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Golden Plains

The Golden Plains region, just west of Geelong, is renowned for its award-winning wines of the Moorabool Valley, iconic music festivals (Meredith, Golden Plains and Bluestone Blues), gold-mining history and breathtaking natural beauty.

From the gateway townships of Bannockburn and Inverleigh in the south to Smythesdale in the north, it's easy to spend time in Golden Plains.

Taste the world class cool climate wines of the Moorabool Valley Wine Region and local cuisine from fine dining in Inverleigh.

See the wide range of local galleries and studios along the Golden Plains Arts Trail and the stunning sights of open plains and farmlands.

Explore the region's rich gold-mining history in towns such as Smythesdale, Linton and Steiglitz.

Bannockburn hosts the award-winning Golden Plains Farmers' Market on the first Saturday of each month where the produce is fresh from paddock to plate.

National and state parks, rivers, an abundance of native flora and fauna and the famous Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail all add to the enjoyment of time spent in Golden Plains.

For more information on the Golden Plains region, download the free Golden Plains app for smartphones and tablets.

You can also download the Golden Plains Tourist Map or collect one from an accredited Visitor Information Centre.

Highlights

Geelong Wine Region

Whether it is the distinctive maritime flavours of The Bellarine, the ancient richness of the Moorabool Valley Wine Region or the rugged, exposed coastline of the Surf Coast, the Geelong Wine Region is united by boutique, family owned winegrowers producing premium quality hand crafted wines. With each sub region and winery displaying their own unique characteristics, visitors are invited to explore the diversity of the Geelong Wine Region's stunning scenery, touring routes and restaurants whilst sampling some of Victoria's finest cellar door experiences. Geelong's family owned boutique operators maximise their wine's potential by hand pruning, hand picking and hand crafting their wines allowing regional characters to develop. Areas within the region have varying microclimates influencing the depth of colour, bouquet and flavour of the wines. The Bellarine has a maritime climate with bay breeezes and spectacular views, whilst the hills and valleys of the Moorabool Valley – Anakie areas have a warm, continental style climate. The renowned Surf Coast is famous for its long summer days and cooling ocean breezes. James Halliday in his Wine Atlas of Australia and New Zealand wrote: "If there is a unifying feature in all of the Geelong wines, it is their strength and depth of colour, bouquet and flavour." Not only does the Geelong wine region produce some of Australia's best wines, but the wineries are surrounded by some of Victoria's best scenery and touring opportunities. The Geelong Wine Region. Fine wines – from our hands to yours. For a map of the winery region visit: http://www.winegeelong.com.au/wine_region/map

Camilo Olives

A cool climate environment and sandy ground with lots of sunshine and a prolonged ripening period are key to Camilo's production of premium extra virgin olive oils. They ensure their olives are harvested within hours then processed immediately and the processing is done by artisans who really care that the oil is not just extra virgin olive oil - but that it is beautiful! Don't take their word for the quality though: They have won best of class internationally and in Australia plus championships and for the fourth year running (2011-2014) have been listed in Flos Olei - a guide to the world of extra virgin olive oil. Written in Italy after a global contest, the book (in English and Italian) is THE guide to olive oil. The author, Marco Oreggia, told The Olive Oil Times when the 2014 edition was published that it covered 'the world's 500 most important groves'. Camilo Olives have also made a name for themselves with their unique medal-winning olive salts, vegetarian black tapenade and other products that include a honey balsamic glaze with honey from bees at Camilo. They love visitors so please give them a ring and they will try to accommodate you and guide you. Make sure you come from the Shelford-Bannockburn end of Bakers Lane unless you have a 4WD. Camilo Olives does olive tastings for free and for a fee Joan McGovern will run a master class in olive oil pending her availability. The cellar door is basic but welcoming and they would love to see you here.

Steiglitz Historic Park

Situated between Geelong and Ballarat, Steiglitz is almost a ghost town today but in the 1860s and 1890s it was a busy goldmining township with hotels, shops, churches and a population of over 1000. At the height of the 1860s gold rush, Steiglitz township had more than 1500 residents, four hotels, a newspaper, a variety of shops and even an undertaker. Now most of the town and its surroundings are included in the Steiglitz Historic Park. Enjoy a pleasant bushwalk, relax with a picnic or pan for gold. Of course, a trip to the park wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Steiglitz Court House, with its display of photographs, maps and relics of gold year. The court house is open on Sunday and public holidays, and at other times by arrangement. Before you go Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website. Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.

