Melbourne is one of my favourite places to visit in Australia. Why? Because it is full of art, culture and beautiful architecture. It is a place where there is so much to see and do, and it feels like the city is always busy. But, if you are anything like me and have been to Melbourne more times than you can count, and fancy a day trip or two outside of the CBD, then read on, as I have some great places to visit in Victoria.
Whether you prefer sun and surf or wine tasting and cheese platters, Victoria will spoil you with its choices. You will find all-day trips within an hour or two of the city, making all of the places listed great options for your Melbourne day trip.
Things to know before you go
Hiring a car is your best option if you plan to spend a full-day trip from the city and want to do it at your own pace. Remember to check ahead of time if the places mentioned are open or whether you need to book a space before you go.
A guided tour might be your best option if you want to take it easy. However, whether you want a private or group tour, Get your guide has many options and knowledgeable tour guides that can answer any questions you may have about the area.
The best day trips from Melbourne
Yarra Valley – (approximately 1-hour drive)
If you only decide to travel to the Yarra Valley for a tour of Chandon, I don’t blame you! So many areas in Victoria have vineyards, some small (newer) boutique wineries, and more well-known and established names, but no other region offers the famous bubbly.
There are some great Yarra Valley wine’s in this region, like Yering Station and Zonzo estate. In addition, there are other options like the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and ice creamery (an excellent stop for the kids), Four Pillars gin distillery and The Yarra Valley Dairy (for all things Cheese).
Something a little different: Feeling a little romantic? Why not try the Yarra Valley hot air balloon flight with champagne breakfast?
Recommendation: Stop at Fergusson Winery for lunch (book online first to save disappointment). This family-run business has been around for over fifty years, so they know a thing or two about wine, and what makes it extra special is that the food is delicious too.
Accommodation: De’Vine Escape is a 10-minute journey to the Yarra Valley wine region. The hotel is excellent for a romantic weekend or a family trip, with double rooms and family rooms offered.
Mornington Peninsula (approximately 1-hour drive)
Mornington Peninsula has it all, whether it is a day at the beach or a relaxing few hours at the Peninsula Hot Springs. But, of course, you could spend the entire day (and night) at the Peninsular hot springs and fully indulge yourself in every experience because sometimes two hours is not enough.
A short 20-minute drive away, you will find the beautiful area of Portsea, spend an afternoon exploring Point Nepean National Park or spend the afternoon browsing the gorgeous boutiques this area has to offer. Then, stop for lunch at one of the great little cafes around this area, or spend the day paddling around in the sea.
Something a little different: Enjoy a guided tour of the Sorrento and Portsea area, which includes a gondola ride with a view.
Recommendation: Book lunch or stop for a drink at the Portsea Hotel; the hotel is in a great location with spectacular views and a fun, relaxed atmosphere.
Accommodation: Portsea Village resort is only a few minutes’ walk from Portsea Beach. The hotel is in an ideal location with great amenities, including swimming pools, a tennis court, and a fitness centre.
Daylesford (approximately 1.5 hours drive)
Daylesford has been a favourite of mine for many years. It was a day out to fill our containers with fresh, natural springs and picnic in this beautiful area as a kid. As an adult, I am drawn to the fantastic day spas and relaxing countryside.
The spas in the area are full of rich mineral thermal waters, including indoor pools and saunas. Whether you are here to check out the spa treatments or here to drink the variety of natural springs, you can’t go past shopping in the little boutiques along the main road.
Something a little different: Daylesford Spa Country Railway is a fun day out for all the family as you jump on board the heritage train and enjoy the gorgeous countryside while imagining a time when the train was in full use. Trains run on Sundays with a market alongside it from 8 am to 3 pm weekly (weather permitting).
Recommendation: Spend a day in pure indulgence at the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, where you can soak in mineral baths and book a beauty treatment and massage. If you feel like one day isn’t enough, stay at the Hepburn Springs Escape Villas for the night and indulge yourself for another day.
Accommodation: Bohemia is the place for you if you are after peace and quiet without being too far away from the town centre. This beautiful two-bedroom home is situated right amongst the natural beauty that brings you to Daylesford in the first place.
Geelong (Approximately 1 hours drive)
Being the second-largest city in Victoria means plenty to do in Geelong, with plenty of history to match. Walk the Geelong Baywalk Bollards Trail, spend the day swimming at the Eastern beach or enjoy a 20-minute ride around Geelong’s waterfront on the Eastern Beach Train Tour.
Geelong has a lot going for it, with great places to dine and loads of historical buildings to explore one of Geelong’s best-kept secrets – the Geelong botanical gardens.
Something a little different: Head over to Narana Aboriginal Centre opens every day and is only a short 20-minute drive from Eastern Beach. Spend two hours being introduced to Aboriginal Culture, or have your children attend the dreaming for kids program. (book online to save disappointment).
Recommendation: If you are visiting in summer and want a fun day out, why not try Victoria’s biggest water theme Park- Adventure Park? It is not just for the little kids; the big kids also love it.
Bellarine Peninsula (Approximately 1.5 hours drive)
Just a short 20-minute drive from Geelong’s eastern beach, you will find the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula. Known for its many wineries, this area has gorgeous places to eat and drink with ocean views. Either choose from the many wine-tasting options or head to the Whiskery for some gin tasting.
You could spend a morning picking blueberries and strawberries at Tuckerberry Hill or combine your day out in Geelong with a stop-over in the Bellarine Peninsula area.
Something a little different: Experience the Bellarine Peninsula via heritage train from Drysdale to Queenscliffand via the Q train and throw in a degustation meal to top off the experience.
