Hit reset at the Fire and Spice Wellness Retreat

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If lockdown 4.0 hit you hard, the itch for a vacation is turning into a rash, and you’re scrolling through the explore feed on Instagram, you’re probably in need of a little reset. We’ve done some digging for antidotes and discovered the Fire and Spice Wellness Retreat – your ultimate weekend getaway to zen out and hit that reset button.

Hosted by Masterchef alumni Dani Venn, the wellness retreat is inspired by fire and spice and designed to get you totally blissed out on good food, good vibes and good company – all within the luxurious Lon Retreat and Spa in Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The three-day retreat will see you learn the art of cooking with spices in a Masterclass run by Dani herself, soak the winter out of your bones in the warm mineral springs, stretch out on the mat in a few yoga classes, and have your fill of local gin or wine by the fire at night.

In keeping with the spirit of ‘me-time’, guests have the opportunity to take part in each activity or take things at their own pace. With two nights accommodation at the exclusive venue surrounded by stunning farmland and ocean, relaxation is guaranteed.

Dani, who is best known for lighting up our screens on Masterchef in 2011, 2012 and 2020, will join guests in activities and share her encyclopaedic knowledge of spices and cooking delicious meals along the way.

“After running wellness retreats in Bali and Sri Lanka, I am thrilled to bring my one-of-a-kind retreat closer to home at one of the most relaxing places on earth. I cannot wait to cook for you, laugh with you and create unforgettable memories you will hold onto for a lifetime,” says Dani.

Tickets are selling fast, so head to the website soon before they’re gone.

THE DETAILS
WHAT: Fire and Spice Wellness Retreat
WHEN: Friday 25 to Sunday 27 June, 2021
WHERE: Lon Retreat & Spa, 25 Gill Road, Point Lonsdale
MORE INFO:  Dani Venn 

Street art and eco-luxury come together in this pop-up hotel

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You must’ve been living under a rock not to have heard about the Silo Art Trail. Stretching over 200km in Victoria’s north-west Wimmera Mallee region, it’s been called Australia’s largest outdoor gallery for good reason. Whatever direction you’re visiting from, you’re going to need somewhere to stay. For one month only, your best bet is the Silo Art Pop-Up Hotel on the edge of pink-hued Lake Tyrrell.

The hotel is the brainchild of Contained – a group that have re-purposed shipping containers as restaurants, bars, offices and much more. Each eco-pod may have a low carbon footprint but doesn’t skimp on the finishing touches: Australian-made toiletries, minibar stocked with locally-sourced treats, luxuriously soft bed linens, continental breakfast and a private deck for you to drink in the peace under more stars than you’ve seen in a long time.

Each pod will also feature bespoke art thanks to street art agency, Juddy Roller.

First pod features work by Matt Adnate, a well-respected creator of multicultural portraiture whose work can be seen at the Sheep Hills silo (completed in 2016). His paintings exhibit a bold energy, dramatic use of light and shade and a sensitive approach to Indigenous culture and stories.

Drapl will team up with The Zookeeper to adorn a second hotel pod. Their 2019 work at the Sea Lake silos celebrates the local Boorong people’s strong connection to nearby Lake Tyrrell. It is a haunting image, especially at night as the massive artwork bleeds into the night sky.

Former lawyer and now street artist Kaff-eine will adorn the swimming pool container with a colourful mural. Her photorealistic portraiture is imbued with symbolism and narrative, securing her a loyal following locally and abroad.

Visit Victoria has compiled a field guide with plenty of resources to help you plan your trip.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Silo Art Trail Pop-up Hotel
WHERE: Lake Tyrrell, near Sea Lake
WHEN: Friday 11th June – Monday 12th July 2021
MORE INFO: booking details here

Sleep under the stars at Daylesford’s new Skyview Bubble Tent

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For even the most ardent camping lovers, winter can spell an unavoidable abstinence from the great outdoors. Our state’s chaotic weather doesn’t make for the most reliable holiday destination. But rest assured there is a way to experience the total immersion with nature camping brings, without the soggy socks and ice-cold nights. May we introduce Daylesford’s newest glamping accommodation sure to quench that thirst?

Meet the Skyview Bubble Tent, one of regional Victoria’s most unique getaway accommodations, nestled right on the edge of Wombat State Park in Daylesford. Brought to life by local couple Anita and Richard Payne, the new luxury stay has been fitted with all the finest details to make your camping experience one to remember.

The clear circular roof gives you almost 360-degree views of the surrounding woodland where you will likely see several kangaroos hopping past, or maybe even one of the alpaca’s the pair keep on their farm. And of course, the magic of thousands of stars at night, completely uninterrupted by nearby lights.

