Planning a 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 12 most incredible day trips from Melbourne.
Victoria basically has it all; from world class scenic drives on the Great Ocean Road, to hundred year old Mountain Ash forests of the Yarra Valley, the state may be small.. but it has a lot on offer for those willing to seek it out.
Read More: Enjoy the perfect week in Melbourne with our itinerary guide here
No matter your taste in season or activity, Victoria has something for everyone and is easily enjoyed on road trips from the city centre of Melbourne, or the Central Business District, CBD as we call it.
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 to more than 2 hours away.
12 Incredible Day Trips from Melbourne 1 hour from the CBD
Related Article: Use our guide on the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula to plan your next interstate holiday
Beginning in Frankston and ending in the chic & boutique village of Portsea surrounded by Point Nepean National Park, the Mornington Peninsula is Victoria’s answer to the sweltering summer days.
Forming almost one half of Port Phillip Bay, this beautiful day trip from Melbourne is one of the most popular spots for Melburnians to retreat to.
The world-class wine growing and making designations of Red Hill, Merricks and Main Ridge are the perfect places to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Stunning coastline, epic surf breaks and both ocean beach and front beaches for calmer more relaxing waters, the Mornington Peninsula has some of the most unique attractions anywhere along the entire southern coastline of Victoria.
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.
Grab a coffee to start the day
Baked By Portsea is a cute little cafe/bakery on your way down to Point Nepean National Park.
Fresh, daily baked pastries and homemade rolls are a must-here – pick yourself up a latte and enjoy the heated outdoor seating area.
If you’re on the go and can’t hang around they also do amazing acai bowls as well as a mix of hot and cold pastries.
Once you’re done here make sure you head over to Millionaire’s walk and burn off those extra calories from overdosing on the pastries!
Point Nepean National Park
This 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.
Explore the quarantine station at Fort Nepean from a time gone by and walk along the coast to make this one of the best Melbourne day trips.
If you love national parks then you need to get up to date with the very latest in Point Nepean national park with our locals guide right here
Home of the cleanest air in the world (apparently), Cape Schanck is seriously one of the most beautiful places in the state and forms the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula.
A half hour walk along the dirt track from the car park takes you to a long wooden staircase that winds down to the water where you can admire Pulpit Rock from the black, rocky beach below.
During the winter months, Humpback Whales travel up here from Antarctica to breed and raise their calves in the warmer waters of Australia.
Only a short drive from Melbourne, it’s one the most beautiful places to visit in Victoria and one of our favourites.
Wine at Green Olive
Our favourite winery on the Mornington Peninsula, Green Olive hosts a tapas style menu where everything is grown onsite.
They even hold their own cooking classes, wine tasting and guided tours up stairs above the restaurant if you feel like getting a little more hands on!
The wineries on the Mornington Peninsula are great at grape growing due being positioned in the middle of two bodies of water; Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay.
The Peninsula has to be our favourite day trip from Melbourne and it’s also the place we call home!
Relaxation time at the Peninsula Hot Springs
Relax and rejuvenate at the Peninsula Hot springs in Fingal at the naturally occuring geothermal springs that rise from deep underground into your bath!
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.
If you choose to spend more than the day at the Peninsula hot Springs there’s even accomodation on site to make your stay even longer.
Use your stay at the Peninsula Hot Springs to get a good night’s rest before you head out and continue ticking off your list on your day trips from Melbourne!
How to get there:
From the city take the Monash Freeway (M1) until you reach the EastLink (M3) turn off towards the Peninsula, and eventually join onto Peninsula Link (M11) taking you right down to Portsea.
Best tours on the Mornington Peninsula
Best Places to Stay in Melbourne
There are hundreds of apartments, hotels and hostels to stay in but we do recommend going with these guys here for the very best price matching and comfortable stays.
Located in the middle of the CBD is the Grand Hotel Melbourne, a beautifully comfortable and architecturally stunning building with a lot of history and the perfect nights stay in the heart of Melbourne.
