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You don’t need to venture too far out of Melbourne to find adventure. If you need an escape from the city, here are two ideas to get you started.
1. Tramping in Falls Creek
What better way to feel totally alienated from the hum-drum of modern-day than with an escape to a 19th century cattlemen’s hut? Imagine sitting outside on a gnarly tree stump, basking in Aussie's pelting sunshine, surrounded by nothing but green pastures and century-old trees... Makes you want to whip out the guitar and sing kumbaya, does it not?
In the pristine region of Victoria’s Falls Creek, you can do exactly that. The valleys are dappled with numerous crooked old huts; once the shelters for explorers, skiers and hikers alike, now they’re historic must-sees. Embark on the almighty Bogong High Plains Road between Falls Creek and the Omeo Highway and you’ll find one of the most scenic walking loops in the area. Granted, at 36 kilometres it’s no mean feat – you’ll have calves of steel by the end, but you’ll also enjoy bountiful vistas en-route; from historic villages to pretty dales and some of the highest mountains in Victoria. Old huts, stunning views and rewarding walks - simple pleasures abound in Falls Creek.
Hot tip: Take plenty of layers as the weather can change quite dramatically at any time. Flasks are also a must; hot tea and a sit down, you can’t beat it.
Stay: After 36km you’ll be in need of a rest-stop, and unlike pioneering explorers from the 1860s, you can choose to recuperate at the luxurious QT Falls Creek. Boasting 42-designer apartments, the hotel is a year-round stunner. Go for the ski season and the main ski lift is a mere 10 metres away, or book in for summer and rolling green hills will flood through the window. The highlight – come snow or shine – will always be the balcony hot tubs; heaven sent after a full day of activity.
2. Going Bear Grylls in the Grampians
Forget the mobile phone, the only call you’ll hear when in the Grampians, is that of birdsong. Located three hours outside of Melbourne and tucked into one of Australia’s most dramatic landscapes, the Grampian mountain range is made up of five impressive sandstone ridges and is surrounded by a canvas of nature.
One of the best ways to discover the diverse wildlife is by hiring a kayak and taking to the waters of one of the region’s many lakes. Paddle the shorelines and navigate a path through reed beds and mountain ducks; look out for various birdlife hovering above and an array of spectacular views that dazzle on the horizon. For those who prefer to keep their feet on dry land, The Grampians also offer numerous walking trails, many of which forge a path through streams, waterfalls and creeks dotting the landscape. You might even spot kangaroo or two, as well as koalas, emus and wedge-tailed eagles – so keep a sharp eye.
HOT tip: It’s not all rugged landscape and wilderness. If you’re pining for a glass of wine, the Grampians also boasts some of the finest vineyards and cellar doors in the country. Stand-out varieties include Shiraz and Riesling.
Stay: The Comfort Inn Country Plaza Halls Gap is located in the very heart of the Grampians National Park. With spectacular natural scenery on all sides, it’s the perfect setting to get you up and out of bed.
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