If you’re looking to escape the daily grind and spend some quality time with your girlfriends, what better way to do it than by having a weekend getaway filled with relaxation and fun. From sipping cocktails on the beach, pampering at luxury spas and natural hot springs, or taking on an epic mountain adventure, you are definitely spoilt for choice.
However, it can be hard work to plan a group getaway — especially if you draw the short straw as the organiser. In this list, we’ve done all the research for you and scoured the state to bring you some of the best attractions and accommodation options – all within two hours of Melbourne.
Situated only an hour and a half drive northwest of Melbourne is Australia’s spa country – Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, the perfect destination for the ultimate in pampering and relaxation. With a myriad of mineral spas and bathhouses across the region, you and your crew will have plenty of options for indulgence and rejuvenation, such as the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa and The Mineral Spa.
Daylesford is also home to a host of award-winning restaurants and cafes offering a wide range of fine dining and more casual options with many of them serving fresh, locally grown produce. The local favourites include Mercato @ Daylesford, Kazuki’s and the Lake House. You can also spend the afternoon wine tasting in some of the finest boutique wineries in the Macedon Ranges. Take your pick from a variety of exceptional chardonnay, pinot noir and other cool-climate wines.
If you feel like a day of shopping, wander along Vincent Street and you will find an amazing array of bookshops, boutique clothing stores, and vintage items. There is also no shortage of nature activities in Daylesford. Choose to stroll around the edge of picturesque Lake Daylesford with your group or visit the Hepburn Regional Park for some of the best bushwalking trails in the area.
Where to stay
Experience the best of what Daylesford has to offer at one of these indulgent accommodation options. Situated on the shores of Lake Daylesford, Lake House is a luxurious retreat with five-star dining, an award-winning spa, and stunning waterfront views. Another perfect country escape with friends is Aroona, a gorgeous country-chic cottage offering contemporary conveniences and absolute relaxation. Alternatively, situated just a short stroll from the heart of the picturesque town is Beecroft House, an Edwardian country home with spacious living areas and beautiful period furnishings.
Coastal Cool Mornington Peninsula
Only an hour drive South of Melbourne but feeling like a million miles away, the Mornington Peninsula is certainly one of the favourite weekend destinations for Melbournians. Ideally loved for its cool breeze, hill-side vineyards, and diverse array of activities, this region boasts a blend of Mediterranean coastal life and quintessential Aussie charm that make for an amazing R&R experience.
Grab your girlfriends and spend the day in the sun. See the iconic beach boxes on the picturesque Brighton Beach, wander along the gorgeous coastline of Sorrento, or dare each other to dive into a natural plunge pool from the Blairgowrie Jumping Rock at Bridgewater Bay. You can also choose to dial it up with snorkel tours in Port Phillip Bay for an amazing aquatic experience.
The Mornington Peninsula is a gourmand’s paradise featuring some of the finest restaurants in Victoria, including Doot Doot Doot, Cellar & Pantry Red Hill, and The Deck at Flinders Hotel. Along the coast, you’ll also find plenty of funky cafes and bustling bistros overlooking the sea. Complete your weekend getaway on the Mornington Peninsula by sampling their world-renowned cool climate wines. With dozens of wineries and cellar doors across the region — many clustered in the hills, it will be easy for your group to visit several in a day.
Where to stay
If you are looking for a truly memorable girls’ weekend getaway, you can spend your days at some of the best accommodation options in the region. Redefining luxury accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula is Jackalope Hotel – a gorgeous boutique hotel with an exceptional restaurant and on-site winery. For those wanting a secluded retreat surrounded by beautiful enchanted gardens, Tussie Mussie Vineyard Retreat provides boutique accommodation for groups who seek privacy and comfort. Another great option is Amagansett, a tranquil beach hideaway in the seaside town of Sorrento.
Mountain Hideaway Dandenong Ranges
Head less than an hour East of Melbourne and discover a haven of lush mountains, towering forests and eclectic villages. Whether you and your friends are up for hiking, shopping in quaint boutiques, or tasting local produce, the beautiful Dandenong Ranges has it all. With stunning natural scenery and a refreshing cooler climate, the Dandenongs is the ideal weekend getaway to beat the heat of the Melbourne summer or to reconnect with nature.
In the Dandenong Ranges, your group can experience a wide variety of things to do such as picking your own fresh berries, browsing local art galleries, taking on several bushwalking trails, or wandering around the 75-hectare Birdsland Reserve to spot native wildlife. Another must-do experience is a ride on the Puffing Billy premier preserved steam railway, which is a 25 km historic train journey through the forests and ferns.
For a real village feel, head to the winding mountain roads of Olinda, which is best known for its spectacular gardens, quality locally made goods, and the Olinda Falls picnic site. After a day of exploring, treat your group to a sumptuous meal to remember at Wild Oak Restaurant, Burnham Bakery and Piggery Café on the fringes of Sherbrook Forest, or Sky High Mt Dandenong — a lookout point on the uppermost reach of the Dandenong Ranges with an unrivalled view of Melbourne’s city skyline.
Where to stay
Experience the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges at one of these gorgeous accommodations. Located just a short drive from Olinda Village, Beechmont Garden Retreat is a luxurious country house set on acres of beautifully manicured gardens. Another idyllic hideaway is Moorabinda Lodge, a stunning glass house perched on a hillside with breathtaking views. If you’re searching for a retreat surrounded by peace and serenity, Boyanda at Ferny Creek offers a private and luxurious space where you can relax and have fun with your girlfriends.
Looking for more options? We’ve hand-picked a fabulous collection of spectacular accommodations for your indulgent girls’ getaway with a range of boutique hotels, beach villas, and lodges. Treat yourself, stay in style, and start planning your girl’s getaway today!
Image Credit: Visit Victoria