Posted by: sarz88 | October 8, 2009

Up, up and away

 




Balgownie estate

Balgownie estate

Accommodation with the lot, is Balgownie Estate. Balgownie is a winery nestled in the hills and grape vines of the Yarra Valley region just outside Yarra Glen. I first went to Balgownie a few years back as part of a grape grazing tour and fell in love with the wine. So when i found out i was staying there as a surprise weekend away, you could only imagine my excitement. My love for the place grew seeing the luxurious rooms they have to offer and not to mention the human size chess board.


There are 65 spacious suits and of course they all come with a bar fridge full of fantastic Balgownie wine. Which you can enjoy whilst relaxing in the spa or sitting on the balcony overlooking the picturesque Yarra Valley region. There are breathtaking views from where ever you sit and on a gorgeous sunny afternoon I couldnt think of being anywhere else.


Dinner at Balgownie was delicious and whilst a little fancier than what im used to it hit the right spot for such a special occasion.  The service was fantastic and very friendly and i would definitely go back to Balgownie just to go to Rae’s restaurant.





In the air

In the air


But my favourite experience about the whole stay was well worth getting up at 4.3 0am on a holiday for, Hot air balloon ride! Balgownie is the home of  Balloon Sunrise and the name says it all. The trips had been cancelled all week due to windy weather but we were lucky enough to go up first time, for some people this was their 8th attempt. Everyone helps to get the balloon up and running in the dark and by the time were ready to take off the sun had risen itself. The views are even more spectacular in the air than from Balgownie and they sweep right around you. It’s so peaceful slowly floating over the green Yarra Glen mountains and winerie


s that you dont have a care in the world. That is until it is landing time where your approach to the ground has to be spot on or the bucket tips over. Luckily our landing was perfect and we didn’t get thrown out. After the teamwork of folding up the large air balloon, everyone is rewarded with a champagne buffet breakfast back at Balgownie to start you off for the day.

The rest of my day was spent relaxing at the Natskin Day spa at Balgownie with a massage and facial topping off my fantastic weekend away. Balgownie is just incredible whether to visit Rae’s restaurant, have a hot air balloon ride or simply enjoying the fantastic wine. I know I will definitely be back very soon.





Balgownie estate

Balgownie estate

Posted by: sarz88 | October 4, 2009

Narrawong Caravan Park

Narrawong

Narrawong

Just before Portland in Victorias south west is the Narrawong caravan park, the ideal family holiday destination. With the Surrey River on one side and the ocean on the other the caravan park offers spacious camp sites, modern cabins and facilities, an adventure playground for the kids. With direct beach access you are provided with an endless number of activities to do such as swimming, surfing, fishing or just relaxing on the sand.

The township of Portland is only a 10 minute drive away with a great number of restaurants, pubs, shops and the local port where you can see the freight ships come in and out. Portland is known for its fantastic fishing and on a good day the ocean is full of boats fighting against the local seals to get to the fish first.

There is no better way to relax in summer than by a campsite on the river and the ocean at your fingertips.

Posted by: sarz88 | October 4, 2009

My African experience in Rye

African themed room

African themed room

Hilltonia homestead not only comprises of a luxury B&B but also 5 themed cottages that will transform you getaway experience into another world. I couldn’t go past the African theme cottage which looks like a shack form the outside when you first arrive but when you open the door you walk into 5 star luxury. To make your experience African style the couch and matching coffee table was made out of zebra print and sat on top of the tiger printed rug. Another tiger rug on the canopied king size bed and pictures of elephants and African carvings on the wall complete the décor for the room.

The one room cottage opens up to a decking overlooking the countryside to the sand dunes. The same view can be seen form the two double spa in the bathroom which is positioned right next to the window. But don’t worry no one can see in and the wooden giraffe animals are around the spa to keep a look out for you.

swimming pool

swimming pool

The room is so intriguing and different to any other place I have stayed that it will just draw you in and make you not want to leave. That is why my night was spent relaxing on the couch by the gas log fire with take away food. You wont even need to worry about breakfast in the morning because its gets delivered right to your doorstep. Included in the stay is a breakfast hamper full of eggs, bacon, toast, tomatoes, fruit, croissants, juice, coffee and tea.

At the back of Rye Hilltonia homestead is directly across the Peninsula Hot Springs and day spa , which offers massage and other pampering facilities. It is also a short drive from the main strip of shops in Rye to do some shopping, walk along the beach or have a coffee in one of the many café’s.

