Train travel to any part of Victoria now capped at under $10

Words by Jay Dillon
Images by One Hour Out & Visit Victoria

What does the Maharajas’ Express, the Royal Scotsman and the Eastern & Oriental Express have in common with Victoria’s V-Line? Probably not much at all…certainly not the price, now that V-line has capped all regional trips to under $10.

The new fares will appear for all bookings made on the V/Line booking system from March 31, setting a daily travel cap of $9.20 and bringing the fare into line with Metro Melbourne’s daily rate fares.

It’s a significant reduction in the cost of regional train travel, where currently a midweek trip from Southern Cross station to Mildura would cost $56.80 for an adult one-way ($28.40 concession), the same trip after March 31 would be just $9.20 ($4.60 concession). This represents an 83% reduction and makes train travel, even more, cheaper than travelling by car (the same trip would cost around $100 in a mid-sized petrol SUV.)

In addition to the new weekday daily tickets used in the above example, the program results in even greater savings for holders of a Weekend Saver ticket, with weekends and public holidays capped at $6.70 for Adults ($3.35 concession). In all cases, children travel with the same fare offered to adult concession holders.

Vline Price reduction

The fare reduction was a key campaign promise of both parties in the November elections, with the aim of assisting to reduce the cost of living for regional residents who regularly need to travel to Melbourne and other city hubs for work and medical appointments. 

The announcement is equally welcome for regional tourists, who may never have considered the train as an option for reaching a destination due to fares representing only a minimal saving on petrol prices. Utilising the V-line train service for a weekend away allows passengers an opportunity to sit back and relax with a good book or a game of cards with their group. The ability to take a bike on board makes for the perfect start of a multi-day bike trip along Victorian’s many converted rail trails.

The new fares are available for booking now on the V-line website.


What: V/Line price reduction
More Info: V Line

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Get ready, Victoria, the next Big Thing is coming

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

We’ve seen The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, The Big Prawn in Ballina, and The Big Potato in Robertson. There’s The Big Gumboot in Tully, and The Big Easel in Emerald… And soon, Victoria’s favourite getaway town of Daylesford will be the home of another impressive landmark. Say hello to The Big Rainbow.

Designed with members of the LGBTQIA+ and First Nations communities, The Big Rainbow is the first “big” landmark dedicated to regional LGBTQIA+ communities. It stands at a whopping six metres high and twelve metres wide; a beacon of inclusivity, diversity, and pride.

After counting 16,000 public votes, Daylesford was chosen ahead of three other shortlisted towns: Broome in Western Australia, Hay in New South Wales and Katherine in the Northern Territory to home the installation. It’s a fitting decision as Daylesford, the Traditional Land of the Dja Dja Wurrung people is known as the rainbow capital of regional Victoria.

“Daylesford is the home of the ChillOut Festival, the longest-running regional LGBTQIA+ festival in Australia, and home to many rainbow families. Council will soon initiate a period of community engagement to tap into the community’s local knowledge and perspectives about the best-suited location for the Big Rainbow which will celebrate our vibrant and inclusive community,” Hepburn Shire Mayor Cr Tim Drylie said.

The project has been initiated and funded by the online dating app Tinder Australia, who have also pledged $100,000 to community organisations working tirelessly for regional LGBTQIA+ representation, diversity and inclusion. The company will be announcing the full list of Australian organisations soon.

Tinder Australia director Kirsten Hardeman said they are “really looking forward to working closely with the passionate people of Daylesford to bring The Big Rainbow home over the coming months.”

“We are so grateful for the support that people across the country have shown us in voting for Daylesford to be the home of The Big Rainbow. We have a long history of supporting our LGBTIQA+ community and visitors to our town, and we hope that The Big Rainbow will be an example of what it means to show love and support to everyone,” Hepburn Shire Mayor Cr Tim Drylie said.

As the weather warms, and the new LGBTQIA+ festival Victoria’s Pride kicks into gear, it’s certain Daylesford will have a few extra visitors this summer. And a little bit more to celebrate.

