If you love a dramatic beach scape and bracing weather – Aireys Inlet is a winter getaway that delivers. The flip-side is the joy of being inside snuggled with a good book or board game watching the weather pass by.
Thank you to guest reviewer Sally T. Ridden for these fabulous words and gorgeous photos.
Winter Getaway: Aireys Inlet
As a solo parent this year I wanted to ensure Mother’s Day was special, shared and memorable as last year I just let it slip by. So I decided to organise a getaway with my 3.5 year old son, his favourite girlfriend and her family. The destination… one of the most picturesque best kept secrets along the Great Ocean Road; beautiful, coastal hamlet Aireys Inlet, a small town located 120km south-west of Melbourne (about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne CBD).
Tranquil and serene, yet atmospheric; this winter getaway will ensure that your every breath is incredibly invigorated and includes a scenic backdrop of winding roads and wide open beaches. Add to that the selection of impressive natural marine and national parks. A long weekend might not be long enough to take it all in.
For accommodation we stayed at the modern double storey spacious beach house Shells at Aireys (stayz # 108079) with beachfront access down a wooden and nature footpath 10m to Sandy Gully Beach. It was simply perfect for our families. A master bedroom with walk through robes, a 2nd queen size bedroom, both bedrooms with a relaxing zen garden outlook, a spacious bathroom with oversized bath and fabulous shower head pressure, kids bunk room with 4 singles, rumpus living room / tv den, laundry drying room and outdoor shower all downstairs. Up the stairwell (I would suggest bring your childproof stairwell gate if you have very little inquisitive ones), a natural glass lit expansive 2nd level living, dining and sleek modern kitchen areas accessing spacious furnished rear and front decks with bbq, tree top views from the back windows and panoramic weather watching beachfront views front facing .
We copped torrential downpours of rain, hail, rainbows and finally sunshine over the weekend and got to witness the best of nature’s elements from the front balcony and glassed window sea views. The heating throughout allowed us to capture the wild weather whilst being protected in the relaxed family friendly beachside home.
We braved a break in the wild weather on an adventure along just one of the many fabulous cliff top walks, a 3.5 km 40 minute coastal trek (probably only a 20 minute sans three pre-schoolers!) in order to get up close with the famous landmark Split Point Light House, aka “great white lady”. Tours inside and up the “white queen” are available on the hour, over weekends. You can also view other heritage-listed buildings such as the historic Bark Hut, the Allen Noble Sanctuary and the Memorial Cairn alongside the panoramic ocean and coastline view.
A warming snack at Willows, located beside the lighthouse, offers healthy food, homemade yumminess, plenty of wall art, fabulous scones (and even curry in winter months) and there’s also a great outdoor dining area for the kids to explore, no matter what the weather. Most of the lovely quaint shops and restaurants throughout Aireys Inlet offer friendly business, with local delicacies, wines and fresh produce to rave about, unfortunately we did not get to “do” the foodie must do A La Grecque on this visit. Do pop past the iconic Aireys Pub, even with children – plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run free whilst you enjoy the food, live music, fabulous views and an array of winter events. There is a little licensed general store in Aireys for groceries, otherwise stock up at Anglesea IGA (12 minutes towards Melbourne) or Woolies back in Torquay.
On Sunday we were blessed for Mother’s Day afternoon when the clouds cleared and we got to enjoy the beach just a two minute walk from our front door down to a secluded beautiful inlet beach with its own ocean rock pools. Barefoot in the sand or gum-booted, this beach was invigorating and exhilarating in the cold. Further along (either a quick car drive or continue past the lighthouse hiking trail, weather permitting of course) is the child friendly Inlet and open Fairhaven beach & Life Saving Club (patrolled during summer months) when tide is low the beach is so long you can walk to Lorne pier!
There are of course guided and commercial walk tours covering 66km of Surf Coast, flora, fauna, hills, bushland, waterfalls and the Great Otway National Park.
Pop into Aireys Inlet Community Sunday Market to further sample local yumminess. Showcasing some of the Aireys Inlet reputation for live music and entertainment, arts events and culture, local talented artists and a flourishing literary hub can be found at the Sunday Market located at the Community Centre.
If you are looking for playgrounds the Community Centre has one, as well as the Bark Hut Reserve. Picturesque Painkalac Creek Playground is a reserve adjoining a Skate Park and also offers BBQ picnic facilities.
You can choose to do so much in Aireys Inlet or it’s the perfect backdrop to unwind and do very little. It is safe and special. The list of available activities goes on… bird watching, surfing, flying, fishing, art galleries, cycling, parks, adventure sports, tree top walks to pristine beach strolls hand in hand along inhaling and exhaling.
Surprise yourselves. Warm up your winter, go stay, relax, re-ignite and invigorate exploring Aireys Inlet. Simply enjoy the drive. Jump online and see exactly what is on during your stay this winter
Shells at Aireys (via Stayz) is offering meetoo readers a very special three night winter weekend package (Fri, Sat & Sun) for only $1000 for six guests and will welcome you with a complimentary arrival bottle of wine and late check-out of 1pm. Book online using reference. Dates are from 01 June – 31 Aug 2015. Enter code: Shellsretreat1 on online booking/enquiry to get this sensational deal.