You haven’t been overseas for 12 months (or longer) and perhaps even your modest dreams of interstate Christmas adventures were dashed. While we wait once again for state border restrictions to ease, we’re taking the opportunity to explore the best of Victoria – digging a little deeper and staying a little longer in our own backyard, discovering new gems and seeing old favourites in a new light. Read on for our highlights of where to stay, eat and explore across two of our state’s most spectacular regions – The Grampians & Great Ocean Road, and the Mornington Peninsula & Red Hill. Victoria’s hotel, food & wine industry has proven itself incredibly resilient and there’s some really exciting new regional openings waiting to welcome you.
Our exclusive partnerships with local hotels, boutique lodges and even private homes allow us to offer our clients room upgrades, VIP amenities, late check out, food and beverage credits and other benefits at the same rate, or even better, than you would pay when booking online or direct. Reach out to learn more and book your Victorian escape today – firstname.lastname@example.org
GREAT OCEAN ROAD & THE GRAMPIANS
ROYAL MAIL HOTEL
Set against a stunning mountain backdrop in the tiny town of Dunkeld, the Royal Mail Hotel is the region’s most luxurious address and the best way to indulge in all the Grampians has to offer. The property contains a range of accommodation options and two restaurants – the acclaimed fine diner, Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, one of Australia’s most celebrated regional restaurants, and the more casual Parker Street Project, both of which celebrate the season’s available produce grown in the hotel’s incredible 1.2-hectare kitchen garden, and are supported by an internationally recognised wine cellar.
Landscaped gardens full of native plants surround a billabong inspired swimming pool and a network of walking tracks on the property link with those in the nearby Grampians National Park and around the town.
To fully experience the breath-taking beauty of the Grampians, you must strap on your hiking boots and head up the mountains. Hiking tracks within close proximity to the hotel include, Wugarri (Mount Sturgeon) 7km return, Mud-Dadjug (Mount Abrupt) 6.5km return, and Bainggug (Piccanniny) 2.5km return.
A little further afield in the northern end of the Grampians are the Pinnacle walk (4.2km return) and MacKenzie Falls (2km return). For something more adventurous, the Grampians Peak Trail is a world-class multi-day hike currently being constructed that will connect some of the region’s most spectacular peaks.
Stage One and Stage Two are now open and can be capped off with a stay at Royal Mail Hotel. Offering natural beauty and exhilaration on an epic scale, self-navigated or guided walking tours of the Grampians Peak Trail are available.
FROM THE GRAMPIANS, HEAD TO THE COAST TO EXPLORE THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
LE PEROUSE LORNE
A small hotel located by the sea and within walking distance of Lorne’s main attractions, La Perouse has just four beautifully appointed and individually designed rooms – all beautifully appointed with ensuites. Breakfast is served daily in the La Perouse kitchen, or on the terrace (depending on the weather) before you head off to explore the magic of the Great Ocean Road
Located directly across from glorious Louttit Bay and nestled between vibrant restaurants and boutiques, Cumberland Lorne Resort combines breath-taking views, friendly atmosphere, and the most luxurious Great Ocean Road accommodation available. With indulgent penthouses, as well as one and two-bedroom apartments, Cumberland Lorne encapsulates the nostalgia of classic seaside holidays and is the perfect setting for creating lifelong memories.
PRIVATE HOUSE – BELLS BEACH VIEW, JAN JUC
Overlooking the iconic Bells Beach, minutes from Jan Juc and surrounded by greenery, Bells Beach View is a four-bedroom private holiday home that offers a relaxed, coastal elegance. The multiple living spaces are infused with a textural beachy warmth and exceptional ocean views that take your breath away.
The modern interior utilises natural materials and light across the spacious kitchen, family and lounge rooms that encourage gathering and move seamlessly to the outdoor living spaces. The serenity is amplified in the four bedrooms and three bathrooms which includes an uplifting master bedroom with ensuite. At Bells Beach View, it’s all about fuss-free, slow holiday living.
Why book with Jigsaw? We have close relationships with a wide range of luxury boutique accommodation providers and private houses that allow us to offer our clients exclusive rates and benefits, including gourmet welcome hampers, services credit for use towards any in-home or concierge service, including housekeeping, grocery provisioning, in-home dining etc. early check-in and late check-out, complimentary Wi-Fi and more.
As far as regional destinations go, the Geelong, Bellarine and Great Ocean Road region has always had good places to drink and dine, but a lot has happened over the quiet lockdown months of last year, with a number of hospitality heavyweights opening (or reopening) venues, making for a pretty exciting tasting trail. Here’s our dining guide to the area …
- Coda Lorne – 14 of Coda and Tonka’s city team has made a sea change to run the new Coda Lorne, located in the Lorne hotel. The menu features some of Executive Chef Adam D’Sylva’s most loved dishes from the city, but also places an emphasis on local ingredients and seafood across Lorne-specific signatures such as dry-aged, double-roasted Great Ocean Duck.
