Nature Day Trips: Montalto Winery, Tesselaar Tulip Festival + The Tan
With the weather warming up and my itching need to be out of the house, I've spent the last few weekends roaming places engulfed in greenery, rather than buildings.
It's said that being among nature, (which includes watching scenes of nature or keeping plants in your home), contribute positively to your physical and psychological wellbeing. It's been scientifically proven to reduce stress, release muscle tension, and help with depression, among other things. The best part about the healing power of nature is, unlike pharmaceuticals or counselling, that it's accessible and free to everyone - just take a step outside.
So here are a few day trip ideas to get those happy 'feel good' chemicals flowing.
Down the Mornington Peninsula, you'll find the small rural community of Red Hill, known for its vineyards and fruit farms. The Montalto Vineyard is one of the more well-known vineyards in the area. With over 30 acres dedicated to crafting their wine, its chef's hat rated restaurant, great food, and farm land growing olives and fresh produce, a drive down to the South Coast is a must.
If you're after a more casual setting for lunch, you can spend your afternoon having lunch at your own private picnic site, booked through the Montalto Restaurant. The Cellar Door staff will help you pick a wine for your picnic, then provide you with a map and directions to your picnic site where you can order shared platters for your tribe and enjoy a day in the sunshine.
Up in Silvan, within the Dandenong Ranges, you'll find the Tesselaar Gardens where thousands upon thousands visit the yearly Tulip festival around the month of September. The property spans 25 acres with over 100,000 tulips in 150+ varieties.
Since 1954, these festivals have grown bigger and better with certain weekends dedicated to showcasing different cultures, such as Turkish Weekend, Dutch Weekend and Irish Weekend. The festival is a fantastic day out with a food park, souvenir pop-up shops, and live music and perfect for a group of all ages.
Melbourne Botanical Gardens (The Tan) - South Yarra, VIC
As mentioned in my Ultimate Melbourne City Guide, a visit to The Tan is a must. While it's close to the city and doesn't require a day trip, your weekend in nature won't be complete without a visit to one of Melbourne's most frequented locations.
A stunning example of Australia's flora and fauna, The Tan is the best excuse for a picnic and has uber amounts of space for lazing around reading a book, with a few cafes on site and a 3.8km track spanning around the Botanic Gardens and King's Domain for all the runners and power-walkers out there.