Oh yeah, I’m back dreaming about good ol’ Melbourne again, and the Melbourne day trips I need to do once I return. Fortunately, the next time I move to Melbourne, I should hopefully be reunited with my partner-in-crime from the Vancouver days. And there are so many options for car rental in Melbourne, I think we will be doing a lot of exploring together! So here are the Melbourne day trips I’ve completed, and the ones still on my bucket list.
I just realised Bendigo has beautiful historic trams, just like Melbourne! Besides the pretty trams, Bendigo seems like the perfect day trip from Melbourne. The train from Melbourne takes 90 minutes, so you could be in Bendigo in time to eat a delicious lunch. Then spend the rest of the day marvelling at the exquisite architecture, shopping along the main street, and perhaps enjoying another quick meal before getting the train home.
Experience the wonderful contrasts of Bendigo as you explore its vibrant arts hub and flourishing food and wine scene set against its rich history. Take a walk or ride on Bendigo's talking tram and explore the city. Captured by @ben.molloy.photography thanks @visitmelbourne for sharing #bendigotramways #bendigo #heritage #tram #travel #Ilovetravel #vintagetram
My parents and I visited Phillip Island about seven years ago, and it is just beautiful. They said the greenery and rocky cliffs reminded them of Scotland and Ireland. My favourite part was obviously watching the ridiculously-adorable penguins waddle their way home. I got one of those souvenir photos, and as we went near Christmas, the penguins and I had Christmas hats photoshopped onto our heads. It’s the best. I’d love to return for an easy day trip. It’s only about 90 minutes from Melbourne and it’s connected by bridge to the mainland.
I’ve heard very good things about Daylesford. When researching the town and what makes it special, it always seems to be mentioned with the Macedon Ranges too. The Lake House Restaurant looks absolutely stunning. Sault Restaurant has impressive lavender fields. Hanging Rock is a must see. Plus, the Daylesford Day Spa has very good reviews. There also seems to be some impressive accommodation options too (I’m looking at you Grange Bellinzona and Peppers Mineral Spring Hotel). So for a special occasion, I’d say Daylesford is good for a weekend getaway too!
Relax by the water at picturesque Lake Daylesford. Find paddleboats for hire, a children's playground, undercover barbecues, and on weekends, usually a wedding or two to stop and look at. Allow around 45 minutes to walk around the lake's gentle, sloping tree-lined path, taking in a couple of stops (the jetty is a good one) to soak up the stunning vistas. Captured by @jrosenewall in @daylesfordmacedonranges. #wandervictoria #visitvictoria #daylesfordmacedon #seeaustralia
Great Ocean Road
I’ve written about my day trip along the Great Ocean Road before. It was a long day, but so worthwhile. I highly recommend checking it out when visiting Melbourne. Although I did an organised day tour, I think it would be better to hire a car. There are so many amazing stops along the way, having your own vehicle would allow you to see a lot more.
Ballarat is the cutest country town, from what I’ve seen in photos. I would love to visit Sovereign Hill, which has been voted the best tourist attraction in Australia several times. It’s modelled to take visitors back in time to the gold rushes of the 1850s. They also host an exciting winter festival annually, AND do a fun sound and light show every night. Sign me up! Just like Bendigo, you can also get the train to Ballarat from Melbourne.
Exploring the Yarra Valley is definitely one of the most popular Melbourne day trips. Although the Yarra Valley is most well-known for being a winery region, it’s actually home to a lot of breweries, orchards and distilleries too (click here for more information). This is welcome news to people like me who don’t drink a lot of wine, but LOVE cider. However, I don’t think I could visit the Yarra Valley without stopping and exploring at least one winery and admiring the vineyards. I would definitely choose Chandon, because we all need a little sparkling in my life!
The Mornington Peninsula has been on my list ever since I lived in Melbourne. But it’s best explored by car, which is why I always put it off. There is so much to see on the Peninsula, such as the many cute villages filled with boutiques and delectable restaurants. There are also a lot of beautiful beaches, like Mount Martha Beach and the beach boxes at Mills Beach. My perfect day trip would include a seaside walk before exploring the townships.
I visited Geelong quite frequently, as I have family friends living just outside the city. Once again, it’s easy to access thanks to the train. Geelong actually has a lot going for it, with its perfect combination of “country and coast.” Torquay is next door to Geelong, and marks the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. It’s a quintessential Australian seaside town, with a stunning coastline. I highly recommend visiting and going for a walk along the beach before heading back to Melbourne.
The Dandenong Ranges
Dandenong is actually only about 30 kilometres from Melbourne CBD, so it isn’t as far as other places on this list. But there’s a lot to do around the Dandenong Ranges, which is why it’s perfect for a day trip. Firstly, I really want to go on the Puffing Billy Railway and take this photo. I also think it’s mandatory to go for a walk in the wilderness; perhaps in Sherbrooke Forest. There’s also an annual tulip festival, and the Bavarian-inspired Cuckoo Restaurant is known for its buffet. Count me in!
So there you have it — nine amazing Melbourne day trips! Writing this post has definitely made me excited for my return to the city in the new year. Day trips are the perfect “mini break,” when you have itchy feet and need to explore a new place. This happens to me all the time 😉
Are there any Melbourne day trips missing? Let me know in the comments!
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