Geelong and Queenscliff
From Sorrento pier on the northern side of town, you can catch the 45 minute ferry that runs every morning and evening between the Mornington Peninsula and Queenscliff on the other side of Port Phillip Bay.
The ferry journey brings you across the Bay just outside of ‘The heads’ a strong body of water between Point Nepean and Point Lonsdale. From Queenscliff you’ve now avoided the 2 + hour long journey from the Peninsula, through the city to Geelong.
Geelong is the state’s second largest city behind the CBD and your gateway to the entire western coastline. Many Melburnians live on this side of town and commute across for work mainly by road, but some via ferry or train.
Home to the mighty Geelong Cats (Australian rules football), a stash of music festivals and ocean facing waterfronts, the Cadel Evans road race and the festival of sails – the largest keelboat regatta in the southern hemisphere.
Mountain Ash rainforest, lush green ferns as far as the eye can see and one of our favourite destinations to visit in all of Victoria.
This well-renowned altitude rainforest sits high in the Dandenong ranges with views from the top overlooking all of metropolitan Melbourne, including the Macedon Ranges and the CBD.
One of the most iconic day trips from Melbourne will blow you away and it’s only exactly 1 hour from Melbourne CBD.
Kallista tea Rooms
High Tea is one the menu up in the trees, so visiting one of the tens of tea rooms in the Dandenongs high rainforest is a pleasant and unique experience and a perfect way to start your day trips from Melbourne.
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 all morning, without a doubt the most delicious high tea we’ve ever had!
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.
Complete with a cute white bridge surrounded by dense, lush plant life and home to the world tallest flowering trees; the Mountain Ash.
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.
General Food Store
The most popular foodie hang out in the hills is the general food store in Emerald, a bakehouse and cafe on the main street Emerald on Emerald Gembrook Rd.
They have an insane vegetarian menu as well, everything from a ‘fungus among us’ and ‘moroccan my socks off’, all supporting the local community, local businesses through sourcing ethically and sustainably sourced produce.
Williams Ricketts Sanctuary
This pristine, peaceful refuge in a fern-clad 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.
A short walk through this forest is one of the best day trips from Melbourne & a unique tourist attraction to the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Climb the 1000 Steps – Kokoda Memorial Track
Get your exercise in whilst still admiring the beauty of the lush green fern forest on your hike up the 1000 steps at the top of Upper Ferntree Gully’s Kokoda Track Memorial Walk.
A challenging but fun adventure from Melbourne, you can take these steps at your own pace or challenge yourself as the steps become larger and your altitude gradually gains.
How to get here:
From the city take the eastern freeway until it becomes Eastlink (M3) and turn left onto Burwood Highway and continue onwards onto Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd into the foothills of the Dandenongs.
Best tours in the Dandenong Ranges
Set in the pristine ancient Mountain Ash forest in the north eastern section is the Yarra Valley, exactly 1 hour from the CBD and one of the best day trips from Melbourne.
Home to incredible wineries and estates, a Gin distillery and of course hot air ballooning, the Yarra valley is the perfect weekend getaway destination and should always be included in any day trip you embark on from Melbourne.
Read Next >> Our choice of the Top Things to do in the Yarra Valley
Best wineries of the Yarra Valley
There are over 70 different wineries in this vast rolling hill landscape, so it’s best to come to terms with the fact that you won’t be seeing them all.
Some tour companies offer drivers to take you between a few local wineries, meaning you can indulge and have fun!
Wake up at sunrise to catch the early mist with a bottle of champagne to greet the day with the following personal recommendations of the best wineries in the Yarra Valley.
Zonzo Estate – Popular, eloquent vineyard specializing in weddings and italian food
Boat O’Craigo – Intimate, relaxed outdoor setting with thoughtful and delicious drops
Coldstream Hills – Prime views overlooking the Yarra Valley and world class pinot noir
Hot air ballooning
For the adventurous and daring, we personally recommend booking a flight over the Yarra Valley Ranges in a once in a lifetime experience hot air balloon ride. The views from the top are unparalleled and
Drive the Black Spur
This historic Mountain Ash forest is home to the largest flowering trees in the world and an iconic Australian road trip.
