Day Trips From Melbourne
Melbourne, Australia, is an exciting and vibrant city with many activities and attractions. Unfortunately, the city is also known for its congested traffic, making it difficult for travellers to escape the hustle and bustle. Fortunately, many great day trips from Melbourne can help give you a break from city life and enjoy some breathtaking scenery without spending too much time on the road.
What to expect from a Day Trip
Melbourne is a vibrant city with much to offer, but sometimes it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle and explore the beauty outside the city limits. Fortunately, many incredible day trip options from Melbourne allow you to do just that.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, a scenic drive through the countryside, or an adventure in the great outdoors, there’s a day trip option. Some popular day trip destinations include Phillip Island, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, and the Great Ocean Road.
Phillip Island is home to some of Australia’s most famous wildlife, including penguins, seals, and wallabies. The island is also known for its beautiful beaches and stunning coastal views. Visiting the island’s wildlife parks is a must if you’re an animal lover.
Yarra Valley is a wine lover’s paradise, with over 80 wineries and vineyards to explore. The area is also known for its gourmet food and picturesque countryside, making it the perfect destination for a relaxing day of indulgence.
Mornington Peninsula is an excellent option for outdoor activities, with hiking, horse riding, and surfing opportunities. The region is also home to beautiful beaches and hot springs, perfect for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation.
The Great Ocean Road is a must-do for any visitor to Melbourne, with breathtaking ocean views and famous landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. A day trip along this iconic coastal route is sure to be unforgettable.
No matter your day trip destination, you can expect to be surrounded by natural beauty and Australian wildlife. So pack your bags, hop in the car, and prepare for an incredible day exploring the best of Melbourne’s surrounding regions.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Victoria, Australia. This iconic 151-mile stretch of road winds along the rugged coastline from Torquay to Allansford, offering breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean and some of the most stunning natural wonders in the world.
One of the biggest draws of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles. These towering limestone pillars rising from the ocean are a sight to behold. Visitors can take a helicopter ride over the cornerstones for a bird’s eye view or walk to the edge of the cliffs and marvel at the sheer size of these geological wonders up close.
But the Twelve Apostles are just the beginning of what the Great Ocean Road offers. Visitors can also explore Loch Ard Gorge, a stunning formation carved out of the coastline by the forces of the ocean. Visitors can wander through the gorge, admiring the towering cliffs and crystal clear waters and learning about the tragic shipwreck that gave the valley its name.
Another highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the Otway Ranges. This lush rainforest is home to wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies. Visitors can walk through the forest on one of the many hiking trails or drive up to the Cape Otway lighthouse for incredible panoramic views of the coastline.
Finally, every trip to the Great Ocean Road would only be complete with a visit to the stunning beaches of Apollo Bay and Lorne. These picturesque seaside towns offer various activities, from surfing, swimming, hiking, and relaxing on the sand. Visitors can stroll along the beach, dip their toes in the ocean or unwind in the charming cafes and restaurants.
Phillip Island's Penguin Parade
Just a short drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is home to a unique and enchanting experience– the penguin parade. Every evening at sunset, hundreds of little penguins emerge from the ocean onto the beach to return to their nests in the dunes. This daily event draws thousands of visitors each year, all eager to witness this natural wonder up close.
The penguins, also known as fairy penguins or little penguins, are the smallest and are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand. Visitors can watch from boardwalks and observation points as the penguins waddle up the beach, across the dunes and into caves, making their way home for the night.
Several options are available for tourists hoping to enjoy the penguin parade, including guided tours, which offer informative commentary about the penguin’s behaviour and habitat. Visitors can also participate in various activities such as penguin spotting, watching live feeding sessions, touring the penguin hospital and exploring the interpretive centre.
While the penguin parade is the main attraction on Phillip Island, there are other draws. The island is also home to beautiful beaches, wildlife preserves, and stunning natural parks that offer hiking, biking and water activities. Visitors can also try fishing, go dolphin or seal watching, or visit the famous Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit, a world-renowned racing track.
Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, nature lover, or just looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade is the perfect day trip from Melbourne. With some planning, visitors can witness one of nature’s most spectacular events and create unforgettable memories.
The Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is a popular day trip destination for visitors to Melbourne. Located just an hour’s drive from the city, the peninsula offers a picturesque landscape of rolling hills, stunning vistas, and pristine beaches.
One of the top attractions on the peninsula is the Peninsula Hot Springs. These natural mineral springs are said to be therapeutic and offer visitors a chance to soak and relax in warm pools surrounded by beautiful scenery. The hot springs also offer a range of spa treatments, including massages and facials, making it a perfect place for a pampering day trip.
For wine lovers, the Mornington Peninsula is home to several wineries and vineyards, many of which offer tastings and tours. The Yarra Valley Dairy is among them, where visitors can sample their award-winning cheese while overlooking the stunning countryside.
The seaside town of Mornington is also worth a visit, with its charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can stroll along the pier and take in the views of the harbour or enjoy a swim at the beautiful, family-friendly beach.
