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Road trips from Melbourne

The Melbourne city skyline at twilight.

Australia’s second largest city is surrounded by impressive scenery and some of the nation’s most iconic natural landmarks. With destinations like the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula all within easy reach, it can be difficult to choose which direction you want to drive in when you head out of town. To get you started, here are a few of VroomVroomVroom’s favourite road trips from Melbourne.

Vineyard in Mudgee, Victoria.

Map of road trips from Melbourne

Fishing by the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.

Follow the coastline along the Great Ocean Road

Australia’s most famous driving route is located just outside of Melbourne. Follow the winding coastline and enjoy impressive ocean views and charming towns.

  • The Twelve Apostles: This famous collection of limestone rock formations just off the coast and within Port Campbell National Park, is one of the Great Ocean Road’s most popular stops.

  • Bells Beach: Located near Torquay, Bells Beach is one of the best surfing beaches in Australia, and the beach often plays host to international surfing events.

  • Lorne: This delightful seaside town has a thriving arts community, along with a beautiful local beach.

Directions: Leave Melbourne on the West Gate Freeway before merging onto the Princes Freeway, passing by Geelong.

Spot penguins on Phillip Island

Phillip Island is a popular spot for spotting wildlife including penguins, seals, koalas and many native Australian birds. That is just the start of what is on offer on the island, with kilometres of beautiful coastline to explore.

  • Get up close to the local penguins: Summerland Beach gives visitors an opportunity to see some of the thousands of penguins that live on Phillip Island.

  • Learn about Australia's history: Phillip Island is home to the Phillip Island Historical Society Museum where visitors can learn about the settlement of the region and see examples of historic architecture.

  • Follow The Nobbies Boardwalk: From this scenic boardwalk you can enjoy marvellous ocean views, and even spot a colony of seals offshore.

Directions: Follow the Monash Freeway south of Melbourne, and take the Bass Highway to reach Philip Island.

Fit in some beach time at Woolamai on Phillip Island.
Early morning hot air ballooning over the Yarra Valley.

Visit the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges

Along the scenic roads of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, travellers can visit and explore beautiful gardens, top wineries, fantastic local cafes or even try a spot of hot air ballooning.

  • Visit beautiful gardens: While exploring the Dandenong Ranges, visit some of the scenic gardens along the way.

  • Climb the trees: Enjoy treetop zip-lining and explore adventurous routes through the trees.

  • Stop in at a winery: The Yarra Valley is home to a number of popular wineries, so why not stop in and sample some of Victoria’s best wine?

Directions: Leave Melbourne on the Monash Freeway before turning off onto Ferntree Gully Road and making your way through the Dandenong Ranges.

Explore the goldfields around Ballarat

Head inland and discover the interesting history of Australia’s gold rush. Ballarat features many historic Victorian buildings and heritage trails that illustrate the region’s rich history.

  • Sovereign Hill: This living museum provides visitors with a window into what life was like during the gold rush in Ballarat. With actors in full costume, and examples of historic buildings, Sovereign Hill is a memorable experience and great for kids.

  • Bendigo: Travel past Ballarat and visit Bendigo, another town with interesting historical architecture. The town’s art gallery is definitely worth a visit.

  • Her Majesty's Theatre: Visit Her Majesty’s Theatre, one of the oldest theatres of its kind in Australia.

Directions: Follow the West Gate Freeway and exit onto the Western Ring Road. The Western Freeway will lead to Ballarat.

The Central Uniting Church is one of Ballarat’s many historical buildings.
Rolling hills and cows in the countryside around Wilsons Promontory.

Drive to Wilsons Promontory

Known locally as “The Prom”, Wilsons Promontory is one of the most popular national parks in the region, and a definite must-see.

  • Go diving: There is plenty of incredible scenery below the surface of the ocean within Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park.

  • Squeaky Beach: The inviting white sands of Squeaky Beach are the perfect place for a relaxing stroll alongside the water.

