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Top 10 wedding destinations on the Great Ocean Road

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RACV Torquay Resort

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This 5-star rated location is set on the picturesque backdrop of Torquay and Jan Juc beaches, and only a 75-minute drive from the Melbourne CBD. Its main feature, the Great Ocean Road Ballroom, overlooks a stunning golf course and Port Phillip Bay, and can accommodate up to 270 guests for a banquet meal, or up to 410 guests for a cocktail event. The ballroom, filled with natural light, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, and can be transformed into smaller rooms for a more intimate setting. The resort features on-site ceremony services, with a selection of packages and accommodation options available. Featuring a family-friendly restaurant, bar, day spar, pool and playground, there’s something for the entire family. Prices range from $155-$180 per head. Located at 1 Great Ocean Road, this venue is sure to make your special day a day to remember.

Quii House Eco Meditation and Relaxation Retreat

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Located in Lorne, the Quii House Eco Meditation and Relocation Retreat prides itself on being the perfect space for your tranquil, green and eco-friendly wedding. It’s an architectural gem, set in the heart of the Otway National Park, combining simple luxury with fresh mountain air. Nuzzled between tall blue gums and abundant ferns in marshmallow clouds, it’s the perfect place to spark romance and relaxation. Listen to the natural bush orchestra, gaze at the stars and sip champagne on the sunset deck in perfect stillness. What better way to reconnect with nature?

Grand Pacific Hotel Lorne

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Built in 1875, this historic icon is located in the picturesque town of Lorne and will provide the perfect location for your special day. With custom packages available and outstanding views, the Grand Pacific Hotel caters for all wedding sizes, from 30 to 250 guests—and even has luxury accommodation available. Prices range from $79 to $125 per guest, with indoor and outdoor ceremony options available. Complete with a stylish menu, this venue may very well be the perfect place for your special day.

Peppers The Sands Torquay

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This sleek and modern wedding destination is snuggled in the sandy dunes of Torquay’s north headland. With indoor and outdoor ceremony options, this venue caters for all wedding sizes from two to 350 guests. To make your special day yours alone, Peppers The Sands only hosts one wedding per night—and even comes with your very own wedding coordinator, who will assist with planning, as well as on the day. The venue boasts exquisite views of the world-class 18-hole golf course, and the stunning costal environment. With mouth-watering cuisine, prices range from $99 to $159 per head And it’s all only an hour’s drive from Melbourne!

Wyndham Resort

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Located on the gateway of the Great Ocean Road in Torquay, the Wyndham Resort boasts a modern, contemporary design—and it’s only metres from the beach! The resort creates individual wedding packages, and can seat up to 250 guests for a banquet reception, and up to 350 guests for a cocktail party. The resort’s main feature is the Zeally Ballroom, which has floor-to-ceiling windows, and 180 degree panoramic views of the beautiful ocean and rugged coast line. You can retreat for some pampering at the Breathe Spa, or seek out the fully-equipped gym and relax in the indoor and outdoor swimming pool and spa areas, with shopping destinations, golf courses and museums only minutes away.  With the world-renowned surf beaches Bells and Jan Juc only a short drive away, it’s the perfect tourist destination, and only a 75-minute drive from Melbourne.

King Parrot Cottages and Event Centre

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Located in Pennyroyal, this 5-star rated venue boasts a rustic bush environment, perfect for any nature lover. You can have a formal event with a marquee and all the extras, or relax with a casual cocktail or picnic event. On-site accommodation is available through beautiful self-contained cottages, or the campground beside the bubbling creek on the valley floor—though other accommodation is also nearby. The reception area has a beautiful 190-degree north-facing view of the mystical bushlands, and is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Lorne Central

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With stunning ocean views, Lorne Central is the perfect destination for your beach-side wedding.  The venue features a large veranda which overlooks the Great Ocean Road and Lorne’s famous surf beach, and can cater for cocktail weddings with up to 200 guests, and a sit-down reception for up to 80 guests. With dedicated staff who will cater for your every need, midweek winter packages start from $80 per guest, and weekend summer packages start from a reasonable $90 per guest. Have specific requirements and budgets for your special day? Just ask—Lorne Central is more than happy to help make your day perfect and just for you.

