14 best day trips from Melbourne

14 best day trips from Melbourne

Melbourne is blessed with an abundance of interesting, varied and unique destinations within a short drive of the city centre (“CBD”). When I’m in Melbourne, I often get a couple of friends together and head out to one of the these spots for a day or two. With winter upon us, there’s never been a better time to escape the big smoke, so here, in no particular order, are my nominations for the 14 best day trips from Melbourne! (Times given are all one way, and assume the shortest route is taken and in average traffic).

1. Mornington Peninsula – 1 hour from CBD

Sorrento Beach, Mornington Peninsula (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Sorrento Beach, Mornington Peninsula (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

My favourite one-day trip from Melbourne – hot springs, a hedge maze, Foxey’s Hangout winery, strawberry picking and fish and chips on Sorrento beach, followed by an award-winning vanilla slice!

2. Dandenong Ranges – 1 hour from CBD

Mt Dandenong

Mt Dandenong

Visible from much of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, visit the giant’s chair at Mt Dandenong, watch the sun set over the city, drop by art galleries, ride Puffing Billy and have tea and scones at Miss Marple’s Tearoom.

3. Yarra Valley – 1 hour from CBD

The Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley near Healesville

Lunch at the Innocent Bystander, native animals at Healesville Sanctuary and cheese and fresh produce at the Yarra Valley Dairy, plus lots of wineries if that’s your thing.

4. Mount Macedon and Hanging Rock – 1 hour from CBD

The view from the top of Hanging Rock

The view from the top of Hanging Rock

Autumn leaves, private gardens, views of the city and the setting for the 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock.

5. Phillip Island – 2 hours from CBD

Fairy Penguin on Phillip Island

Fairy Penguin on Phillip Island

Lunch in Cowes, stop in at the chocolate factory, see the seals on the rocks, pat a kangaroo at the wildlife park and watch the fairy penguins come ashore at nightfall.

6. Bellarine Peninsula – 1.5 hours from CBD

Sunset at Jan Juc, near Torquay (ImageL Alex Proimos, Wikimedia Commons)

Sunset at Jan Juc, near Torquay (ImageL Alex Proimos, Wikimedia Commons)

Go surfing at Point Lonsdale, ride the slides at Adventure Park in Geelong and have fish and chips at Torquay before hitting the surf coast.

7. Ballarat and Daylesford – 1.5 hours from CBD

Sovereign Hill (Image: Maksym Kozlenko, Wikimedia Commons)

Sovereign Hill (Image: Maksym Kozlenko, Wikimedia Commons)

The historic gold-mining town of Ballarat boasts Sovereign Hill, a replica gold rush town, while Daylesford and Hepburn Springs invite you to splash out at cushy day spas and artisan shops and markets.

 

Further afield…

These spots really deserve at least a night or two spent to soak in the surroundings and enjoy the attractions, but at a stretch, can be done in a day.

8. Wilson’s Promontory – 2.5 hours from CBD

A beach at Wilson's Promontory

A beach at Wilson’s Promontory

Stunning beaches, extensive national park and hiking at the southernmost point of mainland Australia

9. Great Ocean Road and the Otways – 8 hour round trip from CBD, not including sightseeing time

The Twelve Apostles (left) and Otway Fly Treetop Walk (right)

The Twelve Apostles (left) and Otway Fly Treetop Walk (right)

Ideally done over two days, the iconic Great Ocean Road can be fitted into one long day. Leave early and head via Geelong towards Apollo Bay, then on to the Otway Fly at Great Otway National Park. Continue past the 12 Apostles, then finish at London Bridge near Port Campbell, before heading back via the Princes Highway.

10. Mount Buller – 3.5 hours from CBD

Mt Buller in winter

Mt Buller in winter

Melbourne’s nearest ski resort – learn to ski, have a snowball fight, hire a toboggan or cosy up inside with a hot coffee.

11. Noojee – 2 hours from CBD

Noojee's trestle bridge (Image: Mattinbgn, Wikimedia Commons)

Noojee’s trestle bridge (Image: Mattinbgn, Wikimedia Commons)

Stand on the edge of wilderness at this old mining town; dense forest, a river, waterfall and hiking.

12. The Grampians – 3 hours from CBD

The Grampians from The Pinnacle (left) and MacKenzie Falls (right)

The Grampians from The Pinnacle (left) and MacKenzie Falls (right)

This rugged national park, like the Great Ocean Road, is best visited over two or three days, but if you leave early enough you can still have enough time to hike up to the Pinnacle or see MacKenzie Falls, the highest waterfall in Victoria.

13. The Australian Pyrenees – 2 hours from CBD

Cellar door in the Australian Pyrenees

Cellar door in the Australian Pyrenees

Taking its name from the French mountain range, this hilly district is all about the wine and quality food. Eat at the Avoca Hotel, Home Made Cafe in Beaufort, or St Ignatius Winery to sample the local produce.

14. Glenrowan – 2.5 hours from CBD

Glenrowan (Image: Mattinbgn, Wikimedia Commons)

Glenrowan (Image: Mattinbgn, Wikimedia Commons)

The scene of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly’s last stand is home to a giant Ned Kelly statue, a Ned Kelly museum (part of “Kate’s Cottage”), the nostalgically authentic Linda’s Billy Tea Rooms, and you can walk around the site of the siege which saw Kelly captured.

Have you visited any of these? Would you like to? Comment below!

Meet Tim Blight


Writer, traveller, amateur photographer, teacher. Based in Melbourne and Lahore.

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