Known mostly as a perfect family getaway, Philip Island has another side to its personality which is ideal for grown-ups who love a bit of Adrenaline-fuelled action. Home to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (October), San Remo Channel Challenge (January) and the World Superbike Championship (February), Phillip Island attracts adrenaline junkies from far and wide. Throughout the year, thrill seekers can get their fix at the Grand Prix Circuit Go Kart Track, which is based on a scale replica of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit (kids under the age of 13 can actually go in a tandem kart with an adult) Phillip Island Helicopters offers a birds eye view of the Island, and on the water, adventurers can book a session with the likes of Phillip Island SUP or Island Surfboards, or try snorkelling or mountain biking with OutThereOutdoors.
Perhaps the best way to get some breathing space away from the hustle and bustle of holidaying families, is on the water. The spectacular paddlesteamer, the PS Emmylou, is the world’s only wood-fired cruising paddlesteamer and was relaunched this Spring following a specially designed luxury upgrade and fit out, perfect for couples or grown-up groups. Offering an extended 3 – 4 night program, the trip will take passengers for the first time through some of the most pristine and intact ecological forests, to places of geographic, historic and Aboriginal cultural significance along the world’s third longest navigable river. With only 9 cabins, the boutique boat will moor alongside outstanding river wineries, drop in to local producers, pause to explore heritage sites offer onboard dining, prepared by the Emmylou’s Chef, featuring local food and wine. Riverside campfires are offered in the evenings, with stunning night skies.
Found on the Bellarine Peninsula is one of Victoria’s newest retreats set on over 200 acres of rural and conservation land, hidden away on a hill by the ocean, Lon Retreat features seven luxurious suites and a Mineral Spa, located in Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula. Each suite is individually designed with its own unique character and connection to the ocean, lakes and surrounding farmland. Inside the room is a personal sanctuary, inspired by its natural surroundings combining earthy tones with contemporary luxury. Perfect base for couples to explore the surrounding wineries and grown-up attractions.
In Victoria’s spa country guests can experience 5-star luxury at Hepburn at Hepburn. The luxury one-bedroom villas, elegantly designed by Award Winning architect David Edelman, share centre stage with views of the Hepburn Springs landscape gardens and surrounding bushland. Also, in Hepburn Springs Shizuka Ryokan offers guests the chance to rest and reflect in an authentic Japanese setting. This traditional inn is a quiet, minimalist space with elements including tatami mats, yukata robes, bonsai, shoji screens, futon beds, Japanese architecture, and a Zen rock garden. Highlights include traditional Japanese cuisine and spa and wellness treatments.
Beechworth’s 1860 Luxury Accommodation is an original timber cabin, lovingly restored to offer couples self-contained luxury, tranquillity and total privacy. With an open fire, double bath, leather lounge, king sized bed and full kitchen, 1860 overlooks Spring Creek and the surrounding parklands of Lake Sambell. The cabin is a five-minute stroll into Beechworth where visitors can enjoy renowned restaurants, great coffee, shopping and boutique wines. Just 30 minutes from Beechworth is the Prosecco Road congregation of third generation Italian wine producers, plus the town of Bright, farmgates, pedal to produce trails and much much more grown-up fun.
However...if there is no time for an escape to regional Victoria, the city has some adult-friendly experiences to engage in grown-up conversation, bonding, food and drinks and avoid the hordes of kids on school holidays.
Visitors can get the insider scoop on the city’s very best bars on one of Melbourne Food Experiences, The Best of Melbourne Progressive Cocktail Tour. Local experts provide a guided tour to four bars to enjoy world-class drinks each matched with quality snacks. All the while learning how Melbourne became recognised globally as a cocktail capital. The tour starts with an expertly crafted cocktail at Juliet Melbourne, before progressing to hard-to-find Bar Ampere. A short tram ride will take guests to Mjolner to admire the amazing Viking features and contemporary Scandinavian design while enjoying a cocktail specially created for the tour along with snacks from the kitchen team. The evening will conclude with a champagne punch at the elegant Jasper’s Jazz Club matched with a selection of carefully curated cheeses. Tour guests are welcome to stay on, relax into the night and enjoy performances by Melbourne’s top jazz artists.
For those who enjoy challenging their mind and logistical skills, Escape Rooms provide an hour or more worth of entertainment for grown-up bonding and fun. Rooms exploded across the city in recent years, meaning there is always a new one to try and each is uniquely themed with a varied level of difficulty. Teams of two to six can test their skills, and brainpower, solving a series of puzzles to crack the code and finally escape from the room they’re locked inside. Each takes around 50 to 70 minutes to complete, but with so many to choose from an entire day could be spent deciphering various mysteries. Escape Room Melbourne, Escape Room International, and Escape Hunt Melbourne, are three of the bigger collectives with several rooms across the city.
Culture vultures can avoid the busy daytime holiday crowds at NGV by partaking in the NGV Friday Nights which returns starting on Friday 7 December for summer with a music line-up fusing classical and contemporary influences, exclusive late-night access to Escher X nendo / Between Two Worlds, plus bars and dining. This summer’s headline electronic artists and DJs include songwriter and producer Andy Bull, Melbourne duo Confidence Man, Sydney’s Nicole Millar, record producer Jonti and Australian/Filipino artist Chela. Creative collaboration platform anon. will also present Bach X Reimagined, an immersive music installation featuring live classical musicians in the Gallery Kitchen.
Melbourne is famed for its fresh and fine food and is home to an abundance of cafes and restaurants. A leisurely kid-free lunch is an ideal way to spend the day enjoying adult conversation and there are plenty of locations at which to do so. Vue de Monde, on the 55th floor of the Rialto is open for lunch Thursday-Sunday, Ezard has been a Melbourne institution for it's popular tasting menu from chef Teague Ezard, and is still going strong keeping the menu fresh and interesting. Florentino is steeped in tradition offering a luxurious dining experience where genuine hospitality and guest experience take precedence. For a more casual but equally delicious dining experience, most laneway cafes and restaurants are open for lunch every day. Tonka, Coda, Cumulus Inc, Supernormal, and Tipo00 are highly recommended.
Top Yard is just one of Melbourne’s newest rooftop spots this summer. Offering great burgers and Australian themed cocktails the new bar is open for good times from Thursday through Sunday each week, Top Yard boasts impressive 360-degree views across the city. Or for some Asian fusion dining, new inner city rooftop, restaurant and bar, Red Piggy has a tropical fit-out and an affordable menu that covers Southeast Asia and its French culinary influences. Also new is Aussie DJs Peking Duk's new bar in South Yarra called Talk to Me. The bar features a playful American-Chinese influence, including a 'Cheesy One-Liners' offering of cheeseburger inspired dishes like cheeseburger dim sim and a tempura nori cheeseburger teamed with ponzu ketchup.
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