From the world-famous beaches of the Great Ocean Road to the lush alpine region of North East Victoria, there’s a lot to explore. Any direction leading out of the metropolis leads to a beautiful and unique Insta-worthy spot – offering stunning vistas on every compass point. Whether it’s a trip to see the penguins, a day out in the forest or even a hike up a mountain, it’s all within reach of Australia’s most liveable city.
Boasting some of the best surfing beaches in the world, the Great Ocean Road is a year-round essential visit. Stretching 243 kilometres (151 miles) along the Shipwreck Coast, the road has must-see sights such as the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps. En route, keep an eye out around koala-heavy Kennett River for some furry friends in the trees, and be sure to stop off in the Great Otway National Park to enjoy the temperate rainforest and waterfalls walks. Lorne and Apollo Bay offer accommodation and pit stops along the way. Book a Great Ocean Road Day Tour from Melbourne.
Kick back and relax at the Peninsula Hot Springs. Located just 90 minutes from Melbourne at the tip of the peninsula, these geothermal hot springs are a sensational treat and a great way to take some time out away from the city. Spend all day soaking in the outdoor spa pools, saunas, steam rooms and Australia’s first ice cave. Make a day of it to take in the views and relaxation areas and have a leisurely lunch at one of the on-site cafés. Book your ticket here.
Although mostly known for its surf and sun, Australia also has some superb ski slopes. The place to be in winter is Mt Buller in the Alpine region of North East Victoria. For those visiting Melbourne in the winter months, make sure to hit the High Country for a dose of adrenaline-fuelled fun in the snow. Make the most of it with a full day out skiing or snowboarding on the slopes. Book a full-day trip from Melbourne to the Mt Buller snowfields.
‘Wilsons Prom’, as it’s known locally, is a much-loved region of outstanding natural beauty three hours southeast of Melbourne. Perfect for a day trip or a weekend away, it’s the place to go to get away and get out into nature. There are plenty of hiking trails (check out Lily Pilly Gully and Mt Bishop), stunning views (Mt Oberon is a particular favourite) and secluded places to spot Australia’s iconic wildlife. Book a full-day tour of the Wilsons Promontory National Park here.
A visit to Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without venturing out into wine country to sample Australia’s greatest export. Located just an hour away from the city, the Yarra Valley offers some of the best wine around, with some legendary household names, such as Domaine Chandon (Moët & Chandon’s Australian production house). Taking a full-day tour is a great way to make the most of the cellar door tastings, enjoy a relaxed lunch with a glass of wine and also soak up the stunning scenery.
For rock-climbing aficionados and nature lovers alike, Gariwerd or the Grampians National Park is a must-visit. Located approximately three hours west of Melbourne, it is a place of great significance to the Jardwadjali/Djab Wurrung Aboriginal people. Learn more at the Brambuk Centre, an excellent cultural centre with a bush foods café. For panoramic views, check out the Pinnacle or Boroka Lookouts and The Balconies, all of which are a short drive from Halls Gap. Also, make sure to stop off at MacKenzie Falls for the full experience. Book the Grampians National Park Great Escape here.
See the world’s smallest penguins in their natural habitat, just 90 minutes from Melbourne, on Phillip Island. The best time to see them is at sunset when they waddle up the beach to nest at night in the sand. Summerland Beach is the main viewing point, but there is also an underground viewing area as well as the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre. It’s an unforgettable experience with epic coastal scenery and a chance to get up close and personal with the penguins. Reserve a spot on the Phillip Island Penguin Parade Ultimate Eco Tour, which also comes with lunch.