Quality Hotel Taylors Lakes
7 Melton Highway
Taylors Lakes, VI 3038
Phone: (61) 3 92179500
Fax: (61) 3 93909609
Horseshoe Bend Farm is an urban farm with lots of animals straight out of the "Old Macdonald" song to delight the little ones. Pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, and horses are all there to be patted and admired, while the more mechanically minded young ones can inspect (and climb on) the old tractors and farm equipment. The original farm house has been converted into a tea house and shop, surrounded by a lovely cottage garden. The Farm caters well for groups and can provide pony rides and guided tours by prior arrangement.
A 20-minute drive down the Calder Freeway brings you to the Calder Park Motor Raceway, also known as "The Thunderdome". For complete details about the racing schedule, check website.
Quang Minh Temple is located in the picturesque suburb of Baybrook. Built by Vietnamese Buddhist immigrants in Victoria, lead by venerable Thích Tắc Phước, the congregation associated with this place dates back to the 1980s. Embodying its name, which means 'bright light', it continues to show the way to the followers of Buddhism in Australia. This temple is also the venue for the annual Quang Minh Tet festival.
Sunbury is a maritime influenced region, where basalt clay based vineyards produce full bodied, full flavored red and white wines. Wildwood is Melbourne's closest winery, where a long, cool ripening period produces elegant but intensely fruity wines. Visitors can taste the multi layered Chardonnay and berry fruited Cabernets, as well as Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot/Cabernet Franc. One of the most interesting wines here is the perfumed Viognier. Interesting wine and food pairings can be tried at the Wildwood Cafe.
Not far from Moonee Valley Racecourse and the bustling Moonee Ponds shopping center lies the peaceful and pretty Queens Park. Like a miniature version of Melbourne's Botanic Gardens it has a lake, complete with ducks and other feathered creatures, and enough flowers, shrubs and trees to keep budding horticulturists happy. There are interesting and challenging adventure playgrounds to explore, as well as a maze featuring art works and sculptures. If all this makes the tribe hungry you can adjourn to Max's Tea Rooms for a snack or a meal.
The home to the race that stops the nation, Flemington Racecourse is the place to be on the first Tuesday in November when Australia's richest horse race, the Melbourne Cup is held. The race attracts the premier thoroughbreds from Australia and New Zealand with a handful of overseas raiders also trying their luck. Check website for more details.
Established in 1917, the Moonee Valley Racing Club hosts the prestigious Carlton Draught Cox Plate race. Spectator facilities at the track are probably the best in Melbourne, with the grandstand situated closer to the track than anywhere else. Throughout the year, harness racing is also held on Saturday nights, with the Interdom series held during January and February, attracting some of the best pacers and trotters in the land. Moonee Valley is also the first venue to host thoroughbred racing periodically throughout the year.
Right on Melbourne's doorstep, the Sunbury wine region is officially classified as a cool climate area, but is still a suitable place to ripen red grapes. Shiraz and Cabernet do well here, as does Chardonnay. Goona Warra was originally established as a winery in 1863 and replanted several years later, in 1983. The original blue stone winery makes for a memorable setting to taste their herbal, spicy Semillon and vibrant cherry flavored Cabernet Franc. They also produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The popularity of this vineyard for lunch and afternoon tea on Sundays, only means booking is advised.
The Brunswick Town Hall is a historic structure built in 1876 in the style of the second empire. It can be booked for weddings, festivals, markets, exhibitions, concerts and other events. Its old-world feel makes it the most-sought after venue for locals and tourists alike.
Founded in 1862, Melbourne Zoo is Australia's oldest and the third oldest in the world. It has changed greatly over the years, replacing the old barred cages and pits with more animal friendly enclosures. The zoo is divided into bio-climatic zones using landscape immersion to help animals acclimatise to the Australian environment and is at the forefront of the captive Lowland Gorilla breeding program. The butterfly house, lion park and primate enclosure are among the highlights. In summer locals flock to the twilight jazz sessions.
The only clue that this great park was once a quarry and landfill is the design of the picnic shelters. Built out of rough timber and corrugated iron to resemble the quarry workers' huts, the shelters provide protection from the elements and can be reserved by phone. The park is large enough to have its own full-time ranger and features a lake, fantastic adventure playground, amphitheater, walking tracks and barbecues. A wetlands area planted with native flora is now home to many species of birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Opened in 1978, this Bridge is one of Melbourne's most prominent landmarks and is Australia's second-longest bridge. Construction began in 1965. On October 15, 1971 a section of the bridge collapsed killing 35 workers in one of Australia's worst industrial accidents. There is a memorial park under the bridge at Spotswood to honor the dead. Tolling was lifted from the bridge in 1985 when the State Government deemed it had been paid for. It is now the main link between Melbourne, the historic port town of Williamstown and the satellite city of Geelong.