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Best Day Trips from Melbourne

Best Day Trips from Melbourne main image

If you're settling in to Melbourne to study, you're in for an incredible few years in Australia's most cultural and artistic city. But if you can tear yourself away for a day, you won't have to venture far to find jaw-dropping sights and enjoy amazing experiences. The relatively small state of Victoria packs a punch and is teeming with beautiful wineries, national parks and a world-famous coastline. So pack a picnic and your sense of adventure, and get exploring!

Get a taste of the Great Ocean Road

Torquay

This quintessential Aussie road trip is practically a rite of passage. Whilst you ideally need a few days to explore it fully, you can easily see some of the highlights in a day trip.

Firstly head to Torquay, the surfing capital of Australia. If you’ve never surfed before, where better to give it a try? If you fancy staying on dry land, catch the Bells Beach Surf Film Festival in January and let the experts show you how it's done. Carry on to Lorne for a spot of lunch before driving on to Kennett River, then take a turn down Grey River Road where you are almost guaranteed to spot wild koalas. It's a bit further on the main attraction, the Twelve Apostles, but well worth the effort! The lesser known but equally impressive Loch Ard Gorge is just down the road as well.

Enjoy a classy beach escape on Mornington Peninsula

Point Nepean

With the very end of the peninsula just an hour and a half's drive away, you have plenty of time to explore and relax. Head right down to Point Nepean for impressive beach walks and amazing views of Victory Bight and Port Phillip Bay. Then take your pick of classy beach towns, such as Sorrento and Rosebud, to explore on the way back. If you fancy treating yourself, a soak at the Peninsula Hot Springs is definitely recommended. There’s an array of hot pools set within the natural landscape, so wind your way to very top to enjoy panoramic views over the surrounding area.

Pan for gold in Ballarat

Ballarat

Equally accessible via train or car, Ballarat is the historical heartbeat of Victoria. Gold was discovered here in 1851 and you can experience what a gold rush town was really like at the Sovereign Hill living museum. Try your hand at panning for gold, then head down into the underground gold mine or chat with the many skilled craftsmen at work. If you head out in the winter, you can also enjoy Ballarat Winter Festival and round off your day ice skating or strolling along the Winter Wonderlights Christmas in July display.

Spot the wildlife on Phillip Island

Phillip Island

An easy two-hour drive from the city brings you to Phillip Island, home to pelicans, stingrays, wallabies and penguins – if you’re a fan of wildlife, you’ll be in heaven here.

Arrive at the small fishing town of San Remo at around midday to witness the feeding of the pelicans and stingrays. Carry on over the bridge and to the south of the island for a walk around the rugged Cape Woolamai, with its dramatic pink rock formations and panoramic views. Finish up your day at Summerland Beach where you can watch the hoards of penguins waddle back home after a long day of fishing.

Sample the wine and produce of the Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley

Just an hour's drive from Melbourne through picturesque rolling fields, the Yarra Valley offers a welcome city escape complete with world famous cool-climate wines and local, fresh produce. If you're struggling to recruit a designated driver (understandable, considering what's on offer!) then opt for one of the many tour bus companies instead. Head straight to the cellar doors to sample the best of the regions wines, Domaine Chandon and Giant Steps are great places to start.

But there are not just top-class wines to tickle your taste buds. Sample cheeses at the Yarra Valley Dairy, enjoy over 450 varieties of fruit at Rayner's Orchard and indulge in the finest sweet treats at the Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. Healesville Sanctuary is also in the area, home to iconic Australian animals, including dingoes, kangaroos and the illusive platypus.

Go bushwalking in the Dandenong Ranges

Dandenong Ranges

Image credit: Abir Anwar (Flickr)

A 45-minute drive or a one-hour train ride from Flinders Street station brings you to the 1,000 Steps, officially the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk. This 3km return walk is a unique tribute to the Australian soldiers who fought on the real track in Papua New Guinea. One of the most popular spots in the Dandenong Ranges, it's a challenging yet beautiful walk up the creek and a great way to work up an appetite! If you're after something a little less strenuous, take a picnic to Sherbrooke Forest for fewer steps but equally stunning forests.

Finish up your day at Emerald Lake Park, where you can journey aboard Australia's first preserved steam train, Puffing Billy! Sit back, take in the view and relax those muscles after a long day's hiking, as the train winds its way along the original mountain track.

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Written by Chelsea D.

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