Lethbridge Wines

At Lethbridge Wines 'real wine' is their passion, wines that are produced from fruit off carefully grown vines and made using traditional techniques allowing the true terroir to be expressed. The cellar door experience offered is quite unique. They have done away with the traditional bar and instead prefer to sit down with their visitors and show them their wines in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They like to be directly involved with their visitors and so it is usually Ray or Maree (owners and winemakers) who will take you through the range of wines providing first hand information on styles and winemaking techniques. Groups of eight or more and tours are welcome, although bookings are essential. Often the groups enjoy some special barrels tastings and a behind the scenes winery tour, so if you are interested in this then please mention this at the time of booking. As the wines are made to be enjoyed with food, they offer a selection of local award winning Meredith Dairy farmhouse cheeses which can be tasted together with the wines. For those who would like to linger, they also offer Meredith cheese platters matched with a flight of wines which can be enjoyed in the outdoor seating area looking onto the heritage rose garden. 'Lethbridge Wines pursues ecologically sound principles across viticulture and winemaking, and the straw bale construction of the winery seems to reinforce the commitment. The Euro-accented wines are among the region's best. Complex Chardonnay, forceful Pinot Noir, savoury Shiraz, and an unusual, sweetish Riesling are high points. Cheese from nearby Meredith keeps good company with the wines, and recent recognition via a clean sweep of wine show trophies at Geelong and nomination as Australian Winemaker of the Year has cemented Lethbridge's place as a winery to watch.' Ralph Kyte-Powell

Clyde Park Vineyard & Bistro

Clyde Park Vineyard & Bistro has a cellar door and bistro set on the beautiful Moorabool Valley just off the Midland Highway half an hour north of Geelong, 35 minutes from of Ballarat. The speciality is the wines, in particular, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The food, lovingly cooked by the chef and owner Sue include a wonderful array of wood fired pizza, anti Pasto tasting plates, salt and pepper calamari. Clyde Park offers a cellar door and offer weekend specials. A James Halliday 2012, five star red, winery.

Moorabool Valley Wine Region

The Moorabool Valley is one of Australia’s finest and most awarded cool climate wine regions. Bannockburn is the gateway to the Moorabool Valley Wine Region and is located less than an hours drive from Melbourne and 20 minutes from Geelong. Boutique wineries producing hand crafted wines are forging an international reputation for the Moorabool Valley. The Moorabool Valley is a sub region of Victoria's highly regarded Geelong Wine Region. Wineries in the Moorabool Valley region include Austins Wines, Bannockburn Vineyard, Clyde Park Vineyard and Lethbridge Wines.

You Yangs

Rising from the flat, volcanic plains between Geelong and Melbourne, the granite peaks of the You Yangs are a terrific destination for many outdoor activities. Walk to Flinders Peak for panoramic views of Geelong, Corio Bay, the Western Districts and beyond. There are several walking tracks within the park catering for varying abilities. The You Yangs are popular for mountain biking; the two designated mountain bike areas offer 50km of track. The park is also popular for rock climbing, abseiling and horse riding and there are BBQ and picnic areas available, as well as toilets.

Fairy Park

Fairy Park is a place dedicated to story telling of fairy tales and ancient myths and legends. A spectacular rocky hilltop has been crafted into a truly unique place where family and friends come to relax and enjoy a day out together in a tranquil environment. Most visitors spend the day but if you are in a hurry allow a couple of hours to get a feel for the place. The three main areas that combine to form Fairy Park are the Fairytale Land, Camelot Playground and the Elephant Rock Picnic Grounds. Suitable for the young and the young at heart, Fairy Park will delight and intrigue all those who make take the journey.

Serendip Sanctuary

The sanctuary, an excellent example of the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic Western Plains, is the perfect place to learn about and experience birdlife and wetlands ecology. See some of the 150 species of birds which breed at or visit Serendip Sanctuary from the bird hides. Birds can be seen within metres of the viewing areas preening, feeding, incubating eggs and rearing young. The Wildlife Walk is a popular walk offering close encounters with wildlife. Meander past emus and Eastern Grey Kangaroos grazing to viewing areas, hides and flight aviaries perfect for bird watching. You may be treated to Brolgas trumpeting, Whistling Kites soaring high overhead, magnificent Yellow-billed Spoonbills wading through the shallow water, or even a glimpse of the well hidden Tawny Frogmouth as it watches you pass by. Before you go Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website. Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.