After discovering the bubble tent phenomenon in Europe, Anita and Richard set the wheels in motion to create Victoria’s first one a couple of years ago. Much evolution has seen the tent transform into a fully equipped getaway experience. Inside there is a Queen-sized bed with luxury linen, beanbags to squish into and tea and coffee facilities to get you really cosy. While the outdoor area features a wooden deck with a log fire (and pizza oven) and gas BBQ, outdoor shower, kitchen facilities, cantilevered umbrella with fairy lights and even a bush hammock to soak it all up.

“Our intention was to give people a sense of seclusion and privacy… and it’s just been fun putting it all together,” Anita says. “It really is just a magical experience in the Aussie bush.”

So pack your winter woollies (or your hat if you’re booking ahead) and your adventurous spirit, the Skyview Bubble Tent is ready to greet you.

THE DETAILS
WHAT: Skyview Bubble Tent
WHERE: 162 Brandy Hot Road, Eganstown
WHEN: Check website for availability
MORE INFO: Bookings via Dayget Daylesford

Luxury awaits at Five Acres Accommodation

Images by Marnie Hawson
Styling by Belle Bright

Set on rolling farmland overlooking the ocean, Five Acres Accommodation is the newest (and maybe coolest) place to stay in Phillip Island.

Between raising three children, running the popular business The Pantry Phillip Island and building three luxurious seaside cabins, you might wonder when Phillip Island-based couple Katie and Rommy Lamaro sleep.

The hardworking duo, who just two weeks ago opened the doors to Five Acres, first purchased the farmland back in 2018 with a simple aim: give Phillip Island the luxury accommodation it deserves. And may we say, they have well and truly succeeded.

Located in Ventnor, less than two hours drive from Melbourne, these three flawless cabins stand side-by-side with sweeping views of Western Port Bay. Designed in tandem with Mitch Bagley from Onsite Design, each one features the same floor plan but with different finishes. One is underpinned with earth tones for a grounding stay, another is a little dark and moody, and the last has been finished with greenstone for a bright and lively feel.

Interiors have been thoughtfully curated by renowned stylist and decorator Belle Bright for a cosy, minimalist feel. High-end finishes like handcrafted Tasmanian oak furniture, custom-made concrete baths, bespoke upholstery and art from local artists makes each of the spaces truly unique. You’ll be photographing from every angle when you get there.

And of course, let’s not forget the exterior. The micro-farm is indeed working, with over 90 fruit and nut trees and an abundance of veggie beds growing up a storm. As for the cows and sheep that roam the property? Well, Katie says they’re more like pets.

Guests staying in the cabins can expect a continental breakfast (made in part by Katie herself), as well as a small bottle of complimentary gin from a local distillery. For the ultimate respite, we recommend cracking open a bottle of red from one of the wineries nearby, putting your feet up in front of the natural wood fireplace and enjoying the ocean views.

Unforgettable relaxation is the mainstay at Five Acres, and now that Melburnians are travelling regionally more than ever, the Lamaro’s may even get some rest themselves.

“It’s been a busy time, but we’re so glad to be where we are now. We can’t wait to welcome people,” Katie said.

THE DETAILS
WHAT: Five Acres Accommodation
WHERE: 46 Mchaffies Lane, Ventnor, Phillip Island
WHEN: Check website for bookings and availabilities
MORE INFO: Five Acres


	

Farm stay, bar and soon to be kitchen; the restored Hotel Granya has got it all

Nestled on the banks of Lake Hume in Towong Shire, the historic Hotel Granya has woken from its decade-long slumber thanks to Bridget Bowe and Gary Paxton.

The couple, who share over 25 years of hospitality experience, purchased the pub at the beginning of 2020 while operating their other venue, The Bethanga Hotel, and proceeded to spend the year carefully restoring the property when COVID-19 hit.

The result is nothing short of magical. Bridget and Gary have transformed the Hotel Granya from classic country pub into a charming farm stay, bar and soon-to-be pub kitchen – all set on 6 acres of rolling hills with alpacas, ponies, sheep and chickens to boot.

The idyllic lakeside property features two self-contained dwellings, The Cedar House and The Silver Gum Lodge, whose bespoke interiors blend country style with Scandinavian touches, as well as a hotel dormitory perfect for those looking for a place to rest their head while exploring the region.

