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24 Best Day Trip From Melbourne 2024

07/09/2023
16 mins read
Grand Ridge Road
Source: Visit Victoria

Embark on an unforgettable adventure with our guide to the best day trips from Melbourne. From the charming spa town of Daylesford to the iconic Great Ocean Road, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Discover the captivating wildlife of Phillip Island, the gold rush history of Ballarat, or the stunning landscapes of the Grampians National Park. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these day trips offer a diverse range of experiences, including wine tasting, wildlife encounters, scenic drives, and more. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders that await you just a short drive from Melbourne.

1. Daylesford

Daylesford is a charming spa town nestled in the heart of Victoria’s spa country. Known for its mineral springs and spa treatments, it’s the perfect destination for relaxation and rejuvenation. Stroll through the beautiful Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, perched on the summit of an extinct volcano, and enjoy panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside from the Pioneers Lookout Tower.

Indulge in the region’s gourmet food scene, with top restaurants and high-quality produce. Visit the Convent Gallery, a historic building turned into an art gallery, and explore the vibrant streets filled with boutique shops and cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to relax at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, where you can experience a range of spa treatments and therapies.

For a taste of local history, head to the Daylesford Spa Country Railway, where you can take a scenic train ride through the picturesque countryside. With so much to see and do, Daylesford is an ideal day trip destination from Melbourne.

2. Phillip Island

Phillip Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. Home to the largest colony of little blue penguins, the island is famous for its Penguin Parade, where visitors can witness these adorable creatures returning to their burrows at sunset. The Koala Conservation Centre offers the chance to see koalas up close in their natural habitat.

The island also boasts stunning beaches, such as Cape Woolamai and Cowes Beach, perfect for swimming, surfing, or simply soaking up the sun. For a unique experience, take a boat cruise to Seal Rocks, home to a large colony of fur seals.

Phillip Island is also a great destination for families, with attractions like A Maze’N Things, a fun-filled adventure park, and the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, where you can indulge your sweet tooth. With its diverse range of activities and attractions, Phillip Island is a must-visit day trip from Melbourne.

3. Castlemaine

Castlemaine, a historic gold rush town, offers a delightful blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty. Start your visit by exploring the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, where you can learn about the area’s gold mining history and take scenic walks through the bushland.

The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens are a must-see, featuring a diverse collection of trees, lush garden beds, and the picturesque Lake Joanna. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Castlemaine Art Museum, which houses contemporary and major works from the late 1800s and Edwardian era.

For a unique shopping experience, head to The Mill Castlemaine, a creative hub housing vintage stalls, upcycled goods, fresh produce, a bakery, coffee house, and Shedshaker Brewing’s tap room. With its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, Castlemaine is an excellent day trip destination from Melbourne.

4. Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula offers a diverse range of attractions, from stunning beaches and coastal scenery to vineyards and outdoor activities. Visit the Peninsula Hot Springs for a relaxing soak, or explore the Point Nepean National Park for breathtaking views and historical sites.

Wine lovers will enjoy the Mornington Wine Region, where you can sample local wines and indulge in delicious food. For outdoor enthusiasts, Arthurs Seat State Park offers fantastic hiking trails and panoramic views of the peninsula.

Beachgoers can choose from countless beaches and seaside towns, such as Mount Martha, The Pillars, Safety Beach, Sorrento, and Portsea. With so much to see and do, the Mornington Peninsula is an ideal day trip from Melbourne.

5. Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is a picturesque wine region just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, making it an ideal day trip for wine lovers and foodies alike. With over 80 wineries to choose from, you can spend the day sampling the region’s famous wines, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Join a wine tasting tour or explore the vineyards at your own pace, stopping at renowned wineries like Domaine Chandon, Yering Station, and Oakridge Wines.

In addition to its vineyards, the Yarra Valley is also known for its gourmet food scene. Visit the Yarra Valley Dairy for artisanal cheeses, or indulge in a meal at one of the many acclaimed restaurants in the area. For a sweet treat, don’t miss the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, where you can watch chocolatiers at work and sample their delicious creations.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the TarraWarra Museum of Art, which showcases contemporary Australian art in a stunning architectural setting. With its beautiful landscapes, delicious food and wine, and cultural attractions, the Yarra Valley is a must-visit day trip destination from Melbourne.

6. Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic and scenic coastal drives, stretching over 243 kilometers along the southeastern coast. Starting in Torquay, the drive takes you through picturesque seaside towns, lush rainforests, and dramatic cliffs, offering breathtaking views at every turn.

One of the main highlights of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone formations rising majestically from the ocean. Other must-see attractions include the Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Great Otway National Park, where you can explore waterfalls, rainforests, and abundant wildlife.

For a unique experience, visit the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, which offers a thrilling treetop walk and zipline tour through the rainforest canopy. With its stunning landscapes and diverse attractions, the Great Ocean Road is an unforgettable day trip from Melbourne.

  • Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour 30 minutes to start, full day for the entire route
  • Best For: Scenic drives, coastal attractions, and outdoor activities
  • Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/fR2GhavP5tdadTwg7

7. Puffing Billy Railway

The Puffing Billy Railway is a historic steam train that takes passengers on a nostalgic journey through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. Departing from Belgrave, the train winds its way through lush forests, fern gullies, and quaint villages, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

A popular stop along the route is Emerald Lake Park, where you can enjoy a picnic, take a leisurely walk around the lake, or try your hand at paddle boating. The park also features a model railway exhibition, playgrounds, and BBQ facilities, making it an ideal destination for families.

For a more immersive experience, consider booking a themed event on the Puffing Billy Railway, such as a Murder Mystery Dinner or a Jazz and Wine Train. With its charming atmosphere and picturesque scenery, the Puffing Billy Railway is a delightful day trip from Melbourne.

8. Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge, located along the Great Ocean Road, is a stunning coastal attraction with a fascinating history. Named after the shipwreck of the Loch Ard in 1878, the gorge features towering limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and golden sandy beaches. Learn about the tragic shipwreck and the story of the two survivors at the nearby Shipwreck Museum.

Explore the network of walking trails that lead to various lookout points, offering breathtaking views of the gorge and the surrounding coastline. Don’t miss the opportunity to descend the Gibson Steps to the beach, where you can get up close to the towering cliffs and witness the power of the ocean.

Loch Ard Gorge is also home to several caves and blowholes, which can be accessed via the walking trails. With its dramatic landscapes and intriguing history, Loch Ard Gorge is a must-visit day trip destination from Melbourne.

9. Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill, located in the historic city of Ballarat, is a living museum that transports visitors back to the gold rush era of the 1850s. Wander through the recreated streets, complete with costumed characters, shops, and workshops, to experience what life was like during this exciting period in Australian history.

Try your hand at gold panning and see if you can strike it rich, or take an underground mine tour to learn about the harsh conditions faced by miners. Don’t miss the Gold Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of gold nuggets, artifacts, and exhibits about the gold rush.

Sovereign Hill also offers a range of immersive experiences, such as the Blood on the Southern Cross sound and light show, which tells the story of the Eureka Rebellion. With its engaging attractions and authentic atmosphere, Sovereign Hill is a fantastic day trip from Melbourne for history buffs and families alike.

10. Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles, situated along the Great Ocean Road, are an iconic Australian landmark and a must-see attraction on any day trip from Melbourne. These majestic limestone formations rise dramatically from the ocean, creating a stunning backdrop for photographs and nature walks.

Arrive early or stay late to avoid the crowds and capture the best light for your photos. The Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre offers informative displays about the formation’s geology and history, as well as a gift shop and café.

For a truly unforgettable experience, consider taking a helicopter tour over the Twelve Apostles and the surrounding coastline. This unique perspective allows you to fully appreciate the scale and beauty of these natural wonders. With its awe-inspiring scenery and fascinating history, the Twelve Apostles are a must-visit destination on any day trip from Melbourne.

11. Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges, located just an hour from Melbourne, offer a tranquil escape into nature. With lush forests, scenic drives, and charming villages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Hike the 1000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, a challenging trail that pays tribute to Australian soldiers who fought in Papua New Guinea during World War II.

Explore the beautiful Alfred Nicholas Gardens, featuring picturesque lakes, bridges, and a diverse collection of plants. Enjoy a Devonshire tea at one of the local cafes, such as Miss Marple’s Tea Room or Ripe Cafe. For a unique experience, combine your visit to the Dandenong Ranges with a ride on the historic Puffing Billy Railway, which takes passengers on a scenic journey through the region.

12. Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary, located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, is dedicated to the conservation and protection of native Australian wildlife. The sanctuary offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with iconic species such as kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and platypuses.

