The Road Ahead : February March 2008
FEB/MAR 08 41 Somewhere to stay GEELONG Four Points by Sheraton Nice location overlooking Corio Bay, with 109 rooms. Comfortable beds, duvets, high-speed internet access (free in public areas), flat screen TV with cable, in-room movies, adjustable airconditioning, in-room safe, minibar, room service, good bathrooms. Waterfront Restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Indoor, heated pool. Laundry service. Business centre. The Four Points is rated 4.5 stars by RACQ. Rooms from $155. MORNINGTON PENINSULA Lindenderry at Red Hill Located at Red Hill, Lindenderry is a sprawling retreat set amongst 12 ha of beautiful gardens. Huge rooms with garden views. TV, large bathroom, adjustable airconditioning, minibar, internet connection, laundry service. Tennis, heated indoor pool and spa, sauna, mountain bikes, recreation room. The resort is full of lounges and little corners where you can escape. The Linden Tree restaurant serves quality food and wine. Lindenderry is rated 4.5 stars by RACQ. Rooms from $270. MELBOURNE Travelodge Southbank Well located at Southbank, across the river from the city. Features 275 rooms. While rooms are quite plain, they are a good size, with comfortable beds, good lighting and functional bathrooms. Individual airconditioning. TV, with cable and movie channels. No minibar. Fridge and microwave in room. Vending machines on ground level. Microwave meals available from reception. Good value full breakfast ($17). RACQ rates the Travelodge 3.5 stars. Rooms from $145. Air space The author flew with Virgin Blue. Virgin offers several flights a day between Brisbane and Melbourne's Tullamarine airport. Plan your trip with RACQ Plan your driving holiday online with the RACQ trip planner, at racq.com. The site lists accommodation, and things to see and do along the way. Book your accommodation online or by calling RACQ on 1800 629 501. You can choose from extra virgin and olive oils blended with lemon, lime or grapefruit (to add zest). The olives are grown locally at Murradoc Farm. There's a cafe here too. If you are heading for the ferry at Queenscliff, work some time into your schedule for a meal at the Apostle Queenscliff. The Apostle restaurant opened late last year. Originally a Methodist Church, the building dates back to 1888. Open seven days for breakfast and lunch, and Friday and Saturday for dinner, the menu is modern Australian, featuring such dishes as blue eye trevalla on homemade porcini mushroom ravioli and Portarlington mussels with saffron, Point Londsdale tomatoes and thyme. The setting is lovely, as is the food. Across the bay on Mornington Peninsula, Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove is another of the great winery/ restaurant combinations in this neck of the woods. Montalto aims to offer an experience, with an annual sculpture exhibition (various sculptures are in the grounds), catered picnics on site, the winery and the restaurant. The property is beautiful. Book ahead to secure a private location for a catered picnic. You can only buy Montalto and Pennon Hill wines direct from the cellar door (in person or online). The vineyard is planted mainly with chardonnay and pinot noir, but riesling, pinot gris, pinot meunier and semillon also feature. Montalto has won major restaurant and winery destination awards. For another Mornington Peninsula culinary treat, visit Vines of Red Hill. Owned by James and Leanne Redfern, Vines is in a delightful, garden-laden setting. James has worked as a chef for 25 years, including stints in some of Australia's most renowned kitchens. The menu here is innovative and the food is expertly crafted from locally sourced produce. Such dishes as autumn salad of crab and cucumber with sweet balsamic, passionfruit and a candied tomato sorbet; seared Whitecliff scallops, fennel puree, with roasted pepper and crab dressing; and baked fig with white chocolate, date beignets and honey yoghurt ice cream adorn the list. If you like quality food, a meal here is a must. The cellar door opens weekends and public holidays, from 1pm. Pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and gewurztraminer grapes are grown in the small vineyard. But it's not all food and wine around the Peninsula. For a bit of soothing, track down Peninsula Hot Springs, in Rye. Peninsula Hot Springs is a well-planned facility in a tranquil setting. It taps into the almost 50°C natural hot water springs more than 600 m underground. You can bathe in the large, thermal pool (adults from $24, children from $16 -- minimum age 5), book a private mineral bath with essential oil additives (from $55) or try one of the many spa treatments. Combinations of a private mineral bath and various forms of massage are popular. There is a very long list to choose from. And, if you're hungry, there is a good cafe on site. Chances are you'll leave the Geelong/Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula areas well fed and well rested. CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Welcome to Lindenderry. A selection of Pettavel wines. Refresh yourself at Peninsula Hot Springs. Apostle Queenscliff ambience.
December January 2008
April May 2008