If you plan on visiting just for the Black Spur you are driving one of the worlds most sought after roads and a great day trip out of Melbourne.
Located just outside of Healesville, this 36km stretch of windy bitchumen connects Healesville to Marysville, flowered with ferns on both sides.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and ice creamery
Free chocolate tastings and an all day cafe are set on 16 hectares of farm land that sits on top of an orchard and wetlands, showcasing over 300 different varieties of hand crafted chocolate.
Healesville wildlife sanctuary
We are normally opposed to certain wildlife experiences, however there is an animal hospital on site that looks after injured wildlife and prepares certain species for reintroduction back into the wild.
Discover one of the best places in the state and stroll amongst the native flora and fauna on this incredible day trip just outside of Melbourne.
Best places to stay in the Yarra Valley
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 as you place yourself in prime position easily accessible to the rest of the Yarra Valley
How to get here:
Take Eastlink outbound and take Maroondah Highway turning left on Victoria road in a northerly direction.
Best tours in the Yarra Valley
The beating heart of Victoria and the capital city (former most liveable city in the world) 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.
Flinders st station
Probably the most iconic and widely recognisable landmark in the CBD is Flinders St Station. Built in 1854 and once the world’s busiest railway station, this yellow tinged architectural feat 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
Not something you hear of everyday but as locals it’s one of our favourite places to visit in Melbourne mainly due to the history and cultural significance of the theatre.
Founded in 1839 it is Melbourne’s oldest cultural institution which is clearly visible once inside this gorgeous building. Original preserved hardwood floors and folding chairs, this two-storey theatre hosts a variety of musicals, comedy shows, piano recitals and everything in between.
Directly adjacent to Flinders St Station is ‘fed square’, a cultural gathering hub with a few cafes, restaurants and a large outdoor entertainment area complete with projector screen with a full outdoor concert style set-up.
Fed Square draws the crowds every year for the Australian Open Tennis Tournament where patrons can watch the matches on the live TV, as well as any major sporting event Australia competes in worldwide.
Queen Victoria Market
The largest open air market this side of the southern hemisphere, Queen Vic market officially opened in 1878, covering 7 hectares making it 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 if you wanted some extra exercise.
For visitors to Melbourne, you could literally spend days travelling the 40 hidden laneways & alleyways in search of local street art, artisanal espresso shops and mysterious gems of Melbourne.
The most famous of all being Hosier Lane, Hardware lane and Centre lane.
Melbourne has one of the best coffee scenes anywhere in the world. Of course we don’t grow any in Australia, but our roasting methods and blends have become something of an independent culture in Melbourne in particular.
As a coffee lover, this is the best thing about Melbourne for visitors and locals alike, our top favourites in the city would be Higher Ground and Hardware Societe Katherine Place.
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 tours in Melbourne
Below are some of our personal favourites and personal recommendations for awesome tours of Greater Melbourne.
Best places to stay in Melbourne
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 Victorias 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.
Melbourne Day Trips 1-2 hours away from CBD
The Great Ocean Road
In our opinion, one of the best places to visit in Victoria and home to such a diversity of natural wonders and seaside towns, it’s no wonder the great ocean road is the hottest ticket outside of Melbourne.
Fair warning, to fully explore the entire coastline and the Great Ocean Road you will need more than a day, so it helps if you pick one spot to visit completely and stick to that, otherwise you can very easily spend a whole 2 weeks here.
Related Article >> Here’s our latest guide to the greatest things to do when on the Great Ocean Road
This 243 km heritage listed road starts in Allanwood and ends just outside of Warrnambool, winding through the mountains of the national park along the western coastline.
What makes the Great Ocean Road one of the best day trips from Melbourne is the old growth temperate rainforest on one side, with the raging current of the southern ocean on the other, keeping the landscape cool year round.
Chase the waterfalls
Nowhere else in this side of town will you find a more densely populated area of waterfalls than in the Great Otway National Park.
14 minutes outside of Lorne is Erskine Falls, a 30m high waterfall that cascades down into the fern gully below, viewable from a boardwalk below.
