It’s highly unlikely that visitors to Melbourne will run out of things to do within the city, with its charming cafes and chic art galleries. You can easily spend a full day in the National Gallery of Victoria alone! Yet if you have more time on your hands, it’s well worth getting out of town to explore the city’s picturesque surroundings. Wine tasting, surfing, and mountain hiking are just a few activities to enjoy outside of town, yet you’ll still be back in Melbourne by sundown to enjoy its buzzing nightlife.
Have you already gone to see the koalas at the Melbourne Zoo? Venture out to Phillip Island for more animal adventures. This destination draws over 3 million visitors per year, with the highlight for most being the famous penguin parade. There’s a charming boardwalk path called the Nobbies which takes you around the Phillip Island Nature Park, where you can spot a wide variety of sea birds and natural gardens. There’s also a koala conservation centre and a botanic gardens, along with spectacular sea views.
The Mornington Peninsula is known for its outstanding natural beauty and pristine beaches. Flinders is a historic town located 86 kilometres away from Melbourne, making it a prime day trip option to explore this scenic nook of Australia’s coast. Stroll down the main drag and admire the heritage architecture, sample the local pinot noir, and watch the fishermen hard at work on the Flinders pier. You can go surfing at Point Leo or drive up to the fragrant Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, which is home to the oldest hedge maze in Australia.
Only a brief half-hour drive outside of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges offer a wide range of outdoor adventure and splendid views. Take a ride on the historic Puffing Billy stream train, enjoy a picnic in the lush National Rhododendron Gardens, or take a nature walk through the mountain forests. Breathe in the scent of eucalyptus as you visit the William Ricketts Sanctuary, with its fanciful ceramic sculptures built into the natural landscape. The highlight is the summit of Mount Dandenong, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Melbourne below.
There’s nothing better than a scenic drive down the coastline, and it’s hard to top the views of the Great Ocean Road. Use local sites like motoring.com.au to read car reviews and find a stylish vehicle to go cruising in on your day trip to Lorne, which is small in size but big in personality. Take a walk along the cliffs, laze on the beach, or taste the catch of the day in a seaside restaurant.
The Yarra Valley
Australia now ranks up there as one of the world’s primary wine producers. Although you can sample the local products in any of Melbourne’s restaurants, it’s fun to go straight to the source with a visit to the Yarra Valley. Quaint Healesville is a popular destination for visitors to this region, home to the Healesville Sanctuary with its curious Australian wildlife. You can also take a journey on the historic Yarra Valley Tourist Railway, or pair your wine with some hand-made cheese at the Yarra Valley Dairy. Pick up some goodies for a sunset picnic back in Melbourne.
There’s a wide variety of options to choose from if you’re itching to get out of town, from coast to mountains and the valleys in between, if you have any other great suggestions for day trips from Melbourne, please share them in the comments below!