  • Enjoy hiking: Explore some of the scenic hiking trails scattered across the peninsula.

Directions: Head south on the Monash Freeway, and exit to meet the South Gippsland Highway, heading toward Wilsons Promontory.

Enjoy a relaxing holiday at Lakes Entrance

Surrounded by the Gippsland Lakes, the town of Lakes Entrance has developed into a popular holiday destination. Don’t miss the chance to walk on the sands of Ninety Mile Beach.

  • Gippsland Lakes: The Gippsland Lakes are Australia’s largest collection of waterways, and there is plenty to see and do. Take a guided boat tour and learn more about the unique wildlife in the region.

  • Ninety Mile Beach: Discover the beautiful Ninety Mile Beach, which is often uncrowded and perfect for taking a long walk, though perhaps not a ninety mile long one.

  • Try some seafood: Lakes Entrance features many great dining options, so try some of the delicious seafood at a local restaurant.

Directions: The Monash and Princes Highways will lead travellers south-east from Melbourne toward Lakes Entrance.

No shortage of shades of blue at Lakes Entrance.
The famous Cape Schanck boardwalk runs towards the sea and rock formation known as London Bridge.

Discover the Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula has everything you could want for your holiday, with beaches, seaside towns, and plenty of family activities.

  • Find your way through a maze: Take the kids to the Ashcombe or Boneo Maze and start exploring. Try not to get lost!

  • Visit an artist's studio: The Mornington Peninsula region is home to many fantastic artists, so be sure to stop in and visit some of the studios showcasing their work.

  • Try snorkelling: With plenty of marine wildlife, the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect place to enjoy snorkelling off the coast.

Directions: Take the Monash Freeway to merge onto Eastlink and head south toward the Mornington Peninsula.

Hit the ski slopes at Mt Buller

With 22 ski lifts, it is easy to get to the top of Mount Buller and enjoy the magnificent views from the top of Victoria. Aside from the views, there are plenty of activities on offer in this popular ski resort.

  • Hike: If skiing is not for you, try exploring some of the region’s beautiful hiking trails and enjoy the alpine scenery. The Mt Buller Sculpture Park Walk is particularly interesting.

  • Try skiing: Mt Buller has slopes to suit people of all abilities. The ski resorts at Falls Creek are also quite popular.

  • Bright: Stop in at the town of Bright. If you are visiting during autumn, you’ll have the opportunity to get some great pictures of the changing colours.

Directions: Take the Eastern Freeway from Melbourne before turning onto the Maroondah Highway, headed north.

The rolling hills of Mount Buller.
It doesn’t get much more spectacular than Grampians National Park.

Go hiking in the Grampians

The Grampians is the perfect place to spend the day exploring scenic hiking trails. With fantastic lookouts and beautiful waterfalls, see what you can discover in the national park.

  • Brambuk: Visit the national park’s Cultural Centre to learn more about the natural features of the Grampians.

  • See waterfalls: The Grampians is home to many beautiful waterfalls including MacKenzie and Silverband waterfalls.

  • Scenic lookouts: Follow some of the Grampian’s best hiking trails to get a birds-eye view of the park.

Directions: Take the Western Freeway from Melbourne. Follow Ararat Halls Gap Road into the Grampians National Park.

Enjoy the view from Mount Macedon

Just outside of Melbourne, head to the peak of Mount Macedon and enjoy incredible views. The area is also home to a number of spectacular gardens and houses.

  • Camel's Hump: Take the hiking trail to Camel’s Hump, the highest point in the region and which offers fantastic views.

  • Visit the local gardens: Mount Macedon features many impressive gardens, which are sometimes open to the public for visits. The Macedon Regional Park is also worthwhile exploring, with plenty of native plants.

  • Stop in at a local cafe: The food at Mount Macedon is popular with visitors across Victoria. Enjoy a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants and cafes.

Directions: Follow the Citylink road north and merge onto the Calder Freeway, northbound toward Mt Macedon.

Hanging Rock at Macedon.

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