Inverloch is about two hours' drive south-east of Melbourne in Victoria's Gippsland region on the state's south coast. Despite its relative proximity to the city, it retains a sleepy, country town vibe. There's only a small number of restaurants, takeaway joints and cafes, but enough to keep inner-city latte-sippers happy.
The town sits at the mouth of Andersons Inlet, so can offer the best of both worlds to beach-goers - a calm, shallow inlet for young kids and a (sometimes raging) surf beach for more experienced swimmers.
The RACV Inverloch Resort is a diverse place, with a large hotel building the centrepiece, overlooking a wetlands nature reserve and out to the ocean. There are self-contained cabins and a caravan park at the rear of the property, behind a playground including a giant bouncing pillow.
The hotel's restaurant features two-storey windows offering panoramic views of the coast. Next door is the hotel bar with similar views. There's a large, heated indoor swimming pool, games room, gym, sauna and spa. During school holidays the resort runs various kid-friendly activities.
My Premium Ocean View King Room makes the most of the location, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the ocean and across to Venus Bay.
The spacious terrace features a breakfast table and deckchair. The room fits somewhere between a regular hotel room and a serviced apartment – along with the obligatory pod-coffee machine, there's a microwave, sink, cutlery and crockery.
Storage space is generous – in addition to a wardrobe there is also a long bench with space on top and underneath for luggage and other items. A small desk sits with (oddly) two chairs in the corner and there are two armchairs.
The bathroom is large, with a high skylight, though there's no bath. Toiletries are from Biology. There's an empty bar fridge (aside from milk for the provided tea and coffee) but it can be stocked on request. A large wall-mounted TV sits opposite the bed.
When I ask a local friend for some recommendations of dining options in the area, the resort's own Radius makes her list. It's modern Australian, with standard meat and veg fare given an update. My mac and cheese croquettes feature cheese from the excellent local Prom Cheese Company, while the salt and pepper calamari is also very good.
For a main, I opt for the pork rib eye, which is excellent, and also take a taste of my partner's equally good beef strip loin. Both are sourced from local Gippsland farms.
The extensive buffet breakfast is also served in the restaurant.
A 10-minute walk down the hill to the beach should be done via the scenic route, following the track through the wetlands. While it's popular with aquatic birds, you'll probably see other wildlife – we see a flock of black cockatoos, bright pink galahs, several rainbow lorikeets and, at ground level, an echidna snuffling through the grass.
The beach directly in front of the resort has suffered erosion in recent times and at high tide there's little of it left. Fortunately, the main beach in town, a five-minute drive, has no such problems and is also where you'll find the calm inlet. Even if swimming's out (Victoria's wild, wet start to summer strikes during our visit), it's a pleasant place to stroll along the sand.
The RACV's Inverloch Resort is perhaps not as modern as some of its other coastal properties, but it's a fine place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for the weekend, with or without kids in tow.
Rooms at the resort start from $220 ($165 for RACV members).
The wetlands and wildlife at your doorstep.
It's a long walk to the pool from our room, which entails passing through reception in our bathrobes.
Craig Platt stayed as a guest of RACV