Driving from Apollo Bay, only 45 minute outside of town, you can find the most photographed of all the waterfalls, Hopetoun Falls.
This beautiful waterfall is situated deeper into the gully with ferns lining the Aire river on either side. You can view the falls from the upper platform or walk down the 200 steps to the boardwalk below, a 1 km round trip.
Beauchamp falls sits just before Hopetoun, 12 minutes outside of Apollo Bay and just outside the entrance to the National 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.
Great Otway National Park
The southernmost tip of the Western coastline of Victoria lies this beautiful national park, a vast landscape home to Cape Otway lighthouse station, the Californian Redwood Forest and a variety of beautiful waterfalls.
Read next >> Explore the Otway’s National Park using our personal guide right here
Take Lighthouse Rd all the way down south to the lighthouse station for incredible views of the southern ocean and if you’re lucky enough, the winter months see migrating pods of whales from Antarctica; keep an eye out for the newborn calves following their mothers closely.
12 apostles and Loch Ard Gorge
No Melbourne day trips list would be complete without visiting one of the most spectacular places in all of Victoria, the 12 Apostles in Port Campbell National Park
Officially only 4 or 5 left due to erosion and strong winds and currents, the remains of sandstone cliffs that jut out from the southern ocean just off the water’s edge are incredible sights at any time of day, though we recommend sunrise and for breathtaking colours of golden hour.
You can take a scenic helicopter flight over the apostles and the greater shipwreck coast most times of the day or view them from the boardwalk accessible from the 12 Apostles information centre to cap off an ultimate day drive from melbourne.
Next >> 12 Apostles Guide in Port Campbell national park
Then >> Plan your Great Ocean Road itinerary with our 2021 guide
The picturesque passage of Loch Ard Gorge 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.
These are undoubtedly the most popular attractions of the Great Ocean Road and millions of visitors flock here each year just to catch a glimpse of this natural wonder.
Gibson Steps are another tourist attraction on the Great Ocean Road, but a well kept secret.
Secret steps can be found at the bottom of the carpak at Gibson Beach, a short 500m east of the 12 Apostles boardwalk; giving you views of Gog and Magog.
Lorne and Torquay
Many people come here and watch the waves form the many coastal towns on the great ocean road.
Torquay is one of the most popular towns, home to many aussie surfing legends and a great place to learn how to surf and enjoy breakfast at one of the many cafes and restaurants on the main strip on the Esplanade.
Related Article >> Our Epic guide to Lorne on the eastern coast of Victoria
Venture into Lorne, the biggest seaside town on the southwest coast and try the coffee at Moons Espresso bar, the best coffee in Lorne. We stayed here a few years back at the Lorne Bay view apartments where a flock of friendly cockatoos were happy enough to be fed bananas I was eating at the time! The Rip Curl surfing competition is held here every year as well as the Falls Festival on New Year’s Eve.
Although not officially part of the great ocean road, Warrnambool is a great addition if you want to go a little further out past Allanwood, the perfect place to recoup before you begin the journey back east.
Best activity on the Great Ocean Road
The winter months of Warrnambool at Logan’s beach whale nursery are famous for large pods of Humpback whales and southern right whales in the Logans beach whale nursery.
Best day trips on the Great Ocean Road
Phillip island is 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.
Worth the 1 hour and 50 minute drive from the CBD by-passing the Mornington Peninsula and just before heading into Wilsons Promontory national park, here you will find Phillip Island.
Phillip Island boasts beautiful surf beaches, a colony of Fairy Penguins 32,000 strong and incredible southern ocean landscape thats home to a variety of wildlife, including snakes, penguins, and a Koala conservation centre.
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
Probably our favourite part of Phillip Island and the furthermost southwestern tip of the island is the Nobbies Centre.
Wildlife is the name of the game down here on Phillip Island as it supports a extensive list of species both native australian animals and non-native animals.
From here you can see Fairy Penguins 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 the dramatic rocky coastline and learn all about the history of the Nobbies and the part it plays in wildlife conservation.
