Whilst it's lovely to explore a city, there is nothing quite like a a little break from the hustle and bustle. A day trip will allow you see an authentic Melbourne and the great thing is, there are so many places to visit in Victoria. It's so easy to self drive Melbourne. The roads are well maintained, the signs are clear and if you time it right, the traffic not all that bad. A Melbourne road trip is an essential part of your visit to this city and will allow you to have a unique Aussie experience.
So, if you're looking for the best road trips from Melbourne, or an easy weekend trip from Melbourne, read on to discover 5 inspiring attractions you need to visit from Melbourne.
1. Hanging Rock
An inexpensive Melbourne day trip is Hanging Rock and best of all, its within an our of the CBD! An easy drive along the Tullamarine and Calder Highways will bring you to your turn off at Macedon, where the scenery will immediately become leafy. Nestled amongst copses of gum trees, Hanging Rock is a 6 million year old rock formation that is one of the largest volcanic plugs in the world.
You are able to climb the rock, which will take around 20 minutes if you've got a decent level of fitness. Once you're at the top you can scamper between up and over the rocky peak to gain the best view of the green farmland and distant hills. It is an excellent adventure and particularly good for those wanting a part day Melbourne road trip as this can easily be enjoyed within a 3-4 hour window return.
Click for a more detailed post on Hanging Rock.
2. The Otway Fly
Around 2.5 hours west of Melbourne lies the beautiful sub tropical Otway National Park. Just inland from the Great Ocean Road, it is a sometimes overlooked destination but we think one of the best places to visit in Victoria. It can easily be done in a day or makes an easy weekend trip from Melbourne, with a multitude of gorgeous accommodation options nearby. The Otway region has a unique micro-climate which means that it has a higher average rainfall than its surrounds and this means that from the ground to the canopies you will get to experience and lovely lush bush environment.
Once in the Otways, the Otway Fly is a must see attraction. Featuring an exciting zip lining course that sends you soaring through the trees and a forest walk, this attraction is suitable for all ages and abilities. It is an excellent stand alone adventure or fabulous teamed with the Great Ocean Road rounding up a unique Aussie experience.
For more on the Otway Fly click >here
3. Puffing Billy Steam Railway
One of my favourite authentic Melbourne experiences can be visited by road or public transport, making it a great option for those not wanting to drive or who have given back their hire car but want to get out of the city. Located in the scenic Mt Dandenong Ranges, a part of the Great Dividing Range, of which the Blue Mountains are also a part, the Puffing Billy Railway is an iconic adventure for the whole family.
You'd struggle to find a Melbournian that hasn't ridden this iconic steam railway. If you do self drive, you'll enjoy lush tree fern lined roads as you ascend the mountain to Belgrave, where your journey will begin. If you take the train (the regular electric public transport) the station is just across the road making it very convenient.
One can ask if you've really had an authentic Aussie experience if you've not hung your legs out of one of Puffing Billy's carriages as it traverses one of many trestle bridges on its way to Emerald. The journey lasts a couple of hours return and can be taken one way if you wish. It is one of the best Melbourne road trips and with plenty of excellent accommodation options is also an easy weekend trip from Melbourne should you wish to extend your stay.
For more information on the range of experiences available on Puffing Billy click here.
4. The Yarra Valley
Located around 1 hour east of Melbourne the Yarra Valley is one of the best places to visit in Victoria for wine. It's an inexpensive Melbourne day trip as many wineries offer a cellar door where you can try before you buy, with no obligation to purchase. If you do however love the wine, it may cost a little as you add to your collection!
You can either self drive from Melbourne, or if you are planning on having a few drinks many companies offer day trips that include lunch and a visit to the delicious Chocolaterie. It's not all that far from the Dandenongs, so it would make an easy weekend trip from Melbourne in conjunction with Puffing Billy should you choose.
With big names such as Domaine Chandon (yes a relative of Moet Chandon), delicious artisanal foods and a wide range of wine produced in the region, there is no other region in the state within a day's drive to experience such gastronomical delights.
For more info about wine tours in the Yarra Valley click > here
5. Phillip Island
Escape the city on a full day self drive trip that you'll certainly want to enjoy until dusk. Phillip Island is the perfect place to create your own DIY Melbourne tour featuring sights such as the Koala Conservation Centre, the Nobbies and of course the famous Penguin Parade. It is the perfect place to have an Aussie experience by getting up close with native wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas at the Koala Conservation centre and then as dusk sets in head over to the Penguin Parade to watch the little penguins retreat from the sea to rest in their burrows for the night.
With plenty of on island accommodation options ranging from motels to holiday homes, it is the perfect place to overnight if you don't fancy a drive back to the city in the dark. It is an easy run on well lit freeways for the majority of the journey, so it is one that can comfortably be undertaken in a day should you desire.
The Round Up
There really is no reason to keep yourself cooped up in the city for the duration of your stay with so many inspiring attractions to visit. All can be visited in a day or can be extended if you wish. All an easy drive from Melbourne and some with public transport or tour options, you'll have a real Aussie experience by journeying just a few hours from the city.
With a large range of experiences available, there is something that will appeal to everyone and allow you to experience the stunning flora, fauna and food that Melbourne has to offer.
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