From Fairhaven's luxurious The Pole House to glamping at Princetown's Pebble Point, these are the most romantic getaways for couples in Victoria.
The six luxury suites that accompany Brae restaurant are the accommodation equivalent of the incredible modern food that Dan Hunter creates to convey the terroir of 12 hectares of working garden surrounding the smart farmhouse restaurant (and the best produce of the Otways hinterland). If a place to sleep can be considered locavore, this is it: recycled red bricks, corrugated iron and blackbutt timber panelling. Meanwhile, the interiors have been styled with ceramics, artworks, textiles and custom-designed furniture. There’s joy in knowing that the sum total of your après-meal exertions involves mixing a cocktail and sinking into a felt-covered sofa while spinning something from the keenly curated vinyl collection – from Patti Smith to Radiohead – on the in-room turntable.
Dining: Enjoy a multi-course dégustation lunch in the restaurant then retreat to your suite for a lazy evening. Wake to a selection of wood-fired sourdough, pasties, preserves, coffee, tea and juice delivered to your room.
You’ll love this: The window just above your bed allows for some serious stargazing. – By Larissa Dubecki
Surely the coolest caravan park in Australia, Notel swaps tin-can accommodation and shower blocks for a camping experience worth sharing (in person and on Instagram). The adventure begins with the “key” delivered via app to your phone, continues as you climb the pink and red paint-smattered stairs to the roof of Frys Fast Park then peaks as you open the final door to reveal six gleaming Airstream trailers parked on a red synthetic lawn – with few clues as to how they got there. Notel’s irreverence, and the sawtoothed CBD skyline that surrounds you, will charm. Not your typical hotel experience (tall guests will need to stoop and there’s no check-in desk to be seen), Notel is a slick mix of contemporary design and retro style. Beds are a cosy nest of pink-and-grey cotton, velvet and linen, with a hidey-hole underneath to stow luggage. The wet-room bathrooms are carved out of the space, with sliding walls of opaque red plastic – think Scandinavian minimalism meets space- saving practicality – in the hotel’s trademark palette.
Dining: Aside from the complimentary minibar, on-site options are limited to the hole-in-the-wall café downstairs. Happily, though, you’re in the midst of Melbourne’s maze of excellent restaurants and bars.
You’ll love this: Book the “Airstream with Benefits” and enjoy the novelty of soaking in an open-air spa as the city’s streets buzz below. – By Faith Campbell
Pebble Point, Princetown
Imagine the sound of raindrops on canvas as you snuggle beneath the doona on your king-size bed – electric blanket set to high. This is glamping on that famed stretch of Victorian coast, the Great Ocean Road. All six “tents” at Pebble Point have hardwood floors, comfortable furniture and luxurious ensuites (no trekking to the bathroom in the night). Just a 10-minute drive from the 12 Apostles, each tent is angled to make the most of the view and maximise privacy. You can’t go wrong with any of the tents but here’s a tip: ask for No.6. It has the best views and is the most secluded.
Dining: The camp site is self-catering – there’s a camp kitchen with a fridge, microwave and barbecue. But if you don’t feel like cooking, Point Campbell, with its cafés and restaurants, is an easy 20-minute drive away.
You’ll love this: Lounge on the deck of your tent and gaze at the lush green fields as you enjoy the local cheese, wine and chocolate you picked up on your drive along the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail, which takes in Timboon, Cobden and Cooriemungle. – By Julie Lee
The Estate, Trentham
This country cottage in the historic town of Trentham – just over an hour from Melbourne in the Great Dividing Range – combines 1915 Federation lines with flourishing vegetable and fruit gardens and deeply chic interiors. Restored and decorated by Melbourne designer Lynda Gardener, The Estate is a photo shoot waiting to happen; every nook induces an Insta-gasm. Put the phone away and hang in a swing chair from the bullnose verandah, settle into an Adirondack in the sunshine, explore nearby Trentham Falls, fossick in Dashwood’s General Merchants on High Street or light the wood re and snuggle into the capacious sofa. There are two bedrooms – three if you include the converted potato-pickers’ shed out back – but sharing can be overrated.
Dining: For breakfast, fresh eggs, muesli, local bread, jams and juices, plunger coffee and T2 teas are supplied. There’s very good eating in town at Annie Smithers’ French farmhouse restaurant, Du Fermier, and at Redbeard Bakery. A 15-minute drive away is Daylesford’s Farmers Arms hotel, where the mains are massive and delicious.