Those who love nature can explore the peninsula’s National Parks, which offer a range of activities from hiking and bushwalking to wildlife spotting. The Cape Schanck Lighthouse is also a popular spot to visit, offering incredible panoramic views of the coastline.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Located in the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, Wilsons Promontory National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Known to the locals as “The Prom”, this stunning national park is filled with rugged coastal landscapes, pristine beaches, and abundant unique flora and fauna.
One of the most popular spots in the park is Squeaky Beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand beach where the sand squeaks beneath your feet. This unusual phenomenon occurs because the sand comprises pure quartz crystals, giving it a distinct sound when walking on. Visitors can also explore nearby Whisky Bay, a secluded cove with crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
Hikers will love exploring the numerous walking trails in the park, ranging from strolls to challenging multi-day treks. The Prom offers over 80 kilometres of hiking trails, each providing stunning views of the park’s diverse landscape and unique wildlife. The Wilsons Promontory Circuit is a popular 3-day trek that takes hikers through forests, across rivers, and up to breathtaking lookout points.
For animal lovers, the park is home to various native wildlife, including wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, and even the rare long-nosed potoroo. Visitors can also spot seals and dolphins off the coast and migrating whales during the winter months.
In addition to the park’s natural wonders, Wilsons Promontory has a rich cultural history dating back to the Indigenous Boonwurrung and Gunai-Kurnai peoples. Visitors can learn about their traditions and stories at the Tidal River Cultural Walk, which takes hikers through sites of significance along the coast.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, a relaxing beach day, or a chance to spot unique wildlife, Wilsons Promontory National Park has something for everyone. Make sure to add it to your list of must-visit destinations in Australi
The Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley
The Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley are two of the most picturesque destinations in Victoria and are just a short drive away from Melbourne. These two areas offer a unique day trip experience that combines scenic drives, lush vineyards, stunning nature walks, and charming small towns.
The Dandenong Ranges are located less than an hour from Melbourne and are home to towering eucalyptus trees, meandering creeks, and breathtaking views. One of the most popular things in the Dandenong Ranges is riding on the iconic Puffing Billy steam train. This historic train travels through the stunning mountain scenery and takes visitors through time. For those who prefer to stay on foot, several nature walks and hiking trails offer rewarding views of the lush valley.
Just around the corner from the Dandenong Ranges is the Yarra Valley. This region is renowned for its world-class wineries, award-winning restaurants, and stunning scenery. Visitors to the Yarra Valley can enjoy a day of wine tasting, cheese sampling, and gourmet food pairing. Some of the top vineyards to visit include Yering Station, one of the region’s oldest wineries, and Domaine Chandon, which produces some of the best sparkling wines in Australia.
Aside from wine tasting, visitors to the Yarra Valley can also explore the picturesque town of Healesville, home to the popular Healesville Sanctuary wildlife park. Visitors can get up close and personal with some of Australia’s iconic animals, including kangaroos, koalas, and wombats.
Combining the Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley makes for an unforgettable day trip experience that offers the best of both worlds. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a scenic drive, sample some of the region’s best wines, or get a closer look at Australia’s unique wildlife, this day trip will surely be remembered.
Daylesford: Day Spas and Mineral Springs
If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip from Melbourne, look no further than Daylesford. This charming town is known for its natural mineral springs and luxurious day spas, making it the perfect destination for those needing some pampering.
One of the highlights of Daylesford is the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, a historic bathing complex that dates back to 1895. Visitors can soak in the warm mineral waters and indulge in various spa treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps. The mineral waters are believed to have healing properties, and many people come to the bathhouse to relieve aches and pains, reduce stress, and improve their overall well-being.
Another famous spa in Daylesford is the Salus Spa at Lake House, a beautiful retreat nestled among the trees on the shores of Lake Daylesford. Here, visitors can enjoy a range of luxurious treatments, including massages, facials, and body scrubs, and take in the stunning views of the lake and surrounding bushland.
If you prefer to explore the mineral springs on your own, head to the Hepburn Regional Park, where you’ll find a variety of natural springs to discover. You can stroll through the park, stopping each spring to soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters and breathe fresh air.
In addition to the spas and mineral springs, Daylesford is also known for its artisanal food and wine scene. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and boutique wineries to explore, with many sourcing local, organic ingredients and serving them in delicious, creative dishes.
Grampians National Park
Nestled in the heart of Victoria, the Grampians National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. The park offers an incredible mix of natural wonders, from soaring mountain peaks to cascading waterfalls and lush, forested valleys. With many hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and scenic lookout points, the Grampians is the ultimate destination for adventure.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is Mackenzie Falls. Here, visitors can marvel at the sheer power of the falling water as it plunges into a deep pool below. This spectacular waterfall is one of the largest in the state and can be accessed via a well-maintained walking trail.
