Planning a day trip down to Victoria or want to explore your home state? Firstly make sure you come by and say hello because we live here, and second make sure to take down notes from our guide on the 13 most incredible day trips from Melbourne.

Victoria basically has it all; from world class scenic drives on the Great Ocean Road, to the Mountain Ash forests of the Yarra Valley, the natural geothermal Peninsula Hot Springs of the Mornington Peninsula all the way to the Grampians national park, Victoria may be small but it has a lot on offer.

We’ve compiled this epic guide to the best day trips to have both within Melbourne and more than an hour’s drive from the city.

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Read More: Enjoy the perfect week in Melbourne with our itinerary guide here

No matter your taste in season or activity, this state has something for everyone.

Of all the day trips from Melbourne listed they can be ticked off in a day or make them overnighters all the way through to a multi-day adventure.

Each of these locations have been broken down into distance and time from the centre of Melbourne and they range from less than an hour’s day trip, one hour’s drive to more than 2 hours away. 

Doing day trips to any of these places is going to be an epic adventure so make sure you use this guide to help you plan the things to do in Melbourne.

13 Day Trips from Melbourne (1 hour away)

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Safety Beach Pier shot on the Fujifilm XT2 at sunset

Related Article: Use our guide on the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula to plan your next interstate holiday

1) Day trip to the Mornington Peninsula

Beginning in Frankston and ending in the boutique village of Portsea at the end of the Mornington Peninsula is Victoria’s answer to the sweltering summer days.

Forming almost one half of Port Phillip Bay, this beautiful road trip from Melbourne is one of the most popular spots locals head to for a getaway.

The world-class wine growing and making designations of Red Hill, Merricks and Main Ridge are the perfect places for day trips from Melbourne.

Stunning coastline, epic surf breaks and both ocean beach and front beaches for calmer more relaxing waters of Port Phillip Bay, the Mornington Peninsula has some of the most unique attractions anywhere along the entire southern coastline of Victoria.

Take an ethically run tour of the Mornington Peninsula by jumping on a Dolphin swim in Sorrento

The northern coast of the Mornington Peninsula is surrounded by the calmer waters of Port Phillip bay, whereas the southern coastline, what we call the back beach is Western Port Bay and the Southern Ocean.

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Point Nepean national park is a Quarantine/military fortification, better known as Fort Nepean turned heritage listed national park is home to an abundance of unique australian wildlife and one of the best day trips from Melbourne.

Hire an e-bike from the information centre and tour around the park exploring the treacherous coastline of both Port Phillip Bay and Ticonderoga Bay.

Cape Schanck

Cape Schanck is one of the most beautiful places in the state and forms the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula, with a wooden boardwalk that leads you down to Pulpitt Rock.

The path that connects Cape Schanck to Bushrangers Bay is a small section of the larger two bays walking trail that spans 26 km in total from Dromana to Cape Schanck.

Wine tour in Green Olive at Red HIll

Our favourite winery on the Mornington Peninsula, Green Olive is set on the backdrop of a private property where the dishes they serve incorporate their own local produce raised on the farm – and serve only the best local beer from the Mornington Peninsula.

Relax at Peninsula hot springs

Relax and rejuvenate at the Peninsula hot springs in Fingal at the naturally occuring geothermal hot springs that rise from deep underground.

The Peninsula hot springs have a variety of packages to choose from – massage packages and romantic hot tub sessions as well as a complete kitchen with a boutique meals and dining area.

Laura and I visit the Peninsula Hot springs every year,a dn with the recent additions to their pools like the ice room and sauna room that sees you freeze at -25 degrees celcius to steaming hot at 50 degrees, the Peninsula hot springs continue to amaze us every time!

You can even extend your stay at the Peninsula hot springs by continuing on to places like Point Nepean national park and exploring on foot or by hiring a bike.

2) Dandenong Ranges

Mountain Ash rainforest, lush green ferns as far as the eye can see and one of our favourite Melbourne day trips.

This well-renowned rainforest sits high in the Dandenong ranges with views from the top at Sky High Mount Dandenong overlooking all of metropolitan Melbourne, including the Macedon Ranges and Melbourne cbd.

The national parks of the Dandenong Ranges and the Macedon ranges, inlcuding even the Bellarine Peninsula and far out into the Yarra Valley are all visible from sky high.

Kallista tea Rooms

We spent the morning at the Kallista tea rooms enjoying a fabulous High tea, surrounded by a flock of Cockatoos watching us devour a 3 tiered platter of cakes and pastries high in the Dandenongs rain forest.