Mantra Lorne

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The Mantra is nestled in 12 acres of landscaped gardens in the quiet seaside town of Lorne. With a beachfront location and heritage architecture, the venue boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush green grounds. It has a 5-star rating from a whopping 21 views, and caters for weddings of all sizes, with functions available for up to 300 people. The Manta has superb dining options with only the freshest ingredients, as well as a range of menus, venues and packages to choose from, and access to local celebrants, florists and entertainers. Prices start from $50 per person.

Lorne Beach Pavilion

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The Lorne Beach Pavilion is a stunning beach-front location with picture-perfect photo opportunities. It caters for guest lists of all sizes, offering a cocktail-style and seated menus, with options to upgrade, as well as a range of beverage packages. The venue has indoor and outdoor spaces with the capability to set up stunning marquees over the deck, and caters to different function themes and styles.

Growlers Torquay

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Get married on the beach and then walk across the road for your reception! This 5-star rated venue features stunning views of Torquay’s waterfront, and is only metres from the water. There are a variety of packages available for morning, afternoon and evening sessions, and they love to tailor to perfectly suit your needs. Up to 150 guests can be catered for at this stunning venue with waterfront views, and prices start from $135 per person.

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9 shows you should definitely be watching

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The Simpsons

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The Simpsons are an absolute classic.  Seriously, one of the best TV shows of all time, and excellent for binge-watching. Set in dysfunctional Springfield, the Simpsons are your average, wacky American family—except they’re not. Their personality traits get them into all sorts of trouble and adventures, whether it be Homer’s laziness or stupidity, Marge’s nagging, Lisa’s smarts or Bart’s bad-boy behaviour. Ay caramba!

Bob’s Burgers

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This show always makes me want to eat burgers.

Bob Belcher owns a burger shop with his wife Linda and three kids Gene, Tina, and Louise. This show is truly excellent with incredible comic relief, whether it be through Tina’s awkward butt obsession, Gene’s admiration of food and original music, or Louise—the youngest and seemingly cutest with pink bunny eats—with destruction. Bob has to control it all whilst trying to run a semi-functional diner. Bon appetite!

The Flash

Barry Allen is a forensic scientist by day and superhero by night— the fastest man alive. After a freak scientific accident hits his hometown of Central City and he—and many others—gain powers of unimaginable powers. Which would be fine if most of them didn’t turn out to be villains! Can Barry and his team at Star Labs defeat the meta humans? Will he find the meta human who violently murdered his mother all those years ago? Will Barry save the world, and the woman he loves?

Arrow

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Oliver Queen isn’t too bad on the eyes, either.

Oliver Queen was a playboy billionaire before his father’s boat crashed in a freak storm in the middle of the ocean. After spending five years in hell on a remote island conquering untold horrors, he returns from the dead. Once a soft, self-entitled lady’s man is now the best—and darkest—vigilante Starling City has ever seen. Oliver will do anything to protect the city and the ones he loves, but it doesn’t always work out so easy. Death follows this vigilante like a cloak, and his questionable past haunts him. Can he save his city?

Supergirl

Finally! A female superhero! Supergirl tells the story of Kara Zor-El, who was sent to Earth to protect her cousin, the great Man of Steel—but her pod was knocked off course, and by the time she arrived, Clarke Kent was already Superman. Kara must prove herself in the shadow of her cousin as she saves Earth from alien threats, all the while being the mistreated PA to media mogul Cat Grant. Talk about a double life! Well, she’s not Supergirl for nothing!

The 100

It’s 97 years after the Earth has been destroyed by nuclear Armageddon when a surviving colony of humans in space sends 100 juvenile prisoners to Earth to see if it’s still suitable for human life, in hopes of repopulating the Earth. They’re humanity’s last hope—but they soon discover that not all humanity was wiped out. There aren’t 100 of them for long!

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And The Big Gamble
Max’s souless stare is pretty much my life, TBH.

Max and Caroline have a dysfunctional roommate relationship—but somehow it, and everything else, seems to work out. Together, they own Max’s Homemade Cupcakes. Max’s dark humour combined with Caroline’s determination and optimism make for quite an interesting dynamic. They’re poor, they’ve got attitude, but most importantly, they have each other’s backs. Mostly.

