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Event Recap: Bellarine Peninsula Weekend Away 2024

With Summer at its end and Autumn in mid-swing, the second week of April served as a perfect opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved getaway in the subtle cove of the Bellarine Peninsula. Nestled amongst the scenic beaches of Port Arlington and the surfies’ hot spot of Torquay rests Ocean Grove, our short but well-lived destination. It is here we indulged in the wineries, walked the beaches, rode the historic railway and toured the charismatic features of the coastal towns.

Our journey began on a Friday afternoon, concluding a long and arduous day of serving the man, so to speak. We rendezvoused at a small service station just shy of the West Gate Bridge, fuelled up and readied ourselves for the 90km road trip. Battling peak hour traffic launched us into the long stretches of tarmac around Leopold, where we made up some ground and closed in on our holiday hideaway.

As we arrived right at dusk, the crew quickly parked up the convoy and headed inside to check out our new digs for the weekend. What a sight to behold. An expansive living room combined with central dining allowed plenty of our passionate automotive conversations to be had. A multitude of bedrooms to cater for those staying both nights as well as a heated spa on the back deck for anyone who was up for a dip, were amongst the other features.

As the evening moved on, the ‘hungries’ sure kicked in and a healthy serving of Ocean Grove’s best Fish and Chips found its way to the dining table. After sharing stories and finishing the last few chips, it was time to settle back on the large living room couch to have a few drinks and laughs.

The Saturday morning brought us a lovely and welcomed ray of sunshine through the large dining room windows, sparking an inspiring warmth to the day ahead. This, in combination with Nick at the helm in the kitchen, meant a magnificent breakfast awaited our yet-again starving tummies.

After a filling start to the day, we had a spare bit of time on our hands which allowed us all to explore in our own style. Given the household chosen, it offered plentiful levels of entertainment from board games to soccer tables and even a bit of air hockey.  The Ocean Grove beach, just a stone’s throw from the residence, was a fine walk with perfect conditions; not too hot and not too cold! This led to a small café only a few hundred meters up the beach where a hot beverage was enjoyed overlooking the softly crashing waves. 

Approaching midday, we huddled together and decided upon a spot of luncheon. Selecting a few vehicles to convey us to and from, we began our sunny coastal cruise towards Queenscliff where we arrived at the Queenscliff Brewhouse. It was here a colourful array of meals and drinks were ordered and immensely enjoyed before deciding to explore the rest of the establishment. In our explorations, we found a gin tasting room which turned out to be the Queenscliff Distillery. With a delightful display of unique and tasty spirits, some samples were consumed and then purchased before we went on our way to traverse the town of Queenscliff. 

Strolling around the lovely old town in the late afternoon sunny glow was peaceful and charming, to say the least. Inspecting old antiques and artworks from days gone by was also quite relaxing as we made our way down the slightly populated main street. Our dispersed group stumbled upon The Scandinavian Ice Cream Company where we all met up once again, crowding the confined dairy shop before escaping with chilled treats. As we consumed our frozen desserts, we headed to our vehicles, ready to make our way back to the residence to once again cook up a storm, however this time in the form of a BBQ. 

With snags and burgers cooked, like only Bunnings could admire, we sat around the large dining table and feasted. New stories and daily experiences whirled around in conversation as beverages were poured and drunk repeatedly, developing a cheerful and chipper atmosphere. From here the group ventured to the temperate spa which pushed the splendid evening long into the night.

The Sunday morning arrived and we all sleepily made our way upstairs to ready ourselves for the day ahead. With a snappy breakfast down the hatch and a quick clean-up, we ventured back towards Queenscliff in convoy to catch a late morning ride on one of the most prized and culturally rich experiences Queenscliff has on offer; scenic gallivant on the Swan Bay Express. 

As our group huddled on the end of the platform, we all eagerly awaited the chance to board the recently restored vintage carriages of old. After long anticipation, we climbed aboard to gawk and swoon over the first-class luxury of the olden days. Shortly after, the train lurched forwards and we were on our way along the picturesque edges of the Swan Bay. 

After a 25-minute journey, we arrived at a small station in the midst of repair; quaint and charming in its own right. From here we took a short break before boarding once again to cruise back along the bay side where our vehicles awaited to carry us to our next event of the day, lunch!

A cosy and warm drive later, approx 20 mins from the steam train station, we arrived at a beautiful country estate, One Day Estate. We pulled up a spot in the midday sun, just across the lane of open vineyards. It was here we all settled down and indulged in a variety of tasty pizzas, delicious wines and ice-cold beers. Sharing laughs, good times, stories and memories, we dilly-dallied for a while longer in the warmth of nature’s gifts before eventually, it was time to part ways. We said our goodbyes and made track for the comfort of our homes. Alas, a brilliant getaway, conjured and devised by many I’m sure, but always truly thankful to the driving force behind it all, Nick. A massive thank you for organising and making the event come to life. I look forward to the next holiday destination and maybe one day offer a small contribution to ever-lasting memories for all.

Words by Ayden. Pictures by Ayden, Nigel, Chris, Leigh and Nick.

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