Who wouldn’t want to be in the warmth of Melbourne right now? If you’re lucky enough to be heading for a holiday in Australia, take a look at the Top 10 new attractions in Melbourne and Victoria.
Kangaroo Country exhibit at Healesville Sanctuary
An excellent trip for visitors who want to see iconic Australian animals and have little time on their hands. You’ll view Red Kangaroos, Tree-Kangaroos and Kangaroo Island Kangaroos.
Kangaroo Country is the latest addition to Healesville Sanctuary, one of the best places to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. The sanctuary, in the heart of the Yarra Valley, is also home to other species of Australia’s wildlife including koalas, platypus, wombats, emus and dingoes.
Buckle up for a ‘Grape Escape’ at the Grampians
Grape Escape, one of Australia’s longest running food and wine festivals returns to the Grampians for its 27th year in May. The month-long festival showcases culinary events across the region, culminating in the annual Grampians Grape Escape in Halls Gap May 5-6.
This year, the festival teams up with chef and host of the TV series River Cottage Australia, Paul West and one of MasterChef Australia’s contestants, Matt Sinclair, for masterclasses and cooking demos. Winemakers from the Grampians, Pyrenees & Henty regions are also present.
Glamp under the stars on Churchill Island
Churchill Island, near Phillip Island, offers new glamping weekends for families who want to explore this tranquil isle. Set in the beautiful and historic grounds of Churchill Island Heritage Farm, families can stay in a luxury bell tent and enjoy activities and excursions such as feeding farm animals, exploring woodland walking trails, looking out for wallabies and echidnas as well as visiting the penguins of the popular neighbouring island.
Glamping experiences on Churchill Island operate on scheduled dates through to May. Costs: $549.20 all-inclusive for family of four (two adults and two children).
Chandon celebrates anniversary in the Yarra Valley
Domaine Chandon, one of Australia’s most treasured wineries in the Yarra Valley, has a new dining venue to celebrate being the Australian home of Möet & Chandon for 30 years. Surrounded by the stunning Yarra ranges, there is a new cellar door to host tastings and masterclasses plus a lounge and informal wine bar serving share plates and wine by the glass. The vineyard attracts around 250,000 visitors a year.
New koalas and kangaroos sunset tours in You Yangs
Nature company Echidna Walkabout Tours has launched a new tour to see koalas and kangaroos at sunset. The small group tour (10 people maximum) takes place just a 45-minute drive from Melbourne in the beautiful You Yangs and Serendip National Parks at dusk – the best time to walk with wild kangaroos in their natural habitats and when koalas become more active. The ‘Sunset Koalas & Kangaroos In the Wild’ tour lasts for over seven hours and costs $240 per adult.
Top Victorian chef to host masterclasses
Yarra Valley’s Matt Stone, one of Australia’s most innovative chefs and advocates of low-waste food practices, is hosting masterclasses in Victoria until March. Stone, executive chef of Oakridge Estate in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, will share his knowledge while showing guests how to create simple, artistic and delicious dishes with pure, wholefood ingredients. Costs: $90 – $125 per person.
New Melbourne venue to create ‘Natural History’
Melbourne’s much-loved chef, Morgan McGlone together with design duo, Michael Delany and Jaimie Wirth, open a new venue Natural History in February. The sprawling venue, in the city’s CBD, takes inspiration from epic museums of the world and is split in two – the Natural History Bar and Grill, and the street front café, Natural History Café.
Menu highlights will include a steak tartare with fried oysters & tendon chips, an iced shrimp cocktail and baked onion artichoke.
Ratio Cocoa Roasters lands in Brunswick
A new bean-to-bar chocolate venue. Ratio Cocoa Roasters is the result of a dream of Debbie Makin, a zoologist who fell in love with the cocoa trade while travelling in Africa, Peru and the Solomon Islands. Using traditional chocolate-making techniques and sourcing small batches of single-origin cacao beans, Makin and the team create handcrafted chocolate bars highlighting individual flavours. As well as serving house-made chocolate drinks and sweet treats to eat in or take away, Ratio Cocoa Roasters also hosts group tours to learn how chocolate is made, from the bean all the way through to the bar.
New Japanese bar Ishizuka opens in Melbourne
Top Japanese chef Tomotaka Ishizuka has opened a new restaurant on Melbourne’s Bourke Street, adding another option to the city’s multicultural food scene. The intimate 16-seater venue, features haute Japanese cuisine with delicacies such as sea urchin, served with a wine and drinks list by award-winning sommelier David Lawler.
New riverside hotel
The recently-opened Mitchelton Hotel is the latest attraction from Mitchelton – makers of fine wine. On the banks of the Goulburn River, in the High Country, the luxury boutique hotel offers 58 spacious rooms (including four luxury suites), a day spa, infinity pool and a 9km hiking/cycling track.
The property, designed by internationally-renowned architecture and interior design firm Hecker Guthrie, is beside the Mitchelton’s Muse Restaurant, The Ministry of Chocolate Café and the Mitchelton Winery, one of the most popular in Victoria’s foodie region.