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Family touring route

Around the bay and in the trees

Gather the kids together and hit the road for an epic five-day family adventure, and never be more than an hour or two from the city. 

Frolic in the sun on Geelong's pristine waterfront and explore the beaches and bays of the Bellarine Peninsula. Pick berries straight from the farm or fly through the trees on zip-lines down on the Mornington Peninsula. And that's just the beginning...

Phillip Island awaits with its little penguins, cuddly koalas and fur seals, not to mention all the sugar and spice of the amazing chocolate factory. Ride an historic steam train through the fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges, hit the ski slopes of Lake Mountain during the wintertime, and visit Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley for a wildlife encounter you'll never forget.

So what are you waiting for? Pack up the car and get out into Victoria's adventure playground.



Day one

Family touring route

Geelong and the Bellarine

Begin your family adventure in Geelong, Victoria's second largest city and located just an hour's drive west of Melbourne. Spend the morning exploring the many seafront attractions at Eastern Beach. Ride the historic carousel and ferris wheel, take a dip in the lagoon, or just have fun with the kids on the green lawns and play area.

Next stop is the popular Queenscliff's Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre. Check out the aquariums and learn about the coastal habitat of the local wildlife through the educational displays.

The gorgeous seaside towns of the Bellarine are the perfect spot for a relaxing wander. Discover the lighthouse at Point Lonsdale, stroll along the river before enjoying afternoon tea with views of the ocean at Barwon Heads, and watch the boats come and go in Queenscliff Harbour.

Put your feet up and prepare for day two at the highly awarded BIG4 Beacon Resort, complete with indoor heated pool, inflatable trampoline and indoor fun room.

Day two

Family touring route

Bellarine Peninsula to Mornington Peninsula

Start the day by catching a ride with Searoad Ferries from Queenscliff to Sorrento, and keep an eye out for dolphins and seals during the 40-minute crossing.

Pop into Main Ridge Dairy any time of year to stock up on local goodies, see their flock of goats, and learn how they make their wonderful cheeses. And if you're visiting during the summer months, try your hand at picking your own fruit at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm or at one of the many cherry orchards.

Leave time for a slow lunch at Green Olive at Red Hill. Afterwards, take a walk around the kitchen garden, explore the olive grove and vineyard (say hi to the maremma sheep dog guarding the chickens), and jump to your heart's content on the trampoline.

The Enchanted Adventure Garden in Red Hill makes for a fun-filled afternoon for kids and grown-ups alike. Climb and fly high on the network of 50 aerial obstacles, 10-metre high zip lines, and one of Australia's largest tube riding networks.

Slow down with some time at the beautiful bay beaches of the Mornington Peninsula, from Mount Martha and Rye to Sorrento and Portsea. The beaches are calm, clean, and home to the iconic, colourful beach boxes.

Stay overnight at Rye's Aquabelle Apartments and revel in views of the bay from your balcony.



Day three

Family touring route

Mornington Peninsula to Phillip Island

Cross over the Mornington Peninsula and journey around Western Port Bay to Phillip Island, a popular family holiday destination and home to some of Victoria's iconic wildlife experiences.

Begin with a visit to Churchill Island Heritage Farm and get an insight into how life was like for the early settlers. Next stop is to the nearby Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, where you can take a tour to learn how their chocolate is created and do some creating yourself.

Cut across the island and spark your imagination at A Maze'N Things, a family fun park full of mental tests and games for all ages. Across the road you'll find the Koala Conservation Centre, with boardwalks into the treetops to ensure great interaction with these cuddly locals.

Enjoy an afternoon at sea with Wildlife Coast Cruises or the Wild Ocean Ecoboat and cruise out to Seal Rocks to see the 30,000 strong colony of Australian fur seals.

Cast a line at the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, and then travel out to Summerlands Beach for the Penguin Parade at sunset. Sign up for the Penguins Plus upgrade to enjoy the ranger commentary and the chance to see the penguins from the underground viewing area, at eye height.

Rest and rejuvenate with a quiet night in the 4-star Phillip Island Apartments in Cowes.

Day four

Family touring route

Phillip Island to Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

Your Phillip Island adventures aren't over yet. Enjoy some of the best ham and cheese toasties in Australia at Mad Cowes Café overlooking Cowes Beach, and then make your way across to the Nobbies Centre. Take in the Antarctic Journey exhibit, where you'll come face to face with orcas and seals (or at least 3D virtual reality versions of them).

Then it's goodbye to Phillip Island and on to the fern gullies and green hills of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Take a ride on the Puffing Billy heritage railway, feed the native birds at Grants Reserve, or visit any of the beautiful national parks.

If you're travelling in September or October, be sure to frolic in the fields of tulips at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. And a visit to Rayners Orchard is a must, where you can pick peaches, nectarines, feijoas and guavas straight off the trees.

Come nightfall, relish a night in the luxury surrounds of Balgownie Estate, located in the heart of the Yarra Valley's wine country.



Day five

Family touring route

Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

If you're travelling during the wintertime, head just 40 minutes out of the Valley to Lake Mountain and take the opportunity to indulge in snow play at this family-friendly ski resort.

Leave plenty of time for your visit to Healesville Sanctuary, home to iconic wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and emus. Take in some of the educational and inspiring shows on offer, such as Spirits of the Sky (dedicated to Australia's birdlife) and Tales from Platypus Creek. Get up close to local wildlife with Magic Moment encounter, and check out the amazing work done by the staff and volunteers at the Wildlife Hospital. 

Stop in at Meletos for some of the valley's best pizza for lunch, play a game of petanque at the scenic Dominque Portet Winery, and then head back into Melbourne, which is just 45 minutes away.