Recommendation: Lunch (and tasting) at the Terindah Estate is the perfect stop-over in this part of Victoria. Eating a delicious lunch with a spectacular view of the vineyard and ocean is breathtaking.
Accommodation: Fancy a romantic getaway? Try The Oakdene Vineyards Guest House, which is in an ideal location close to all local tourist spots. With a cellar door and a great restaurant at your doorstep, no need to go anywhere else for the night.
Phillip Island (approximately 2 hours drive)
We all know that most people travel to Phillip Island for the penguin parade; however, there is more to Phillip island than a colony of penguins. Besides The Koala Conservation Reserve and seal rock for all those animal lovers, there is also a hike worth mentioning at Point Grant (known as Nobbies), where you can find Nobbies blowholes and some great little sea caves.
For all those lovers of sport, if you plan to visit in October, you must purchase tickets to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Or head out on one of the many available cruises; you could choose from a cruise to see the seals, a relaxing sunset cruise, or more.
Something a little different: Fancy seeing this beautiful part of the world via helicopter? Well, book your tour and a knowledgeable guide who can answer all your questions from above.
Recommendation: Most people come to Phillip Island for the penguins, and the best way to see them is on tour, where you will experience the Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park and Churchill Island historic farm at night
Accommodation: Banksia Park Estate is a charming little bed and breakfast. The place is tranquil, with lots of space that will make you feel like you are on vacation when you arrive. Perfect for couples and families with little kids.
Williamstown (Approximately a 30-minute drive)
So most people will drive to Williamstown however, catching a ferry from the city is much more fun. Williamstown is a historic area developed around the same time Melbourne city was, so it served as the area’s first port.
If you plan on making the trip by car, a stop-over at Scienceworks is a must (and it isn’t just for the little kids, either). While in Williamstown, dine alfresco at one of the many great restaurants, learn about Williamstown Maritime history at the HMAS Castlemaine or explore the area’s historic buildings.
Something a little different: With so much history in Williamstown, there is no wonder there are many stories of times long ago; what better way to hear them than on a ghost tour?
Recommendation: What better way to see Melbourne than by seaplane? Hop on board the scenic flight that can see more of Melbourne in 15 minutes than you can in a couple of hours on the ground.
Accommodation: Aligned Corporate Residence Williamstown is the perfect location for your short stay if you want a staycation. Each apartment is fully equipped with its own kitchenette and is excellent for families and couples.
Torquay Beach (Approximately 1.5 hours drive)
When you think Torquay and Bells Beach, are you thinking of surfing competitions and big waves? Apart from either spending a day at one of Victoria’s best-known surfing beaches or watching one of the many surfing competitions held here. The Australian National Surfing Museum is also where you can dive deep into surfing history.
Visit The Split Point Lighthouse for their daily tours and see for yourself the breathtaking 360-degree views from the top of the lighthouse. Otherwise, sample the local beer at Bells Beach Brewing after a morning of surfing lessons.
Something a little different: Why not brave the skies with a Tiger Moth flight where you can either skydive or do exhilarating loops and barrel rolls in a historic WWII open-cockpit biplane?
Recommendation: Founded in 1969 in Torquay, the Ripcurl surfing brand has a factory outlet worth visiting. You will find other great surfing brands at Surfcity plaza too.
Accommodation: Torq of the town is conveniently located on Loch Ard, driving just metres from Torquay beach. This entire three-bedroom home can fit up to 8 people, which is ideal for a group of friends or a short family getaway.
Ballarat (Approximately 1.5 hours drive)
Ballarat, best known for the days of the Australian gold rush era, is a cute country town full of history. This means you can’t go past this town without visiting Sovereign Hill. Spend the day whisked back in time where you will feel like you have landed back into the gold rush era. Pan for gold, watch the blacksmith at work or try your hand at candlemaking.
Suppose you would instead like to explore the area, head over to either Ballarat botanical gardens or Ballarat wildlife park, where you can spend the day enjoying these outdoor activities. However, If art is more your thing, visit Ballarat’s many wall murals or explore this wonderful city by hiring a bike.
Something a little different: Head over to Kryal Castle, where you will experience life in a medieval town. At the Kryal Castle adventure park, you can watch some knights jousting, wander through the torture dungeon and museum or try your luck at axe throwing. If you can’t get enough of the experience, stay the night in the Castles suite.
Recommendation: Enjoy this incredible historic city on foot and at your own pace by downloading the self-guided tour. Spend a day or two indulging in everything Ballarat has to offer.
Accommodation: Sovereign Hill Hotel is located on the historical mining site adjacent to Sovereign Hill’s gold mining village. It is excellent for families who want to spend the day at Sovereign Hill or explore Ballarat because it is close to all major tourist attractions.
Werribee (Approximately 40 minutes drive)
When the name Werribee is mentioned, most people will say “mansion”, as everyone who has been to this area has been to the mansion at least once or twice. Why? Because everyone is intrigued by this sixty-room mansion. Werribee Park mansion also has amazing grounds where you can spend an afternoon picnicking in the beautifully manicured gardens, wander through the formal gardens, or visit the newly restored fruit orchard initially planted in the late 1800s.
While you are there, spend time at Werribee’s open-range zoo. There is something for every animal lover here; you could choose the general admission safari, upgrade to a deluxe safari adventure
or select one of the animal encounters.
Something a little different: The K Road Cliffs is the best place to see the sunset. Get there at dusk and enjoy the breathtaking views or get there early for a bit of an adventure walk.
Recommendation: Want something even more special? Stay the night and go behind the scenes of Werribee’s Open Range Zoo.
Accommodation: Lancemore Mansion Hotel will have you sleeping like a prince/princess for the night. With a swimming pool, free parking, and breakfast included, who wouldn’t want to stay in a castle for the night?
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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