7 Must-Do Winter Experiences in Victoria

Felicia Arhontissas, Staff Writer

Bring on the chill with Victoria’s top winter wonderland experiences.

Victoria’s winters seem to start sooner, last longer and cut deeper than those of our sunnier states. But don’t despair – longer nights and colder days have their advantages. From lively night markets to steaming mugs of gooey hot chocolate and fireside wine tastings, Victoria is well practised in spicing up the colder months. So, shake off those winter blues and get ready to embrace the romance of the season with these seven exceptional winter experiences. 

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Peruse Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Winter Night Market

Queen Victoria Market. Image by Ewen Bell, courtesy of Visit Victoria.

As the sun sets over Melbourne CBD and the rest of the city bunkers down for a chilly Wednesday evening in, Queen Victoria Market comes alive. The flickering neon ‘Winter Night Market’ sign is a beacon of food, shopping and entertainment. Live music will have your toes tapping as you wait in line for mouthwatering street food – think halloumi fries, smoky barbeque, rich curries and so much more. Don’t forget to grab a cup of sweet mulled wine to keep your hands warm while you peruse the stalls. 

Toast all things wine at Geelong’s Winter Shiraz Festival   

 Image by SHERPA, courtesy of Visit Victoria.

Lovers of shiraz, get ready to flock to the pristine Bellarine Peninsula for the Geelong Winter Shiraz Festival, held over one spectacular weekend (34 July 2021). Over 20 participating wineries across the peninsula bring forth their most prized drops for samplingfood pairings and shiraz masterclasses. What could be better than swilling a full-bodied red while sitting by an open fire, with a hearty meal to fill your belly and stunning vineyard views unfolding before you? Nothing, that’s what. 

Cosy up with fireside wining and dining in the Yarra Valley   

 Fondata 1872. Image by Rob Blackburn, courtesy of Visit Victoria.

Speaking of vineyards; escape the icy winds rolling across the Yarra Valley by journeying to some of Victoria’s cosiest cellar doors for wine tastings by a crackling fireAt Fondata 1872 in Kangaroo Ground, you can sip locally made craft beer and wine by fireplace thats been the venue’s central focus since 1872. Family-owned Sutherland Estate’s cellar door also features an open fireplace plus vineyard views from floor-to-ceiling windows – both best enjoyed with a glass of the estate’s chardonnay or tempranillo. 

Enjoy a taste of après-ski on the mountains   

 Image by Rob Blackburn, courtesy of Visit Victoria.

Whether you’re a skier, snow boarder, or snowball-hurling enthusiast, most snow bunnies would agree the best part about a day on the slopes is the après-ski (entertainment and nightlife enjoyed post-ski)At Kooroora Hotel Mt Buller, you can shake off the chill with pub grub, pints of beer and live music to dance the night away. Meanwhile, Falls Creek Hotel is renowned for its ’Happy Harvey Hour: every Tuesday and Thursday between 3.30pm and 4.30pm you can enjoy a jug of Harvey Wallbanger, as has been tradition for the past 40 years.   

Embark on a quest for the perfect hot chocolate 

Mörk Campfire hot chocolate. Image courtesy of Mörk Chocolate Brew House.

Nothing quite warms the soul like a delicious hot chocolate on a dreary winter’s day. We’re not talking about powdered hot chocolate from a tin – we’re talking rich, molten chocolate in a mug. South Yarra’s Gânache Chocolate Lounge tempts its patrons with specialty flavours ranging from salted caramel to hazelnut anchaiYou can’t look past the famous MörkChocolate Brew House in North Melbourne for an otherworldly hotchoc experience. Their signature range includes the Campfire, which is served with maple smoke. Talk about hug in a mug! 

Warm up with a hot spring soak 

Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs. Image by Robyn Lea, courtesy of Visit Victoria.

Visiting Victoria’s hot springs is the ultimate coldweather activity. The ever-popular Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs are a great way to soak away your winter bluesTake a dip in the public bath house or, for something special, book yourself in for a private bathing experience in the Spa Dreaming Centre and pair it with an indulgent body treatment. Further inland, you’ll find the historic Hepburn Springs Bathhouse and Spa. Drawing from the mineral rich waters of the area, the bathhouse has guaranteed absolute relaxation and health benefits since 1895 

Get moving on a day hike   

Squeaky Beach track. Image by Garry Moore, courtesy of Visit Victoria.

Layer up and head out on a picturesque walk through some of Victoria’s beautiful nature areas. It’s the perfect remedy to counteract the classic winter stagnation that comes with staying holed up indoors for too long. Wilsons Promontory National Park, or ‘The Prom’ as its more commonly knownoffers a range of day walks to suit all fitness levels. Trek through heathland, stringybark forestcoastal tracks and rocky summitskeeping on the lookout for an emu or wallaby on your travels.

Hero image: Tourism Australia / Time Out Australia 
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