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Friday 25 April 2014

Queenscliff - the perfect place to do absolutely nothing

There are few places where strolling around doing nothing are as appealing as Queenscliff, once the de rigueur holiday destination for Melbourne’s rich and famous.

Many Victorian-era buildings and an old-style pier (right) remain intact in this historic old resort town, 30 kilometres from Geelong by road and a ferry ride from Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.

Many visitors enjoy taking a steam train ride along part of the old railway track to Melbourne, while others are content just to walk out along the pier past the stoic fishermen.

This is also a slow-paced shoppers’ heaven with a wide range of arts and crafts stores, old-fashioned sweet shops, places selling hand-made jewellery (my wife was particularly taken by the earrings at Portobello and underwent some retail therapy) and second-hand bookshops. There are half-a-dozen galleries selling the work of local artists.

The Vue Grand Hotel serves modern cuisine to an appreciative local audience. Casual Ginger Mai's and the Couta Boat Café are also popular.
We were also delighted to find an excellent providores store that would not be out of place in Paddington or South Yarra; Farm Foods.
There are probably a couple of dozen places to stay if sea breezes and long walks are your thing, ranging from the Athelstane House and the venerable Vue Grand to self-catering options including Banks at Queenscliffe and Ruby's bed and breakfast. 

The Vue Grand is an iconic and historic 32-room boutique hotel with a range of comfortable  accommodation, including the Turret Suite with its magical water views. 
Try the Grand Dining Room for a fine experience (sample a five-course menu for $85, or $135 matched withe Bellarine Peninsula wines), or perhaps the Vue Street Bar for a more relaxed meal and a glass or two of craft beer.
The Vue Grand Hotel, 46 Hesse Street, Queenscliff, Victoria. (03) 5258 1544.

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