Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne for a bit, I’ve got you covered. Here are 14 top day trips from Melbourne that you’ll love!
Situated on Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne is one of the most amazing cities in all of Australia. Scratch that — I think it’s one of the most incredible cities in the entire world. I’ve spent around five months living in this epic city. Now that I’m back in the States, I find myself being homesick for it.
While in Melbourne, you can stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens, watch a few games of tennis at the Australian Open, admire the art pieces at the National Gallery of Victoria, purchase some fantastic local goods at Queen Victoria Market, and so much more.
But, sometimes, you just need a little break from the city. When that time comes, there are loads of wonderful day trips that you can take from Melbourne. You can enjoy the wine region of Yarra Valley, watch hundreds of penguins make their way to shore on Phillips Island, enjoy a day of pampering in Daylesford, or even drive the breathtaking Great Ocean Road.
If you’re looking for the best day trips from Melbourne, Australia, this guide has you covered! To make it easier for you, I’ve organized the day trips from closest to furthest away from Melbourne.
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In This Post:
Day Trips From Melbourne Map
16 Amazing Day Trips from Melbourne, Australia
I’ve put in italics the drive time to reach each destination from Melbourne. The best way to explore these nearby places is with a car. This will allow you to have more freedom and flexibility.
If you really enjoy one of these places, you can spend the night there. If you don’t like one of these places, you can hop in your car and move on to the next one. Plus, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with public transportation times.
Lastly, before you hit the road, don’t forget to read my road trip packing list. It includes some useful and fun items to make your road trip an unforgettable one.
Day Trips Within an Hour From Melbourne
20 minutes from Melbourne
If you’re a museum and history buff, this is an unmissable day trip from Melbourne for you. This is actually Melbourne’s first port settlement and it’s brimming with several maritime museums and landmarks.
A lot of people visit just to catch epic views of the Melbourne skyline from across the bay. Besides that, there are so many other wonderful things you can do. You can hang out at Williamstown Beach, wander around Williamstown Botanic Garden, or visit Nelson’s Palace.
As for museums and landmarks, some of the best ones include Williamstown Historical Museum, Newport Railway Museum, Timeball Tower, Seaworks Maritime Museum, and Scienceworks.
20 minutes from Melbourne
If you’re a wine lover, you’ll love the day trip from Melbourne to Yarra Valley. Yarra Valley is one of the best wine regions in all of Australia.
While you’re there, you can visit several wineries, enjoy a few wine tastings, and even take home a bottle or two! Some of the best wineries in Yarra Valley include TarraWarra’s Estate, Yering Station, and Domaine Chandon.
And if you’d like to add a little something different to your trip to Yarra Valley, you can go on a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Just think about it. If Yarra Valley’s vineyards look beautiful on land during the day, how stunning will they be from the air with the golden tint of sunrise?
The Dandenong Ranges
35 minutes from Melbourne
When you feel like you want to escape the concrete jungle and head to a greenery-filled jungle instead, the Dandenong Ranges (which is different from the little town of Dandenong) is one of the best day trips from Melbourne to do so.
While at the Dandenong Ranges, you can stop to smell the flowers at the Dandenong Ranges Botanical Gardens and hike the 1,000 steps of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk. But surprisingly, the most popular attraction in the area isn’t a natural wonder, rather, it’s the Puffing Billy Railway.
During your ride aboard this classic red and green train, you can choose from a bunch of different itineraries. My favorite is the one that focuses on the Dandenong Ranges, on which you can try delicious fresh fruit from Rayners Orchard, enjoy a meal from a local eatery, and ride through beautiful forests.
1 hour from Melbourne
Hanging Rock is a 2,355-foot dormant volcano just an hour outside of Melbourne. And while those facts are already impressive, that’s not why Hanging Rock is one of the most popular day trips from Melbourne.
Hanging Rock’s main claim to fame is actually a fictional novel called Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. This 1967 novel tells the story of a group of girls who mysteriously disappear from boarding school in the area.
This book gained so much of a following that it was turned into a movie of the same name in 1975. To this day, Picnic at Hanging Rock is considered to be one of the best Australian novels ever published. Simply put, I highly recommend reading or watching Picnic at Hanging Rock before making your day trip to Hanging Rock.
