WILLY Wonka and his chocolate factory started the rot for many chocaholics, and the sprouting of chocolate factories throughout Australia means there’s no escaping the lure of the cocoa bean. Let’s face it – good chocolate is worth the drive! And Victoria in Australia is as good as place as any for unforgettable chocky experiences.
So, you’ve flown into Melbourne airport and picked up a hire car but not sure where all the oompa loompas are plying their craft? Here are five destinations worth the road trip …and the sugar hit, among other reasons to stay around and explore Melbourne and surrounds.
Sweet road trip No.1: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. Talk about a treat for the senses! Best of all it’s only about 45 minutes drive from the airport on a good traffic flow when you head east on the M80, Eltham Road and Old Healesville Road before you enter choc heaven for free chocolate tastings, thousands of premium chocolates and European chocolatiers at work handcrafting some sweet creations. There’s huge showroom and café nestled amongst sweeping valley vistas while you chomp into Ice creams, decadent sweet treats or lunch while the venue’s lawns, orchard and sculptures are great for kids to play and explore. Better still, spend some extra time in the Yarra Valley and go ballooning, check out some terrific cold climate wineries and even scoot over to Healesville Sanctuary to check out the Aussie wildlife.
Sweet road trip No.2:Panny’s Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. Looking to go a bit further? Head south and to the charms of a little coastal paradise known as Phillip Island. Take an exit on the West Gate Freeway and head for the South Gippsland and Bass highways for close to two hours before rolling up to the “sweetest and addictive tourist attraction” Phillip Island has to offer. Open every day, it’s difficult to leave this hotspot the minute you get a sniff of Belgian premium handmade chocolate. Then the kid in you takes control for all the activities at Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate exhibitions, sideshow alley, galleries – including a 2m tall statue of Michelangelo’s David – and a giant chocolate waterfall. Stay at the nearby Ramada Resort Phillip Island if you’re planning to discover some more of this popular tourist destination.
Sweet road trip No.3: Chocoholic Tours Melbourne is for those wanting to get into the city quickly (20 minutes from the airport), park at their city hotel, hit the footpath and get set for some of the best chocky tasting experiences on the planet. Chocoholic Tours Melbourne has chocolate-themed walking tours, including an afternoon chocolate and historical treats walk, a chocoholic brunch walk and a chocolate treats walk. There’s a tour on Fridays and a choice of five on Saturdays, but remember to book in advance.