Victorian mini-breaks: How to spend a day in Healesville

Founded in the mid 1800s, this sweet little town was born after a rail line was built through it to service the surrounding goldfields. The gold may have long since dried up, but Healesville now lives in some of the state’s best wine country.

Healesville is one of my favourite places to get away to. It’s a little over an hour out of Melbourne’s CBD, making it far enough away to enjoy some peace and quiet, but not so far that it’s a hassle to get to. And now that Victoria is opening up again, it’s the perfect time to go and explore for a night or two.

 

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK:
– Innocent Bystander Winery
Amazing wine, pizzas, cheeses, breads and pastries. It’s not cheap, but it is quality.
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– Mocha & Lime
Gorgeous little café that serves up a tasty brunch, it’s simple food done well. They also cater extremely well for special diets, including gluten free and vegan options. Bonus points for the floor to ceiling bookshelves at the back of the café where you can browse second hand books while you wait for your coffee.

– Healesville Harvest
A personal favourite of mine – incredible sandwiches using the very best ingredients, and a cake cabinet that’ll make your jaw drop. And yes, those lamingtons are as good as they look.

– Beechworth Bakery
Duh. This place is an institution in Victoria, as anyone who’s ever been on a road trip will know. Bottomless cups of tea, freshly baked bread, golden-crusted pastries, and a fireplace for winter visits. Perfect.

 

WHERE TO SHOP:
– Healesville Jewellers
My favourite jewellery shop in the world. They do they most beautiful pieces with precious stones, and they’re very reasonably priced. They also do a lot of one-off pieces, and can adjust ring sizes on site.


– Connection

A gift and homewares boutique where you can find some seriously unique trinkets. Brass globes, antique-style wooden desk sets, leather notebooks, llama jewellery dishes, and everything else in between.

– Verso Books
I’m a sucker for a good independent store. Verso stocks new releases in fiction, beautiful books in arts, gardening and cooking, and a brilliant collection of children’s books.

 

WHAT TO DO:

– Take a drive our to the Redwood Forest in East Warburton
Once you’re done walking and eating your way around Healesville, head out to the Redwoods. It’ll take you around 40 minutes to drive there, but it is more than worth the effort. Just make sure you bring an extra layer of clothes – it’s always quite a bit cooler in there tucked away under the trees.

– Visit the weekend market
Because everyone loves a good market! You can pick up some absolutely brilliant little treasures there, too, if you have time to dig around a little…

– Stop at the Yarra Vallery Chocolaterie on the way home
Because their chocolate is a thing of beauty. You can select a box from their Great Wall of Chocolate (I recommend the Tantalising Toasted Coconut Slice), watch the chocolate artists at work through the giant kitchen windows, grab a light lunch or dessert and enjoy the views from their gardens…

Stay here: The DoubleTree Hilton, Melbourne

DoubleTree by Hilton, Melbourne
270 Flinders St, Melbourne CBD
http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels

Playing tourist in your own city is seriously underrated. A lot of Melbourians, especially those who work in the CBD, avoid the city at all costs on weekends. I was the opposite. The longer I worked in the city, the more I discovered and the more I fell in love with it. While it’s definitely not a hidden treasue, the DoubleTree Hilton is a perfect tourist-at-home night away spot.

 

Service and amenities include:
– 24 hour business and fitness centres
– a generous 12pm check out
– WiFi (not free, unfortunately)
– luggage storage
– laundry service
– safety deposit boxes
– hotel restaurant
– parking (AUD$30 per night)
– accessible rooms
– tea & coffee making facilities
– complimentary (and a little bit fancy) toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn
– HDTVs
– walk-in showers

Being literally a stone’s throw from Flinders Street Station, it couldn’t be more accessible, and rates start from around $180 per night for two people (for a lead in, interior rooms); a little extra will upgrade you to a city view room or a Flinders Street Station view.

And the best part? If you’re staying there, you can feel free to ask for a complimentary DoubleTree Hilton chocolate chip cookie. At any time.