America’s next top model

They’re ferocious. They’re gorgeous. They’re sassy. And they’re going to want to make you take some seriously banging selfies. Watch wannabe models fight for the title of America’s Top Model. There will be claws, there will be tears, but most of all, there will be some fantastic photos—and honestly,  some rather cringe-worthy ones! Bring it on!

Superstore

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Working in retail is hard—just ask any of the employees of the Cloud Nine superstore in Missouri, USA. Together, they face the daily grind of rude customers, boring training sessions and wacky encounters, all the while fostering valuable relationships.  Don’t let the name fool you—it’s super-funny! With a band of misfit employees, an airhead boss, and a non-nonsense assistant manager, this show will definitely tickle your funny bone.

22 major moments from season 3 of Real Housewives of Melbourne

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The Shane Warne Saga

Did Shane Warne ask Janet out? Was Lydia flirting with him? Will we ever know? Probably not.

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Aaaaaaawkwaaaaaard.

“I wanted to smack that Lydiot.”

The claws are OUT. Witty, Janet.

Those cringe-worthy moments between Lydia and her Asian housekeeper

“We’re going chong chong, not ching ching… Whatever, it all sounds the same to me.”

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Her face says it all.

When Pettifleur tries to get Gamble’s attention through rumours of her soon-to-be husband

“JUST LISTEN TO ME SUGARDADDY.COM.”

When Lydia forgets how to “spock”

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When Jackie becomes a psychic

Actually a very touching segment. Jackie tells Susie her grandmother Rosie is happy in heaven, delivering a heart-warming message. Grandfather Frank is there too, who is excited—of all things—that you can “smoke in heaven”.

Janet’s wise advise about child-making to Jackie

“Do you want a Scorpio or a Leo?… You don’t want a child that’s not compatible with you.”

 

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Wow, she should write a book about these revolutionary ideas.

When Gamble has the PERFECT come-back.

Pettifleur: “My perfume would smell sexy.”
Gamble: “Like cum?”
DEAR LORD.

When Gamble’s son Rick keeps it real about the 12-tier wedding cake

“Do your friends even eat calories?”

Pettifleur’s awkward initial rejection of Gamble’s wedding invite

Pettifleur: “I think you should think about it.”
Gamble: “Okay, I’ve thought about it. Get fucked.

Gina’s super awkward pre-wedding disappearance for a “private viewing party of Celebrity Apprentice

“Does watching yourself on TV mean more than your best friend’s wedding?”

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You can smell the betrayal already.

Gamble’s perfect wedding ceremony:

“It’s probably the most beautiful moment of my life.” Storms couldn’t wash away the perfect day—but wait, the storm comes later. In the form of disgruntled Housewives.

 

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Everything’s perfect… for now.

The perfect “aww” family moment

Gamble to Luke, her husband’s son: “If I couldn’t dreamt up a son in my wildest dreams, you’re the perfect, perfect son.”

Susie’s SUPER awkward date

This charmer has a super-evolved theory of two types of women—the ones you want to sleep with, and the unattractive ones you take to meet your mum. Cue Susie’s “help me” ear-ripping code.

When Gina’s “very happy with the D”

Good for you, Gina! By the way, we mean fragrance D for her perfume. Not something else. Get your heads out of the gutter.

When Lydia makes out with a seal

“It was divine. A seal has the hots for me? Never had that kind of fish on my lips.”

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Well, she is a self-proclaimed flirt.

When Lydia says Dubai “Feels like home”

I can’t keep up with all these zingers. She can’t even name what country Dubai is in.

When Pettifleur explodes and becomes a wordsmith

“STOP THE FUCK!” So eloquent.

When Janet has the hots for a Sheik

“We were on camels yesterday… Honestly, I could ride a camel ALL DAY.” Smooooooth.

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Oh, hello there.

When tensions between Gina and Gamble rise—and Gina is ice cold

“Don’t be a fucking sook about bullshit… I can’t be bothered.” Ouch.

Drag queen donkeys

THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER.

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Werk it, girlfriend.

When Gamble’s step-son Luke tells it like it is

“You have terrible choice in friends. They’re just a . . . violent pack of bitches.”

