If you need a break from the city, regional Victoria has a lot to offer from the beaches to the mountains – and everywhere in between! Here are four of my favourite day trip ideas from Melbourne.
Great Ocean Road
One of Australia’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road is located less than 200 km from Melbourne, making it a perfect day trip or two! The drive from Torquay to Allansford offers breathtaking views of the sea, as well as unique rock formations such as the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge.
Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road, Torquay VIC, Australia
Twelve Apostles, Princetown VIC, Australia
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell VIC, Australia
There is also a 100km Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay to Gibson Steps if you’re up for a challenge!
There are also many beautiful coastal towns along the way which you can stop at, including Apollo Bay. While in town, drop by the Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op for their delectable fishermen’s basket, or have a gin flight at the Apollo Bay Distillery.
Apollo Bay Fishermen's Co-Op
Apollo Bay Fishermen's Co-Op, Breakwater Road...
Apollo Bay Distillery
Apollo Bay Distillery, Great Ocean Road, Apol...
For the adventurous travellers, you can try the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, including a treetop walk and zipline tour. Their 600 metre-long and 25 metre-high walkway offers bird’s-eye view of the rainforest, and there is also a 45 metre-tall tower (not for the faint-hearted!).
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, Weeaproinah VIC...
If you have some time to spare, stay a night or two in Warrnambool. This is a popular whale watching spot from June to October every year. Make sure to check the weather reports before heading out.
Warrnambool VIC, Australia
Wilsons Promontory National Park, or simply “The Prom”, is Victoria's largest coastal wilderness area and the southernmost point of Australia’s mainland, where you might have a chance to encounter native wildlife such as wombats, emus, kangaroos, and birds.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park, Gippsland V...
If you’re a nature lover or photographer, The Prom is not to be missed! Highlights include the granite rock formations of Giant Rock, the squeaky white sand and turquoise water of Squeaky Beach, and the sea-sculpted boulders of Whisky Bay.
My favourite? The Big Drift, which consist of massive sand dunes towering over coastal woodland that look like a scene out of Disney’s Aladdin – perfect for those sunset photo shoots!
Other activities include camping, hiking, swimming, diving, fishing, and birdwatching.
Grampians National Park
Listed as an Australian Heritage site in 2006, the Grampians features a series of incredible sandstone mountains, majestic waterfalls, and lush greenery. This popular day trip destination from Melbourne offers several trails for hikers to explore.
Grampians National Park
Grampians National Park, Victoria, Australia
One of the best trails is the Wonderland Loop, which takes you through Venus Baths, Silent Street, The Pinnacle and The Grand Canyon.
The Grampians is also home to the largest number of ancient Aboriginal rock art paintings and shelters in southern Australia. You can pay a visit to Brambuk Cultural Centre to learn about this region’s ancient history, embark on a rock art tour, or even taste crocodile, emu, kangaroo, wattle seeds, and more at the Bushfoods Café.
Brambuk the National Park & Cultural Centre
Brambuk the National Park & Cultural Centre, ...
If you’re travelling with children, the Halls Gap Zoo makes for a fun excursion, with over 160 native and exotic species, including wombat and dingo.
Halls Gap Zoo
Halls Gap Zoo, Ararat-Halls Gap Road, Halls G...
When you just want to relax and unwind, then Daylesford is perfect for a city escape. This rural town just 90-minutes from Melbourne is home to a thriving mix of natural mineral springs, art galleries and farmers markets.
Daylesford VIC, Australia
Head to Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, which has been welcoming visitors since 1895, for mineral bathing, massage or water therapy.
Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa
Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, Mineral Springs Rese...
Then take a stroll around Daylesford Lake to enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery, especially during autumn.
Lake Daylesford, Daylesford VIC, Australia
Another highlight is The Convent, a 19th-century private mansion turned gallery nestled on a hill overlooking Daylesford, which features work by over 100 local, national and international artists. The exhibition program is changed every eight weeks, so there’s always something new to explore. The bell tower provides 180 degree views across Daylesford and the surrounding area.
The Convent, Daylesford
The Convent, Daylesford, Daly Street, Daylesf...
Last but not least, if you visit Daylesford during summer, check out the Lavandula Swiss-Italian Farm, which offers a taste of Europe with its purple lavender fields, stone cottages, and rustic cafe serving lavender ice cream.