Melbourne is one of the most scenic cities in Australia, but just outside of the city, you can find some of the country’s most amazing beaches, wildlife, and small towns. Victoria boasts a number of amazing tourist destinations such as Mount Buller, the Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island. There are also quaint seaside towns to explore. After enjoying Melbourne and everything it has to offer, set sail for destinations outside of the Victoria capital. You are sure to find a place to enjoy on one of these great day trips from Melbourne.
FUN FACT: Ever wondered about Flinders Street Station’s East-Indian inspiration? Initially, this design was intended for Mumbai, while the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai was meant for Melbourne. The plans from the same firm were accidentally switched, bringing about a Gothic-style station in India and a vaguely East-Indian-style building in Melbourne.
TRAVEL TIP: If you’re looking for luggage storage while you head out for a Day trip from Melbourne, check out mindmybag’s luggage storage service in Melbourne.
1. Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most beautiful pieces of pavement. It stretches along the coast and is perfect for a road trip. Pack up the cool box with sandwiches and drinks before hitting the Great Ocean Road and feeling the wind blow through your hair. The Great Ocean Road lies 200 kilometres away from Melbourne. The road snakes along jagged seaside cliffs as ocean surf splashes on the beaches. Port Campbell National park is a great place to stop off along the way. You will also find the glorious Twelve Apostles which rise out of the waters in dramatic fashion.
Shipwreck Coast runs along Cape Otway to Port Fairy and is an intimidating part of the coastline. Kennett River is full of koalas while the Great Otway National Park is rife with kangaroos and wallabies to look at and feed. Bells Beach is a legendary place to stop off and surf. The Great Ocean Road is an ideal road to take for a day trip full of excitement. There is so much to explore along the long stretch of pavement, you may need more than just a single day.
It would take approximately 2 hours and 36 minutes to drive to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne via M1 and C155.
The best time to visit would depend on what suits you, but most people visit during the late summer when the weather is still warm and settled.
Official site: https://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Great-Ocean-Road
2. Phillip Island & The Penguin Parade
Situated around 140 kilometres from Melbourne’s CDB is Phillip Island. If you want to see Australia’s lush wildlife up close and personal. One of the most popular reasons that travellers visit Phillip Island is for the penguins. That is right, penguins! Each night as the sun goes down, people gather along the beach to watch penguins come to shore at Phillip Island Nature Park. Known as the Penguin Parade, it is one of the premier nature experiences in Victoria.
A day trip to Phillip Island allows you to experience a number of nature reserves and wildlife parks. The Koala Conservation Centre is an ideal stop to see cute, cuddly koalas in their natural habitat. Phillip Island Wildlife Park is home to kangaroos and wallabies, allowing you to feed these unique Aussie animals. A tour of Phillip Island gives you the chance to see some of Australia’s most exceptional creatures.
While nature and wildlife are top reasons to head to Phillip Island on a day trip from Melbourne, there are plenty of other motivations to hit the road. Phillip Island is renowned for its surfing history. The National Surfing Reserve is located at Phillip Island. Surf schools and wave riders from all over Australia and beyond visit the area to hang 10.
It would take approximately 8 minutes to drive to Phillip Island & The Penguin Parade from Melbourne via Queen St.
It’s important to pre-book your visit, especially during peak periods during the holidays to ensure you don’t miss out.
Official site: https://www.visitphillipisland.com.au
3. Hanging Rock, The Macedon Ranges
Located near the small town of Woodend, which is less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne, you will find Hanging Rock. The former volcano is 718 metres above sea level. The volcano formed 6 million years ago as magma poured from a vent in the bedrock. Hanging Rock is another ideal natural location to explore near Melbourne allowing you to get in touch with the natural landscapes Down Under.
You can hike up to Hanging Rock’s summit, which is a mere 1.5-kilometre walk. Once you get to the top, you will want to spend some time looking at the views and exploring the summit. The trail isn’t for novice hikers. While exploring Hanging Rock, you should explore the various wineries and other tourist destinations. Hanging Rock Vineyard is the ideal place to spend the end of your day, sampling local reds and whites, following a blood-pumping hike.
