Take a post-festive season dip into the calming confines of the National Gallery of Victoria and the lovely Persimmon restaurant, a cooling glass box where the surrounding greenery provides a perfect backdrop. The seasonal menu features dishes such as chilled salmon with samphire, miso beef tenderloin and a $45 special for two courses and a glass of wine. Once you're relaxed and fed, go to the gallery shop for magnificent art books, pretty wallets, jewellery and curios.
Details: Ground level, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, 8620 2434
Cafe Vue Heide
Heide Museum of Modern Art, established by John and Sunday Reed, hosts incredible exhibitions at its historically significant and architecturally fascinating gallery, set in six hectares of rolling bushland. The gift store offers art-related books, homeware and limited-edition items made in collaboration with exhibiting artists. Relax at Cafe Vue with a glass of champagne and the Heide Garden Menu or buy one of the famous lunch boxes to take away and picnic in the grounds, re-enacting your own Le dejeuner sur l'herbe.
Details: 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, 9852 2346
McClelland Gallery Cafe
This sculpture park and gallery, an hour's drive from the city, is a 16-hectare wonderland of lakes and landscape and discovery, with more than 100 large-scale sculptures putting a crazy twist on the scene. The gift store is great for picking up design books, jewellery, ceramics and glass vases by Australian artists, before dining on trout and kipfler salad, beetroot tart or afternoon scones and coffee in the light and airy cafe.
Details: 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin, 9789 1671
Offer anyone a drive to the Yarra Valley for some art and lunch and you can twist their arm with a wink. Visit the striking TarraWarra Museum of Art, currently showing a Russell Drysdale exhibition, then head to the TarraWarra Estate cellar door for wine tastings and a fine-dining restaurant with a local and seasonal menu featuring dishes such as roasted rainbow trout or confit duck leg with lavender honey and thyme. Shop for wine packs from the estate or a limited-edition lamp from the gallery gift store.
Details: 311-315 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville, 5957 3510
Cam's Cafe, in St Heliers Street Store and Gallery at Abbotsford Convent, is a real charmer, with its wood interior, jars of lollies on the counter and soups, sandwiches and big dishes of rustic cauliflower salad being prepared in front of you. Stop in for coffee or a glass of wine, check out the gallery space for modern art and shop from a selection of independent books and handcrafted jewellery from the convent's artistic community.
Details: Ground floor, The Convent Building, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, 9415 8022