While at this natural wonder, you can picture the characters of Joan Lindsay’s book coming to life. You can also hike with a llama, bike on the Hanging Rock bike loop, and enjoy a wine tasting at Hanging Rock Winery.
Day Trips 1-2 Hours From Melbourne
1 hour and 5 minutes from Melbourne
After Melbourne, Geelong is the second-largest city in Victoria, Australia. That said, while Melbourne gives off a bustling city vibe, Geelong has a slightly more laidback, yet modern vibe.
While there are quite a few things to do in Geelong, you’ll want to take things slow to fully embrace the way of life in this waterfront town. You can spend your day enjoying the sunny shores of Eastern Beach. You can also stop and smell the blooming flowers at the Geelong Botanical Gardens, which have been open since 1851! Or you can take a leisurely stroll along the Geelong waterfront to see the Baywalk Bollards, a collection of statues that depict the history of Geelong.
Peninsula Hot Springs
1 hour and 15 minutes from Melbourne
Situated on the Mornington Peninsula, Peninsula Hot Springs is one of the most relaxing day trips from Melbourne.
Also known as Victoria’s first mineral geothermal hot springs, Peninsula Hot Springs offers so many different relaxation options that you can easily spend an entire day there.
You can choose between 50 internationally inspired bathing experiences, and you can enhance your experience with massages, wellness activities, relaxation spaces, and dining options. Or if you want to keep it simple, you can just soak in the rejuvenating waters as long as you like.
Mornington Peninsula National Park
1 hour and 20 minutes from Melbourne
Just 15 minutes away from Peninsula Hot Springs lies Mornington Peninsula National Park. And this lovely national park has something for everyone – from history buffs to nature lovers.
The history aspect of Mornington Peninsula National Park revolves around the aboriginal people who once lived there. During your visit, you can learn about Aboriginal history, culture, and connection to nature.
And if you’re a nature lover, you’ll have your fair share of things to do and attractions to see during your time at Mornington Peninsula National Park. You can surf at the thrilling waves at Gunamatta Beach, peek in the tidepools at Sorrento Ocean Beach, tackle part of the lengthy Coastal Walk, and say hello to the wild kangaroos at Greens Bush.
Great Ocean Road
1 hour and 25 minutes from Melbourne
The Great Ocean Road is arguably one of the coolest day trips from Melbourne. This drive starts in the town of Torquay, which is just under 90 minutes away from the city.
There are so many amazing stops on the Great Ocean Road, but the most famous is arguably the Twelve Apostles. These twelve rock formations are absolutely picture-perfect with their warm orange-brown color contrasting with the bright turquoise waters.
Some other noteworthy stops on the Great Ocean Road include Loch Ard Gorge, Kennett River, Great Otway National Park, and Apollo Bay.
If you want to take your time on the Great Ocean Road, I highly recommend extending your day trip from Melbourne into a two- or three-day trip.
Read my post about the 17 Best Great Ocean Road stops before you go so you don’t miss out on all the must-see sites on this epic road trip.
1 hour and 25 minutes from Melbourne
Ballarat’s claim to fame is its gold rush history. And while Ballarat’s famous gold rush took place in 1851, you can still experience a taste of it today at the outdoor museum known as Sovereign Hill.
Sovereign Hill basically recreates gold rush-era Ballarat. While there, you can don some historic clothing, pan for gold, and even try some old-school raspberry drops that were popular around that time.
If you have a little extra time during your day in Ballarat, you can also visit the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Sturt Street, and Lake Wendouree.
1 hour and 25 minutes from Melbourne
Like Peninsula Hot Springs, Daylesford is one of the best day trips from Melbourne if you’re hoping for some pampering and relaxation.
Daylesford is actually home to 80% of all of Australia’s mineral springs, so you’ll have your fair share of spots to choose from.
Arguably the most famous mineral springs spa in town is Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, where you can enjoy everything from a Moroccan remedy massage to a Hepburn steam ritual. A couple of other noteworthy Daylesford spas include Anutara Wellness Daylesford and Heartwood Massage Spa Daylesford.
If you have a little extra time during your day trip from Melbourne to Daylesford, I recommend grabbing some food from one of the local eateries and having a lovely little picnic on the shores of Lake Daylesford.
