh seasonal produce much of which is grown organically on-site. The options include a bistro serving hearty, rustic-style fare and a fine dining restaurant which serves modern Australian cuisine based around produce grown in the hotel’s kitchen garden.
Situated in Halls Gap within the natural oasis that is Grampians Gariwerd, Brambuk it is the perfect place to learn more about Aboriginal culture. Discover the culture of the Aboriginal communities of Western Victoria through multimedia shows, art exhibitions, artefact displays and cultural talks Moving on to something more active, keep an eye out for native wildlife including koalas, kangaroos and even echidnas as you hike to The Pinnacle Lookout and admire the vast views of the Grampians. The relatively easy walk to The Balconies is suitable for walkers of all abilities. In springtime, keep an eye out for native wildflowers and birdlife in the stringybark forest. Wander through native shrubs and plant life along the rocky path that leads up to the lookout, and then soak up the panoramic views of Victoria Valley and the surrounding ranges. After you've worked up an appetite, Harvest Halls Gap is a café and provedore nestled in the midst of the Grampians and prides itself on showcasing local produce. Back at the Royal Mail, learn about their captive breeding program and environmental initiatives and get up close and personal with endangered native Australian animals.
Private transfer to Port Fairy
- Six suites
- Outdoor pool
Housed within a historic building, boasting quirky architectural features and six individual suites, this beach-inspired haven has all you need for a heavenly seaside sojourn. Each suite, adorned with an assortment of textiles, patterns and a distinctive colour scheme, is also decked out with home comforts, modern amenities and a kitchenette. Some feature deep stone baths, taking up centre stage in the room, private walled courtyards, original Edwardian elements and open fireplaces. Mornings are commemorated with a superb continental breakfast, served in the airy salon, which opens out onto the garden. Locally-sourced produce, fresh fruit and homemade bread is on the menu and can be washed down with cups of artisanal tea or coffee. Maxibars, stocked with regional wines and organic treats can be found in the suites for further snacking and refreshment. With the beach down the road, guests can spend their days surfing in the waters, strolling past hidden coves and cycling along scenic tracks. A solar-heated pool, tucked behind a rock wall on the grounds of the hotel, means that you don’t have to venture far to cool down.
Today you'll be privileged to visit the ancient indigenous aquaculture site, Budj Bim, a 30,000-year-old volcano and the only Australian UNESCO World Heritage property listed exclusively for its Aboriginal cultural values. The Budj Bim cultural landscape features the earliest living example of aquaculture in the world, with a history of eel farming dating back over 6,000 years. Escorted by a local Indigenous expert, walk as a guest on Gunditjmara country and experience a culture that is over 60,000 years old. You will see remnants of a settled lifestyle including circular stone dwellings. Enjoy lunch at Bank Street & Co, a cosy café in the heart of Port Fairy, before a walk to Griffiths Island with its colony of shearwater seabirds and spectacular lighthouse at the eastern tip.
Private transfer to Melbourne
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A Local's Look at Melbourne and Victoria
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We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.