Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published August 5th 2016
Immerse Your Overseas Guests in All Things Aussie
Best Places to Take Overseas Visitors in Melbourne Your overseas relatives or friends are in town. You're going to make them welcome in your home. You're going to wine and dine them, treat them to a traditional Aussie BBQ or perhaps even throw a party. Most of all you want to give them the quintessential Aussie experience, but where should you go and how can you best spend what little time they have with you. Here are some ideas based in and around Melbourne.
Spectacular views across Melbourne (Photo from Eureka Skydeck 88 Facebook Page.)
Urban Views: A visit to Eureka SkyDeck 88 on the 88th of 92 floors in one of the world's highest buildings and accessed by the fastest lift in the southern hemisphere will treat your visitors to 360 degree views of Melbourne. If they are really game they might even step out on The Edge, a glass cube with a glass floor that protrudes from the side of the building 285 metres above ground.
Melbourne from Mount Dandenong (Photo from SkyHigh Mount Dandenong Facebook Page)
Mountain Views: On the other hand if you want to get your guest out of the city and still offer splendid views then head up Mount Dandenong to the Sky High Restaurant which claims to offer the best view in Melbourne. Journey through the Dandenongs and the picturesque towns of Montrose and Kalorama. Stand atop Mount Dandenong and look back towards Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay or stay for tea and watch the sun set over the city. There are also picnic and BBQ facilities at Skyhigh, a hedge maze, walking tracks, and an English garden.
At the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Coastal Views: Venture out of Melbourne to show your visitors some of our country's coastal wonders. Travel south west to the surf coast and motor along the Great Ocean Road, reputed to be the most scenic coastal drive in the world. Make it a day trip or stay overnight at any of the coasts delightful towns. Stop along the way to take in views of the 12 Apostles. Travel south east to the Bass Coast, down Phillip Island way, and seek out the magnificent Bunurong Coastal Drive.
Immerse your guests and yourselves in our Aussie history at some of Victoria's most outstanding tourist attractions.
Step into the past (Photo from Sovereign Hill Facebook Page)
Sovereign Hill is generally the Aussie history destination of choice. Its working heritage town with restaurants and period shops will keep you busy enough but is just the beginning. Add in gold panning, horse drawn coach rides, the theatre, the gold museum, the evening sound and light show 'Blood on the Southern Cross' and the underground mine tour and although this is an easy day trip you may want to stay overnight.
Old Gippstown Heritage Park features buildings dating from the 1840's to the 1930's many of which have been relocated from their original sites. There is also a splendid collection of horse drawn vehicles and farm equipment and a range of antiques and period artefacts.
Readying Puffing Billy for the return trip (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Puffing Billy is a huge hit with our overseas visitors. This heritage railway traverses the Dandenong Ranges through fern gullies and mountain ash forests and accords some spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. The train crosses historic timber trestle bridges and stops at heritage stations. Break your journey at Emerald Lake where you can enjoy a picnic or a bite to eat at the cafe while kookaburras sit in the surrounding trees.
Models Depict Work at the Bendigo Pottery Kilns (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Bendigo is jammed packed with Aussie history. The Central Deborah Gold Mine was a commercial mine operating between 1939 and 1954, and one of the last two mines to cease operation in the city and now offers a variety of tours both above and underground. Trams have been rattling around Bendigo's streets since 1890 and today Bendigo Tramways has 45 trams in their fleet, 14 of which are used for their Vintage Talking Tram Service. Bendigo Pottery was established in 1858 and continues to operate today. The company has established an interpretive museum on site but lovers of all things pottery be warned, there is a shop on site and a tempting array of tableware and cookware. The Golden Dragon Museum, opened in 1991 is dedicated to Chinese History in Australia.
Coal Creek Community Park and Museum displays yesteryear artefacts in heritage buildings. Open Thursday to Monday this is your cheapest option as entry for the general public is free. Special events run from time to time and are detailed on the website.
A Koala at Healesville Sanctuary (Photo from Zoos Victoria Facebook Page)
Healesville Sanctuary has been the obvious choice to see Australian Fauna since it opened in 1934. The Sanctuary looks after Australian native animals so you can expect to see kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, emus, echidnas, wombats, possums, lyrebirds, parrots, wedge tailed eagles and many more.
Moonlit Sanctuary is a wildlife conservation park set in 10 hectares of bushland and is a great place to see Australian animals in close quarters. A walk around the park's enclosures takes in wombats, birds, dingos, koalas, Tasmanian Devils, quolls and emus. Kangaroos and wallabies roam freely at the back of the park and little bags of food can be bought to hand feed them
A Wallaby at Moonlit Sanctuary (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Maru Koala and Animal Park features Australian natives and farm animals and is paired up with a pirate themed minigolf course. The children will love this one. On your visit you can expect to see koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, dingoes, emus, parrots, wombats, and sheep. Here you will be able to hand feed and pat the animals.
The Penguin Parade (Photo by Phillip Island Tourism - Own work- CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Phillip Island offers visitors the opportunity to see our Aussie cuties in the wild. Fairy penguins, kolas and seals will be on your list here. Each day at the famous Penguin Parade visitors can watch from viewing stands and boardwalks as the fairy penguins leave the water after a day at sea and waddle up the beach to their burrows. Wander the treetop boardwalks at the Koala Conservation Centre and see the koalas in the trees where they live. This is itself special but keep an eye on the ground below as the centre is also home to wallabies and echidnas. Hop aboard a high speed boat for the Wild Ocean Eco Boat Tour and zoom past the Island's picturesque coastline on your way to an up close encounter with one of Australia's largest colonies of fur seals.
Our majestic Aussie gum trees are known the world over and indeed they should be but there is so much more to Australian flora than this.
Mountain Ash in Sherbrooke Forest (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
A trip in the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges as well as being a lovely day out with plenty of eateries and picnic spots, will immerse your guests in some of our best Mountain Ash forests.
Australia Garden replicates Australian landscapes to showcase our diversity of flora. It provides an informative snapshot for local and international visitors alike. The most spectacular of these landscapes is the Red Sand Garden which can be viewed from a lookout. Visit the Arid Garden, the Dry Riverbed, the Bloodwood Garden, the Stringybark Garden, the Box Garden and the Iron Garden. Venture in the Seaside Garden, the Water Saving Garden and the Children's Backyard, to list but a few.
The Ephemeral Lake Sculpture at Australia Garden (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, which abut Australia Garden, are a bushland reserve. This enormous 363-hectare site preserves woodland and wetland of the Westernport and Port Phillip Bay regions.
Maranoa Gardens' dedication to Australian native plants was unusual when it opened in the 1920's and a daring departure from the traditional English Garden. Plants are laid out in Australian habitat zones, traversed by a circuit path. Zones and plants are labelled. See wattles, banksias, grevilleas, hakeas and more.
The Fire Wheel Tree (Photo from Maranoa Gardens Facebook Page)
Karwarra Australian Native Plant Garden offers 2 hectares of landscaped native shrubs and ground covers against a backdrop of majestic Mountain Grey Gums. Native wildlife is happy here and birds and butterflies easily spotted. More than 1300 plants, chosen for their tolerance to shade are showcased.
As not all the displays at Coal Creek are open all the time I suspect the best days to see Coal Creek are when they have something special on. They currently have scehduled Pioneer Skills and Traditional Crafts Day on 14th August 2016, Model T Ford Display on Sunday 25th September 2016, Pirate Day on Sunday 18th September, and Halloween Ghost Train on Sunday 29th Octobr 2016.