Fairy penguins are in fact not only native australian animals but can also be found off the coast of New Zealand too.
Don’t miss the Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Most famously known for the Fairy Penguins making their return voyage home onto the shores of Phillip Island having been out to sea hunting, this popular Melbourne tourist attraction brings thousands of people annually to witness this incredible event.
The Phillip Island Penguin parade colony is 32,000 strong and is a protected species under legislation by the Government, assisted by Parks Victoria.
Best day tours from Melbourne
Sovereign Hill at Ballarat
Ballarat was once considered the epicentre of the Gold rush era during the 1850’s, in fact the population had seen a boom of around 90,000 people fuelled by the gold rush boom of California the year before in 1849.
Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is a recreated Gold mining town where you can watch goldsmiths, costumed staff and stagecoach rides and 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.
Explore more at SoverignHill.com
Hanging Rock Reserve
A short hours drive from Melbourne is 105 metre high extinct volcano called Hanging Rock that has, over time, eroded into smaller columns that jut out from the earth.
It’s considered culturally significant for the Indigenous Australians of the region, as well as being a refuge for Bushrangers during the gold rush of the 1850’s.
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 country side of Woodend and Newham.
Hanging Rock has also been famously immortalised into our television screens and music festivals, from the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock and the Macedon Ranges music festival.
Just 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range is a town revered for rejuvenation and healing.
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!
In the central highlands, Daylesford is one of the prettiest places to visit during the autumn months from March to June.
To Melburnians, a day trip to Daylesford is known as a foodie’s heaven with a rich gastronomic presence and locally sourced produce making it the perfect day trip from Melbourne.
Recommended by a friend, best to get 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.
A short boardwalk on one side is perfect for viewing the lake and taking some time out to enjoy the scenery.
For the nature lovers, Peacocks and Peafowls are known to reside here so keep your eyes peeled for these incredibly stunning birds.
Built in 1929, a 25 minute trek around this beautiful man-made lake complete with boat house and restaurant is the perfect way to take in the afternoon in Daylesford.
Just a short drive from the centre of town, we visited both during the day and night to find the perfect conditions to shoot some astrophotography.
Brunch at Pancho
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.
Of all the day trips from Melbourne, for the best coffee out of Melbourne it would have to be here at Pancho.
Visit the highest single drop waterfall in all of Victoria in the town of Trentham, a short 20 minute drive out of Daylesford.
Technically speaking the waterfall is only viewable and accessible from the boardwalk at the bottom of the track, with barriers preventing you from going further down due to unsafe and unsteady rock faces..always approach with caution.
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.
Or enjoy a lavender styled champagne at La Trattoria.
Best Day Trips from Melbourne 2+ hours away
Wilsons Promontory national park
One of the best places to visit in Victoria is also the furthest southern tip of the state, almost 3 hours south of the CBD is Wilsons Promontory national Park.
Wilsons Promontory, national park or “The Prom” as we call it is a long day trip from Melbourne but worth the view when you finally arrive.
You come here for Wilsons Promontory National park, where you can choose a mix of airbnbs outside the park, or overnight hikes and 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.
Day trips to the ‘Prom’
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 to the summit sitting t 558m altitude with 360 degree views of the national park, beginning at the Telegraph Saddle carpark.
See the sparkling turquoise waters of Norman Bay, Little Oberon bay as well as, Picnic Bay and Whisky Bay.
Other Wilsons Promontory day walks and activities include the Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit trek, Big Drift Sand Dunes & Squeaky Beach – all within the national park and must do activities on your awesome day trips from Melbourne.
Spot the wildlife at the ‘Prom’
For your daily dose of Australian wildlife there’s no better place to see them all than right here in the national park.
Number 1 rule for driving around is to take it slow and keep watch; Kangaroos, emus, echidnas, koalas, snakes and lizards 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.
Another town that saw its prosperity boom of the 1850’s Gold Rush era, roughly 2.5 hours north of Melbourne is the town of Bendigo.
Art, architecture and culture are on display here as you stroll through this town of a bygone era- head into the Bendigo art gallery or the central deborah gold mine for a trip down golden memory lane.