 

Shop here: Memorabilia on Smith Street, Melbourne

Memorabilia on Smith
269 Smith St, Fitzroy
http://www.memorabiliaonsmith.com.au/

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There are so many second hand/pre-loved/vintage stores in Fitzroy, so it takes a lot for one to stand out. This is one of those stores. Overflowing with fascinating trinkets from yesteryear (literally, spilling onto the footpath out the front and piled high in the store creating walk-ways so narrow I’m too scared to breath on my way through), this is chaos at its most fascinating.

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While AFL (Australian Rules Football) memorabilia tends to dominate the stock, there is so much more you’ll notice once you start digging around. The hardest thing is to stop looking at it as one giant mess (which it totally is, and I say that with love because it’s a fantastic mess), and try to narrow your attention on one item at a time. You truly have no idea how difficult this is until you’ve visited.

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What initially looks to be a display case of dirty old plastic reveals, upon closer inspection, 90s Pez dispensers, action figures that every child either had or begged their parents for, and vintage yoyos with old Coca Cola logos. The shelf that looks like a dusty old medicine cabinet reveals perfectly kept glass bottles and vials, old Arnott’s biscuit tins, gum ball machines and a giant old-fashioned Streets ice cream cone sign hovering above your head. It’s a beautiful, nostalgic 1980s and 1990s Aussie wonderland.

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The Rose St. Artists’ Market, Melbourne

The Rose St. Artists’ Market, Fitzroy, Melbourne
http://www.rosestmarket.com.au/

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Celebrating it’s 10th birthday this year, The Rose St. Artists’ Market is a Fitzroy institution, as is the slightly eccentric, bearded, black leather clad gentleman who stands on the corner of Brunswick and Rose Streets directing foot traffic the right direction. If you haven’t been before and aren’t familiar with this guy, don’t be put off by first impressions – he’s really lovely!

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Open every weekend (both Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 5pm), I stop in every time I’m in the area, which is pretty often! What started back in 2003 is now an iconic hub for some of Melbourne’s best creative talent, and one of the best places in the city to support local talent by purchasing one-of-a-kind pieces, with everything from clothing and baby accessories, jewellery to homewares, trinkets to art work.

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Another great thing about this market is that the people selling the goods are the people who are actually making them, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and speak to some seriously talented craftsmen and women.

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This is my favourite small market in Melbourne – the talent is phenomenal, and I’ve bought so many amazing pieces here over the years. If you haven’t been in a while, it’s definitely time to get reacquainted, and if you’ve never been before, this weekend might be a good time to make a visit!

Photo Journal: Streets of Fitzroy, Melbourne (2014)

I’m a huge advocate for living in Melbourne, despite our woeful public transport and ridiculously high cost of living; it hasn’t had the honour of world’s most livable city bestowed upon it for nothing!

But what I love the most, is the Fitzroy/Collingwood/Smith St/Brunswick St area. It’s a place where there are no norms and no rules. It’s now inhabited by a lot of hipsters, but that’s ok. You can understand why, with the insane amount of cool new restaurants and bars opening on what feels like a weekly basis, endless second hand, vintage and pre-loved books, clothes, jewellery and all the rest of it on every second corner, great beer gardens, and all manner of people strolling around. Young hipsters, older couples, families with young kids, try-hard cool teens, crazy cat ladies, ranting hobos, camera-clad tourists and people like me harmoniously share the footpaths and cafes without a second thought.

It’s the kind of are where you can wear whatever you want, be any body shape, listen to any music, and read any book you want out the front of any establishment without fear of being judged. It’s an area where it’s cool not to be cool. And in a society where we, particularly young women, feel like their every breath and movement is being judged against impossible standards, it’s something special. It’s my happy place, my safe space, the area I feel most at home. It’s dynamic and ever changing, yet it always comfortable and familiar. It’s kind of like wearing your favourite, old pair of shoes with a new outfit every time.

Anyway, I recently got onto the VSCO Cam bandwagon, and I took these snaps over the weekend while I was out strolling the streets with the husband… welcome to my favourite place in the world!

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014