Reasons Sunbury is the Perfect Melbourne Day Trip

A visit to Melbournes Royal Botanic Gardens is ideal for a spot of nature in the city
A visit to Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens is ideal for a spot of nature in the city | © Marek Slusarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo
Monique La Terra

Less than 45 minutes north-west of Melbourne lies the suburb of Sunbury which is renowned for its native wildlife, geological marvels, award-winning wineries and historical significance. Not only is Sunbury the birthplace of cricket’s most sought trophy—The Ashes, but the region is also home to The Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Goonawarra Golf Club as well as other attractions making it a great day trip destination.

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The Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre

Australian dingo

Start your day at The Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre in Toolern Vale, only 35 minutes from Melbourne. Set on 40 acres, this conservation park is home to more than 35 pure alpine dingoes which are bred to preserve their future. Run by Lyn Watson, the sanctuary hosts open days and takes group tours and visitors via appointment only—allowing you come face to face with these incredible predators and their pups without the crowds of a typical zoo.

CraigLee Vineyard

Sunny afternoon in the vineyards

Australian politician James Johnston planted the first vines at CraigLee in 1863 and more than a century later current owner Pat Carmody re-established the 10-hectare vineyard. Nowadays, the family-owned business is renowned for their award-winning Shiraz and Chardonnay wines. The Cellar Door at CraigLee Vineyard is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month.

Organ Pipes National Park

Less than 15 minutes away from town is the Organ Pipes National Park which features a natural amphitheatre known as the Organ Pipes for their resemblance to a cathedral organ. Formed approximately one million years ago after Mount Holden erupted, the 70-meter basalt columns are an impressive geological formation. Also within the National Park, you’ll find the Rosette Stone and The Tessellated Pavement.

Rupertswood Mansion

The Victorian Heritage Listed Rupertswood Mansion holds significance as the birthplace of The Ashes. Built in 1876, Rupertwood was one of the largest mansions built in Victoria in the 19th century. In the summer of 1882-83 the estate hosted the English Cricket Team who won the Test match series against Australia. Lady Janet Clarke awarded English captain Ivo Bligh an urn holding the ashes of a cricket bail to commemorate the victory. Today, Rupertswood is owned by the Salesian Society.

Goonawarra Golf Club

Established in 1981, the Goonawarra Golf Club is an 18-hole championship course with views of the Macedon Ranges and the surrounding wineries. Designed by Tony Cashmore, this mildly undulating public course features lakes on six holes. Before you tee off visit the Golf Shop for a friendly chat or drop by Nics Bistro which is open every Friday. The Club can even host your next function with room to accommodate up to 120 guests for a cocktail event.

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