Whether you’re craving some time out in nature or just need a break from city life, the wilderness of Victoria is closer than you think. Drive as little as an hour and a half from Melbourne and you’ll find diverse natural landscapes to explore. There are a few key spots nearby for a quick escape, each with its own character. And when you’re done exploring for the day, there’s no better way to relax and recharge than with a glass of wine in a cosy stay.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite cool-climate spots to escape to around the state, each with a bottle of wine and tiny home to match. With all the hard work done, all you need to do is pack the car.
It’s just a two-hour drive from Melbourne to the bush city of Bendigo in historic goldfields country. Head into Greater Bendigo National Park for a day of hikes and wildlife. Explore the network of loop tracks and longer trails that lead through the scrubby wilderness, carpets of spring wildflowers and Box Ironbark forests. Climb to One Tree Hill Lookout for sweeping views across the landscape, before descending along old paths past abandoned relics from the area’s mining days. Stop at Bendigo on your way for supplies – perhaps pop in at Harvest Food & Wine Deli – before retreating to Tiny Eli. This three-person tiny house, surrounded by native bush, is the perfect location to withdraw, relax and recharge in solitude. The bright white timber interior is cosy, yet still lets nature in through the wide windows (including one by the bed, so you can wake up to trees and rolling hills). Cook on the barbeque grill while watching the sunset fall across bushland. A golden Cold Snap Cool Climate Victoria Chardonnay is a good wine choice for gold country. This crisp, refreshing number is light and well-balanced, with a fresh nose of pome fruit that will pair nicely with any creamy cheeses you might have picked up on the way through.
Daylesford is known for wellness spas, luxury getaways, historical buildings and great food. But it’s also cheek by jowl with some natural wonders. You can find those same rejuvenating mineral springs, still hand-pumped, in Hepburn Regional Park. A number of walking trails, including the 15-kilometre Tipperary Track, take you along the park’s scenic falls and pools. If you’re game, you can even tackle a leg of the epic 210-kilometre Goldfields Track on bike or foot. The park is dotted with spots for picnics, wildlife encounters and birdwatching. Nearby Lerderderg Gorge is your next stop for loop tracks along waterways and deep into bushland on the Great Dividing Trail. You can venture into blackwood forest along the Tunnel Walk, or follow the river to see dramatic rock formations. When you’ve exhausted your sense of adventure for the day, your abode, Tiny Sancho, is not far off. Sitting in a clearing of paddock amid thick bush, this is where you slow down, enjoy the serene private lake beneath a soaring blue sky, and recharge in proper seclusion. For an equally enlivening sip, it’s a Cold Snap Cool Climate Victoria Rosé. This bright, dry rosé has classic red fruits on the nose along with citrus and spice, making it particularly well-suited to a spicy food pairing.
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The Grampians landscape is iconic: rocky outcrops and steep cliffs, unusual stone formations, verdant valleys and striking views. See spectacular sandstone mountains with dramatic scenery that’s well worth the long hike. Grampians National Park is also home to the famous MacKenzie Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria with its tumbling, clear cascades. Go fishing or canoeing at one of the lakes or reservoirs, or just climb to the peaks along the many hiking trails that wind through, up and over this incredible terrain. On Djabwurung and Jardwardjali Country, the park is part of the Gariwerd Aboriginal cultural landscape and is heritage listed, so a visit to Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a must. Luckily, Tiny Elliott sits right on the edge of the national park, so you don’t have far to go to reach your home away from home each night. This cosy base has all the amenities you’ll need and sleeps four adventurers in comfort. For vino, a light red is most suitable for cool nights and sunny days in the mountains, and the bright Cold Snap Cool Climate Pinot Noir is gorgeously easy drinking with its rich red fruits and smooth tannins.
Take a trip to Victoria’s High Country, where you can explore the terrain on horseback, bushranger style, with a short ride along forested hillsides and pasture. If you’d prefer more of the lakeside adventure, Lake Eildon is an idyllic spot for swimming, kayaking and sailing along the park’s expansive waterways. The hills are yours to explore here, so climb to Blowhard Summit and be rewarded with a vista across the lake and all the way over to Mount Buller. Or bring your rod and go fishing – you might even catch a Murray cod to barbeque back at the cabin. Tiny Max is a hilltop hideaway in Merton overlooking scrub forest and farmland all the way to the horizon. It’s an unrivalled spot to catch a sunset, and an enviable place to wake with the swift sunrise. You’re so close to the land of prosecco, the best pairing for your holiday fish feast is clearly some local bubbles. The Cold Snap Cool Climate Victoria Prosecco is an elegant wine with a floral nose of citrus, apple and melon, a crisp palate and fine beading.
Not only is the Macedon Ranges one of the closest wilderness areas to Melbourne, but you’ll find a picnic at Hanging Rock is actually very serene. This popular daytrip spot has a number of walking trails for getting deep into nature, wandering through woodlands of tall gums carpeted with native wildflowers and around volcanic rock formations, getting close to grey kangaroos, wallabies and native birds whose chorus fills the forested slopes and creekside flats. Off-road cardio fans can tackle trail runs through towering forests in Macedon Regional Park while walkers can take it slow with the networks of hikes crossing local villages and bushland. Your off-grid accommodation sits in the suitably rocky countryside characteristic of the area. Tiny Polly in Nulla Vale is a retreat into postcard-perfect Australian nature: silvery gums, scrubby bush and flowers, stony formations dotting the hillside, and your very own pit for a crackling campfire. Sit beneath clear skies in your quiet slice of wilderness. You’re not too far from the Heathcote region either, so obviously a Heathcote shiraz is on the cards for the evening. The Cold Snap Explorer’s Reserve Heathcote Shiraz is bold, full-bodied and dry, with notes of rich berry and plum with dark chocolate – and it’s a very good choice for those cooler nights.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Cold Snap Wines. Always drink responsibly.