Geelong Adventure Specialists

Welcome to Geelong Adventure Specialists, they offer a range of activities to cater for all ages, beginner to advanced. Their focus is on the seasonal outdoor activities. Currently it is land-based activities and tours locally, and activity specific trips further afield. If you are keen for a challenge, a fun day with friends, or just some time out in one of the many diverse and beautiful natural places in the region, Geelong Adventure Specialists will take care of everything. Are you ready for some fun? Contact Geelong Adventure Specialists for further information.

Great Ocean Air

Great Ocean Air are the premier air travel service in Victoria. Their luxurious air conditioned Airvans seat seven passengers in spacious cabins with panoramic windows. Choose from a variety of private flight and tours, charter flights, half day scenic tours, day and overnight golf and outback tours and their popular girls day/surfing King Island adventures. Ground transportation, farm stay and beach stay accommodation are available and included in some packages. Make your journey part of the destination. Experience Great Ocean Air. Live the dream.

Longhorn YOUnique Tours

Longhorn YOUnique Tours is a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award winner. They travel to the Great Ocean Road, the Otway's Rainforest, Grampians, Phillip Island, the Yarra Valley and can also customise a tour to suit. You will see spectacular scenery, wildlife in their natural environment, learn about the area's history and culture, enjoy homemade treats and great accommodation as Longhorn's expert guides take you on a journey of discovery. Eco Tourism and Respecting their Culture accredited, Longhorn YOUnique Tours is a family owned business operated by Garry and Shirley Hamel, two Australians who know and understand the beauty of the country they live in. With a range of tours from one day to multiple day tours and private or customised tours to choose from. Longhorn YOUnique Tours believe that guests should not feel rushed so their tours are conducted in small groups travelling in luxury four wheel-drive vehicles with your comfort and needs a top priority. A maximum of six people on each tour will give you a personalised experience to remember. Longhorn YOUnique Tours are part of the Extinction Fighters program and have adopted a Tasmanian Devil at Healesville Sanctuary. Fee wireless internet onboard all tours. Contact the friendly staff at Longhorn YOUnique Tours to enquire.

More Than A Tour

More than Tour offer their local knowledge will give you the very best opportunity of seeing a range of beautiful native animals in their natural environment. Short walks to the scenic attractions, lookouts, beaches and rain forests will be on well-defined tracks and board walks and requires a moderate level of fitness. Their guides will accompany you on all walks and your safety is their priority. Being a boutique tour company they will confirm your pick up point, departure and return times prior to departure. More Than A Tour also offers a Door to Door Service from Geelong & District. More Than A Tour can tailor make tours to satisfy your groups desires, including Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island Penquin day tours. Discover the beauty of the Bellarine including special experieinces to swim with dolphins or simply sit back and enjoy a boat ride to explore the treasures of Port Phillip Bay from Queenscliff. Contact More Than A Tour for more details.

The Surf Coast Walk

Whether you're a nature lover or a fun lover, whether you take an hour, a day or a week, the Surf Coast Walk puts a stunning and unique coastal environment within easy reach. - Offering natural beauty and easy access - A world-class walking destination for all to enjoy - On the edge of the stunning Great Ocean Road - Do a section or do it all; at your own pace - More than a walk, over half the track is suitable for bikes Relish the rich ochre of the Bells Beach cliffs, the deep blue of Bass Strait and the leafy green of eucalypt forects. Discover traditional Wathaurung country, fascinating surf culture and abundant wildlife as the walk connects you with the coastal town comforts of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.

Ride Forrest

Forrest is one of Australia's best mountain bike destinations. With over 60 kilometres of purpose built single track, there is more than three days of riding here. You can stay in a variety of accommodation options and ride right from your front door of your accommodation. Forrest is the gateway to the Otways, with places to stay, eat and ride. Platypus tours are also available. Visit the Ride Forrest website to find all you need to know about Forrest and Mountain Bike riding in the Otways.
Tiger Moth World Adventure Flights
Near Torquay