There is also a looped bike trail that runs from Woodend to Hanging Rock. Pedalling the trail gives you the chance to see the area in a completely different way than simply driving up to the hiking destination.
The Hanging Rock opens daily from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Without prior written consent, drones are not permitted to be flown in or above the Hanging Rock Reserve.
4. Mount Buller
It is funny that many foreign visitors to Australia do not realise that the country has its own ski resorts. The mountain regions of Australia see snow during the winter and Mount Buller is one of the ideal places to explore for a ski adventure.
The ideal time to visit Mount Buller is from June through September as this is when winter hits and snow covers the mountains. Mount Buller is one of the most popular ski resorts and is just a three-hour drive from Melbourne. Start out early in the day from Melbourne to reach Mount Buller to ski the entire day before setting off to get back to the city.
There are 22 ski lifts at Mount Buller that transport skiers up the slopes. The resort provides slopes for skiers of all levels from beginners to advanced snow shredders. Around 35% of the resort serves advanced snowboarders and skiers – a large percentage for experienced individuals that visit the mountain.
The resort is also great for non-skiers. There are spas, a toboggan park, cafes, and shops to explore. If you are seeking an exciting family day trip, then look no further than Mount Buller for a brilliant day out during wintertime.
Mount Buller opens Sunday to Friday from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Yes, there is a resort entry fee at the entry gate in Mirimbah and overnight car parking fees also apply.
Official site: https://www.mtbuller.com.au
Situated a mere 75 kilometres from Melbourne, Geelong is the second-largest city in Victoria. While being a large Aussie city, Geelong has a lot of small-town charm, making it a great getaway from Melbourne. The waterfront is a major attraction. A variety of bars, cafes, and restaurants are located along the waterfront. Along with the other activities found on the waterfront, there is enough to keep you busy all day long.
You will also find the Giant Sky Wheel, stand-up paddleboarding, Segway tours of the city, and much more. Like Mount Buller, Geelong is a great tourist destination for families looking for fun and entertaining their kids. You will also find citywide events and festivals throughout the year.
It would take approximately 1 hour and 7 minutes to drive to Geelong from Melbourne via M1.
TRAVEL TIP: Looking for a place to stay? Have a look at our list of best hotels in Geelong.
6. Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. The region is picturesque and a favourite escapes from the city for those tired of the concrete and power lines that crisscross it. The peninsula is an incredible seaside getaway for city dwellers. You will find the area bordered by the ocean on one side while on the other side is Port Phillip Bay. Real estate prices are high in the area as it is a favourite of older and more well-off individuals seeking to get away from Melbourne and its suburbs. Due to money moving into the area, there is certainly a posh feel.
You will find gorgeous ocean waters that gather in quiet coves along the peninsula. There are also a host of quaint villages to stop off at and explore. Sorrento is one of the must-visit locations along the Mornington Peninsula. It was the first European mainland settlement in Victoria. You will find beautiful heritage buildings, luxury boutiques, high-end shopping, and cafes serving brilliant foods and drinks. Millionaire’s Walk can be found in Sorrento as it is an escape for well-off individuals and celebrities seeking a scenic place to spend their days.
Outdoor adventures can be found around Sorrento and the Mornington Peninsula. One of the most popular outdoor activities is the five-kilometre clifftop hiking trail that links Port Phillip Bay and Sorrento. There are also a number of beach trails off the beaten path in the rugged land just away from the shoreline.
A noteworthy wine region, the Mornington Peninsula produces high-quality wine in modest volumes from about 60 wineries. While most varietals are produced, pinot noir is especially renowned for the chilly, coastal climate of the Peninsula.
Official site: https://www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/
7. Grampians National Park
Although Grampians National Park is slightly further away than other destinations on this list, it is by no means a place to overlook. The park can be found 260 kilometres from Melbourne and provides visitors with beautiful vistas of waterfalls, colourful wildflowers, and rugged rock formations. Trekkers and hikers will fall in love with Grampians National Park due to the trails available.
