Peninsula Hot Springs
Girls’ group cafe

By V. Sivaji

Looking for a holiday destination with your select group of friends, why not grab a bunch of friends and hit the open road for a weekend of laughs and leisure.

Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state offers a myriad of indoor and outdoor activities like a gruelling mountain hike or to find relaxation in a bottle of fine wine and a long lunch.

Among the attraction which await are for those who want to relax and unwind at Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa or The Lake House with the latter’s new infinity pool overlooking the misty lake. This location offers ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation with a natural mineral spa and massage.

For those looking for a bubbling hot time, head to the famous Peninsula Hot Springs, which welcomes over half a million visitors every year.

As part of their new expansion, the award-winning hot spring destination has introduced new wellness programs combining the popular geothermal Bath House bathing with various movement and mindfulness practices.

Additional programs include hosted workshops, mind and body classes, as well as exciting Friday movie nights at the amphitheatre while soaking in the hot springs.

Enjoy local delights at the Yarra Valley, one of Victoria’s premier wine and gourmet regions, is another stunning spot to indulge in life’s great pleasures of food, wine, nature and inspiring arts.

Canoeing on Lake Elizabeth – Great Otway National Park

For food, groups can linger over a meal with fresh local produce at Oakridge Winery or Tarrawarra Estate. Grazing options include local cheese at the Yarra Valley Dairy or a Sunday High Tea experience at Chateau Yering set among beautiful historic gardens.

For wine buffs, plunge deep into the heart and soul of Mornington Peninsula with a tailored food and wine adventure that seeks out the finest and most interesting makers and producers.

There are new breweries and distilleries in the region too, with Dromana industrial estate becoming a hub for craft drinks, home to Jetty Road Brewery, Two Bays Brewing, Bass and Flinders Distillery and most recently, Jimmy Rum Distillery.

Alternatively, catch some snooze time in the upscale Jackalope Hotel, elegant 180-year old Chateau Yering or sleep in the heart of Healesville at the Healesville Hotel.

For an adventurous glamping experience, marvel at the panoramic vineyards at Balgownie Estate or Big Blue Backyard, a lovely option for groups with individual cottages and a common spa and eating facilities – only a short walk to a quiet beach.

Adventure seekers can check out the Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives by trekking the Great Ocean Walk to the magnificent 12 Apostles, weaving through beautiful parks, deserted beaches and rugged coastline.

You can also book a group surfing lesson at the seaside town of Lorne, go canoeing to see platypus on Elizabeth Lake at sunrise, kayak to seals, zip line through the Otways at Otways Zipline Tours and ride horse-back along the region’s spectacular coast line.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Other activities available include for those who like the “Pedals, Pilates and Platters” getaway, a boutique two-night getaway at Leader Reef accommodation, nestled on the side of a hill.

After enjoying breakfast, get invigorated with a Pilates or yoga session followed by a gentle 20km return bike ride along the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail to Feathertop Wines where a platter of cheese, meats and other goodies awaits along with stunning views.

Meanwhile the Silo Art Trail has to be seen to be believed, these stunning massive murals providing passers-by with art on a scale never before seen. Be filled with wonder at the towering silos while enjoying a hot cup of tea in a picnic-styled breakfast with Grampians Wine Tours that brings visitors through the largest outdoor gallery in Australia.

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