Work sucks, emails are piling up, every minor annoyance feels like a 10, you can’t remember the last meal you ate that didn’t come out of a box, and the last time you had a weekend away was… well, does binging old episodes of The X-Files and refusing to answer texts count?
Before you blow up at your boss or smash your head through a window, you need a break – stat.
Cape Otway Lightstation
Immerse yourself in some of Australia's best rainforest scenery in the Otway Ranges, where you can walk amongst giant tree ferns, trek to secluded waterfalls, see glow worms at Melba Gully, or stroll above it all on the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk. Adjacent to the park is the Cape Otway Lightstation, the oldest lighthouse in Australia, where you can spend the night in the Head Lightkeeper's House or simply take in a history lesson. The region's other charming destinations include Apollo Bay, Beech Forest, Colac, Johanna, Lorne, Wye River, and Anglesea.
Milawa and King Valley
La vita is dolce in Milawa and King Valley, one of Australia's oldest gourmet regions. The Milawa Gourmet Region is home to a cornucopia of fine foods, wine, and crafts – including mustards and condiments, fresh berries, jams and preserves, olives and olive oil, ceramic art, fine woven fabric, photography, plant nurseries, fine furniture made from Australian timbers, and more. Be sure the Milawa Cheese Company and Brown Brothers winery are at the top of your itinerary.
Say goodbye to smog and car horns and hello to fresh air and birdsong. Grampians National Park and its surrounding towns are perfect if you're looking for an active escape. The park's rugged mountain ranges offer extensive opportunity for hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and kayaking. Nosh at the Royal Mail Hotel, a fine dining institution where produce comes from the organic kitchen garden and meat comes from the property's own farm. To stay, try a luxury retreat at Griffins Hill, Blaze Rock, or Boroka Downs.
Squeaky Beach, Gippsland
With so much to do across the entire Gippsland region, where do we begin? There's Buchan Caves for underground adventures, Mira Mira for eccentric accommodations, Squeaky Beach for sun and surf, Wilsons Promontory National Park for nature, Inverloch for watersports, Walhalla for gold mining history, the Gippsland Vehicle Collection for petrolheads, Loch Brewery & Distillery for gin enthusiasts, Mount Baw Baw for skiing, Phillip Island for penguins, Raymond Island for koalas, Maru Koala and Animal Park for other wildlife, and that's just for starters.
Victoria’s High Country delivers spectacular weekend getaways whatever the season. When the mercury drops, head to Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, and Falls Creek for snowsports. In warmer months, hike and bike your way through national parks and lush countryside. Foodies and boozies in particular will find much to love in this bountiful region, from the High Country Brewery Trail, to Pedal To Produce, to the Prosecco Road. No wheels? No worries – plenty of operators in the area will kit you out with the necessary equipment.
Echuca (and nearby Moama across the Murray River) is one of Australia's finest heritage icons and home to the largest paddle steamer fleet in the world. The twin towns are wonderfully-preserved snapshots of a bygone era, and visitors who wish to step back in time can take part in a variety of activities that hark back to simpler days. Echuca also hosts more modern entertainments, like the Southern 80 water skiing festival and the Riverboats Music Festival.
There's no need to bring a passport to experience this tiny bit of Bali. Designed with relaxation and romance in mind, Balinese Retreat is an adults-only escape nestled in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. Open the door of the 5-star villa – designed for only one couple per night – and you'll be greeted by tropical greenery, a serene blue lagoon, and cascading waterfalls. Mind, body, and spirit will be soothed as you soak in your private hot tub and indulge in massages in the opulent Spa de Marrakech.