Sherwood Forest

We visit here every time we go into the Dandenong Ranges, admiring the natural beauty of the Alfred Nicholas gardens, a man-made blackfish pond that encompasses a boathouse originally built by Alfred Nicholas back in 1929.

Drive through Belgrave and jump on Puffing Billy while you’re here too, exploring the quiet towns of Olinda and visiting the Cloudehill Nursery and gardens.

Sherbrooke Forest

Go for a picnic at Grants Picnic ground and be surrounded by Lyrebirds, rosellas and walk among the pristine, peaceful sanctuary home to sculptures of Indigenous Australians by sculptor William Ricketts. 

His sculptures are a testament to his appreciation and respect for Australian Aboriginal culture, showcasing different indigenous Australians and native australian wildlife.

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Catch an early morning sunrise – image credit Visit Victoria

3) Yarra Valley

Set in the pristine Mountain Ash forest in the north eastern section of Victoria is the Yarra Valley, exactly 1 hour from the CBD and one of the best day trips from Melbourne. 

Home to many incredible wineries and a gin distillery, this is the perfect weekend escape from Melbourne and should always be high on the list in any day trip from Melbourne.

Wineries of the Yarra Valley

There are over 70 different wineries tinkered in this part of Melbourne, hence it’s best to come to terms with the fact that you won’t be seeing them all (not at least in a few days)

Some tour companies offer drivers to take you between a few local wineries, meaning more time for you to drink and enjoy.

A wine tour is one of the coolest things to do from Melbourne so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.

We personally recommend visiting Zonzo Estate, or a little further away to Boat O’Craigo or Coldstream Hills for a day of delicious wine tasting.

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Hot air balloon

For the adventurous and daring, we personally recommend booking a flight over the Yarra Ranges in a once in a lifetime experience hot air balloon ride

Drive the Black Spur

A road trip to the black spur road is a roadie like no other. The black spur is one of the world’s most photographed roads and attracts photographers and motorcyclists all year round.

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The Black Spur rainforest located in the hills of the Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and ice creamery

Add a stop to the chocolaterie and ice creamery to try over 300 different varieties of hand crafted chocolate, then head onwards to Yarra Valley Dairy for the finest in artisanal cheeses in the region.

Try your palette on Gin at this premium gin tasting company Four Pillars back in town at Healesville, or a visit to Innocent Bystander who serve fantastic food and wine in a big warehouse-esque place.

Best places to stay

Balgownie Estate basically has it all, a winery and cellar door to a day spa and premium suites, whilst sitting in the rolling hills of prestige wine country.

Forget me not cottages is nestled right next door to the Californian redwood forest in Warburton East making this a mythical and magical place to stay for the night.

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Melbourne CBD Skyline shot from the ledge of the Yarra River at night

4) Best day trips in Melbourne CBD

The beating heart of the state and capital city, Melbourne is the home of a pumping nightlife scene, a foodies heaven for eateries and wineries, hidden inner city laneways and alleyways full of art and culture.

Check out one of the most popular activities in Melbourne city.

Flinders st station is probably the most iconic and widely recognisable landmark in the CBD.

Built in 1854 and once the world’s busiest railway station, this architectural feat full of Australian history is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists and often acts as a starting point for many melbourne tour groups.

Read Next >> Don’t want to spend any money on your trip, then make sure you read our article on the best free things to do in Melbourne

Federation Square is directly adjacent to Flinders St Station, a cultural gathering hub with a few cafes and art galleries in the Ian Potter centre.

There’s so much to see and fun activities to do walking around the city and the yarra river, leave it up to the experts to show you around.

Queen Victoria Market is the largest open air market this side of the southern hemisphere, Queen Vic market officially opened in 1878 and one of the few remaining open air markets of that generation.

Just a short drive outside the CBD you could quite easily walk here from town and soak in the rich Australian history here at the market that’s been in operation for 143 years.

Hidden Laneways & Cafe culture

For visitors to Melbourne, you could literally spend days travelling the 40 hidden laneways & alleyways in search of local street art or a fantastic artisanal coffee bars like Hosier Lane, Hardware lane and Centre lane

As coffee lovers our top favourites in the city would be Higher Ground and Hardware Societe.

Botanic gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens sits just outside the city centre of Melbourne and serves as both a daytime leisurely stroll for lovers & friends, as well as a running track encircling the gardens known locally as ‘The Tan’.

