Switch off, sleep in and eat up on the Bellarine Pensinula, a romantic destination an easy drive from Melbourne.

What to do on Friday evening

Lon Retreat

Image credit: Lon Retreat / Nikole Ramsay

A cruisy 90-minute drive from the Victorian capital, this pretty hamlet on Port Philip Bay charms with countryside-meetscoast vistas, laid-back seaside towns and a locavore food scene. Base yourself at family-run Lon Retreat & Spa, a boutique adults-only property set on 80-or-so secluded hectares with private access to the beach at Point Lonsdale. Each of the seven suites is unique and features well-equipped kitchenettes, private outdoor spaces, rain showers and thoughtful touches such as fresh flowers picked on the property. When hunger strikes, head to one of the region’s best restaurants, Igni. It’s a good 30 minutes away but the set menu with standout seafood – dishes might include sea urchin paired with oyster leaf and kingfish wings chargrilled to smoky perfection – makes it worth the trip. 

What to do on Saturday

The Whiskery, Bellarine Peninsula

Image credit: Visit Victoria/Chris McConville

Check out harbourside 360Q for excellent coffee and breakfast options, from bacon scrambled eggs on toast to a butterbean and red pepper shakshuka wth Greek yoghurt and a tofu and sweet potato quesadilla. Head to The Whiskery (pictured above),  about 30 minutes north, to sample the distillery’s smallbatch gin, Teddy & The Fox. Owners Russ Watson and Lorelle Warren encourage visitors to taste it straight but if you prefer something softer, try the Foxy Lady cocktail.

For satiation with a side of scenery, climb aboard the First Class dining car of the Q Train. Enjoy a degustation lunch with matching wines – in the comfort of a private compartment for two – as you travel from Drysdale Station through farmland and vineyards. Watch the wildlife and water at Swan Bay while savouring dishes such as Sage Farm lamb with a Robin Brockett amphora syrah, then stretch your legs at Queenscliff Station as the engine is prepared for the leisurely return journey. Back at the retreat, enjoy the onsite spa’s signature Blissful Marma massage, before heading out to Merne at Lighthouse for dinner. Highlights of the four-course option include the scallop with pickled fennel and grapefruit and the cauliflower served with oyster mushrooms and tangy pickled onion. 

What to do on Sunday morning

Lon Retreat & Spa private beach walkway

Image credit: Lon Retreat / Nikole Ramsay

Tuck into your Lon breakfast hamper, chock-full of locally sourced goodies – Annie’s Kitchen granola and fresh yoghurt, chia seed pudding with stewed fruit, banana bread and local butter. Go for a wander and explore the beach; a metal sculpture marks the start of the path, which passes the farm’s herd of Angus cattle, weaves through the bush and crosses the dunes onto a rugged stretch of sand. Look east to see Point Lonsdale Lighthouse (pictured above and top) – if you have time, you can stroll there in less than 30 minutes. It’s the ideal way to delay the drive home.

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This piece was originally published in 2019 and has been updated.

SEE ALSO: The Most Romantic Getaways in Victoria

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