Gorgeous beaches, fascinating history, stunning scenery, great food and wine and amazingly cute wildlife are just some of the delights awaiting those taking a day trip from Melbourne. Here are some of our favourite destinations.
If you’re looking to combine great food and wine with some spectacular scenery and a quick dip in the ocean or a game of golf, there’s no better destination than the Mornington Peninsula. The Peninsula has three individual coastlines—Port Phillip Bay with its sophisticated seaside villages, water sports and adventures, the more laid-back Western Port Bay and the wild, rugged beauty of the Bass Strait coastline.
In between, the hinterland is the setting for wineries, olive groves, farm gates, galleries and restaurants. The wineries on the Peninsula now offer numerous cellar doors with a wide variety of options to dine in their many restaurants and cafés.
Great beaches and wildlife are amongst the many delights of Phillip Island. Visit Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Penguin Parade and you’ll see cute little penguins come ashore at dusk from a day’s fishing and waddle across the beach to their sand dune burrows. Once they reach those burrows you can watch them interact with their family and "neighbours."
At the Koala Conservation Centre you can see koalas close up and, importantly, in their natural habitat. The centre features over 30 koalas, located in two boardwalk areas and in surrounding bushland. Rhyll Inlet and Observation Point are great places to see birds from all around the world including migratory shorebirds, which come from Arctic Siberia. A boardwalk meanders through the mangroves, allowing you to discover the wetlands without disturbing the environment.
Beaches cater to all requirements. The island’s northern side is the place to go for sheltered bay beaches, while the south coast is the destination for wild surf beaches.
Gold was first discovered in the central areas of Victoria in 1851, and the region known as the Goldfields shows evidence of the incredible wealth it produced for many. From opulent old hotels and official buildings to the olde worlde shopfronts and miners’ cottages, towns such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Maldon and Castlemaine are fascinating places in which to reflect on the wealth of the past.
Attractions such as Sovereign Hill in Ballarat and the Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo are great places to learn about the region’s history and have lots of fun as well. But there’s more to the Goldfields than its heritage. Many of the region’s towns are renowned for their eclectic arts scene, interesting shops and fine food. Then there are the easily accessible mineral springs at Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Towering forests of regal mountain ash, stringy bark, peppermint and manna gums, lush fern gullies, stunning English style gardens, picturesque villages and great food are just some of the many delights of the Dandenong Ranges. The Dandenongs are also known for growing some of the States' most delicious fruit and vegetables. Many restaurants in the Dandenongs also take full advantage of local produce, while Devonshire teas are another staple on many menus.
One of the best places to appreciate all the Dandenongs has to offer is at SkyHigh, located on the top of Mt Dandenong. Another one of Dandenong’s favourite attractions is the Puffing Billy steam railway. Operating for more than 100 years, Puffing Billy travels 24 kilometres through forests and fern gullies.
Equally as varied is the food on offer. The valley is home to more than 100 cafés, restaurants, produce stores, farmers’ markets and farm gates. Whether your love is cheese, pasta, jams, chutneys, fruit, jellies, chocolates, bread, salmon and trout, vegetables, meat, fresh fruit or even ice cream, you’ll find it in the Yarra Valley. You can either enjoy this great food in a restaurant or café or create your own epicurean delight. You’ll find no shortage of scenic stops with backdrops of green rolling hills and vineyards to enjoy that picnic.
Other popular Yarra Valley activities include hot-air ballooning, walking, cycling and golf.