12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

Top 5 Day-trip Destinations from Melbourne

By Levi Dance

September 13, 2023

Melbourne is one of Australia’s most beloved holiday destinations and that’s true whether you plan to spend a week-end there or a whole month. Not only is the city brimming with activities, sites and infinite options to shop and feats your little heart out, it is also superbly located. Close to Melbourne, in fact, is where you’ll find some of the most famous attractions in the entire country…so organise a hire-car on your next visit to Victoria and make sure not to miss the most popular day-trip destinations from its most titillating capital city.

Great Ocean Road

This one is an absolute no-brainer, we know! The Great Ocean Road is not only one of Australia’s most iconic destinations but it is also considered one of the world’s most scenic roads. Only an hour from Melbourne airport is where you can admire one of the most spectacular coastlines on the planet, blissfully dotted with a series of incredibly photogenic rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles. Although the now slightly-less-than-12 protrusions are the main highlight, the entire 240km drive, from Torquay to Allansford, is incredibly striking and utterly rewarding. Visit small towns along the way to fuel up on delectable local seafood and produce and make a whole day out of this breathtaking destination.

Mornington Peninsula

Home to famous Phillip Island, as well as arguably the best coffee in Australia, the Mornington Peninsula is the epitome day-trip destination, especially if visiting during the hot Summer months. Pristine beaches are the order of the day here and a particularly enjoyable activity is walking along the beachfront of the shores lining Bass Straight.

It will take you merely an hour to reach Mornington town from Melbourne and, from here, you can get around with ease. Visit Rosebud Beach if travelling with kids (wide shallows make for safe swimming), Red Hill if you wish to include a little wine-tasting excursion to your day, and Sorrento if you wish to savour the above-mentioned best coffee in the country. If you’re limited on time, you could visit Mornington on your way to or from Phillip Island, but note that the place does deserve a whole day of its own accord.

Phillip Island

The island best known as a Formula One and World Superbike pit-stop is also one of the Melbourne’s most adored week-end destinations. Connected to the mainland by bridge it is also one of the most accessible nature spots in Victoria. It should take you about two hours to set foot on Phillip Island, although if you do visit on a week-end you could easily add another half an hour to your drive time.

Once there, you can visit the Churchill Island working farm and Koala Conservation Centre, or take an unforgettable helicopter ride over the entire island for even more spectacular views. Not to miss, of course, is the twilight ‘Penguin Parade’ whereby a seemingly endless mass of little furry ones come out of the water and return to their nests for the night. This is by far one of the most incredible sites (and sights!) you could ever experience Down Under.

Dandenong Ranges

One of the best Melbourne city viewpoints is from the highest visiting point of Mount Dandenong, which sits at an altitude of over 600 metres. An extremely convenient place to reach, the Dandenong mountain range is just on the outskirts of Melbourne and only 35km out of the city’s CBD. Incredibly beautiful at any time of year, thanks to it being blossoming with flowers in Spring and boasting slight snow cover in Winter, this great day-trip destination offers much in terms of attractions and activities. You could take a leisurely walk to Sherbrooke Falls, enjoy a delicious lunch at Olinda town’s Pig and Whistle Tavern or, better still, bring a packed hamper and enjoy a self-cooked BBQ at one of the many picnic areas.

Yarra Valley

A day trip to the Yarra Valley may require some logistical planning. After all, Victoria’s premier wine regions is home to over 80 wineries, half of which are open to the public. The region itself offers a different scene every season of the year and is always worthy of a visit, although it is said that Autumn (between March and May) is the most beautiful time to admire the changing colours of the gorgeous landscape. Aside a spot of wine-tasting, you can also indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon ride, as well as a golf game at one of the many award-winning courses, and not to mention visit the brilliant wildlife sanctuary at Healesville.

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