Hilltonia homestead at dusk

Hilltonia homestead at dusk

Posted by: sarz88 | October 4, 2009

Quality Bendigo

Old Bendigo

Old Bendigo

One of the finest accommodation facilities in Bendigo the Quality Resort All Seasons Hotel has it all. Only 90 minutes from Melbourne they provide beautifully appointed deluxe suites with queen beds, a luxurious spa bath in your marble tiled bathroom to a well appointed courtyard room opposite the pool area.

All rooms offer queen size beds, mini bar spirits and wines, tea and coffee-making facilities, iron and board, wireless internet and 24 hour room service. Although the room facilities are simple they provide everything to make your nights stay very comfortable. You can lounge by the heated indoor pool, spa or sauna. Or if you wish to stay dry a separate guest’s lounge is available adjoining the Bistro to catch the news, relax and enjoy a drink or play the pokies. Fortunes Bistro is open daily for breakfast and offers dinner six nights a week, Monday through Saturday from 6pm. The menu is simple and tasty ‘home-style’ pub fare, very affordable and relaxed dining. Monthly special boards provide an opportunity to try new dishes and good value wines.

If you want to see the sights of Bendigo there are a great range of historical buildings and churches, the Bendigo Art gallery, ‘vintage’ taking tram tour and fantastic local wineries. There are also a great range of local shops but remember to check them out on a Saturday, as the shops are closed on Sundays.

A fantastic conference centre is also available for work functions, birthdays and weddings. What better place to hold a function with onsite accommodation for your guests to stay at once the night is over.

Posted by: sarz88 | October 1, 2009

Just a short stroll to the beach

Mantra Erskine Beach Resort Lorne

Mantra Erskine Beach Resort Lorne

Mantra Erskine Beach Resort and Spa is the most luxurious beachside accommodation on the Great Ocean Road. Set on 12 acres of lush landscaped heritage listed gardens, the resort has direct beachside access through the tree-lined pathways. The gardens really make this resort spectacular adding a large number of leisure facilities including even a croquet pitch. Along with 4 tennis courts, 18 hole putting green, gymnasium and indoor spa and pool. But if outdoor activities aren’t your thing then you can relax by the open fireplace in the ‘144 degree Brassiere and Bar’. The Bar opens up to an outside deck where you can have a drink or two and this is where buffet breakfast is served each morning. And I mean buffet, you can choose from cereals, toast, croissants, fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, bacon, sausages and pancakes to kick start your day. The quest rooms are top quality and range from resort rooms to two bedroom apartments, not that you will need to spend much time in them. The resort also has its own day spa where you can relax and enjoy a massage or facial. Or so could do a spot of shopping at the many boutiques along the Lorne shopping strip. Between the shops there are many fantastic little cafes and a great pub at the top of the hill which overlooks the ocean to stop for a bite to eat.  My top choice for dining would be the Greek restaurant directly opposite Mantra resort which serves some of the best seafood in Lorne. I wasn’t the only one who thought so, you definitely have to make a booking or you will most likely get turned away the restaurant gets that busy. My time in Lorne was spent mostly eating and relaxing but it was definately in style at Mantra Erskine Beach Resort and Spa.

Ocean view from the balcony

Ocean view from the balcony

Posted by: sarz88 | September 28, 2009

The centre of the city

Oaks at night

Oaks at night

For inner city accommodation Oaks on Collins fit’s the bill. Situated in the heart of Melbourne, Oaks on Collins offers chic apartment accommodation with modern comfortable self-contained studios and two bedroom suits. All rooms have the latest in state of the art facilities, large kitchens and stylish bathrooms. Just outside the door is the city’s fantastic restaurant, entertainment and shopping precinct, while Bourke Street, Southbank, the Crown Casino and Telstra Dome are only a short walk away. I stayed here for a friends birthday, where after a big night out we wanted somewhere close, cheap and nice to stay. You are in walking distance to all the best bars around Flinders street, Crown casino and King Street, which saves a lot of money and time in Taxi’s. Or if you don’t want to go far at all the hotel has its own Restaurant and Bar on the first floor. For the next day recovery relax by the luxurious plunge pool or slog it out in the gym and sauna. Oaks on Collins was the best way to rest and get my beauty sleep after a big night out.