Bendigo is also famous for its lively and thriving music, bar and restaurant scene one of the best in the whole of regional Victoria.
READ MORE: Here’s our handy guide to more great things to do in Warrnambool
A whale watchers delight positioned just after the end of the Great Ocean Road outside of Allanwood is one of the best day trips from Melbourne and a personal favourite of ours.
Logans Beach Whale Nursery
During the winter months of June through to September, Logans Beach Whale Nursery in the southern ocean hosts a migratory pod of Humpback whales and Southern right whales on their journey from Antarctica to breed and raise their young.
Perfect for all nature lovers out there including ourselves, come here early morning to really experience the magic of sunrise with a warm cup of coffee.
A long wooden boardwalk gives viewers plenty of room and space to sit for hours watching the whales pass by, breach and tail slap..one of the highlights on the great ocean road and one of the most fantastic day trips from Melbourne.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Victoria’s only non-active volcanic crater now turned lake is home to an assortment of furry wildlife including Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas and Echidnas.
A short 20 minute drive outside of Warrnambool town can find the most incredible views from anywhere in the city, overlooking the southern ocean bay..you’ll just need binoculars to make out anything this far!
This picturesque fishing village west of Warrnambool is one of the best day trips outside of Warrnambool if you have the time.
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.
How to get here
The easiest way to get to Warrnambool is taking the Monash Freeway M1 west towards Geelong, and after merging onto the Hamilton Highway you eventually re-group back onto the Princes Fwy and take it straight into Warrnambool.
The Grampians national park
Drawing hikers and adventure trail blazers from all over the world, Grampians National park is known for world class hikes and 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.
Take a hike down to Mackenzie falls, hike to the summit of Mount William, the highest peak in the Grampians National park, one of the many day hikes around Halls Gap, Baroka Lookout or The Pinnacles.
A day hike to this beautiful natural landscape on a 2km round trip down 260 steps, just don’t swim in the lake; hidden tree stumps, branches and other unknown objects may be potentially dangerous.
The Pinnacles Walk
This 4.2km, 90 minute round trip day hike provides some of the best views in all of the Grampians National park.
Begin your hike at the Sundial Car park with a good set of shoes and a camera at hand ready to soak i the views from the top via Devils Gap.
If you prefer to stay away from the crowds and see the best sights in the Grampians then you need to head towards the southern grampians into Dunkeld; the gateway to Mount Abrupt, Mount Sturgeon and the Piccaninny.
Heading to Mount Williams, the highest point in the Grampians is accessible via a short drive from Halls Gap, or an even longer and more scenic drive from Dunkeld.
Tackle the 40km overnight hike from Major Mitchell Plateau or the truly remote experience of the fortress or Mount Thackeray hike.
Alpine Region: Bonus Getaway
The Alpine Region of Victoria is arguably the longest and most scenic day trip from Melbourne. Being one of the most diverse and varied landscapes from snow capped mountains of Hotham and Buller, the cross-country skiing fields of Lake Mountain, the Alpine’s deserves the title of the best places to visit in Victoria.
Most Victorians flock to the snowy mountains every year to ski and board Victoria’s high country slopes, and whilst we pale in comparison to places like New Zealand and Thredbo of ACT, our appetite for powder is curbed enough!
4.5 hours north east of the city is the most popular and certainly largest of the snowy mountains of Victoria and our personal favourite and recommendation for the snow season.
Of the 3 main snow mountains it is the highest and so offers the best views from the top when skiing down the mountain.
One of the longest day trips from Melbourne, this drive is best tackled with a great collection of songs on spotify, a bag of vegan chips and good mates.
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 272km 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 35km of tracks.
Do you feel confident to go on a day trip from Melbourne?
There is so much to see and do here in Melbourne and across regional Victoria, hopefully this article has helped answer some of the questions you have about where to go and what to see in and around the centre of the city.
Leave a comment below and tell us what your favourite place to visit is in Victoria. Thanks for reading our thoughtfully peaced together article on the best day trips from Melbourne.
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.
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