Attend the Spirits of the Sky bird show, where you can witness majestic birds of prey and colorful parrots in action. Explore the sanctuary’s various habitats, such as the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, where you can learn about the vital work being done to care for injured and orphaned animals.

With its focus on conservation and education, Healesville Sanctuary is a fantastic day trip destination for wildlife enthusiasts and families alike.

13. Ballarat

Ballarat, a historic city with a rich gold rush history, offers a fascinating glimpse into Australia’s past. Visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park, where you can feed kangaroos, see Tasmanian devils, and learn about the park’s conservation efforts. Explore the beautiful Lake Wendouree, a man-made lake perfect for picnics, boating, and birdwatching, and don’t miss the adjacent Ballarat Botanical Gardens, featuring stunning floral displays and the Prime Ministers Avenue.

History buffs will love Sovereign Hill, a living museum that transports visitors back to the gold rush era of the 1850s. Wander through the recreated streets, try your hand at gold panning, and take an underground mine tour. With its engaging attractions and historic charm, Ballarat is an excellent day trip destination from Melbourne.

14. Grampians National Park

The Grampians National Park, known for its rugged landscapes, hiking trails, and Aboriginal rock art sites, is a nature lover’s paradise. Hike to the Pinnacle, one of the park’s most popular lookout points, for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visit the Brambuk Cultural Centre to learn about the region’s Aboriginal history and participate in cultural activities such as boomerang throwing and didgeridoo playing.

Don’t miss the MacKenzie Falls, one of Victoria’s largest waterfalls, which offers a refreshing respite on a hot day. With its diverse range of outdoor activities and rich cultural heritage, the Grampians National Park is a must-visit day trip from Melbourne.

15. Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Australia, features pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, and spectacular hiking trails. Hike to the summit of Mount Oberon for panoramic views of the park and coastline, and explore the beautiful beaches, such as Squeaky Beach and Whisky Bay, where you can swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the sand.

Keep an eye out for the park’s resident wildlife, including wombats, kangaroos, and emus, as you explore the various walking trails and lookout points. With its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife, Wilsons Promontory is a fantastic day trip destination from Melbourne.

16. Cape Otway

Cape Otway, located along the Great Ocean Road, offers a mix of coastal scenery, historic attractions, and access to the Great Otway National Park. Visit the Cape Otway Lighthouse, Australia’s oldest surviving mainland lighthouse, and learn about its fascinating history through guided tours and informative displays.

Explore the Great Otway National Park, which boasts beautiful rainforests, waterfalls, and coastal scenery. Hike the numerous walking trails, such as the Great Ocean Walk, which takes you along the stunning coastline and through diverse landscapes. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and a variety of bird species.

With its unique attractions and natural beauty, Cape Otway is a fantastic day trip destination from Melbourne.

17. King Valley

The King Valley, located in Victoria’s High Country, is a picturesque wine region known for its Italian varietals and stunning landscapes. Sample local wines at renowned wineries such as Pizzini Wines and Dal Zotto Wines, and learn about the region’s winemaking history and techniques.

Visit the historic town of Whitfield, where you can explore local history and enjoy a meal at one of the charming cafes or restaurants. The King Valley also offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and fishing, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and wine enthusiasts alike.

18. Victorian Snowfields (Seasonal)

During the winter months, the Victorian Snowfields offer a range of exciting snow activities and stunning alpine scenery. Ski or snowboard at popular resorts like Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, and Falls Creek, or try other winter activities such as snowshoeing, tobogganing, and snow play.

In the summer months, the snowfields transform into a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, and scenic chairlift rides. With its diverse range of activities and breathtaking landscapes, the Victorian Snowfields are a fantastic seasonal day trip from Melbourne.

19. Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach, located just a short drive from Melbourne’s city center, is known for its colorful beach boxes, vibrant cafe scene, and boutique shopping. Stroll along the beach, take photos with the iconic beach boxes, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this charming seaside suburb.

Swim in the calm waters, or simply relax on the sand and soak up the sun. Explore the local shops and cafes, and indulge in a delicious meal or refreshing drink at one of the many beachside eateries. With its convenient location and laid-back vibe, Brighton Beach is a great day trip destination from Melbourne.

20. Werribee

Werribee, located just a short drive from Melbourne, offers a range of unique attractions and experiences. Visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo for an African safari experience, where you can see giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and more in a natural, open environment.

