Travel

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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I’m on holidays, and i’m more depressed than I have been in a long time.

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Picture this: you’re on holidays. On the beautiful Coral Coast of Fiji, to be precise. You’re staying at a 5-star resort on its own island. The weather is absolutely beautiful, and the scenery stunning. You have delicious food. You have some of your favourite people around you. You’re doing all sorts of really cool, unique and relaxing things—things you may never experience again. And yet . . . something is missing. You feel empty.

Every day, at least six Australians will take their own lives, and at least 30 others will attempt to. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-24. We’re more likely to die from suicide than we are from skin cancer. Almost half of all Australians will experience some form of mental illness within their lives, with 65% not being able to access adequate treatment.  Despite all we know about depression, anxiety and other disorders, there’s still an incredible stigma attached.

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Nothing has to even go wrong for you to feel depressed. Please, be sensitive if a loved one has depression. Seek help. 

Depression is a truly horrible feeling. It’s not just being sad (though that is a really big part of it). It’s feeling guilty for feeling sad, it’s feeling anxious, it’s feeling desolate, it’s feeling overwhelmed, it’s feeling lonely, it’s feeling like no one understands, it’s feeling like things that once did or should bring you joy simply don’t, it’s feeling like you’re worthless. It’s hating yourself. It’s hating everyone else too, sometimes. The worst part of it is all these emotions are locked up inside of yourself. You don’t want to tell anyone, because you don’t want to bring them down, or you’re afraid they’ll judge you. You’re afraid they’ll simply say “cheer up”, like it were that simple. Or worse, that they’ll say you’re seeking attention. Things become both less and more important. You don’t want to feel like this. You know it’s illogical – but you can’t help it, and people who haven’t experienced it simply don’t understand that.

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You try to go out. You try to do normal things. You try to be okay. But you’re not–and that’s okay. Emotions are fleeting. Let yourself feel your emotions. Process them, validate them, and let them go. 

 

I’m sitting in my hotel room right now. Outside, the sun is shining. The palm trees are swaying pleasantly in the wind, and I can see little birds singing happily. There are beautiful flowers in the trees, and scattered on the grass. A carpet of frangipanis and other bright red flowers I don’t know the name of. The air is warm, whispering alluring secrets of happiness, and I can hear the sound of people laughing and children shrieking with joy. My family and friends are among them.

Nothing bad has happened. In fact, it’s been quite a wonderful holiday. I’ve explored caves, been immersed within Fijian culture, been treated to massages and manicures, snorkelled and seen beautiful fish, and been able to spend my days lounging around the beach. It sounds great, right? And I know it’s great.  I know I should feel happy. I know I should feel lucky, and privileged, and just relax. But it’s not that simple.  I’m sad, and everyone else around me is happy. They’re saying it’s the best holiday of their lives, and here I am, not exactly caring if I were to not wake up.

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Fiji is beautiful. Image via Instagram, @somethingbeginningwithz.

Maybe it’s just a spout of weakness, and maybe I’ll go outside, and all of this will be a bad dream. Maybe I’ll be able to shut it out. Focus on the small things. The good things. The sun is warm. I don’t have assignments due. The geckos are adorable. I bought a shell turtle wearing a hat and glasses. Those things are cool. Those things are good. Those are the things you have to focus on in order to not lose your mind.

Depression doesn’t go on holidays just because you do. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel sad, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for that. Talk to your loved ones—don’t bottle it up. Remember to ground yourself, take deep breaths and do small things you like and enjoy. If you think one of your loved ones is depressed, do not judge them. Do not criticise them. Do not get frustrated at their sadness, and do not tell them to “cheer up”; just be there for them. Be with them. Don’t give up on them. While they may not show it, I assure you, they’ll love you for it. Don’t become another statistic.

If you need help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or dial 000 if you are in immediate danger. Call 1800 273 825 if you need to chat, or click here to chat to someone online. You can get through this. You are loved. You are strong. You will destroy those feelings with success. I believe in you.