We stayed at affordable places – accommodation in Victoria can get steep – but there are always options. Our first two nights were spent at Melbourne’s Marriott Docklands ( meldl-melbourne-marriott-hotel-docklands) in a Deluxe Room, which was mid-priced at $260 and very nice – perfect for when you’ve just landed and are getting adjusted. It has a cool bar with amazing views at the top called Sunset House. We had a nice cocktail and looked at the rooftop pool – but I was too much of a namby to go in! The Marriott is right next to a shopping centre that has H&M, Zara, Cotton On and more, so I had a few trips because there were sales on! There’s a food court and supermarket nearby too, so we bought snacks and fillers from there. Marysville After a couple of days, and all shopped up, we headed up to Marysville in the Yarra Valley, less than two hours by car from Melbourne. The town is surrounded by amazing forest and the colours in autumn were just wonderful. Marysville is known for being badly hit by bushfires in the past; 1926 and 1939 were destructive, and it was nearly affected again in 1984 but they had done controlled burning around the town so the damage was limited. The last big one was in 2009, part of the devastating “Black Saturday” bushfires of that year.

There are some great little cafés and gift shops all on one main street. Steavenson Falls is walking distance too, and worth a visit. But the key focus has to be the scenery. There’s also snow (and skiing) in winter when temperatures are between four and nine degrees, so it’s a good option for any time of year depending on what you’re looking for. We stayed in a basic two-bed cabin at Marysville Holiday Park and it was lovely. There’s a little stream going through it and the shops are within walking distance. It’s a great base for discovering the area –we did a drive everymorning indifferent directions. The costwas around$170anight, for a cabin that includes your own little kitchen and living room. Beds were reasonably comfy too.

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