More than 3800 species of plants across 38 hectares of land, The gardens have been a part of Melbourne for 175 years. 

Best mid-range hotels in Melbourne cbd

There are hundreds of apartments, hotels and hostels to stay in but we do recommend staying with these guys here for the very best price matching and comfortable stays.

Novotel Hotel Group have based themselves in many cities around Melbourne including the CBD. Slightly more modern and elegant service it’s a great place to base yourself while you explore the city.

The Grand Hotel is one of Melbourne’s oldest and most iconic hotels, originally serving as the home for one of Victoria’s most well known residents John batman. Originally named She Oak Hill today it serves as a comfort hotel with excellent service and positioned in the heart of the CBD.

READ MORE: Plan your trip to Australia in 2022 with our wide collection of comprehensive Australia articles

The best day trips from Melbourne (1-2 hours away)

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Image captured of the 12 apostles

5) The best day trips from melbourne along the Great Ocean Road

In our opinion, the Great Ocean Road is an inspiring place to visit in Victoria and home to such a diversity of natural wonders and pretty coastal towns.

For more information here’s our latest guide to the greatest things to do when on the Great Ocean Road including visiting Bells Beach

This 243 km heritage listed great ocean road starts in Allanwood and ends just outside of Warrnambool near the twelve apostles, winding through the mountains of the park along the western coastline passing by coastal towns like Apollo Bay.

Go chasing waterfalls

Nature lovers beware; no-where else in this side of town will you find a more densely populated region of waterfalls than in the Great Otway national park.

14 minutes outside of Lorne is Erskine Falls, a 30 metre high waterfall that cascades down into the fern gully below, viewable from a boardwalk below. 

Driving from Apollo Bay only 45 minutes outside of town you can find the most photographed waterfall which will round out a fantastic day trip from Melbourne.

Beauchamp falls sits just before Hopetoun and is just outside the entrance to the park.

While you’re down this way too, make sure you visit Kennet River and try and count as many wild Koalas as you can.  

Check out the very best tour from Melbourne that includes rain forests, the coast and so much more!

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Great Otway National Park Californian Redwood Forest

Day trips from Melbourne in the Great Otway National Park

The southernmost tip of the western coastline lies this beautiful national park, a vast landscape home to Cape Otway lighthouse station, the californian Redwood forest and a variety of beautiful waterfalls. 

Twelve apostles and Loch Ard Gorge

A day trip from Melbourne would not be complete without visiting one of the most spectacular places in all of Victoria; the Twelve Apostles in Port Campbell national park.

The Twelve Apostles are sandstone cliffs jutting out from the stunning coastline making for an incredible sight at any time of day though we recommend sunrise or sunset to really appreciate how beautiful they really are.

The picturesque passage of Loch Ard Gorge on the famous Great Ocean Road was named so after the ship Loch Ard that ran into shallow waters and coral, sinking just off the coast; the two cliffs that face each other are named after the two survivors, Tom and Eva. 

Whilst you’re here don’t forget to make a quick pit-stop at London bridge, frequently referred to as London Arch.

Gibson Steps are another tourist attraction on the Great Ocean Road, but a well kept secret.

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Laura and myself earlier outside Memorial Arch

Lorne and Torquay

Torquay is one of the most popular towns that is revered for its beautiful coastal scenery.

Home to many aussie surfing legends and a great place to learn how to surf as well as enjoy breakfast at one of the many cafes and restaurants on the main strip.

Related Article >> Our epic guide to Lorne on the eastern coast of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

Venture into Lorne, the biggest seaside town on the southwest coast and try the coffee at Moons Espresso bar, the best coffee in Lorne.

The Rip Curl surfing competition is held here every year in Bells Beach as well as the Falls Festival on New Year’s Eve. 

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Cape Woolamai Beach the other side of the Pinnacles – a photographers dream location -image credit Visit Victoria

6)Day trips from Melbourne in Phillip Island

The perfect island getaway for Melburnians seeking a bit more chill and distance from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, making it the perfect day trip from Melbourne.

Phillip Island boasts beautiful surf beaches, a colony of little Penguins 32,000 strong and incredible southern ocean landscape thats home to a variety of wildlife including snakes and a Koala conservation centre.

The wildlife park is home to a collection of native Australian animals like Kangaroos, Emu’s, Echidna’s and Goanas and Tasmanian Devils with tickets only $19 for adults and $9 for children.