1 hour and 30 minutes from Melbourne
Queenscliff is a little town on the Bellarine Peninsula. Thanks to its prime location on near both Port Phillip Bay and the Bass Strait, Queenscliff is known for its water-based activities, particularly swimming with sea lions and dolphins!
The best way to experience swimming with sea lions and dolphins is by taking a tour. After all, the locals are the ones who know the animals’ favorite spots and swimming patterns! These tours will likely take you somewhere in Port Phillip Heads Marine Park.
And while swimming with these friendly sea creatures is definitely the highlight of Queenscliff, there’s also a historical aspect to this waterfront town as well. You can explore Fort Queenscliff, take the Queenscliff Heritage Walk, and wander around the Queenscliff Maritime Museum. You can even hop aboard one of the Bellarine Railway trains to experience riding on an old steam locomotive.
1 hour and 50 minutes from Melbourne
Calling all animal lovers! You must take a trip to Phillip Island. This 39-square-mile island is home to wallabies, koalas, wombats, and kangaroos. But the most famous animals on this tiny island are the penguins!
Every day at sunset, there’s a natural event called the Penguin Parade. As soon as the sun starts dipping towards the horizon, hundreds of little penguins waddle their way out of the sea and onto the shores of Summerland Beach! It’s definitely a cool sight to see.
1 hour and 50 minutes from Melbourne
Bendigo is another town in Australia that boomed during the gold rush era in the 1850s. Today, it has a traditional Victorian feel to it and offers quite a few fun things for visitors to do.
If you’re interested in learning about the gold rush history, you can visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine. There are underground tunnels that you can explore and you’ll learn all about the mine.
Another fun thing to do is wander around the Bendigo Art Gallery. Not only does the gallery contain beautiful works of art, but the main gallery is also free to enter.
Aside from these two activities, you can visit the Bendigo Botanic Gardens and the Golden Dragon Museum, and enjoy high tea at Fortuna Villa.
Day Trips Over Two Hours From Melbourne
2 hours and 10 minutes from Melbourne
So far on this list of day trips from Melbourne, I’ve included thriving wine regions, small animal-filled islands, and relaxing hot springs. But Lake Mountain offers something different from the rest of the options on this list.
If you happen to visit Melbourne in the winter, you’ll want to visit Lake Mountain, the region’s most accessible ski area. Although most people don’t associate Australia with snow, Lake Mountain gets a few powdery white layers every winter.
There are loads of winter sports that you can do at Lake Mountain, including skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and tobogganing. But the most popular winter sport at Lake Mountain is actually cross-country skiing. With 23 miles of trails to explore, you could easily stay occupied for days!
Grampians National Park
3 hours from Melbourne
Although Grampians National Park is quite far away from Melbourne, it’s worth the drive. As a matter of fact, many Melbourne locals like to take getaways to Grampians National Park – and if the locals like to vacation there, you know it’s a good spot.
The first thing you’ll want to do at Grampians National Park is to learn about the history at Brambuck: The National Park and Cultural Center. At this center, you can learn about the important aboriginal heritage of the area.
Then, once your brain has been stimulated, you can head into nature. A few of the best hiking spots in Grampians National Park include the MacKenzie Falls Trail, the Pinnacle Trail, and the Balconies Trail.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
3 hours and 45 minutes from Melbourne
Australia is known for its beautiful natural landscapes – and Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of them. And as if that weren’t enough to convince you to visit, this national park also holds the special title of being the southernmost spot of mainland Australia.
While at Wilsons Promontory National Park, you’ll have loads of nature-based activities to keep you entertained. You can listen to the pristine white sand of Squeaky Beach squeak under your feet. Or you can hike to the top of the 1,047-foot Mt. Bishop and take in the captivating views.
You can even keep an eye out for wildlife, as black swans, wallabies, penguins, sea eagles, echidnas, fur seals, whales, and leatherback turtles all like to make Wilsons Promontory National Park their home.
What are some of your favorite day trips from Melbourne, Australia? Let me know in the comments below!
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Disha Smith is the founder of Disha Discovers. She quit her job in 2017 to travel the world to explore new cultures and experience new adventures. She has since been to 95+ countries and counting and has lived in South Africa, Thailand, Croatia, and Australia. She has done all kinds of travel ranging from luxury to budget backpacking, and her mission is to inspire others to discover their own sense of adventure and to help them plan a life full of meaningful experiences through travel.