WHAT: The Big Rainbow Project
WHERE: Daylesford, Victoria
WHEN: Summer 2022
MORE INFO: The Big Rainbow

We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung  people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Why a move to regional Vic will make you a better employee (and how to pitch it to your boss)

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

The world wants to believe that the dreaded ‘C’ word is a thing of the past. Perhaps it is (apparently it is being downgraded from pandemic to endemic) and perhaps it quite isn’t. Either way, there’s no denying the trauma of the last three years has sown itself deep within our core.

That being said, there are many lessons we’ve managed to reap during the pandemic that will hopefully lend themselves to a more fruitful and wholesome lifestyle in the future. Of those is the ability to work remotely.

With the flabbergasting property prices in the city, combined with the rising cost of living, making the move to regional Victoria is fast becoming an alluring option for families, couples and singles alike. But what about those who don’t wish to leave their city jobs either because of the attractive salary, or the career opportunities provided?

Cue remote working. We’ve put together a list of reasons why the move to a regional centre will in fact allow you to be a more productive employee – not only benefiting your employer, but also your entire well-being. So you’ll have a pretty compelling argument to put forward when your boss asks you what your thinking is.

It’s called the internet

It’s the 21st century, so with a little bit of research you can find a  pretty decent internet connection – whether the city slickers choose to believe it or not. So for those who have an office job, or at least the majority of their work entails sitting at a desk, making the move somewhere more affordable and less stressful is quickly becoming a no-brainer!

The traffic solution

According to a recent report, Melbourne outer-suburb drivers spent 79 hours in traffic a year. To think that you can not only move to an area that has little to no traffic, but that you can also beat the daily commute by working remotely – that has to say something about your overall mental health. Which leads us to the next point.

Mental health and overall well-being

Picture this. You’re working from home. Your mortgage is a fraction of the price of what you’d pay in the city – automatically mitigating your stress levels (plus you have a backyard. Winner winner). You have more time and money for holidays. You’re home for dinner at a reasonable time (not sitting idle on the highway all day, everyday). You’ve escaped the hustle and bustle and don’t need to spend your life keeping up with the Joneses. Yet you’ve still managed to maintain the city job you love. Is someone doing the maths here???

Increased output

Working from home means less distractions, which lends itself to further productivity and a whole lotta output – something your boss isn’t going to argue with. If you can prove that your output is just as good, if not better, then you’re well on the way to securing the relaxing regional life you seek. And if you’re required to head into the office on occasion, many regional cities offer great public transport services direct into Southern Cross Station.

How’s the serenity?

The tranquil surrounds of regional Victoria cannot be beat, and provide an idyllic backdrop from which to set up your work base. Whether you’re wafting the sweet ocean breeze, overlooking the rolling hills, or nestled within the lush native woodlands, the state’s landscapes offer such versatility and do wonders in instilling a sense of calm and composure. That can only be good for morale.

Time to spend with loved ones

If there’s another thing that COVID has taught us, it’s that time spent with loved ones is indeed a precious, precious commodity. To be able to work from home, knock off right at 5pm and spend the maximum amount of time with family and friends, really is a bounty. Too much of our lives are becoming occupied with the mundanity of the every day – waking, driving, working, sleeping. So to be able to add more meaningful elements of love, conversation, friendship and generosity into the mix cannot be understated.

Of course, there are many things one needs to take into account when working from home. How to remain disciplined (the laundry can wait) or how to maintain connections (it can be difficult not to have that constant face-to-face interaction). But really, it’s (literally) a small price to pay for the benefits of it all.

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Discover the charm of Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill

As autumn paints Victoria crimson, Sovereign Hill invites you to a weekend where the past meets the present.

The Heritage Harvest Weekend on Saturday, 25 May and Sunday, 26 May is a journey back in time – celebrating rustic food and traditions brought to the goldfields from around the globe.

With a vibrant blend of history, gastronomy and community spirit, this festival is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Australia’s rich culinary heritage. Here’s how you can make the most out of your visit.

Culinary stars take the stage

Julie Goodwin Heritage harvest Festival BallaratPrepare to be dazzled by some of the brightest Australian chefs – Julie Goodwin, Darren Purchese and Tim Bone. Exclusive meet-and-greets aside, these kitchen virtuosos will grace the festival across the weekend in several engaging events.

