14 Fabulous Road trips from Melbourne
These road trips from Melbourne are perfect if you are looking for places to visit near Melbourne by car, whether you have a day or a week! We have arranged the recommended trips by distance from the city centre so you can choose one that suits the time you have available. Regardless of which you choose all offer you a chance to experience a different side of Victoria and its beautiful and varied landscape.
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Road trips close to Melbourne City Centre
These first few are perfect if you are looking for short road trips from Melbourne. Whether for a day trip or an overnight stay that you can reach in just an hour or two these are all worthy choices day out of the city.
Distance from Melbourne – 55 km
A 2-day Yarra Valley road trip is a perfect weekend escape from Melbourne. You don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy the Yarra Valley region, plus it’s very family-friendly!
Start with a stop at Lilydale Lakes for a stroll around the lake. Then, head to Badger Creek Blueberry Winery. They also have delicious pear ciders and you can sample both on a tasting paddle.
If you’re keen to sample more wineries, don’t miss Yering Station Winery, one of the oldest wineries in Victoria. They have an impressive tasting room and a restaurant overlooking the Dandenong Ranges. Badgers Brook Winery is another great option that may be the most kid-friendly winery in Australia, with retro playground equipment galore!
Other recommended stops are the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery where you can pick up handmade chocolates or dine in the restaurant, and Yarra Valley Dairy for a cheese tasting.
If you want wildlife experiences, feed alpacas at The Big Bouquet Flower Farm and Alpaca Stud or visit Healesville Sanctuary to get up close with native Australian animals.
The Yarra Valley Lodge is the perfect base for your stay, overlooking a golf course with beautiful sunset views and kangaroos everywhere.
Contributed by Holly Connors from Four Around The World
Distance from Melbourne – 60 km
A wonderful road trip and getaway from Melbourne is visiting the Macedon Ranges – only about an hour away but in a different world entirely. The Macedon Ranges are a collection of higher-elevation rocky mountains and forests, giving way to a cooler climate and a getaway surrounded by nature.
Spend your mornings hiking through forests and up to beautiful vistas such as Mount Macedon itself, Camel’s Hump, or the famous ancient volcano, Hanging Rock, which is known for the story of the mysterious disappearance of schoolgirls in the early 1900s and documented in the film ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock.’ Macedon Regional Parks is a true highlight, with many walking trails and even a waterfall in the Tony Clarke Recreation Reserve.
Spend your afternoons here visiting wineries in the area for tastings – some favorites are Hanging Rock Winery (with amazing sculptures), Hesket Estate, Mount Macedon Winery, and Mount Towrong Vineyard.
Stay in Macedon itself or the nearby town of Woodend, which is equipped with more cafes and pubs and a golf course too. For a true getaway, stay at the Macedon Ranges Hotel and Spa for a stylish retreat with treatments available, before returning to the city for the best Melbourne brunches.
Contributed by Kimmie from Adventures and Sunsets
Distance from Melbourne – 75 km
A road trip to the Mornington Peninsula, just 90 minutes away from the city offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, gastronomic delights, and unique experiences. Located an easy drive from Melbourne, this picturesque region makes for a memorable getaway.
The scenic drive along the coastline presents breathtaking views of turquoise waters, golden beaches, and rolling hills, creating a sense of anticipation for the adventure that awaits.
We recommend you spend an hour or two strolling the Millionaires Walk, a favourite walk among the locals, this path allows you to take a glimpse into the backyards and gardens of the mansions that line the waterfront.
Foodies will find the Mornington Peninsula boasts a thriving culinary scene. Indulge your palate at one of the many renowned wineries, where you can savor exquisite wines crafted from the region’s cool-climate vineyards. Additionally, visit the charming seaside town of Sorrento, home to a variety of restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes and showcasing the region’s local produce.
When it comes to booking an overnight stay, I highly recommend the picturesque Jackalope Hotel. This luxury boutique hotel offers stylish and contemporary rooms, breathtaking vineyard views, and exceptional amenities, ensuring a truly memorable stay.
For a remarkable dining experience, make a reservation at Ten Minutes by Tractor. This award-winning restaurant offers a seasonal menu inspired by the region’s fresh produce, complemented by an extensive wine list showcasing the best local vintages.
To complete your Mornington Peninsula experience, visit the renowned Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove. Not only can you sample their outstanding wines, but you can also explore the picturesque grounds, indulge in a gourmet picnic, or wander through the sculpture park.
