The open road is calling...

Off to Melbourne for the trip of a lifetime? Don’t forget to step out of the city and experience all the fun and fabulous offerings in Victoria’s regions. You don’t need a tonne of annual leave to see some of our state’s most iconic sites. There are penguins, limestone cliffs, wine regions and outdoor adventures you can enjoy on a day trip (or overnight jaunt) from Melbourne. 

Switch the city for open spaces, join a tour, or hire a car to embark on six of our favourite short trips. 

1. Phillip Island 

Drive time: approximately 2 hours

If pristine beaches and native wildlife are your vibe, Phillip Island is the place to be. Hire a car or join a day trip from the city and travel roughly 90 minutes to two hours (depending on traffic) to this coastal haven. 

Watch baby fairy penguins scamper across the sand at Phillip Island Penguin Parade, or cruise the island with Wildlife Coast Cruises to spot hidden coves, monolithic rock formations and all manner of marine life.  

Penguins, phillip island, victoriaImage: Phillip Island Penguin Parade 

Craving a bite to eat? Head to the south-coast of the island and sip a crisp class of sauvignon blanc while feasting on hand stretched pizzas at Phillip Island Winery

2. The Yarra Valley 

Drive time: Ranges from 45 minutes to 90 minutes

The Yarra Valley is an expansive area known for its open green spaces, vineyards and local produce. Hidden in a forested pocket of the region is Warburton (around 90 minutes from the city), which is home to eclectic art spaces, a refreshing river and towering Red Wood forests

warburton adventure company, victoriaImage: Warburton Adventure Company

Here, you can join a tour with Warburton Adventure Company and try your hand at all manner of adventure sports – caving, abseiling, mountain biking… you name it. Or, make your way up Mount Donna Buang for scenic lookouts and a spot of hiking. 

For something more low-key, pop into the Blue Lotus Water Garden in Yarra Junction along the Warby Highway, and stroll through 50,000 square metres of tropical water gardens. With giant lilies from the Amazon, native varieties from Kakadu, and you can even pay homage to Claude Monet on the Monet Lake Bridge Walk.

3. The Great Ocean Road 

Drive time: Ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 hours

Scenic, iconic and outright spectacular, the Great Ocean Road is one to tick off the bucket list. Spanning 243 kilometres along the south-west coast of Victoria, encounter misty waterfalls, lush rainforest gullies, breathtaking headlands and epic surf swells. There is a lot to see and do along the Great Ocean Road, so if you’re travelling from Melbourne, book at least one night of accommodation so you have time to take in the sites. 

12 Apostles, great ocean road, victoriaImage: The 12 Apostles

For instance, to witness the rugged splendour of the 12 Apostles, you’re up for a four hour drive from the city, with great spots along the way, like Torquay where you can learn how to catch a wave with Torquay Surf Academy, or Apollo Bay where you can taste local craft brews at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse

You also have the Great Otway National Park and small coastal hamlets like Lorne to stop and check out on your travels. 

4. Geelong 

Drive time: approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes

Get a dose of sunshine by the seaside with a trip to Geelong, Melbourne’s industrial precinct turned entertainment destination. We’re talking restaurants, bars, a picturesque waterfront and nearby nature that will make you go – wow! 

Love cheese? At Splatters Cheese Bar, switch the cheese boards for a train filled with, you guessed it, cheese! Try everything from creamy camembert to tangy cheddar. You can even opt for a cheeky cocktail or pair a local wine with it if you’re keen for a proper treat day. 

buckley falls, geelong, victoriaImage: Buckley Falls

Walk off your cheesy indulgence with a stroll along the Red Gum Walk in Highton to the Buckley Falls lookout. If you’re lucky you might spot a swamp wallaby or a few frogs along the way. Hot tip, if you continue to follow the Red Gum Walk downstream and cross the bridge at the head of the aqueduct trail, you’ll find yourself at Provenance Wines or Fyansford Hotel ready for some post exercise refreshment. 

5. King Valley 

Drive time: approximately 3 hours

More of an overnighter than a cheeky day trip, the King Valley in Victoria’s High Country is the perfect spot to pop a cork and try some award-winning local wines. 

Gaze at sprawling mountain ranges while you contemplate the bursts of flavour overtaking your palate with a wine tasting at Red Feet Wines, or get a taste of Italian heritage right here in Victoria at Pizzini Wines. Where specialties include pinot grigio, sangiovese and arneis, to name a few. 

Pizzini wines, king valley, victoriaImage: Pizzini Wines

Venture further through the King Valley’s Italian touchpoints with a stop at La Cantina and make the most of their Tuscan cellar door where you can taste preservative free, vegan wines made on-site.

6. The Mornington Peninsula 

Drive time: Up to 90 minutes

Breathe in that fresh sea air and soak up the laid-back alfresco lifestyle that characterises the Mornington Peninsula. Nothing here is done in a rush, so slow down, breathe and relax. Need a helping hand? A bathing session or spa treatment at Alba Thermal Springs and Spa will make all your worries melt away, readying you for hours of exploration in Point Nepean National Park, or visiting crystal clear rock pools at Cape Schank

Alba, Mornington Peninsula, VictoriaImage: Alba Thermal Springs and Spa

Or treat yourself at St Andrews Beach Brewery with pints of cider, beer or citrusy sips of seltzer. Hot tip, their burgers go down a treat with their fresh brews. 

The peninsula, like most of Victoria, also loves its wine, so the cellar door and bistro at Polperro Winery in Red Hill is a great pit stop. The organic, biodynamic farm champions its local produce, so you can wine and dine in a delicious, eco-conscious way that’s good for the belly and the soul. 


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