Half day trip to Churchill island

To get off mainland for half a day why not head into Churchill Island and explore the natural beauty in the land of the first nations people, the Bunurong people and learn about the most recent cultural heritage farming activities like blacksmithing, cow milking and sheep shearing.

Read Next: Don’t forget to check our latest article on the best things to do in Phillip Island

Cape Woolamai

A sunset dip at Cape Woolamai surf beach might be the thing you need late Sunday afternoon.

One of the coolest places to visit in Victoria sits just after the entrance to Phillip island as you cross the bridge connecting San Remo and Phillip Island.

Visit the Nobbies on Phillip Island

Probably our favourite part of Phillip Island and the furthermost southwestern tip of the island is the Nobbies Centre.

From here you can see the spectacle known as the ‘Penguin Parade’ nesting under the boardwalks, migratory birds that fly here annually from Antarctica, Humpback Whales and Southern Right Whales travel here with their young, and Australia’s largest colony of Australian fur seals. 

Take the free boardwalk tour along scenic walking tracks along the dramatic rocky coastlines of Phillip Island and learn all about the history of the Nobbies and the part it plays in wildlife conservation. 

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the adorable little penguins on Phillip Island – image credit Visit Victoria

Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Most famously known for the Penguins making their return voyage home onto the shores of Phillip Island Summerland beach, this popular Melbourne tourist attraction we call the ‘Penguin Parade’ brings in thousands of people annually to witness this incredible event.

The Phillip Island Penguin parade colony attracts more than 30,000 penguins to the shores of Summerland Beach and is a protected species under legislation by the Government assisted by Parks Victoria

7) Sovereign Hill in Ballarat

Ballarat was once considered the epicentre of the Gold rush era during the 1850’s, and representing this is Sovereign Hill – a recreated Gold rush era town where you can interact with costumed staff, explore the historic buildings and take stagecoach rides through an underground gold mine looking for precious metals.

There’s also opportunity to explore the Ballarat Art Gallery, the Ballarat botanical gardens and if you have it in your time schedule, head down to Ballarat wildlife park.

There’s even opportunity to go panning in the river that runs through Sovereign Hill in search of real gold that’s yours to keep at the end.

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Hanging Rock reserve – image credit Visit Victoria

8) Hanging Rock Reserve

A short hours drive from Melbourne is the 105 metre high extinct volcano called Hanging Rock reserve that has, over time eroded into smaller columns that jut out from the earth.

Hanging Rock reserve is considered culturally significant for the Indigenous Australians of the region and forms a part of the Great Dividing Range – the single largest expanse of a mountainous region anywhere in the entire world.

The round trip will take approximately 50 minutes to complete and is called the Hanging Rock Summit walk, from here you can admire the views over the countryside or visit here for the Macedon Ranges music festival.

9) Daylesford 

In the central highlands, Daylesford is one of the prettiest places to visit during the autumn months from March to June where you can go to admire the natural beauty of the rolling hills and falling Autumn leaves.

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges during the autumn season north-east of Melbourne is the perfect day trip.

Originally inhabited by the Dja Dja Wurrung people thousands of years ago, then the Swiss-Italian migrants who came over in the 1850s for the gold rush boom, to what it is today; an architecturally preserved rural city high on our day trips from Melbourne go-to’s!

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Lake Daylesford at night with the milky way core over top – Fujifilm XT2

Lake Jubilee/Daylesford

A highly rated region and one of the hottest day trips from Melbourne make sure you head to this lake at sunrise or sunset to catch the fog that drifts across the glass lake, watching the morning birds sing and glide across the water.

We highly recommend visiting Pancho on your day trip to Daylesford – this two story cafe leads you upstairs via a spiral staircase, decorated with lush green plants everywhere you look set against exposed brick veneer walls making this such a dream to eat at. 

For fine dining options our number one recommendation is to lake a reservation at Sault restaurant in Daylesford.

Visit the highest single drop waterfall in all of Victoria in the town of Trentham, a short 20 minute drive out of Daylesford.

Lavandula swiss italian farm

Get your slice of Europe at the Swiss-Italian Lavender and Olive farm, 10 minutes north of Daylesford to enjoy the picturesque lavender fields and olive farm set on the backdrop of a rustic cobblestone courtyard, perfect for the nature lovers.

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Chris overlooking the gorgeous bay on top of Mount Oberon

Best road trips from Melbourne 2+ hours away 

10) Wilsons Promontory national park

A fantastic spot to take on overnight hikes and camping, Wilsons Promontory national park is also the furthest southernmost tip of the state.