Ballarat local and host of Good Chef/Bad Chef Tim Bone will be cooking up a hearty dish inspired by the Gold Rush era. Using simple yet flavourful ingredients, Tim’s cooking is a modern twist on the rugged gold miner grub in the Heritage Market Village.

The Great Bake Off’s Darren Purchese will share his handy tips and insights into creating delicious, sweet treats this autumn. And Julie Goodwin, the inaugural winner of MasterChef Australia, will lift the lid on preparing the ultimate family feast in a live demonstration.

‘I’m delighted to be doing cooking demos at Sovereign Hill’s Heritage Harvest Weekend, sharing my passion for delicious, seasonal dishes,’ says Goodwin. ‘Our food traditions are such an important part of who we are and where we come from.’

Plus, under the moderation of Kara Monseen, Herald Sun’s food and wine editor, you’re in for a treat as these chefs share their passion for delicious, seasonal dishes and sweet treats in an interactive Q&A session.

A community of flavours

Heritage Harvest BallaratThe festival proudly showcases over 30 producers and artisans, turning Sovereign Hill into a paradise for food lovers.

Wander through the village market to find quality locally made wares, watch live demonstrations of traditional crafts and cooking along Main Street, and let the kids explore their culinary creativity with special activities.

Highlights include Sweet Sage Farm – full of traditional homemade condiments, gourmet salts and natural herbal balms; Mrs Brown Bakes, selling delicious treats like cookies and their famous Brownie Boys; and The Cottage Herbalist will bring a selection of award-winning tea and herbal tisanes to the Heritage Harvest Market.

And don’t miss the cooking and craft sessions hosted by the esteemed Country Women’s Association, celebrating the essence of community and shared knowledge.

More than just taste

Sovereign Hill heritage harvest weekendHeritage Harvest Weekend offers more than just a taste of the past. You can join in various rare trade activities that celebrate the goldfields’ cultural diversity and rich history.

From gold panning, coach rides and candle dipping to butter-churning and damper-making, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Just ensure you wear comfortable clothes to make the most of the fun!

And if you’re ready to stock up on handcrafted wares? Stop by the Botanical Bar, where longstanding potter Tony Barnes will be throwing clay at the wheel and selling his fine porcelain stoneware in copper red, cobalt blue, rutile and celadon glazes.

Another must-see for lovers of old-fashioned gems is the Basketmakers of Victoria stand. Weavers will be on hand to sell their sustainable, natural handmade baskets – and demonstrate their handiwork, skills and materials.

To keep the weekend’s activities buzzing, local bands The Valentines and Morrigan & Wilding will provide a jazzy, folk-filled backdrop.

And for the little explorers

Kids activities sovereign HillIn true Sovereign Hill style, the Heritage Harvest Weekend has plenty for the little ones.

Kids can get up close, say hello, and learn more about their favourite animals at the Fun Farm2U petting station. Or get their hands dirty in the Little Green Thumbs garden – where they can plant seedlings to take home. Plus, lawn games, face-painting and other interactive activities are guided throughout the day.

The Little Explorers Refreshment Hub offers the perfect break for families. While the kids navigate the straw maze, parents can relax with a Gilded Grog cocktail and a famous chicken sandwich, enjoying a pause in your day of festival exploration.

This hub is located at the Hotel Parade Ground, ensuring that kids and adults alike can recharge with some delicious food and drink.

Tickets and timing

The festival is accessible with the standard Sovereign Hill ticket, ensuring you can experience the entire immersive weekend.

Running from 10 am to 5 pm on both the 25 and 26 May, make sure to book your tickets in advance to secure your spot in this celebration of heritage, harvest and community.

Planning your visit

Before you head out, check the event program online to plan your day. With activities and sessions throughout the weekend, a little planning can go a long way in ensuring you don’t miss out on your favourite parts of the festival.

Remember, some experiences require separate bookings, so it’s best to look into these details beforehand.

Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, or simply searching for a unique weekend out, head to the Heritage Harvest Weekend this May.