As restrictions gradually ease, us littleBIGgers have been planning our post-iso escapes. Thankfully, we’re blessed to live in Victoria which has so many distinct and accessible regions within driving reach. Some of us have already been venturing out for day trips to take in the sweeping beauty of the great outdoors… and we can’t wait to get out to explore more!

Our tourism clients tell us accommodation is booking up so fast so don’t dither if you’re planning a regional jaunt. Here’s a sum up of our favourites for your wanderlustful pleasure.

Rutherglen

Ahh Rutherglen… the perfect place to stop and smell the rosé, shiraz, durif, muscat and more.

Situated in Victoria’s North East, Rutherglen is the perfect weekend getaway to enjoy with the entire family or a sneaky getaway with the ladies. We recommend settling into one of the region’s luxe hideaways for the weekend (Mount Ophir Estate, Basq Stays) where you can enjoy picturesque outdoor walks or bike rides coupled with gourmet food and wine experiences.

Rutherglen is home to the Winemakers of Rutherglen – an inspiring collective of 19 wineries from one of Australia’s most historic and iconic wine regions. The region boasts more than 160 years of winemaking history. At its heart is muscat and durif, two distinct wine styles that are a joy to discover as you journey cellar door to cellar door.

Rutherglen is the spot to head to if you love wine and rustic Australian charm.

Discover the Rutherglen wineries here.

Nagambie

In central Victoria, Nagambie is a standout for us with its homely attractions like Lake Nagambie, Kirwan’s Bridge, Community Markets and the Nagambie Brewery and Distillery. 

We recommend carving out an entire day to visit Mitchelton Wines (yes, obviously we’re big wine lovers!) and experience their striking winery, restaurant and observation tower surrounded by vineyards. If you’re planning on staying longer than a day, you might like to dine in at The Muse or tour the wine cellars at The Provedore. Make sure you do a wine tasting and if you feel like indulging, treat yourself to a day spa treatment – the ultimate escape place!

The Grampians

Several lucky littleBIGers had the opportunity to visit and tour the Grampians region pre-isolation; immersing themselves in an abundance of food and wine and nature experiences, accompanied by sweeping mountain views.

If you’re planning a trip to the region, we recommend a visit to Dunkeld, a small and quiet town with incredible people, landscapes, food, hikes, and inspiring local stories. The region has definitely done it tough since the outbreak of the pandemic, so the locals are eager for some much-loved interaction to say the least!

The littleBIG team loved meeting Eve from Koopman’s Café in Dunkeld and enjoyed coffee with the stunning Mt Sturgeon as a backdrop. Reeds Lookout is another must-see, providing panoramic views of the Victoria Valley.

The Grampians is an extraordinary haven for some valuable family adventure time, especially for those of you with young ones. Get out and about on the bikes or stretch the legs on a rewarding hike. We recommend exploring the Top 10 Hikes and Walks in the Grampians and paying a visit to the renowned Halls Gap Zoo – a MUST! 

Yarra Valley

The place we all know and love – one of Victoria’s finest wine growing districts – and home to our good friends at Innocent Bystander. These guys offer a full range of wines along with quality shared dishes, wood-fired pizzas, paella and the list goes on… We’re counting down the days until we can savour the full Innocent Bystander experience in the heart of the Yarra Valley.

When visiting the region, be sure to add these to your ‘must-do’ list:

1) Check out the famed Healesville Sanctuary, home to an abundance of Australian native wildlife. It’s the perfect activity for a day trip, suitable for the whole family and a great way to educate yourself (and the kids) on Australian animals.

2) Next on the list, we have the stunning Redwood Forest. This hidden gem is tucked away close to the base of the Yarra Ranges. It’s all very mystical walking through the red forest (among the gigantic dragon nests!). While in the area, we recommend taking a stroll down to Cement Creek for a secluded picnic where you can absorb the sounds of nature.

3) If you happen to be visiting on the first Sunday of the month, we recommend visiting the Hurstbridge Farmers Market. It’s a great stopover for purchasing handcrafted keepsakes, locally grown goods, and not to mention, a great opportunity to meet local vendors and support the township.

This blog was written by littleBIG Social Media & Marketing Assistant (and Queen littleBIG Weekender) Casey Gilberto.