Wilsons Promontory national park, or “The Prom” as we call it is one of the longer day trips from Melbourne but also an incredibly beautiful place to stay for the day or hike overnight.

Your accommodation options are limited hence you can choose from a mix of either airbnbs outside the park or overnight camping at both Tidal River campgrounds or deeper within the park. 

Unique to Wilsons Promontory national park is a Tidal river wilderness cruise that comes very highly rated at an affordable price.

This is a little tricky considering you’re on a day trip from Melbourne, but if you ensure you have an early wake up call, the Mount Oberon Summit hike is a 7km easy-medium hike sitting (558m) beginning at the Telegraph Saddle carpark.

What to do in Wilsons Promontory national park

Other walking trails and activities include the Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit trek, Big Drift Sand Dunes & Squeaky Beach – all within the national park and highly rated attractions outside of Melbourne.

See the beautiful beaches of Norman Bay, Little Oberon bay as well as, Picnic Bay and Whisky Bay. 

Drive slowly and mindfully and watch out for Kangaroos, emus, echidnas, koalas,all share the same habitat and use the roads as crossing points so drive slowly, carefully and always call animal rescue if you unfortunately hit wildlife. 

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11) Warrnambool

Read More: Here’s our handy guide to more great things to do in Warrnambool

Logans Beach Whale Nursery

A whale watchers delight situated just after the end of the Great Ocean Road outside of Allanwood is one of the most fun Melbourne day trips.

Just over a three hour drive from Melbourne during the winter months of June through to September, Logans Beach Whale Nursery hosts a migratory pod of Humpback whales and Southern right whales on their journey from Antarctica to breed and raise their young.

A long wooden boardwalk gives viewers plenty of room and space to sit for hours watching the whales pass by

Visit our Youtube channel to watch the FULL EPISODE and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve & Port Fairy

Victoria’s only non-active volcanic crater now turned lake is home to an assortment of furry wildlife including Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas and Echidnas.

The picturesque fishing village of Port Fairywest of Warrnambool is one of the best day trips outside of Warrnambool and one of the best day trips from Melbourne.

Hosting the 4 day annual Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy has so much to offer tourists; like the Port Fairy lighthouse on Griffits island at sunrise, exploring the landscape and whale sightings off the coast. 

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Boroka Lookout, Halls Gap, The Grampians national park – image courtesy of Shutterstock (image licensed)

12) Grampians national park

Drawing hikers and adventurers from all over the world, Grampians National park is known for world class hiking trails, stunning natural rock formation, challenging rock climbing activities and the most densely populated region of ancient aboriginal art anywhere in southern Australia. 

Divided into the northern, southern and central Grampians national park, this significant cultural landscape is known to the aboriginal people as Gariwerd, of whom the Indigenous Australians have inhabited for thousands of years.

Try one of the many walking trails to Mackenzie falls, hike to the summit of Mount William, the highest peak in the Grampians, one of the many day hikes around Halls Gap, Boroka Lookout or The Pinnacles. 

Your in depth guide to hiking in the Grampians national park

Southern Grampians

If you prefer to stay away from the crowds and see the best sights in the Grampians national park then you need to head towards the southern Grampians into Dunkeld; the gateway to Mount Abrupt, Mount Sturgeon and the Piccaninny.  

Tackle the 40km overnight hike from Major Mitchell Plateau or the truly remote experience of the fortress or Mount Thackeray hike.  

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Mount Feathertop – image courtesy of Shutterstock (image licensed)

13) The Alpine Region of Victoria

Being one of the most diverse and varied landscapes in all of the state with snow capped mountains of Mount Hotham and Mount Buller, a cross country skiers dream lies in the fields of Lake Mountain.

Lake mountain is also a part of the same mountainous range (Great dividing range) that spans from for north Queensland’s Cape York, all the way through to the western Wimmera region of the Grampians.

Mount Buller and Lake Mountain

Interestingly enough like most mountain ranges, there is a mere 50km that separates Mount Hotham and Mount Buller as the ‘crow flies’, however the drive will take you 272 km of road and 3 hours and 39 minutes to drive! 

Lake Mountain is more relaxed and family friendly where you can get your kids to learn how to snowboard for the day, or try cross-country skiing for the first time with a little over 35 km of tracks.

Chris and Laura acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Nations of the lands and waters we live and work upon and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge and respect the deep spiritual connection and the relationship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to Country.

Chris and Laura acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Nations of the lands and waters we live and work upon and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge and respect the deep spiritual connection and the relationship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to Country.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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