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The Five Best Winter Escapes from Melbourne

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by Melissa May (subscribe)
Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published July 11th 2017
Planning a winter getaway from Melbourne? Read on
The mercury may be dipping and the chills may be multiplying but there's no reason why you can't enjoy winter in Victoria, even if you are a self-confessed summer fan. Quite frankly, we think the best way to enjoy Victoria is during the cooler months, where you can soak up some crisp country air and explore each region's attractions while avoiding summer tourists (not to mention expensive accommodation costs!). So if you're freezing under three layers of clothing at the MCG, why not plan a winter escape to one of these famous Victorian regions?

Swan Hill, melbourne, winter, yarra valley, mildura, history, victoria, murray river
Swan Hill: more days of sunshine than the Gold Coast, Queensland

1) Daylesford: If the idea of soaking up in a hot spring on a cold day sounds like your thing, then head to Daylesford located just an hour from Melbourne. Known as Victoria's spa country, Daylesford beckons with its refreshing vibe, gourmet produce and Australia's largest concentration of natural mineral. Reenergise in one of Daylesford's many mineral spas, tuck into a glass of local pinot and sit down to a hearty meal on Vincent Street, the vibrant town's main drag.

2) Swan Hill: Situated on the mighty Murray River, the Swan Hill region is famous for its Mediterranean-like climate and offering more hours of sunlight than the Gold Coast. Save yourself the expensive family flight to Coolangatta and visit this vibrant pioneer city, a three-hour drive out of Melbourne. Take advantage of Swan Hill's sunny weather by enjoying water sports on Lake Boga, meandering through charming nineteenth century streetscapes or exploring the historic Pioneer Settlement, Australia's first outdoor museum. Fun fact: Swan Hill's Pioneer Settlement was recently featured in an episode of Masterchef Australia during Heston Week.

3) Mildura: Like Swan Hill, Mildura boasts a climate similar to the Mediterranean; this means that the mercury hovers at an average of 15 degrees during winter. Its location on the Murray River ensures that there is no shortage of water activities including canoeing, paddling or cruising along the water on a houseboat. For those who prefer to stay on land, however, Mildura is home to farm gates, hatted restaurants and award-winning wineries including Trentham Estate.

4) Yarra Valley: Every wine lover knows to list the Yarra Valley as one of their go-to spots for a frolic through the vineyards during winter. Just one hour from the Melbourne CBD, this Victorian region may be cooler than its northern cousins but this also means that many wineries will showcase their best reds and hearty winter fare to match.

5) Bright: If slaloming down the Victorian Alps is more your thing, then take to the picturesque town of Bright. Bright is conveniently located a short drive from Mt Buffalo, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham, so making this the base for your next skiing adventure is a wise and strategic move. And if you want to give the skis a break, Bright has plenty of attractions to keep you busy: the Wandilgong Maze (Australia's largest hedge maze, spanning two kilometres of pathways), the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail that goes all the way to Wangaratta and the Sunday Bright markets, just to name a few.
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