 

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Gamble, pretending Luke isn’t wrong.

And Jackie’s face—just because

 

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Really, her facial expressions MADE the show.

Remind me, why are they friends again?

How fitness trackers can help you EARN

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Health insurance is a major Australian industry, and when you can get cheaper car insurance for driving safely, it only makes sense that Australians could earn or save thousands a year just by walking—and your fitness trackers can help you do it.

Many insurers already offer members benefits for walking a certain amount of steps per day. AIA offers $5 weekly vouchers for iTunes, Hoyts, Woolworths and Boost Juice for completing 12,500 steps per day, while others offer discounted premiums for staying active.

Medibank’s partnership with Coles offers 10 Fly buys points for every day customers reach 10,000 steps on their fitness trackers, which equates to about five cents. Similarly, Qantas gives frequent flyers the ability to earn points by cycling through the Qantas Assure Wellness Rewards program—although to earn 100 points, participants would need to ride 100km a week.

One US health insurer even will deposit actual cash into an account for members who complete a certain amount of steps a day.

Amy McDonough, senior vice president of strategy and operations for Fitbit Health Solutions, said the scheme can have a big impact on adding value for life—and these types of schemes are resonating with people.

“It’s heading in the right direction, and we’re really excited about that.”

Sex is not the rent you pay to be a woman.

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Image by Simone Becchetti via the Huffington Post.

“You can’t just change your mind after it’s happened,” he told me.

“You can’t decide later you didn’t want to have sex with them.”

At the time, I agreed with him. I was eighteen-years-old and naïve. He was a friend—let’s call him S—and he was of the opinion that women couldn’t change their minds about whether they wanted sex with someone. Allegedly, he’d slept with a woman, who had later said she didn’t want it to happen.

To him, she’d lied. To him, she’d changed her mind, purely for the purpose of making him to look bad. But what if she’d never wanted it all along? What if she’d acquiesced? What if she hadn’t thought her input was all that important—only to realise otherwise later?

Last year, I was dating a guy who cheated on me. Instead of breaking up—like we really should have—I desperately tried to make it work. That night, we slept together—even though I really didn’t want to (I mean, who would after finding that information out?).

At the time, I brushed it off. At the time, it didn’t seem important. And even though I didn’t want to, he was pleased—so it was okay, right?

Wrong.

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Sometimes we don’t realise what it is until later. Image via Women’s Agenda.

After we finally broke up, I realised how messed up that was. I’d told him no. I’d tried to push him off. But eventually, I gave in. I didn’t have the effort to fight him. But acquiescing isn’t consent—and I don’t think even he realises what happened.

Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon theme for women. Every female friend I’ve spoken to told me similar stories—stories where they say no, but give in anyway.

But we don’t talk about it. Because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of people like S telling others we’re making it up, that we’re just trying to make them look bad. We’re afraid of telling the person—only to have them become angry and hurt us. We’re in a culture where women are belittled and objectified.

If you haven’t consented, if you’ve actively tried to stop it happening, it’s rape—even if you eventually relented. And it is not your fault.

Ladies and gentlemen: sex is not the rent you pay to be a woman—to be a human. You don’t have to sleep with anyone. And yes, you sure as hell can change your damn mind.

Zoe is a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter for more!

Can we please talk about male entitlement?

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News flash: no one owes you anything. Image via Everyday Feminism.

Last Friday night reminded me of why I avoid going out: men. And no, not all men—just a certain type of men. The one who prowls clubs looking for a partner to do the dirty with. The one who thinks he’s entitled to your attention. The one who’s shocked to find out he’s not.

But that’s what it’s like when you go out in a small town.

It was karaoke night—and there were only around 20 patrons in the entire club. It was the first time I’d gone out in months—with my mum and best friend, no less. But of course, when there’s a woman, there will be a man thinking he’s entitled to her attention.

A random guy came up and put his hand on my back.

“Come on, come up and dance. Support my buddy,” he said.

Firstly, no. Take your hands off me. You have no right to touch me—even if it is just my back. The location isn’t important: the lack of consent is.

“No thanks!” I replied. Because dancing in front of some random dude who thinks that’s a sign i’ll go home with him is probably the last thing I want to do.

