The Best Day Trips from Melbourne

View from the top of Hanging Rock.

The Best Day Trips from Melbourne

Living in Melbourne we are spoiled for choice when it comes to getting out of the city for the day, or for the weekend. There are so many places to visit which are only a short drive away; the hardest part is choosing where to go. We have it all beaches, mountains, wineries and spas. And most places are only a short road trip away. So if you are a Melbournian who needs a break from the city or if you’re here on vacation, here’s a list of the best day trips you can make.

The Mornington Peninsula

Distance from CBD: 1 hour

The Mornington Peninsula is one of the most popular day trips for Melbournians. With the newly opened Peninsula link freeway extension, it’s now only an hour away from the city, making it a great place to head for the day. On the peninsula, you will find stunning and wild beaches such as the Portsea back beach or Gunnamatta. If you are a surfer, you’ll find lots of challenging waves there! If you prefer swimming to surfing, don’t worry; the bay beaches are equally gorgeous. Make your way to the Sorrento Bay Beach, Rye or Dromana beaches.

The stunning Sorrento Bay beach, perfect for swimming.

The stunning Sorrento Bay beach, perfect for swimming.

A surfer on Portsea's back beach.

A surfer on Portsea’s back beach.

There are many fantastic hikes to be found along the peninsula. If you like bushwalking you will be kept busy. Check out Coppins Track, a gorgeous coastal walk near Sorrento, or head to the Point Nepean National Park for some seriously breathtaking hikes.

Incredible views from the Coppins Track.

Incredible views from the Coppins Track.

Point Nepean National Park.

The Point Nepean National Park.

Do you like eating local produce and drinking wine? No worries, the peninsula has all of that available too. The Red Hill and Main Ridge areas are packed with wineries, some with exceptional restaurants to grab lunch at. There is too much to do on the peninsula for just a day trip, but you can always go back the next weekend!

Not a bad view from Tuck's Ridge Winery.

Quite a view from Tuck’s Ridge Winery!

The new Eagle Skylift in Arthurs Seat. Great view over the peninsula.

The new Eagle Skylift in Arthurs Seat gives you great views over the peninsula.

For more on the Mornington Peninsula, click here.

The Dandenongs

Distance from CBD: 45 minutes

With magnificent views, stunning rainforests, clean air and lush landscapes, the Dandenongs are a great place for a day out of Melbourne. From Belgrave, you can take the old steam train Puffing Billy to Gembrook. The train goes through the scenic Dandenong Ranges and it’s a great way to spend a few hours.

The old Puffing Billy train.

The old Puffing Billy steam train.

For a great view out over Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs, make a stop at Sky High on Mt Dandenong. At over six hundred meters above sea level, you will get one of the best views of Melbourne’s skyline, and on a clear day you might even see as far as Port Philip Bay. For lunch with a view, you can’t beat the Sky High Bistro and restaurant. It’s rather pricey but you certainly can’t beat the view.

The view from Mt Dandenong.

The view from Mt Dandenong.

Don’t forget to stroll around the cute villages of Olinda or Sassafras and browse their many gift and craft shops, check out one of their many cafes and restaurants, or take a picnic in the beautiful Rhododendron Gardens.

Olinda's Rhododendron Gardens.

Olinda’s Rhododendron Gardens.

Old telephone box in Olinda's Rhododendron Gardens.

An old telephone box in Olinda’s Rhododendron Gardens.

Philip Island

Distance from CBD: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Philip island is home to a colony of hundreds of little fairy penguins and they attract thousands of visitors each year. So you can’t go to Philip Island and not go and see the penguins. Every night at dusk many of them return home from fishing out at sea and make their way up the beach to their nests. Sometimes you’ll hear the chirping of babies calling their mother home. So cute! It’s a great experience to see them in their natural environment which is very well protected by the rangers.

But Philip Island has more than just the penguins. It has some truly breathtaking scenery. While on the island don’t forget to stop at Woolamai beach, the island’s nicest beach. While there, take the Cape Woolamai walk to the Pinnacles which follows the cliff tops along the cape. You’ll be rewarded with superb panoramas of the island.

Cape Woolamai - Photo by Flickr

Cape Woolamai – Photo by Wayne Butterworth on  Flickr

The Nobbies is also a great place to spend a couple of hours. Walk along the boardwalk past the impressive blowhole and admire the wild coastal views. You will usually see many birds nesting around the Nobbies. From the Nobbies, you can see the Seal Rocks in the distance. These rocks are home to the largest fur seal colony in Australia. Don’t forget to bring some binoculars to check them out. If you’re lucky you might even spot a stray fairy penguin or two resting under the boardwalk!

The Nobbies.

The Nobbies with Seals rock in the distance.

The beautiful coastal view from the Nobbies.

The beautiful coastal view from the Nobbies.