The park also features traditional rock art from the aboriginal people that called it home. The region has a rich history and a visit to the National Park and Cultural Centre to learn more about the area’s past. The waterfalls in Grampians National Park are other top attractions to visit. Victoria’s tallest waterfall, MacKenzie Waterfall, can be found inside the park.
If hiking and trekking isn’t your idea of fun, abseiling and rock climbing are other popular activities. Mount Arapiles is a favourite amongst the Victoria rock climbing community. You also have the chance to fish, canoe, ride horses, mountain bike, and quad bike. Of course, you will find a variety of Aussie wildlife running around the park to photograph.
Melbourne is a beautiful Australian city to visit and explore. Its location to top-notch destinations makes day trips possible throughout the year. You are sure to find something special on a day trip from Melbourne no matter what you are looking for.
You may explore Grampians National Park all year long. The optimum season for hiking is spring (September to November), while the warm autumn weather is perfect for outdoor pursuits. Winter can be freezing, but it offers the best views of the park’s strong waterfalls, so tourists in the summer might prefer to hike in the cooler early hours.
Even in the summer, bring warm clothing since the weather in the mountains can quickly change. You can also bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and cozy shoes.
8. The Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley
The Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges is a long-standing favourite weekend getaway for Melburnians, interstate and overseas travellers. The region offers something for everyone — from nature and wildlife to the quiet and cultured villages, fantastic food (just like the rest of Melbourne), and a fun ride on a historic train, Puffing Billy.
The 100-year-old Puffing Billy operates from Belgrave. It’s a steam train that offers scenic rides through the amazing nature and natural surroundings. While you are there, stroll around the artisan shops, relax with a Devonshire tea in Olinda, or still through the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens.
The Yarra Valley is within striking distance and offers fresh produce, amazing restaurants, and the chance to sample handmade farmyard cheeses at Yarra Valley Dairy. For animal lovers, Healesville Sanctuary is a must – it’s packed with native Australian animals and birds.
In the Dandenong Ranges, Sassafras Creek is lined with at least 25 trees that are taller than 80 meters.
It’s no secret why many people decide to spend 1-2 days exploring Yarra Valley. It’s the ideal vacation spot with so many activities to do there.
About 140 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, Lorne, is located between Otway National Park and the Great Ocean Road, this pretty little town with a lot to offer. From the beautiful and scenic coastline, artesian shops and tasty food options, there is something for everyone.
Just 5 minutes from town is Teddy’s Lookout, which offers the most amazing views over the coast and Great Ocean Road. Erskine Falls is another popular nearby attraction for nature lovers.
The greatest view in Lorne may be seen from Teddy’s Lookout. The vista is really breathtaking, and getting there requires only a short drive or leisurely stroll up behind Lorne. Drive all the way to the top of the hill on George Street, next to the pub.
Official site: https://lovelorne.com.au
10. Wilsons Promontory National Park
“The Prom” as the locals call it, is the state’s largest coastal wilderness area and nirvana for nature lovers and photographers. Situated at the southernmost point of the Australian mainland, approximately a 3-hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD. It’s a long drive for a day trip, so start early in the morning and consider staying the night to make the most of your time there. The spectacular scenery of and typically gorgeous Australian beaches, rainforest climate, and rugged granite peaks are worth the trip.
Consider taking a guided walk through the bushland, visiting Giant Rock, Squeaky Beach, Lilly Pilly Gully, and Whisky Bay. The park is well known for its rich native wildlife, such as wombats, emus, kangaroos, and many birds. The hike up Mt. Oberon summit (approx 1 hour) offers one of the park’s best viewpoints, overlooking the Tidal River and the coast.
Although there is no entrance cost for Wilsons Promontory National Park, there are site fees for the Tidal River Campground. Tidal River Campground charges around $56 – $63 depending on the season. This cost is for a maximum of eight individuals.
With suitable campsites available for overnight stays, most people complete it in around 4-5 days.