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If you are looking to do something a little different this Mother's Day for a family get-together then a trip to 360Q at Queensscliff might be the answer you're looking for.
The exciting restaurant complex with its harmonious views over the bay has been open for a while now, but remains a bit of a secret especially for Melbourne folks.
The inspiration for the project came from celebrity chef Barry Iddles who spotted the Q360 tower at Queenscliff Harbour. "It had everything," he says. "Here was the perfect restaurant venue with relaxed seating alongside the harbour, but also this incredible 40 metre tower offering 360 degree panoramic views over the surrounding area."
While the restaurant had lain dormant for years, Iddles coaxed the sleeping giant back to life.
The inside décor is as fresh and invigorating as stepping into the ocean breezes. There are the relaxing views of yachts bobbing on blue water from either the outside decking or from behind the wall to ceiling windows. The walls are white and the clean lines are complemented by the sleek Scandinavian furniture.
Queenscliff is on the coastal rim of the Bellarine food bowl. This ensures head chef, Mathew Hallam, has the best ingredients to work with including Lonsdale's succulent vine ripened tomatoes, locally caught fish from Port Phillip Bay and world famous blue mussels fresh off the boats from nearby Portarlington.
Ingredients may be local but the menu is a passport to the world's cuisines and complemented by an impressive wine list drawn up by co-owner Doug Rathbone, who runs the Rathbone Wine Group (Mount Langi Ghiran, Xanadu and Yering Station). Local drops on offer include Baie Wines, Scotchmans Hill, Jack Rabbit, and Nine Yards and Counting wines from Leura Park Estate. There's a whole wall of wines to choose from that also creates a novel feature wall in the middle of the room.
What I love about this venue is that you can make a full day's family outing out of your visit. You can drive from Melbourne or nearby Geelong or come in on the Queenscliff ferry.
Visitors usually climb the tower (there is also a lift) for the amazing views, but other options include eco boat trips to birdwatch or swim with the dolphins, or a wander along the $38 million marina with its boutique shops.
A short walk away is the Queenscliff township with its Victorian era buildings, brooding old mansions and excellent foraging in the antique and bookshops. Take in a game of golf at the Queenscliff Golf Club or ride the famous tourist train.
Families can stay at Clydesville , a stunning old doctor's residence on the Queenscliff seashore with high ceilings, and endless rooms including a regal dining room (shown below). The house sleeps 10.