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

Distance from CBD: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are both in Victoria’s spa region. There are many day spas and natural springs around the area, the most famous (and also the most expensive) being the Lake House. It’s a great place to go for a day of relaxation if you can afford it.

Lake Daylesford in Autumn.

Lake Daylesford in Autumn.

Even if spas aren’t your thing, Daylesford is still well worth a day trip. It has so much more to offer, such as beautiful historic buildings, interesting shops, and stunning lakes to walk around. If wining and dining is more your thing, Daylesford is full of quaint little restaurants and cafes serving delicious local produce and serving amazing wines. Our favourite restaurants are Kazuki’s and Sault.

The beautiful gardens of Sault restaurant.

The beautiful gardens of Sault restaurant.

In season, check out Lavendula Swiss Italian Farm, a Lavender farm nestled in the rolling hills of Shepherds Flat. When the lavender is in bloom the European-style gardens are truly spectacular and a joy to walk around. Don’t forget to stop at the cafe for a Lavender cocktail!

Lavendula Italian Farm in Hepburn Springs.

Lavendula Swiss Italian Farm in Hepburn Springs.

Yarra Valley

Distance from CBD: 1 hour

For all the wine lovers out there the Yarra Valley is an all time favourite day trip from Melbourne. With 160 wineries in the Yarra Valley, there is no way you can visit them all, so decide on four or five wineries to visit and plan out your day.

Many of the wineries offer tastings, and some even have restaurants that overlook their vineyards where you can enjoy a tasty lunch of local produce and a glass or two of wine. To burn off the calories, wander around the vineyards and enjoy the scenery.

The grounds of Domaine Chandon.

The grounds of Domaine Chandon.

Our favourite spots in the Yarra Valley are Domaine Chandon, De Bortoli and Chateau Yering. All have stunning views, amazing wines and really nice restaurants. Just one thing, make sure you have a designated driver or take it easy with the wine tasting. Another option is to take a winery tour from the city so that someone can do all the driving for you!

If you’re an animal lover or just enjoy Australian wildlife, combine your day with a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary where you can see most Australian wildlife such as koalas, wombats, emus and many native Australian birds. You will also see plenty of kangaroos and wallabies.

A koala at Healesville Sanctuary, the best place to see Australian wildlife in Melbourne.

A koala at Healesville Sanctuary, the best place to see Australian wildlife in Melbourne.

Hanging Rock – Macedon Ranges

Distance from CBD: 1 hour

A lovely drive through the Macedon Ranges will take you to the famous and quite spectacular Hanging Rock. Hanging Rock is a rare volcanic formation which is about six million years old. It used to be a sacred place for indigenous people and became famous after it was used as a backdrop to the 1975 film “Picnic at Hanging Rock” by Peter Weir. Recently it has also been used as a venue for music concerts and markets.

On our way to the top of Hanging Rock.

On our way to the top of Hanging Rock.

If you feel up for it, you can climb forty minutes to reach the top of the rock. It isn’t a hard climb as long as you take your time, and there are stunning views from the top over the Macedon Ranges.

Simon climbing up.

Simon climbing up.

Great view of the Macedon Ranges.

A fanstastic view of the Macedon Ranges.

Just one thing, don’t forget to bring a picnic!

Wilson Promontory

Distance from CBD: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Wilson Promontory or “the Prom” as we like to call it, is a bit further from the city than the rest of these places, but it’s such a beautiful national park that you should definitely make the effort to visit if you have the time.

The boulders of Squeeky beach.

The boulders of Squeaky beach.

The park has rainforests, granite mountains, amazing beaches, and if bush walking is your thing you will be in heaven! There are many tracks suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. All tracks offer spectacular views. One beach you shouldn’t miss is the famous Squeaky beach. Once you step on it, you will quickly guess where its name comes from!

Gorgeous views all around at the "Prom".

Gorgeous views all around at the “Prom”.

The Tidal River.

The Tidal River. A popular camping ground in the Prom.

Stunning place.

Such a stunning place!

While exploring the park keep an eye out for all the wildlife. The Prom is home to many wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and even emus! It’s such a great place for nature lovers. Make sure to wake up bright and early so you have the whole day to explore this beautiful part of Victoria.

A wombat eating his dinner!

A wombat eating his dinner!

Some of the many roos we saw in the national park.

Some of the many roos we saw in the national park.

Every time we head out of the city to visit any of these places, we immediately start to relax. Living in the city is great for many things but it’s so nice to be able to get out into the countryside every now and again. We really are lucky that all of these places are within easy reach of the city.

So if you are going to be in Melbourne for a few days, get out of town, you won’t regret it!
Day tours from Melbourne

Enter your details below to receive our latest posts, updates, handy travel tips and to find out where we're off to next.

LEAVE A COMMENT