Another must-see spot in the park is the iconic Boroka Lookout. This lookout point offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the stunning Fyans Valley and Lake Bellfield. Visitors can take a short walk up to the lookout, where they will be met with breathtaking views that stretch for miles.
For those looking for a challenge, the Grampians offers some of the best rock climbing in the country. With over 2,000 climbing routes, ranging from beginner to advanced level, climbers can explore the rugged sandstone cliffs that dot the park’s landscape.
Animal lovers will also be delighted by the Grampians, as the park is home to various native wildlife. Visitors can spot kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and echidnas while exploring the park’s many walking trails.
Sovereign Hill at Ballarat
Sovereign Hill is a famous and fascinating outdoor museum in Ballarat, just an hour and a half outside Melbourne. It offers visitors a chance to return to the 1850s gold rush era, depicting what life was like for the miners and their families during this exciting and tumultuous time in Australia’s history.
When you visit Sovereign Hill, you will be transported to an authentic re-creation of a gold rush town. The town is complete with Victorian-era buildings, dirt roads, and costumed interpreters who will help you explore the activities that were a part of daily life during that time. You can try gold panning, blacksmithing, candle dipping, and other traditional crafts. You can even take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the town and experience what it was like to travel back then.
One of the most fascinating attractions at Sovereign Hill is the Red Hill Mine. Visitors can take a guided tour of the underground mine, learning about the tools and techniques used to extract gold from the earth. You can also watch blacksmiths work in the original blacksmith shop and see how they forged tools and equipment used in mining.
In addition to its historical significance, Sovereign Hill is also a fun and exciting destination for the whole family. Kids will love visiting the animals at the farm, riding the old-fashioned school bus, and watching a traditional pantomime show. For older visitors, there are plenty of shops to explore, selling traditional handicrafts, jewellery, and souvenirs.
There are also several dining options at Sovereign Hill, including the New York Bakery, which serves delicious pies and pastries, and the sweet shop, where you can indulge in old-fashioned lollies and sweets. To top it all off, you can enjoy a pint at the Hope Bakery, a working 1850s pub that serves beer brewed traditionally.
Mount Buller Skiing
Located just three hours northeast of Melbourne, Mount Buller is a popular winter destination for skiing enthusiasts and snow lovers. With its snow-capped peaks, picturesque lodges, and various ski runs suitable for all levels of expertise, Mount Buller is the perfect place to hit the slopes and enjoy some winter fun.
Whether you are a seasoned skier or a first-timer, Mount Buller has something to offer. The resort boasts 300 hectares of skiable terrain with 22 lifts, 80 ski runs, and plenty of off-piste options for those looking for a challenge. Beginners can take advantage of the mountain’s multiple learn-to-ski programs and ski schools, while more advanced skiers can test their skills on the black diamond runs.
Mount Buller still offers plenty of activities if you’re not keen on skiing. You can try snowboarding, tobogganing, or snowshoeing, or take in the breathtaking views with a scenic chairlift ride. For a unique experience, you can even take a guided snowmobile tour through the alpine terrain and soak up the mountain scenery.
Mount Buller is also home to many amenities, including cozy lodges, restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. You can stay in one of the ski-in/ski-out lodges or take a short shuttle to your accommodation. The village atmosphere also offers a range of dining options, from family-friendly pizza restaurants to fine-dining options.
Hanging Rock Reserve, The Macedon Ranges
Nestled in the picturesque Macedon Ranges, Hanging Rock Reserve is one of Victoria’s most stunning natural landmarks. The rock formation is over six million years old and is famously known for its appearance in the novel and movie adaptation of “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” The reserve’s rugged beauty, rich history, and captivating mystery make it a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike.
Hanging Rock Reserve boasts a range of activities for all ages and interests. For those who love adventure sports, there are abseiling, rock climbing, and high ropes courses. The reserve also has many walking trails, ranging from strolls to more challenging hikes. The most famous of these is the summit walk, which rewards visitors with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
In addition to its outdoor activities, Hanging Rock Reserve is home to a range of cultural experiences. Visitors can explore the Hanging Rock Discovery Centre, which offers an interactive experience detailing the geological and cultural history of the reserve. A museum also showcases the movie memorabilia and artifacts related to the novel.
The reserve offers perfect picnic spots, BBQ facilities, and playgrounds for relaxing and enjoying the natural surroundings. The Hanging Rock Café offers delicious food and drinks, including the famous “Hanging Rock pies.”
The best time to visit Hanging Rock Reserve is during the warmer months, but it’s a popular destination year-round. It’s easy to spend a whole day at the reserve, but it’s also an excellent location for a short day trip from Melbourne. With its exotic wildlife, rich history, and stunning landscape, Hanging Rock Reserve is an ideal destination for a unique and memorable day trip.
Some popular day trip destinations from Melbourne include the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, Mornington Peninsula, Wilsons Promontory National Park, the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley, Daylesford, Grampians National Park, Sovereign Hill at Ballarat, Mount Buller, and Hanging Rock Reserve in the Macedon Ranges.