Explore the historic Werribee Mansion, a grand 19th-century estate, and wander through its beautiful gardens and grounds. The mansion also hosts a range of events and exhibitions throughout the year, making it a dynamic and engaging destination.

21. Bendigo

Bendigo, a historic gold rush city, offers a rich cultural experience and a glimpse into Australia’s past. Visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine, where you can take an underground tour and learn about the city’s mining history. Explore the Bendigo Art Gallery, one of Australia’s oldest and largest regional galleries, showcasing a diverse collection of artworks and exhibitions.

Ride the historic Bendigo Tramways, which take you on a journey through the city’s streets and past its beautiful architecture. Wander through the beautiful Rosalind Park, featuring lush gardens, a cascading waterfall, and the historic Bendigo Conservatory. With its engaging attractions and historic charm, Bendigo is an excellent day trip destination from Melbourne.

22. Geelong

Geelong, a coastal city located just an hour from Melbourne, offers a range of waterfront attractions, art galleries, and nearby wineries. Stroll along the Geelong Waterfront, where you can enjoy beautiful views, public art, and a variety of cafes and restaurants. Visit the National Wool Museum for a unique insight into Australia’s wool industry and its importance to the country’s history.

Explore the nearby Bellarine Peninsula, which boasts beautiful beaches, coastal scenery, and a growing wine region. With its diverse range of attractions and convenient location, Geelong is a great day trip destination from Melbourne.

23. Mount Buller

Mount Buller, a popular ski resort located in the Victorian Alps, offers a range of exciting activities and stunning alpine scenery. During the winter months, enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other snow activities on the resort’s diverse range of slopes and trails. In the summer, the area transforms into a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, and scenic chairlift rides.

With its diverse range of activities and breathtaking landscapes, Mount Buller is a fantastic day trip destination from Melbourne, no matter the season.

24. Marysville

Marysville, a picturesque town surrounded by forests, waterfalls, and hiking trails, offers a tranquil escape into nature. Visit the beautiful Steavenson Falls, one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls, and explore the Cathedral Range State Park for hiking and rock climbing opportunities.

Enjoy the local art scene at the Marysville Community Art Space, which showcases works by local artists and hosts a range of events and workshops. With its stunning landscapes and vibrant community, Marysville is a fantastic day trip destination from Melbourne.

Best Day Trips from Melbourne at a Glance

Our list of best day trips from Melbourne includes:

  • The best wine tasting experience: Yarra Valley
  • The most iconic coastal drive: Great Ocean Road
  • The best wildlife encounters: Phillip Island
  • The most picturesque steam train journey: Puffing Billy Railway
  • The best gold rush history destination: Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
  • The most stunning coastal formations: Twelve Apostles
  • The best native Australian wildlife sanctuary: Healesville Sanctuary
  • The most breathtaking alpine scenery: Mount Buller

Embark on an unforgettable adventure and explore the wonders that await you just a short drive from Melbourne.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best day trip for wine tasting near Melbourne?

The Yarra Valley is the best day trip destination for wine tasting near Melbourne, with over 80 wineries to choose from and a variety of local wines to sample.

How far is the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne?

The Great Ocean Road starts about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Melbourne and stretches over 243 kilometers along the southeastern coast.

Can I visit the Twelve Apostles on a day trip from Melbourne?

Yes, you can visit the Twelve Apostles on a day trip from Melbourne. The estimated travel time is around 4 hours.

What is the best day trip for wildlife encounters near Melbourne?

Phillip Island is the best day trip destination for wildlife encounters near Melbourne, offering the chance to see little blue penguins, koalas, and other native animals.

Are there any day trips from Melbourne that are accessible by public transport?

Yes, several day trip destinations from Melbourne are accessible by public transport, such as the Dandenong Ranges, which can be reached by train from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station or Parliament station.

Madie

Madie is a lifestyle and travel writer at HumbleTrail. With her roots in the sunny coastal town of Eden, New South Wales.

She moved to Melbourne straight after high school and is now the go-to person in the team for the best local gems around Melbourne. She's got her ways in staying up to date with the upcoming cafes in the city before they become mainstream.

Madie's day starts off at 5 AM for her morning gym session. By 10 AM, you'll find her energized with her second coffee of the day, often sharing her latest K-pop crushes with the team.

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