Tiger Moth World Adventure Flights

Step back in time and let Tiger Moth World take you on an adventure flight experience you will never forget! Tiger Moth World was established in 1990 and operates from it's own private airfield in Torquay - the start of the Great Ocean Road. Torquay Airport was developed specifically as a World War II style grass aerodrome for Tiger Moth World's biplane adventure flights. Climb aboard one of their Tigers for a Tiger Moth flight of a lifetime. Be Biggles for a day in their Tiger Moth, take a romantic biplane flight for 2 in Tiger Cat or (if you dare) turn your life upside down with a choice of mild, wild or Extreme adrenalin pumping aerobatics in their Super Tiger. Their open cockpit biplane fleet is extensive. Whatever flight you choose, you will wing your way along the magical coast of the world famous Great Ocean Road and beyond. If you prefer, take a spectacular scenic flight in a modern class aircraft for a bird's eye view of the stunning coastline of the Great Ocean Road through to the 12 Apostles. Tiger Moth World even has an Adventure Park to keep all the family happy. All the flight action happens literally metres away from the viewing area. Awesome! The team at Tiger Moth World are waiting to "make your day"! All flight bookings are arranged on a day and time to suit you. Please contact Tiger Moth World if you have any queries or would like further information.

SEAROAD FERRIES QUEENSCLIFF

Searoad Ferries connects the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine to the Mornington Peninsula, the 40 minute crossing is a stress free alternative to driving through the city. Two specially designed all weather 60 metre ferries have easy drive on/drive off facilities, spacious comfortable lounges with full-length windows, a tempting cafe and plenty of deck space. Watch out for dolphins, whales in winter and enormous ships as you breathe incredibly fresh air. Arriving at Sorrento, you will have a perfect view of multi-million dollar mansions sitting atop cliffs, tiny coves filled with boats, the beautiful foreshore and old limestone buildings. Whether you are going home or on a journey far away, there's no better way to see the bay than with Searoad Ferries. Passengers with vehicles are advised to arrive at the terminals at least 20 minutes prior to departure. The ferries depart from Queenscliff Harbour, Queenscliff and the Sorrento Pier, Sorrento. Special Features on the 40 minute journey are the unparalleled views of historic lighthouses, the Point Nepean fortifications, navigational features, seals and dolphins are available from the comfortable lounge areas, cafe style seating or numerous observation decks. Both vessels are fully equipped to cater for passengers with disabilities, including an internal lift from the vehicle deck to the passenger lounge. Coaches may be booked ahead. Seven days notice is advisable to secure passage.

Otway Harvest Trail

The unique combination of aspect, soils, climate and farming practices of the Otway hinterland produce distinctive and exceptional flavours in our produce that cannot be found anywhere else. The Otway Harvest Trail is a celebration of the seasons that bestow their rich bounty on a luscious part of Victoria. Spring is a time of plenty and promise. As the winter gives way to warm sunny days, see the bright patchwork of yellow canola fields appear, the farmers out mowing their grass and baling their hay and the spring lambs frolicking on a frosty morning. The first berries appear. Green shoots can be seen in the vineyards as the vines burst their buds and flowers and spring vegetables appear at farm gate stalls. New release wines can be found at cellar doors. Summer is all about being outdoors. All the berry farms have opened and their sweet juicy berries are ripe for the picking. The lush emerald green of the vineyards become more distinctive as the land around slowly turns a golden brown. People clamour for outdoor tables and chairs at cafés and restaurants to soak in the warm days, mild evenings and glorious pastel sunsets. Local wines and beers go so well with the seafood, vegetables and fruits in plentiful supply. Wine lovers are welcomed at cellar doors and their curiosity is rewarded with the discovery of new wines. Autumn is a time of harvest. The days become still and warm, and the crisp cool nights are perfect for sleeping. With the winter rains not far away, the wineries are busy harvesting their fruit and the vignerons hands become garnet red as they nurture the new wines through their ferment. It is also time to harvest the olives from their groves before the first frosts of winter arrive. Smell the fruity aroma of the extra virgin olive oil as it flows from the presses. The last of the berries are picked. Winter is a time for taking stock of the seasons passed and making ready for the farming year ahead. The farmers plough their fields and sow their winter crops. Vineyards, olive groves and orchards are pruned and readied for a new season. Fences are mended. The days shorten and become colder. Cattle turn their backs to the wind. Dams pent over the summer begin to refill. Root vegetables appear at the farm gate stands. It’s a time for reflection and for savouring the joys of recently harvested produce. Lengthy conversations occur over bottles of wine in front of toasty log fires. Eventually the tell tale signs of another Spring begin to appear.
 

