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Australia

Victoria is a large and diverse state with geography the ranges from the towering craggy peaks of the Australian Alps, to the rolling, vineyard covered hills of the Yarra Valley, and the sandy shores and spectacular formations along the Great Ocean Road. Many of these amazing areas are just a short drive (1 or 2 hours) out of Melbourne, and can make for a great day trip or weekend away.

Tourism Victoria likens the state to a jigsaw, rightly claiming that “You’ll love every piece of Victoria.” Each area has its own charms, and although some drives are quite long when compared to European weekend breaks, they are usually worth it. Hop in a car with friends or family, head in any direction away from Melbourne, and you’ll quickly find yourselves amongst old-world charm and spectacular natural scenery.

For information on all areas of Victoria that are nice for short vacations, see the Tourism Victoria website at http://www.visitvictoria.com/

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Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges

Daylesford is a sleepy country town, delightful in itself with plenty of antique and craft shops, festivals and cafes. The real attraction is that it is surrounded by relaxation spas that utilise the mineral waters of Hepburn Springs to rejuvenate and relax you in completely indulgent luxury. Daylesford can also be fun for kids. There are farm-stays that welcome children and occasionally pets, too. Giving kids the chance to visit a real farm (well, hobby farms anyway) and try their hand at milking cows or feeding kangaroos, which is a great way to spend a weekend.

Daylesford is approximately 90 minutes drive North-East of Melbourne on the Western Freeway or the Calder Freeway.

For more information on events, festivals, and the town itself, see http://www.visitdaylesford.com.au

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The Great Ocean Road

This region is one of Australia's greatest and most picturesque coastal drives. There are miles of cliff-edged, beautiful beaches, delightful little towns and a range of recreational activities from helicopter rides, to fishing and surfing.

The Great Ocean Road begins at Geelong, a city 80km South West of Melbourne. From Geelong follow the signs to Lorne and Apollo Bay. These areas offer a lovely seaside town escape, within a short distance from some of Australia's best temperate rainforests. From Lorne, the nearby Otway Ranges offer beautiful coastal bush-walking with a high likelihood of encountering some uniquely Australian wildlife.

Continue along the Great Ocean road to Port Campbell. The wild coastline around this area is home to a scenic wonder that people from all over the world travel to see. The striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean, the Twelve Apostles, have long been considered some of the most picturesque natural formations in the world.

Many small towns along the Great Ocean Road have carav…