Make like muscateers in Rutherglen and uncover the depth of world-renowned fortified wines. The Rutherglen wine region is famous for its muscat, which pairs just as perfectly with savoury starters as it does rich desserts, Chesterfields and open fires. By day, cycle the banks of the Murray River to wineries along the Muscat Trail, by night, settle into cosy cellar door bars and restaurants.
Morning coffee, lazy lunch, indulgent dinner or decadent dessert wine, everything tastes better by an open fire in winter. Discover cafes, restaurants, cellar doors and worth rem-ember-ing in villages around Victoria.
Our open-fire favourites for a tipple include Tarrawarra Estate, Port Phillip Estate and Jack Rabbit (for the Fireside Jazz Series), Daylesford Cider Co., and the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Trentham.
For breakfast, lunch and wine, relax at all-rounder Merricks General Wine Store, and for fireside dining, settle in at the Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld; Coonara Springs, Olinda or The Shearing Shed, Cowes.
Warm and well-lit, galleries are perfect for whiling away blustery afternoons and escaping to other-wordly places of imagination. Explore the major galleries in regional cities. Bendigo Art Gallery and the Gallery of Ballarat, two of Australia's oldest and largest regional galleries, have excellent exhibitions and permanent collections always worth a wander, as do regional galleries in Horsham, Hamilton, Morwell, Bairnsdale, Benalla and Swan Hill.
For a contemporary art fix, wander to start-of-the-art galleries Art at Linden Gate (Yarra Glen), Tarrawarra Museum of Art (Healesville) and MAMA (Albury). Seek out smaller galleries, too, tucked away in villages: The Lost Ones (Ballarat), Bokeh Gallery (Daylesford), Stockroom (Kyneton), Queenscliff Gallery and Workshop, Healesville Glass Blowing Studio and Gordon Studio Glassblowers (Red Hill).
Wrap yourself in comfort and cocoon yourself in the comfort of a cosy cabin, bed-and-breakfast, resort or spa. Lose yourself in a book by the fireplace, indulge in pampering treatments and treat yourself to local, seasonal fare. Whatever your preferred cocoon, we have the winter hideaway.
Pamperers, book in a treatment at the Peninsula Hot Springs, Saltair Day Spa Torquay or endota Red Hill. Or put the treat in retreat with a whole weekend at a spa resort. Venture to spa country and indulge at Peppers Mineral Springs or Shizuka Ryokan, Hepburn Springs, and the Lake House, Daylesford. On the Mornington Peninsula, Woodman Estate has your wellness all wrapped up, and in the Yarra Valley, Balgownie Estate covers wine and wellness. Win-win. Further afield, venture to The Esplanade Resort and Spa at Lakes Entrance or Circa 1936 in Corowa.
Wine aficianados, for luxury accommodation that's not too far a wander from a cellar door, look at winter winery getaways such as Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill and Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate.
For country comfort, embrace a warm welcome at bed-and-breakfasts in villages across Victoria, from Glen Isla House, Cowes to Montford Manor, Traralgon, and experience classic hotel hospitality at Walhalla's Star Hotel.
DIY-ers, get away from it all and cocoon yourself in self-contained cabins, villas and apartments, ranging from luxury appointed DULC in Halls Gap to family- and pet-friendly Country House Retreat in Nungurner, Gippsland.