You’ll love this: Forage in the garden and local shops and then cook up a storm in the cottage’s charming kitchen. – By Kendall Hill
SEE ALSO: A Weekend in The Bellarine Peninsula
When a place has been put together with this much love and care, it’s difficult not to be swept up in the sheer romance of it all. 1860 began life as a settler’s hut near Melbourne before being dismantled and rebuilt as part of a farm in Taggerty, Central Victoria, then coming to rest in the charming gold-rush town of Beechworth. Painstakingly restored and enhanced, it has retained every historical notch and groove in its mountain-ash frame and added luxury features that its 19th-century creators could never have imagined, such as leather sofas, a hidden television and a modern kitchen. As tempting as it would be to doze in front of the open stone replace after a bottle of red, an outrageously comfortable king-size bed awaits. You’re guaranteed a long sleep-in.
Dining: The hut is self-catering but you can pre-order a basket of muesli, organic milk, fruit and jam plus cornbread as an optional extra. For dinner, the delightful Ox and Hound Bistro is within walking distance – the generous serves of housemade ice-cream are easily enough to share.
You’ll love this: The two-person bath has “Champagne and chocolates” written all over it. – By Alexandra Carlton
The Pole House, Fairhaven
From 40 metres above Fairhaven Beach, the rat race feels a million miles away. Suspended by a single column, The Pole House has been a Great Ocean Road landmark for 40 years. Now the improbable structure has been given a slick rebuild, turning it into a designer eyrie built strictly for two. The 23-metre-long walkway leading to the house is more a line of demarcation between the property and the place inhabitants might come to know hazily as the real world. Inside, the moody steel-clad box is decked out in minimalist-luxe style: open plan, dark and glossy, surrounded by retractable floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass-enclosed walkway around the perimetre. It’s a tight space (only eight metres by eight metres) but it works beautifully – the bathroom is in a central circular pod and the bed folds back against the wall for extra space. Add a floating replace, good stemware and mesmerising views, and it’s romance with a capital R.
Dining: The kitchen is The Pole House’s Achilles heel. It looks a million bucks but there’s no oven and the cooktop is hidden away in the cupboard. Head to nearby Aireys Inlet for modern Greek food at Á La Grecque, pizza at The Captain of Aireys or locally caught King George whiting and chips at Aireys Pub.
You’ll love this: The reclining leather sofa is a masterpiece of comfort. – By Larissa Dubecki
Clifftop at Hepburn, Hepburn
The view, the view. They’re the only words you’ll be able to articulate when you enter any of the three architect-designed retreats that make up this luxury property. The sheer cliff appears to fall away beneath floor-to- ceiling windows that overlook lush mountainous bushland dotted with wild flowers. The next thing you’ll notice is the interiors: creamy tobacco leather lounges and a day bed by the window that seems to oat in the air, all off set by dramatic lighting that dances across the valley below. Before you do anything else, change into the supplied robe and slippers that are so soft, it can be safely assumed they’re spun from clouds. Then accept that you won’t be getting out of them for any reason other than a long bath or sleep, pour yourselves a Champagne and continue gazing at that view.
Dining: Self-cater or pay for a stocked fridge before you arrive. Alternatively, Mercato restaurant in nearby Daylesford puts the entire region on a plate.
You’ll love this: Pre-order platters of charcuterie and cheese, chocolates and fresh bread to turn your stay into a decadent slumber party. And have them light the handmade Oblica “Ove” fireplace before you arrive. – By Alexandra Carlton
Drift House, Port Fairy
Behind the grand exterior of Drift House, with its iron lacework and stone walls, a contemporary boutique hotel breathes new life into a 19th-century property. There are two bespoke suites in the stately original residence but a modern extension completed in 2013 doubled Drift House’s footprint – and its appeal. Self- contained and private – with cosy sitting rooms, lots of light, comfy king-size beds and all the mod cons (wi-fi, television, Nespresso machine) – the four suites feel more like an elegant home away from home than a hotel. No detail is overlooked, from the excellent selection of novels to the marshmallows and roasting fork – perfect for a chilly evening by the fire. Port Fairy lives up to its quaint name with cute cottages and gardens bursting with roses so make use of the hotel’s bicycles to tour the pretty streets.
Dining: The suites have basic kitchens where you can prepare breakfast using the complimentary hamper of locally sourced goodies. For lunch and dinner, there are plenty of options a five-minute drive away – cafés, pizza, fish ’n’ chips – or book a table at local hatted restaurant Fen.
You’ll love this: Suite Three has a freestanding bathtub just steps away from the master bed. – By Faith Campbell
This piece was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.