Oaks hotel room

Oaks hotel room

Posted by: sarz88 | September 28, 2009

Summit Views

Amazing views from the apartment

Amazing views from the apartment

The name speaks for itself. The 180 degree views from this hillside Arthur’s Seat apartment will take your breath away. The outside balcony is more of viewing deck with views that span all across Port Phillip Bay and on a good day you can see the Melbourne city skyline. And it only gets better as the sun goes down turning the view into a sea of lights outlining the shoreline. The penthouse apartment also lives up to the amazing views with a spa bath , gas log fireplace, multi zone entertainment system, LCD television and massive king size bed. Although I would rather be looking out of the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean than the television. There is even a glass window at the top of the shower to give you view of the sea!!

The apartment

The apartment

My night was spent with an in house massage which are available any time of the day and you don’t have to leave the comfort of the apartment, the masseur come to you. Although I do recommend to leave the apartment eventually to wonder around the township of Arthur’s Seat and the surrounding towns on the Mornington Peninsula. You could spend your day at the Peninsular hot springs in Rye. I lasted 30 seconds in the hottest spa before it started to burn and when I got out there was steam coming off me for the next 10 minutes. Or you could get lost in the Arthur’s seat Maze which is only a short stroll form Summit Views. Next door to the maze is the Arthur’s hotel for a great bite to eat with again nice views but not as good as the apartment. The views are just amazing and I strongly recommend summit views for a romantic weekend away.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Peninsula Hot Springs

Posted by: sarz88 | September 24, 2009

A whale of a time

Amazing views at your door stepChocolate Gannets is luxury accommodation at its finest. On the 100 acre rolling countryside are 4 apartments with wave designed architecture to match the Apollo Bay seaside location. Each of the two bedroom apartments have their own two person spa overlooking the ocean , with views that sweep for miles. And don’t worry about the weather a double sided fireplace keeps you warm whilst in the spa or the living room. The apartments comfortably fit up to 4 people with both bedrooms having their own ensuite and king sized beds which could fit 10 people in them alone they are that big. I slept in their with my arms stretched out and still wasn’t touching the person next to me. The apartments are that nice and comfortable that you wont want to leave the whole time you are there and my night was spent cooking dinner in the fully equipped kitchen and curled up by the fire watching a movie. The following morning we were awoken by a phone call from the owners of the apartments who were cleaning the apartment in front of us, to let us know of the action in the ocean. A whale had come really close into the shore to wave us good morning and you could see it so clearly. It was amazing seeing the whale rolling around and sticking its head out of the water playing around. The Chocolate Gannets apartments are directly opposite the beach making it easy to go for a swim, fishing, a leisurely stroll along the sand into Apollo Bay township or even for a horse ride along the beach at sunrise.

Chocolate Gannets Villa

Posted by: sarz88 | September 24, 2009

The gateway to Phillip Island

The classiest resort near Phillip island is definitely the new Silverwater Resort in San Remo. Driving up the entrance I sat wondering how can I be affording to stay somewhere like this? But the rooms are reasonably priced and for a late minute booking it was the same as any inner city hotel. The resort is nestled on the hills above San Remo overlooking the Bass Coast and the views are amazing. The entrance is lined with vast natural landscaping with water features giving it an elegant feel. Not only are there 170 luxury apartment and resort rooms but also an indoor lap pool and outdoor heated pool, sauna, spa, gym, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, billiard and table tennis room and children’s playground. You have everything right at your fingertips for a leisurely weekend away. But most important of all is the amazing indoor and outdoor restaurant and bar with the best views on the whole resort. Before heading out to town we relaxed in the lounge with a couple of cocktails, kick-starting what was to be a great evening. In Phillip island there are many places to eat from the RSL to the local pubs and pizza restaurants. Even though it was a Saturday night the main strip of Phillip island was relatively quite and we were able to enjoy a nice relaxing meal. The cold weather must of scared everyone away or they were at Phillip island’s most famous tourist attraction , the Penguin parade. Each night at sunset, the world’s smallest penguins, the Little Penguins, emerge from the sea and waddle ashore to their sand dune burrows. With our luxury resort awaiting us we decided to skip the penguins and head back to Silverwater’s for a relaxing night in. The hotel rooms range from a resort room to 3 bedroom apartments and all have state of the art facilities. The next day we had to leave early but I would love to return to Silverwater to make use of all its amazing facilities it has to offer and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

All Seasons Eco Resort- Environmentally Friendly Accommodation has a total of 211 villas are available scattered over sixty-five acres of undulating land. There are 21 studio spas, 97 two bedroom villas and 93 three bedroom villas.

Cute penguins

Posted by: sarz88 | September 23, 2009

Victoria’s Best Hotels

Check out some of Victoria’s best hotels as voted by Australian Traveller at http://www.australiantraveller.com/component/content/article/3650

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