LOCATED less than an hour from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is a whole life experience away, offering quality local food and wine, breathtaking scenery, romantic hideaways and indulgent adventures.

Recognised as one of the world’s premier wine growing regions, it’s a perfect destination for a getaway weekend from the city during Midsumma, Australia’s second-largest LGBTI cultural festival that takes place over a month during January. With over 80 sensational cellar doors, superb restaurants serving fresh regional produce, luxury accommodation, iconic scenery and wildlife – LGBTI visitors to Melbourne looking for a romantic escape from the glitz and glamour of Midsumma will be spoilt for choice.Star Observer MREC_300x250_4

If you’re taking your partner to Victoria’s premier wine region, be sure to rise at dawn for a hot-air balloon ride over patchwork fields and vineyards before kicking back with a pinot noir at some of the region’s world-class wineries. The Yarra Valley covers a huge area from the ruggedly beautiful Yarra Ranges National Park in the east to Kinglake National Park in the west, a huge eucalyptus forest on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range. In the centre of Kinglake National Park is Kinglake, a small township devastated by the 2009 bush fires but now rebuilding itself, with a great country pub, a few shops and cafes, and an inspiring community spirit.

The region is renowned for producing Australia’s finest pinot noir and sparkling wine, along with a range of other cool-climate wines. It’s also known for its fresh produce including freshwater salmon, trout and caviar, organically grown fruit and vegetables and handmade cheeses and preserves. For a romantic experience with your significant other, follow one of the many self-drive wine trails and fill your picnic hamper on the Yarra Valley Food Trail or at the many huge, fresh food markets. Of course, you can also book a tour of the region and have the hassle of looking for vineyards to visit and places to eat all taken care of for you. The Yarra Valley also has a long history of making beer, and local craft brewers welcome visitors to their micro-breweries to sample their beers and ciders.

When it comes to the best place to stay, we recommend the four-and-half star Yarra Valley Lodge. The destination has garnered a reputation as Victoria’s source of indulgent sensations, from world-famous wines to fresh regional produce, breathtaking scenery, and sensual spa and health retreat. Positioned at the gateway to the Yarra Valley, this world class resort offers guests total luxury, surrounded by two championship golf courses and right on the doorstep to over 80 Yarra Valley wineries.

With the wine region located only 80km from Melbourne, it’s time to book in that recovery weekend away from Midsumma, or even a weekend to re-energise before heading north for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

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DETAILS

ACCOMMODATION: Two nights accommodation at the 4.5-star Yarra Valley Lodge in a lodge king room. Includes daily breakfast buffet. Price: $249 per person

TRAVEL DATES: Now until March 31, 2016

ADD: De Bortoli “Locale” restaurant premium experience from an extra $104 per person. Add: Gourmet Food and Wine Experience from an extra $138 per person.

CAR HIRE: Hertz Australia Three days economy vehicle car hire – $256 per vehicle (Valid for travel until March 31, 2016) Price is based on per vehicle ex Melbourne Airport Depot, and car options include a Toyota Yaris or similar. Hire rate includes unlimited kilometres, damage cover for the Hertz vehicle and Third Party.

DEAL NUMBER: 3842873

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