While the farm stay and bar is already in full swing giving travellers a home away from home, the pub kitchen is planned to launch in May 2021, and things are looking pretty delicious. Chef David Barrows is leading the charge after working with Gary at Bethanga Hotel, and will be dishing up share platters with the likes of Black Spice Salt and Pepper Squid, Croquettes and Lamb Koftas, to name a few. Pub classics will also be on offer.

If you fancy bringing along your own tucker before the kitchen opens, Bridget encourages punters to enjoy the grounds with their BYO picnic or barbecue. They’ve even got picnic grazing boxes on offer on weekends.

The team have big plans for The Hotel Granya, which Bridget says are only just getting started. With her background in the arts and community service, Bridget hopes to link community groups with the property by running gardening programs.

“We would love to use the grounds to host community events and open it up to artists and creatives to run workshops. We hosted a floral wreath making workshop just prior to Christmas, and have a Clay one coming up in April. We are also in consultation with a local Yoga Teacher with the plan to host a Yoga Retreat here later in the year.” Bridget explains.

Despite being hit with a pandemic, this innovative duo are proving that creativity doesn’t stop with difficulty. So drop in for a cold one if you are in the area and add a night in their stunning accomodation. They even give you fresh eggs and fruit from the orchard if you do!

THE DETAILS
WHAT: Hotel Granya
WHERE: 3100 Murray River Road, Granya
WHEN: Accommodation and bar now open, kitchen opening May 2021
MORE INFO: Hotel Granya Farmstay

Blue Tongue Berries

When you picture your idyllic tree-change, off-grid, post-corporate life, it pretty much looks like this place, just outside of Seymour. It’s perched on a hilltop, it is totally off-grid, and has a freakin’ cantina. Loaded with all the words you wrote down in your tree-change wishlist, Blue Tongue Berries boasts a straw-bale boutique accommodation, ridiculous rural views, a seasonal cafe, and 20 acres of farm. You’ll be forgiven for feeling like Nick and Cynthia are living the stylish off-grid life you had always planned.

The cantina is a seasonal thing, when the blueberries are ready to be picked there’s an abundance of them, so they make tarts, cook dumplings, and put on the tastiest lunch. It’s only during the season, though, so check their socials (links above) to make sure they’re open.

The cantina and hacienda are also available as an event space, and here is where your imagination can run wild. Book the accommodation, have friends over for a celebration, and when they’ve all gone, wake up in the serene surrounds of a hilltop haven.

If live music is your thing, Nick and Cynthia run events with local talent too. Again, staying appraised of the socials is the key.

By the way, when it comes to fulfilling the off-grid tree-change dream, Nick and Cynthia will be the first to ask, “What are you waiting for? Get out and do it!”

 

The Trawool Estate

It takes some serious imagination and no small amount of bravery to look at a property between two small-ish regional centres in an albeit idyllic valley, and transform it into a destination restaurant. It seems to be that when you apply imagination and bravery, along with no small amounts of skill and doggedness, that no amount of hither-to unknown-ness of a location will impede the success of a venture. Apply this to the small valley between Yea and Seymour, and you have The Trawool Estate.

Transforming this property between Yea and Seymour on the Melba Highway was no small task. All the accommodation was gutted and refitted along with the restaurant. The business is entirely renewed. Food could be described as sophisticated regional, but that would do both descriptors a disservice. It’s sophistication is not pretentious, but lies squarely in the treatment of the outstanding produce. The commitment to regional comes from understanding where the property sits – squarely in one of the most productive and beautiful parts of regional Victoria.

Details are everything, or so the old saying alludes. These are not lost on the folks at The Trawool Estate. The little pre-mixed cocktails that kept those in-the-know satiated during lockdown are now served in those very same single serve bottles to guests in the rooms. The cocktail list is as extensive as the wine list is considered, and again local producers are to the fore. Speaking of cocktails, if you’re up for it, don’t miss the master-classes – definitely a stay-over event.

Make sure you follow the social media pages – The Trawool Estate runs some fairly astonishing events, with many planned ahead.

Combining historic grandeur with modern design at Lyon House

Images by @Myles Formby

When David Cook-Doulton and Martin Shew first visited Ballarat, they were immediately taken by the grandeur of the city but also by the people who lived there.

“There are many historical country towns in Australia, however none of them capture the true extravagance of the Victorian era like Ballarat,” Martin says.

On scratching the surface, you also start to realise that there is an immense pride and passion in the people here.

David and Martin are the creatives behind a number of stunningly renovated spaces which fall under the Lascelles Ballarat accommodation offerings.

Their most recent venture – Lyon House – is a sleek, gothic-inspired and moody grand Victorian house that combines the intricacy of the past with contemporary design, making for a lavish and opulent getaway.