“No?” he was shocked I’d refused—and with no excuse either!

“No,” I responded, smiling and waving my wine glass.

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Yes, I am happy with my wine. No, I don’t need your attention. Image via Inside Amy Schumer.

With that, he left, shaking his head. What a shock that must have been! A simple “no”, rather than an excuse. I didn’t tell him I wasn’t drunk enough to go dance, I didn’t tell him I had a boyfriend, I didn’t tell him I wasn’t at all interested: I just told him no—and that’s how it should be.

Ladies and gentlemen: you don’t owe anyone anything. It’s not bitchy to refuse. It’s not rude to refuse. It’s your right. Just because a member of the opposite sex happens to smile at you doesn’t mean you have to do anything. You don’t owe him anything. Women do not exist to pump up Male egos.

I’ll repeat that: women do not exist to pump up male egos.

And really, if your ego can be shattered by a person saying no, you probably weren’t all that good to begin with.

Zoe is a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter for more!

I don’t want children. But my stretch marks are still beautiful.

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Image via Instagram, @LoveYourLines.

Stretch marks. Those tiny and sometimes not so tiny pink lightning bolts that adorn most of our bodies. They signify life. They signify change. And often, they signify you’ve created. We have all seen those posts praising women for their post-baby bodies, proudly showcasing their stretch marks and soft bellies—and that’s absolutely fantastic. I am utterly ecstatic for them—they’ve done something absolutely phenomenal, and have the courage to tell society to eff its standards of womanhood: that idea of a skinny, yet big-breasted, yet curvy woman with perfect skin, long hair and a sweet, meek smile. We see posts about women openly declaring love for their bodies, stretch marks and all, saying phrases like “my body created life” and loving it more because of that.

While this is so fantastic and awesome, I can’t help but think it creates a dichotomy between two kinds of women—a divide—between those who have and want children, and those who don’t or can’t.

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Image via Facebook.

Is this just another way we women have been conditioned to pit ourselves against each other?

I haven’t given birth—nor do I want to. And like most women, I have stretch marks too—around my thighs, around my hips, and around my breasts. It’s inevitable. It’s a part of life, growing and changing. And as I age, I come to love my body more and more—even if it isn’t supermodel skinny, even if my belly is soft, even if my thighs touch, and a whole lot of other things that happen. But why can’t my stretch marks and soft belly be celebrated as “beautiful”, even if I haven’t given birth to achieve them? They’re a fact of life. And I think emphasis needs to be taken off celebrating bodies based on what they have or haven’t done.

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There’s already a significant stigma against women who don’t want children. That oh, you’ll change your mind or your life isn’t complete until you’ve had kids or you don’t know happiness until you’ve heard your child’s laugh or worse: you’re still young. You’ll realise how great having kids is.

Thanks. I didn’t realise my life, my worth and my value revolved around popping out miniature versions of me and my partner (gosh, that would be trouble). I’m perfectly happy not going through that experience, thank you very much.

As a social community, we adore and stand behind women who’ve had children and choose to wear bikinis in public. We stand behind these mothers, and we call them brave (which they are). But should we really be teaching and continuing this idea that we can only love ourselves entirely if we’ve borne children? Is this really the message we want to send to young girls? “Your life isn’t complete until you’ve had a baby”.

We should all be proud of our bodies, and proud of our tiger stripes. And if we continue to praise women for their soft bellies, stretch marks and so on, only if they’ve had children, we continue to perpetuate this way we differentiate and place value upon different choices. We continue to perpetuate the idea that children complete your life—which is obviously a terrible notion for women who don’t want children, and women (including trans women) who can’t. Just because my body hasn’t been through a miraculous experience like giving birth does not mean I am any less deserving of celebration. I shouldn’t have to go through that to be comfortable with my lack of a thigh gap, with my stretch marks, with my comfy belly. I am a happy, healthy human being: isn’t that enough?

We need to celebrate our bodies, not for what they have or haven’t done, but for the simple fact that we are human—and all humans deserve to be able to celebrate their bodies: and be supported and cheered for doing so. There’s so much negativity in the media about women: please, ladies: can we just love our bodies for how they are?

Zoe is a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. You check out more of her work on Facebook and Twitter.