Though Melbourne has plenty of appeal on its own, it’s good to get a break from the city sometimes. This guide will show you the best day trips from Melbourne, all within reach of public transport or a quick drive.
Great Ocean Road is a spectacular route that travels along the coast in Torquay. Though you don’t need to travel the whole thing, just a short drive will take you past some of the most beautiful and untamed natural scenery in the country. A highlight of the drive is the Twelve Apostles, a stretch of worn rocks that lie off the coast and present a striking image.
Phillip Island is just off the coast of Victoria and is one of the best day trips from Melbourne. The island itself is rugged and untamed, but one of the biggest draws is the wildlife. You’ll see an adorable colony of seals resting on the rocks near the coast, as well as the penguins, which come to shore at sunset. Kangaroos, wallabies and other Australian wildlife also call the island home, so it’s perfect for animal lovers.
Mornington Peninsula lies south of Melbourne and boasts a stunning coastline dotted with quaint seaside communities. Quiet bays with sandy beaches can be found all along the coast, so it’s an ideal trip for families or couples looking for a quiet seaside retreat. The Mornington Peninsula National Park is another highlight, offering a diverse landscape with hiking trails, waterways and waterfalls among native wildlife.
Wilsons Promontory is a long stretch of land that travels into the ocean and lays claim to the southernmost spot in Australia. If you hike out to the tip, you’ll find a dramatic lighthouse and unrivalled views of the sea. The promontory also has a lovely national park that boasts vast networks of hiking trails that wind through wild landscapes and dramatic waterfalls. Wilsons Promontory is a popular spot for whale migration as well, and the area has a large population of wallabies.
Ballarat is just a few hours from Melbourne, but it’s like a whole different world. In the 19th century, Ballarat was the site of a huge gold rush that resulted in European settlements in Victoria. Now, the city boasts historic sites that celebrate its unique gold-rush heritage and the only armed rebellion in the country’s history. You could spend hours strolling down storied pathways and viewing fascinating landmarks, such as Kryal Castle.
Ballarat has plenty of natural attractions as well, such as Lake Wendouree and Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Some other highlights include the Art Gallery of Ballarat and the Eureka Centre – Home of the Eureka Flag.
Pentridge Prison is a highlight of historic Australia and a unique day trip from Melbourne. Perfect for history buffs, Pentridge Prison offers self-guided tours to see the old prison heritage sites and the transformation into a new village. The prison also had some notable convicts over the years, such as Chopper, one of the country’s most famous criminals, Ned Kelly and Edward Cornelius.
St Kilda is just a short distance from the centre of Melbourne. Though it began as its own settlement, it’s now close enough to the city to be considered a suburb. St Kilda offers a day trip that’s not too far from the sights of the city and gives you a chance to take it easy in quirky cafes, bayside beaches and casual bohemian bars.
Geelong is another large city in Victoria that’s within driving distance of Melbourne. It’s not only one of the oldest cities in the state, but it also boasts a more laid-back environment than Melbourne. You’ll find numerous top-notch restaurants, a thriving cultural scene and a picturesque harbourfront, as well as unique attractions like the National Wool Museum and the Serendip Sanctuary.
If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne, be sure to experience some of these fun day trips and explore the best Victoria has to offer. Visit Expedia to browse accommodation options and prepare for your next holiday to Melbourne.