5 Best Melbourne Day Trips

December 13, 2022
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Key takeaways:

  • Our top 5 day trips include The Great Ocean Road, Philip Island and the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges. All of these are within a 2 hour drive from Melbourne.
  • Within Melbourne itself, explore areas like Point Cook and St Kilda.
  • Melbourne offers many travel options if you don’t have a car, like trains, trams, buses, bikes, and segways.

If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, then exploring Victoria through Melbourne day trips must be first on your checklist. 

The state of Victoria is full of welcoming local towns, whether you’re looking for a vineyard tour, a road trip, or a national park to explore. Whichever activity tickles your fancy, all these day trips available from Melbourne will have you rejuvenated.

This article will help you learn about the most popular nearby places to visit from Melbourne for the perfect weekend getaway.

What are the best day trips from Melbourne?

The city of Melbourne is huge, with plenty to see and do. But what if you are confused about where to go for a day trip away from the city?

Here are our top five recommendations for Melbourne day trips:

1. Great Ocean Road

melbourne day trips

Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes by car

The Great Ocean Road is a breathtaking stretch of coastline in Victoria, Australia. This stunning route runs for about 200 kilometres from Melbourne, passing through some of Victoria’s best natural attractions, including the iconic Port Campbell National Park and Loch Ard Gorge.

These awe-inspiring rock formations look especially beautiful when surrounded by wild blue waters. If you’re visiting Melbourne’s southern coast, take advantage of this glorious location.

You can opt for a drive to Great Ocean Road or public transport, including a bus or train.

2. Philip Island

melbourne day trips

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car from Melbourne

The small Philip Island is about 140 kilometres from Melbourne’s centre and is home to the best beaches in Victoria. Some famous sightseeing spots include the nightly Penguin Parade on Summerland Beach and the Little Penguins at Phillip Island Nature Park

You can also explore coastal marine life, enjoy cultural festivals, eat delicious local food, and drink fantastic wine here. The nature park also has plenty of trails for hikers and mountain bikers, along with lakes for swimming and boating.

Phillip Island is easily accessible by car or public transportation because it connects to the mainland by a bridge.

3. Mornington Peninsula

melbourne day trips

Travel time: 90-minute car drive from Melbourne or public transport, including train and bus services. 

The Mornington Peninsula is a perfect choice for Melbourne day trips, especially for the city-dwellers. This location is surrounded by the ocean on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other, and it is home to calm coves, charming villages, and rocky shores.

Other popular activities for visitors to the Mornington Peninsula include swimming with dolphins and seals at Peninsula Hot Springs and visiting heritage yacht moorings at Basin Reserve or Point Nepean National Park

4. Dandenong Ranges

Travel time: 2 hours by car but you can also take a train, taxi, or bus to reach the Dandenong Ranges.

If you’re looking for a scenic drive for day trips from Melbourne to start your day, the Dandenong Ranges is a perfect choice. The ranges sit about 40 kilometres east of Melbourne, and here you can explore rainforests filled with mountain ash trees and waterfalls. 

And if you’re looking for a comfortable place to relax with a Devonshire tea, the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens and Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens are definitely worth a visit.

5. Daylesford and Macedon Ranges

melbourne day trips
Image credit: Visit Victoria

Travel time: 1 hour from Melbourne by car

A day trip to Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges is the perfect way to spend a leisurely day. From discovering regional restaurants to walking around the charming country towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, you can slow down here and indulge.

Sample some of Australia’s best producers of pinot noir. Explore the summit of Macedon Regional Park and the natural mineral springs in Hepburn Regional Park. Want to see one of the largest single drop waterfalls in Victoria? You’ll find it at Trentham Falls.

Which place is best for 1-day trip?

When it comes to Melbourne day trips, the Great Ocean Road is the top choice if you just have one day to explore. A full-day adventure in Great Ocean Road offers plenty of time to take in the stunning coastal landscape, as well as a hike in Great Otway National Park and koala viewing in Kennett River. 

You can also take a 15-minute helicopter ride above the Twelve Apostles if you wish to view even more of this beautiful coastline.

Where should I go 2 hours from Melbourne?

If you’re looking for a one day trip Melbourne to a historic gold rush town, then Ballarat should be at the top of your list. VLine trains from Ballarat to Melbourne typically run on the hour, so travelling here is fast and easy

You can also check out some of Ballarat’s art galleries. And if you’re in the mood for some quality dining, don’t miss out on some culinary experiences in this historic city.

melbourne day trips

What can people do in their free time in Melbourne?

Plenty of Melbourne tours and activities available in the beautiful city are worth your time. Some well-known attractions include Luna Park, a theme park famous throughout Australia, and O’Brien Icehouse, which offers an exciting ice-skating experience. 

melbourne day trips

Queen Victoria Market is another popular attraction that has been open since 1878 and features a variety of vendors selling everything from food to souvenirs. You can also head to the Royal Botanic Gardens, located in the mundane stretch of swampland and features a variety of beautiful plants that are unique to Victoria.

Point Cook is one of Victoria’s hidden gems of courage and adversity. It is located in Melbourne’s east and is home to the RAAF Museum, which tells the story of Australian Aviation and free interactive flying displays. 

The Marine Sanctuary here offers an underwater exploration experience while fossicking along the beach at low tide is another excellent opportunity to get your hands on some exciting fossils. You can also consider moving here permanently since the land for sale Point Cook is more affordable than the rest of the city.

To reach Point cook, you can opt for a 60-minute car drive from Melbourne or take a train

Furthermore, you can also learn about the home buyer’s grant in Victoria if you’re planning to call this beautiful city your home.

What can you do in Melbourne without a car?

melbourne day trips

On a visit to Melbourne day trips, you can easily explore the city without a car.

Trams, buses, bikes, and even boats are all options for getting around without needing to use your wheels. For more exploration outside the city limits, consider visiting Victoria’s national parks, coastal towns, and some of the country’s hidden gems. 

Moreover, for great food and wine destinations, hop on an e-bike or Segway and explore some of Victoria’s countryside. And don’t forget to take advantage of the city’s beautiful waterways with a ferry ride.

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