CariReporter Publish time 4-2-2014 05:05 PM

Fall in Love All Over Again

Fall in Love All Over Again
Let Melbourne keep your love burning!

If you’re planning to travel on your next romantic getaway, but feel that cities like Paris or Venice may be too much of a cliché, take a slightly unique approach and choose Melbourne, Victoria – it will certainly be a lot easier on the wallet, not to mention much more accessible.
From river cruises, vineyards, fancy restaurants and European-style cafes, to breathtaking coastlines, spa destinations, outdoor adventures and miles of natural green – we show you some of the reasons why Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, is an ideal destination for romance and is dubbed by some as the “new Paris” of the world.

Cruising for Love
Who says you have to travel to Italy to get a taste of Venice? The Venice on Yarra River offers couples the chance to cruise along the waters in gondolas mirrored upon those in Venice. The gondolas are designed with soft plush interiors, and even come complete with warm blankets and a bottle of champagne – so you can snuggle in and toast to your love, as you take in the sights and sounds along the banks of the Yarra. There are several different packages on offer, including the one-hour Romance Cruise which includes wine, boxed chocolates and a bouquet of roses.
For those who want to up the ante, Melbourne’s premier cruising restaurant is sure to make your special someone feel extra special. This is quite a splurge, at about $155 per person, but there is nothing quite like savouring a fancy four-course meal while taking a languid three-hour cruise along the Yarra River.

Wine and Dine Seduction
Make the most of Melbourne’s extensive food and wine scene. Get to know more about wines with the Hidden Secrets Sommelier’s City Walk, which offers exclusive wine tastings at selected venues around the city and insights from local wine sommeliers and experts.
Alternatively, a one-hour’s drive from Melbourne takes you to the Yarra Valley – internationally regarded as one of the finest cool climate wine regions. Apart from getting better acquainted with the region’s best wines, you can also settle in to the luxurious hideaways, hilltop villages and majestic gardens in the valley.
Head to the Domaine Chandon at Green Point, which was established in 1986 by Moet & Chandon – the jewel of the Yarra Valley – and get a taste of France right in Melbourne. Stunning vistas, world-celebrated sparkling wine and gourmet platters filled with fresh, local produce will tantalise your senses as you sit back and savour this special moment.

If you’re looking to turn things up with some great music and partying, then the White Night Melbourne event is the place to be. After captivating audiences last year, the Helpmann Award-winning White Night Melbourne returns once again on February 22 & 23, 2014. The event will see Melbourne’s streets, laneways, landmarks and cultural institutions transformed into a cultural playground from dusk till dawn, offering over 12 hours of music, theatre, dance, design, food, film, fashion, sport and art! What better way to spend the night with your loved one, than by exploring the different sights, sounds and flavours of Melbourne, together.

Reminiscing the Past
For couples who enjoy a taste of the past, the “Puffing Billy” may offer an exciting dining option. Puffing Billy, a century-old steam train, runs on its original mountain track in the Dandenong mountains. Set against an idyllic location of tall trees and fresh air, Puffing Billy serves up entrees, a buffet and beverages (including local wines) amidst a backdrop of Jazz music. And if that isn’t quite enough, tea, coffee and chocolates will also be served upon your return.
You can also dine in the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant – the first traveling tramcar restaurant in the world! You and your partner will be able to enjoy fine cuisine and the very best of Australian wines, as you enjoy the moving scenery of Melbourne’s streets.

Pampered with Love
Just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne is Mornington Peninsula, which is dotted with coastal villages and offers a variety of sublime spa and wellness experiences. The region is the only one in Victoria where you’ll find naturally-heated mineral water pools that soothe and relax you. There are more than a dozen day spas, spa retreats and a golf resort with a day spa, which offer every possible choice of baths, massages and treatments that you can imagine.
Mornington Peninsula offers a total wellbeing experience – you can take exhilarating walks along cliff tops or through the countryside, explore magnificent historic gardens, enjoy some water sports, play on some of Australia’s top golf courses, and stroll along the beaches. There are also more than 50 cellar doors and dozens of restaurants that you can choose to indulge your palate in.

So if you’re dreaming of treating yourself and your partner to some well-deserved pampering surrounded by water, then the Mornington Peninsula could be just the place for you.

One with Nature

If you and your other half love nature and the outdoors, then Albert Park and the Queen Victoria Gardens – which are located close to Melbourne city – could be the perfect spot for some quiet, relaxing time. Why not opt for a cosy picnic with your loved one? Set against perfectly manicured greens, lakes and ponds filled with ducks and walking paths, these parks are some of the most idyllic spots to spend some quality time with your loved one while enjoying the beauty of nature.
Are mountains more up your alley? Then you can head to the Dandenong Ranges, famous for its eclectic little villages. Many amazing boutiques and galleries selling one-off designs can be found here, as well as great food that is derived from its fresh local produce. Those that love nature can spend the day wandering through the amazing National Park.

If you prefer to take a walk along a beach and enjoy the views of a magnificent coastline, The Great Ocean Road region has some of the most impressive beaches in Australia. From the surfing beaches of Torquay and Bells Beach; to more family-style beaches like Portarlington, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads; impressive rock formations at Gibson Steps, Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands; as well as breathtaking views from Point Addis, Cinema Point, and Teddy’s Lookout at Lorne, there is definitely no shortage of awe-inspiring moments to choose from.

On Top of the World
Thanks to movies like ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, romance on rooftops have gained somewhat of a popular following. While you may not be able to visit the Empire State Building in New York, there are many delightful rooftop venues in Melbourne that could add some sizzle to your evening.
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring view and one of the most unforgettable experience, comes from the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere – Melbourne’s Eureka Skydeck 88, located in Southbank. In just under 40 seconds, elevators will propel you and your date to Level 88, where you can make your way to “The Edge”. A switchable glass cube slides out from the building, with you inside, to soak in the panoramic view of the city. After all, what’s better than a rush of adrenaline to kick-start your evening?

You can also reach for the skies with the city’s latest tourist attraction, Melbourne Star – an observation wheel that offers uninterrupted 360-degree views of up to 40km, encompassing the Docklands precinct, Melbourne’s CBD, Port Phillip Bay, and as far as Mount Macedon, Arthur’s Seat and the Dandenong Ranges. The Melbourne Star is the Southern Hemisphere’s only giant observation wheel and the first, more complex, solid steel wheel designed in this size. Located in the heart of the Docklands, it is easily accessible and promises an unforgettable experience with your loved ones.

If you want to cosy up for a movie, you can head to the Rooftop Cinema on the very top of Curtin House, located in the heart of Melbourne – the iconic Art Nouveau building brimming with bars. The Rooftop Cinema only runs in summer months, and is open from 9.00pm. What’s better is that you can always have dinner as well as a drink or two before or after the movie ends, as the Rooftop Bar is licensed to open until 1.00am.

Perhaps the most prominent rooftop bar in Melbourne, Madame Brussels is set up to resemble a quaint tea party. Located three stories above the busy streets, Madame Brussels boasts an indoor ‘parlour’ area as well as an outdoor terrace which overlooks the city skyline.
For an aerial adventure that starts earlier in the day, you can choose to go with the Balloon Sunrise. Take to the skies and view Melbourne city from a different perspective. As the name suggests, your journey will start at dawn, and take you over the city’s highlights. To conclude the romantic adventure, upon landing you will be taken to a champagne breakfast at the Langham Hotel.

With so much variety on offer, Melbourne is an ideal destination whether you are planning a romantic getaway to celebrate your honeymoon, anniversary or just looking for a special way to spend Valentine’s Day. So pack up your suitcase and prepare to be charmed off your socks!

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