A fashion person’s guide to a weekend in regional Victoria


Brb, just planning my itinerary.

If you live in Victoria and you’re anything like us, you’re probably already planning your post lockdown adventures. Perhaps you’re even mourning a certain cancelled Europe 2020 trip? Don’t worry, we hear you. But given the current situation, it doesn’t look like air travel will be a thing again any time soon, which means it’s going to be staycations all around this spring and summer.

But that’s not a bad thing. As it turns out, many of us live within driving distance from memorable day trips, cozy overnight stays and unbeatable eateries. And if lifestyle and entertainment mag Forte is anything to go by, regional Vic is booming.

Considering how long-awaited these future trips are going to be, it’s more important than ever you get it right. That’s why we asked Tessa Quinn, fashion designer and founder of Atout Studios and Rebound Club, to help you plan the perfect weekend around regional Victoria. Here’s what she had to say.

Start the day right. That is, with brunch and coffee

I really like Grow Naturally in Point Lonsdale because it’s basically on the beach, it does smoothies and really good coffee. Boom Gallery in Geelong is also a fave, you can enjoy a coffee and a delicious breakfast there. Also, Piknik in Swan Bay is awesome because they only use local produce, so the food is always really fresh. 

Walk it off, or hike, whatever suits

I enjoy the walk in Barwon Heads that goes around the Bluff, which is like a big cliff. It takes you around Thirteenth Beach, so right along the water, which is so beautiful. Also, if you’re in Lorne, do the Erskine Falls walk to the waterfall. It’s so peaceful and you can stop for food at River Bank cafe on the way back. 

Ladies who lunch…

The Continental in Geelong CBD is awesome. It has a bit of a New York vibe and it does a great Sunday lunch, as well as dinner. All the food is amazing, but I always go for the snapper. If you’re after something a little lighter, James Street Bakery and Cafe, also in Geelong CBD, does amazing toasted sandwiches.

And, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, it has beautiful French desserts. I can definitely recommend the reuben toastie from there. Another great place for sweet treats is The Portarlington Bakehouse – you have to try its custard-almond croissant. 

Get cultured: the best galleries and museums

Geelong has an impressive art scene. There’s the Geelong Gallery which holds the bigger shows, but Boom Gallery is also great because it showcases more local artists. Plus, you can go for a browse in the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, it’s this beautiful multi-storied building right next to the Geelong Gallery. 

Or maybe just go shopping?

I love the shopping scene in Geelong. Ernest and Joe sells stunning, locally designed and made jewellery. There’s also Marho and Co, which is an all-round amazing store because they have anything from homewares to fashion and beauty. I also enjoy The Amazing Mill Markets, which are great for shopping vintage and finding cool secondhand furniture or fashion. 

Whenever I’m in Ocean Grove, I visit Florence and Threads. It has a mixture of homewares and fashion, but at a lower price point, which is always good. And if you’re in Queenscliff you can’t go past Frankie Say Relax. It’s got a beautiful collection of ceramics and homewares, so it’s perfect for gift shopping.

Arvo drinks, because duh

If you’re in the Geelong CBD, I’d suggest Cellar Door, because its wine list is the best. But if you’re looking for more of a night out, try Piano Bar. It’s new and great for a live show and some dancing. 

Also, if you do the Barwon Heads walk in the afternoon, you could come back to the waterfront restaurant At The Heads for some sunset drinks. Speaking of drinks with a view, the winery Basils Farm in Swan Bay is great for some afternoon bevs. It has stunning views of the vineyards and over the bay.

Stay the night  

When it comes to the best accommodation, I always suggest Lon Retreat and Spa in Point Lonsdale. It’s fairly new and the day spa there is amazing. I also love staying at the RACV Torquay Resort, which also has a really nice day spa. Plus, it has amazing views of the Torquay Surf Beach. 

For more of what’s good around regional Victoria, head to Forte.


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