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Packages & Offers

Legendary Blues Train Weekend: Stay & Play, Save 50%

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, cool drinks and a good laugh.

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite.

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

$240 per couple per night

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Twilight Cruise - Searoad Ferries

Take a stroll on the viewing decks, sample some of the regions finest produce, all in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge.

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.

Girls Indulgence Getaway

Reboot your life with an indulgent Girl's Getaway.

Legendary Blues Train Weekend: Stay & Play, Save 50%

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, cool drinks and a good laugh. Make a weekend of exploring Queenscliff with 2 nights’ accommodation at the award-winning BIG4 Beacon Resort including Blues Train tickets, return transfers to the event, buffet breakfast, 6pm checkout, local discounts and more.

Only $487 per couple.

Phone: 1800 351 152 or visit BIG4 Beacon Resort for more information.
 

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite. Enjoy fabulous bonuses including:

  • A $70 dinner voucher
  • Welcome pack including wine, chocolates and a breakfast basket
Stay between Sunday and Thursday nights and receive THREE nights accommodation for the same price.

T: 03 5254 1066
 

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

This winter, guests who book a standard room at our normal Bed and Breakfast rate play golf for free. Want an even better reason to take a break? The Club is rated one of Australia’s Top 10 public access courses.

From $240 per room per night.
($120 p/p twin share)

  • Accommodation in a standard room with ensuite at Barwon Heads Golf Club
  • Fully cooked breakfast
  • A complimentary round of golf each person (normally up to $85 each).

Address: Golf Links Rd, Barwon Heads, Victoria 3227

To book:

Phone: 03 5255 6255
Fax: 03 5255 6266
Website: www.bhgc.com.au
Email: reservations@bhgc.com.au

T&C's: Valid Sunday to Thursday inclusive. 1st June to 31 August 2014. Dress requirements apply on course and in the clubhouse.
 

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort

$317 for 2 adults & up to 2 children (save 60%)

  • 2 nights in a Lonsdale Villa
  • Unlimited Mountain Bike Hire
  • Unlimited DVD Hire
  • A daily Espresso Coffee or Hot Chocolate per person
  • A bottle of local wine
  • Free Daily Kids Activities
  • An extra Long Late Check-out to 6.00pm

Plus get two LI'TYA Deep Ocean Renewal Facials for the price of 1 at the resort's Mud Day Spa (save $120)

And there's plenty of indoor fun at the resort with an indoor heated swimming pool and 8-seater spa, an indoor toddler playroom and a games room. Add another layer of clothing and there's even more to explore outside! BIG4 Beacon Resort is the ideal base to check out Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale.

Phone 1800 351 152 or Book Online.

Terms and Conditions: Offer expires on 31/08/2014

 

Twilight Cruise - Searoad Ferries

Take a stroll on the viewing decks and find the best spot to capture the setting sun. Sample some of the regions finest artisan products from both the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. Enjoy a regional produce platter with an award winning wine, locally made ale or cider, all in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge.

$35.00 per person (includes return sailing between Sorrento and Queenscliff)

Every Friday and Saturday from April to December
4pm sailing from Sorrento
5pm sailing from Queenscliff

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.
Enjoy table service in elegant surroundings, exquisite food, quality tea and real coffee!

$40.00 per person and includes immediate return travel on the same ferry for a leisurely experience.

Every Sunday from February to November
12pm sailing from Sorrento
3pm sailing from Queenscliff.

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

Girls Indulgence Getaway

Reboot your life with an indulgent Girl's Getaway. When life gets a little overwhelming, an escape with your best friends can be the best way to share some uninterrupted catch up time, a little relaxation and, of course, some well-deserved indulgence on looking after you.

$798 is for 4 people ($199.50 per person) and includes:

  • 2 nights accommodation at Beacon Resort in a Curlewis Villa
  • A Food Purveyor "Little Extra" Hamper (special treats from our region including jams, chocolates, tapenade and much much more)
  • 1 x bottle of Jack Rabbit Sparkling
  • 4 x 60 minute relaxation massages in our day spa
  • Return transfers to a venue of choice (within 3225 postcode area during your stay)
  • Unlimited DVD Hire
  • 12 noon check-out

This offer is valid until the 20th December 2014; No further discounts apply; Some exclusion periods to apply; Package is subject to availability at the time of booking.

 
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