Boasting a grand-oversized kitchen and entertainer’s zone, indoor swimming pool in the property’s stables, dual living rooms, its own library nook, and three luxurious bedrooms, the self-contained abode has been lovingly designed to create a real sense of extravagance.

“With every guest and every stay, our ambition is to create a beautiful ‘sense memory’, Martin says.

“All of the properties have been lovingly restored with contemporary decor and Australian art. This juxtaposition of old and new perfectly demonstrates what we love about Ballarat and we hope every guest falls a little in love with this too.”

Located in the Ballarat CBD only a stone’s throw away from the city’s most coveted cafes, eateries and retailers, a stay at Lyon House makes for the perfect escape.

With a background and deep appreciation in design, architecture and art, David and Martin say Lyon House is perfectly positioned in a city that is a melting pot of creativity.

“Ballarat attracts artisans and creatives and there is a sense of can-do and support here that is missing in larger cities,” Martin says.

“People here are protective of the past and yet positive for the future. It’s a great place to have a dream and live it.”


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Lyon House
WHERE: 15 Lyons Street North, Ballarat Central
FIND OUT MORE: lascellesballarat.com.au


	

Glamping and 24/7 bathing now happening at Peninsula Hot Springs

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Date night just levelled up.

In news that is sure to delight both lovers and lovers of relaxation across the state, the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs is bringing us two very indulgent experiences this year; 24/7 bathing and luxury glamping.

Back after their Covid-induced hibernation, the baths are geared up to bring patrons the ultimate post-lockdown rejuvenation. Say goodbye to stiff limbs and hello to mineral-rich soaking with their new offerings.

The steamy destination, which underwent a $13-million expansion in 2018, has introduced 10 luxury glamping tents throughout the site, each one slightly different to the next. But every one takes comfort to the nines with thermally-heated concrete floors, king beds fitted with luxury linen, generous bathrooms and a private deck.

Not only will guests be able to enjoy the spoils of their heavenly accom, but the experience also includes round-the-clock access to the geothermal mineral pools, so if you fancy a midnight dip, just throw on a bathrobe and head on out. In the morning, breakfast will be served in the Spa Dreaming Centre Dining room — all inclusive of course.

You don’t need to be a glamper to soak under the stars, however; 24/7 bathing is available for those who don’t mind entering after 11pm. Just imagine you and your chosen other under the soothing expanse of stars listening to the late-night hum of crickets… We’re getting relaxed just thinking about it.

It goes without saying that the Peninsula Hot Springs are Mornington’s number one destination for indulgence. Whether you want to bathe, indulge in a spa treatment, join in on wellness activities or practice yoga and meditation, the Springs have got you covered. With the new night-time sessions, you may never want to leave.

Packages for glamping start at $650 per night for two people. 


THE DETAILS
WHAT: Overnight glamping at Peninsula Hot Springs
WHERE: 140 Springs lane, Fingal
WHEN: Bookings available now
MORE INFO: Peninsula Hot Springs

 

Falls to Hotham hike gets eco-glamping upgrade

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The popular Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing hike has had a summer upgrade with an unforgettable tree-top experience.

Alpine Nature Experience has organised an all-inclusive hike from Falls Creek to Mount Hotham that lets you enjoy the popular picturesque hike, but maximises comfort at the same time.

The night before you head off on your hike, you’ll be treated to a night in luxury accommodation – and the luxe treatment continues from here. The next morning, not only will you be transported to the starting point of the hike, there’s also no need to carry your pack or a tent; all your belongings will be transported between sites for you, so you’ll just need to carry a light day pack.

When you arrive at Blair’s Hut Campground for the night, not only is the campsite set up, but dinner will also be ready for you. But this is no ordinary campsite; Alpine Nature Experience will hoist your tent off the ground and between the trees, offering a truly unique camping experience. For dinner, locally-sourced meals will be provided, and other locally-sourced snacks will also be on offer throughout the hike.

The next morning, your belongings will be transported back for you, and you can enjoy a post-hike night back in your luxurious accommodation.

The all-inclusive two-day hike can be self-guided or you also have the option of booking an experienced guide to help you along the way. You can also add return transport to and from Melbourne if you’d like.

To ensure you can fully enjoy the experience, numbers are strictly restricted to just 10 people at a time, and dates are also limited.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Falls To Hotham Crossing – All inclusive Curated Hike
WHERE: Falls to Hotham Crossing
WHEN: Selected dates only from January to March.
FIND OUT MORE: alpinenatureexperience.com.au/summer-bookings