Melbourne is pretty special. Where else can you see the stunning coastlines of the Great Ocean Road, enjoy world class wine and cuisine in the Yarra Valley, explore the historic beauty of Daylesford, and enjoy the summer vibes on Phillip Island, all within a couple hours of the city? If you’re looking for a change of scenery, there’s no better cure than doing day trips from Melbourne. But with so many great places on the table, it can get overwhelming to take a pick! Our guide to the best day trips in Melbourne includes outdoor adventures, culinary highlights and historic spots. Get out and explore Melbourne’s backyard!
1. Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is an icon for good reason. It stretches for 243km from Torquay (1.5 hours from the CBD) all the way to just before Warrnambool. The Great Ocean Road is best experienced on a road trip over the course of a few days, but if you only have a day, you can still take in what part of the route offers. The number one and most popular attraction on the Great Ocean Road is of course, the Twelve Apostles. Get ready for a long day and be prepared to leave Melbourne early. If the long drive doesn’t excite you, check out this full-day trip which includes sunset at the Twelve Apostles!
2. Yarra Valley
Less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Yarra Valley is world-renowned for its wineries, food and breathtaking landscapes. If you’re a foodie, then this is one of those day trips from Melbourne that you just have to do. A visit here is an unforgettable experience, where craft and country come together to create some of the world’s best cool-climate wines. There are over eighty wineries in Yarra Valley, each unique and passionate in their craft. Start with Coombe, once the home of legendary opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. Check out the stunning gardens, savour a glass of wine and graze on options from their cellar door menu. TarraWarra Estate is another must-see destination. Sitting on a hill, the winery’s architecture is beautiful and it houses a cellar door, art gallery and restaurant.
80% of Australia’s mineral springs are here in Daylesford, which makes it ideal for spa treatments and for growing high-quality produce. It is also home to a thriving mix of art galleries and boutiques. Check out the atmospheric Convent Gallery and artist David Bromley’s studio and gallery at Bromley and Co. For lunch, head over to Lake House which overlooks Lake Daylesford. Here, you will be wowed by the multi-course menu which changes all the time, depending on what is in season. Walk off those calories with a stroll around Daylesford Lake and end your glorious day with a bath and a massage at the most famous spa in the region, Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa!
4. Phillip Island
About a two-hour drive south of Melbourne, get to the fishing village of San Remo before midday to catch the daily feeding of pelicans and stingrays. From here, a bridge takes you to Phillip Island. Its natural beauty is jaw-dropping, from the beaches to the pastures. There is also an array of cool hangouts, hipster cafes and artisanal eateries serving delicious brunch and coffee. One thing you absolutely have to do on Phillip Island is see the Phillip Island Penguin Parade. Over 32,000 fairy penguins call this part of Phillip Island home, and them coming ‘home’ and waddling to their burrows is what the crowd comes to see.
5. Bellarine Peninsula
Bellarine Peninsula has long been overshadowed by its more famous eastern cousin, Mornington Peninsula. But people are now realizing that this rugged coastal reason has just as much to offer, but considerably cheaper! Yay for our wallets. Whether you’re looking for wineries, beaches, great food, the Bellarine makes for a great day trip destination from Melbourne. Not into wine? Switch it up with a visit to The Whiskery, a whisky and gin distillery. For the best of all worlds, try Queenscliff Brewhouse which is not just a brewery, but also a pub, bistro, tasting room, whisky bar and hotel! If you’re the active type, then rejoice for the flat terrain of the Bellarine is perfect for exploring on bicycle. Check out the Bellarine Rail trail – a 35-kilometre track that follows the old railway line and winds past many of the region’s attractions.