- Movida Lorne – Starting as a pop up that was so super successful it booked out instantly, Movida Lorne now has a permanent home at the Lorne Hotel (just below Coda). Using the best of the amazing south-west Victorian produce available, the original menu draws inspiration from Spanish flavours, techniques and tradition to bring a slice of MoVida to the seaside.
- Ipsos (below)- Ipsos restaurant is a Great Ocean Road dining institution in Lorne known for its refined yet authentic take on traditional Greek food. The restaurant and food lend themselves to groups enjoying the pleasures of a shared table in a modern Australian adaption of the ethos of homely Greek Cooking
- Igni – on your way back to Melbourne through Geelong, it’s worth making one final stop for Igni, the small two-hatted restaurant in a Geelong CBD back-alley. Currently open only Thursday to Saturday as restrictions ease, the set course menu remains a surprise and focuses on the best local producers.
TWELVE APOSTLES LODGE WALK
If you’ve resolved to get a little more active this year, then Abercrombie & Kent’s Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk is the perfect mix of outdoors adventure and luxury indulgence. Explore the spectacular landscapes of the Great Ocean Road, traversing coastal tracks, meandering through lush coastal grass, trees and eucalypt forest and amble along soft sandy beaches and the undulating clifftops of Victoria’s most iconic coastline.
MORNINGTON PENINSULA & RED HILL
Situated on a pristine vineyard and offering luxury, designer accommodation to complement two of the Peninsula’s best dining experiences, Jackalope Hotel is welcoming guests back with their new ‘Escape Reality’ package
- Two-nights luxury accommodation
- Four-course tasting menu dinner in Doot Doot Doot (pictured below)
- $100 credit towards dining in Rare Hare
- Complimentary daily breakfast served in Doot Doot Doot
- Complimentary mini bar
- Complimentary on-demand movies, bottomless popcorn, and WiFi
- Complimentary Classic Wine Tasting at the Cellar Door
Priced from – $1,000 per stay, for a 38sqm Terrace Room
Exclusive offer – Book with Jigsaw Travel and receive an additional $135 hotel credit
Nestled among the vines and shaded by ancient Angophora trees on a stunning 25-acre property in the heart of the Red Hill’s wine region is Polperro – offering a new cellar door, a restaurant experience showcasing the seasonal harvests from the estate, and luxury boutique accommodation with four beautifully-styled, spacious studio apartments overlooking the vineyard.
LANCEMORE LINDENDERRY RED HILL
Set in the very heart of Red Hill amongst 34 acres of beautiful gardens and vines, Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill is a luxury 40-room boutique hotel, ideally positioned to soak up all the spectacular offerings of Mornington Peninsula.
New interiors by awarded design studio Hecker Guthrie fuse European country style with an Australian twist to provide a welcoming sense of home-away-from-home on the Peninsula. Enjoy farm to table dining with hand selected, locally sourced ingredients at The Dining Room restaurant, or a more relaxed lunch from the wood-fire pizza oven with a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir at The Lindenderry Wines Cellar Door.
PRIVATE HOUSE – SHELLY BEACH, PORTSEA
For a special occasion family seaside escape complete with panoramic bay views, absolute beach front and a generous dose of Hamptons-style luxury, this multi-level Portsea beach house is the perfect destination. Unwind and admire the bay views from Shelly Beach’s spacious balconies or explore the expansive garden, right to the ocean’s edge. The generous floor plan – which includes seven bedrooms and sun-drenched living zones – is ideal for large families and extended groups of friends.
Set over multiple levels the property comprises two homes including a top-level apartment with two bedrooms and a 5-bedroom home over levels 1 & 2. It offers direct access to Shelley Beach and reserve, proximity to the idyllic Portsea town centre and various walking tracks to explore, from nearby Millionaire’s Walk to the history-rich Point Nepean National Park.
POINT LEO ESTATE
On the often-unexplored Westernport-side of the Mornington Peninsula, you’ll find Pt Leo Estate – home to rolling vineyards, ocean views, a renowned sculpture park (below) showcasing works by major international and Australian artists, a cellar door and the vibrant Pt Leo Restaurant that celebrates the region’s producers and local suppliers. It’s a feast for all the senses!
TEN MINUTES BY TRACTOR
Serving a six course menu by notable chef, Adam Sanderson in stunning surrounds, Ten Minutes by Tractor in Main Ridge is one of the region’s best winery restaurants. Combining exceptional produce, attended service and a relaxed, country atmosphere, it lives up to its longstanding reputation.
PORT PHILLIP ESTATE
Port Phillip Estate is one of Australia’s most exciting food and wine destinations. An architectural landmark with an abstract, sculptural design that nestles into the landscape, the light-filled Dining Room and Cellar Door offer exceptional food and wine and open on to an expansive outdoor deck with spectacular views.
POINT NEPEAN NATIONAL PARK
Walk or cycle through the rugged coastal landscape of Point Nepean National Park, enjoying panoramic ocean views and explore historic limestone buildings from the Mornington Peninsula’s European settlement. A range of scenic and engaging trails run through the Park with the full circuit loop 12km in distance (approximately 4.5 hours to complete).