Being a destination of four distinct seasons, Victoria's winter months provide the perfect excuse for romantics to slow down, snuggle up and re-connect with a guilt free weekend away of indulgence.
From boutique luxury accommodation, destination restaurants, cosy gastro pubs and its natural wonders, the simple pleasures of regional Victoria can enrich and rejuvenate with a simple break from the stresses of everyday life.
The proximity to Melbourne and abundance of natural mineral springs, the largest concentration in Australia, makes Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges a favourite for locals and visitors alike during winter.
Complementing the spa capital is a host of pubs, restaurants and accommodation that feature the beloved fireplace.
Located just 48 km northeast of Ballarat and an hour-and-a-half from Melbourne, the breathtaking Clifftop at Hepburn was voted Australia’s best romantic getaway in 2017. The three five-star two-bedroom villas boast an imported French fireplace, framed by breathtaking floor-to-ceiling panoramic views that plunge down to the native bushland below. Famed for its luxury design and interior, each villa includes a quirky feature, be it a pinball machine, massage chair, airbrushed street art or outdoor fixtures. 209/219 Main Rd, Hepburn. 1300 112 114.
After a day of soaking in the mineral-rich waters of the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, which features salt therapy pools, aroma steam rooms and spa couches, relaxed bathers can then stay overnight in one of the onsite luxury villas for the ultimate romantic weekend away. Within walking distance of the bath house, the property comprises of 10 modern five-star villas which features a luxury marble spa bath and fireplace. Mineral Springs Reserve Rd, Hepburn Springs. (03) 5321 6000
Down the road in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, The Acorn in Daylesford is a stylish open plan villa with uninterrupted views of Wombat Forrest, Mount Franklin and local vineyards. Tucked away in a private garden sanctuary, guests can relax in the large spa or get lost in the flicker of the flames in the large wood double-sided fireplace. 52 Jamieson St, Daylesford. (03) 5348 4422
For a unique holiday experience, the Tuki Farm and Retreat is a Trout Farm, 20 minutes from Daylesford, where guests can catch and eat their own rainbow trout fireside in the restaurant or stay overnight in one of three stone cottages that all feature open fireplaces. 60 Stoney Rises Rd, Smeaton. (03) 5345 6233.
Those eager to explore the tastes of the region but don't want to brave the chill, can do so at Bellinzona Resort and Spa, in the heart of Hepburn Village, offering visitors and overnight guests the opportunity to taste of the region’s best wines and relax by their open fireplace. Clever European dishes and wood-fired pizza are on offer also at Macedon’s Oliver Jones, just 40 minutes from Daylesford, which features a large outdoor fireplace. The old English style tavern at the Daylesford Cider Company is a perfect place to get cosy during winter and sample the range of ciders made using the 17 varieties of English-heritage listed apples, grown organically on the farm just outside the township. Bellinzona Resort & Spa, 77 Main Rd, Hepburn Springs. (03) 5348 2271; Oliver Jones, 40 Victoria St, Macedon. (03) 5426 3700; Daylesford Cider Company, 155 Dairy Flat Rd, Musk. (03) 5348 2275.
Only one hour from Melbourne train in the Bendigo region of Victoria lays the historic and creative arts city of Castlemaine. The luxury traditional suites which reflect that heritage can be found at Empyre Hotel. Suites feature log gas fireplaces and an inclusive a la carte breakfast for guests. Or the just opened new South Cottage at Stone Edge features a beautiful sandstone fireplace in the bedroom to enjoy snuggling in bed. Empyre Hotel, 68 Mostyn St, Castlemaine. (03) 5472 5166
In the same region, guests can stay warm at Sutton Grange winery with a fireplace overlooking the lake, or one of two fireplaces in the old miners cottage cellar door at Killiecrankie winery. Fire is the focus at The Woodhouse in the cultural city of Bendigo where a huge two-sided fireplace heats the warm brick dining room and wood cooking is threaded through the menu. Sutton Grange Winery, Carnochans Rd, Sutton Grange. (03) 8672 1478; Killiecrankie Winery, 103 Soldier Rd, Ravenswood. 0447 733 599; The Woodhouse, 101 Williamson Street, Bendigo. (03) 5443 8671
The Woodlands Rainforest Retreat, an hour and a half north east of Melbourne on the edge of the Yarra Valley, is the ultimate secret hideaway for couples. Hidden in the spectacular rainforest, each of the architect designed secluded cottages features a large brick open fireplace and a sunken therapeutic spa. Visitors can indulge in local and seasonal produce at the 2018 Good Food Guide’s hatted restaurant at TarraWarra Estate and in the comfort of a large open fireplace. Woodlands Rainforest Retreat, 137 Manby Rd, Narbethong. (03) 5963 7150; TarraWarra Estate, 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd, Yarra Glen. (03) 5957 3510
As whale season has official started, some might prefer to take the romance seaside with a trip down the Great Ocean Road for a night at Points South by the Sea in Wongarra. The three private self-contained cottages are set on a 160-acre farm directly opposite the beach and provide guests with views of the crashing waves and passing dolphins and whales by day; and stone wood fireplace and spa at night. 5260 Great Ocean Rd, Wongarra. (03) 5237 0296
Those without the luxury of a night away can still enjoy a romantic trip across to the Bellarine with Port Phillip Ferries for an afternoon of fireside tasting and dining at Jack Rabbit winery or gin cocktails at the brand new Bellarine Distillery cellar door in the rustic tin shed at The Whiskery. Jack Rabbit Vineyard, 85 McAdams Ln, Bellarine. (03) 5251 2223; The Whiskery, Cnr Scotchmans Road and Portarlington Road, Drysdale. 0468 926 282
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