Other highly-recommended attractions include the Peninsula Hot Springs, where you can unwind in natural geothermal pools, and the iconic Cape Schanck Lighthouse, which offers stunning panoramic views of the coastline.
A 2-day road trip to the Mornington Peninsula presents a blend of natural beauty and food and wine destinations. With its close proximity to Melbourne, the region is easily accessible, making it an ideal destination for a memorable and indulgent getaway.
Distance from Melbourne – 115 km
Melbourne to Daylesford is approximately a 1.5-hour drive, which makes it a great location to visit outside of Melbourne.
There are many reasons to visit Daylesford, but most people spend time here relaxing and enjoying some downtime in many of the spa and wellness retreats in the area. Why? Because the spas here are full of rich mineral thermal waters that include indoor pools and saunas.
Day 1 After checking into the historical Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat in Hepburn Springs, spend your day visiting the many drinkable natural Springs during the day and then bathing in pure luxury in the afternoon at your hotel. Stop for a pre-dinner drink at the Argus Bar and Lounge before dinner in the Dining Room.
Day 2, take the morning slowly by enjoying a gorgeous breakfast at your hotel. Then, head over and enjoy the morning checking out the local products and produce at the Sunday markets; spend the afternoon indulging in a late lunch at one of the many little quaint cafes in the area. Before dinner, wander the many antique and vintage boutiques.
Day 3, Today, explore the area by heading to Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens and enjoying a ride on the heritage train at the Daylesford Spa Country Railway before returning to Melbourne.
Suggested by Paula from Truly Expat Travel
Distance from Melbourne – 115 km
Located a short drive from Melbourne, Ballarat is a charming city that effortlessly combines history, culture, and natural beauty. What I love most about Ballarat is its rich gold rush heritage. Walking through the streets, you can still feel the echoes of the past and imagine the excitement that filled the air during the gold rush era.
One of my favorite things to do in Ballarat is to visit Sovereign Hill. It’s an open-air museum that beautifully recreates an 1850s gold mining town. While walking the recreated streets of old Ballarat and interacting with the staff who act as locals and work the shops and businesses.
Try your hand at panning for gold, or even take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. It’s a fun experience that truly brings history to life.
If you are travelling with kids add a stop at Kryal Castle, a replicate of a medieval castle that offers visitors a unique experience of stepping back in time to the Middle Ages.
Take a castle tour, watch a Jousting Tournament or a falconry show or if you prefer to get involved then sign up for Knight school or try your hand at archery. Once you have had your fun sit down to a medieval banquet.
When it is time to eat you are going to have a hard time deciding where to head! Ballarat has a burgeoning food scene that caters to every taste bud. One place I highly recommend is Moon and Mountain. Serving up delicious and authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. The flavors are incredible, and the ambiance is warm and inviting. If you are here between Thursday and Sunday try their seven-course banquet.
When it comes to where to sleep for a couples getaway I recommend Craig’s Royal Hotel. It’s a historic establishment that exudes elegance and charm. The rooms are beautifully appointed, and the service is impeccable. Staying there feels like stepping back in time while enjoying modern comforts.
Lastly, don’t miss a visit to the Art Gallery of Ballarat. It’s Australia’s oldest regional art gallery and houses a remarkable collection of Australian art. You’ll find everything from Indigenous artworks to contemporary masterpieces. It’s a haven for art enthusiasts and a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Longer drives from Melbourne
The next group might be considered by many locals to be a long drive from Melbourne but thanks to the compact size of Victoria it’s really not far at all
Distance from Melbourne – 140 km
It takes about 2 hours to get to Phillip Island from Central Melbourne and there is plenty to do once you’re there.
Right before heading over the bridge to Phillip Island, there is a daily pelican feeding at San Remo Fisherman’s Co-op. The feeding occurs at lunchtime and you can get an order of fish and chips before driving to Phillip Island.
Nobbie’s Lookout not only has beautiful views and a nice boardwalk, but you might even see penguins hanging out underneath the boardwalk during the day.
To guarantee a penguin sighting, attend the Penguin Parade that takes place at sunset. Phillip Island is home to the largest colony of Little Penguins in the world.
Phillip Island is also home to a chocolate factory, Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate. Entry includes a behind-the-scenes tour, learning about the history of chocolate, interactive games, and chocolate samples.
While there are plenty of things to do on Phillip Island including spending time on the beach, nature walks, and fun things to do with kids, if you are looking to explore more, Churchill Island is a small island off of Phillip Island with a 19th-century working farm.
NRMA Phillip Island Holiday Park has beachfront camping and pet-friendly cabins that sleep up to 6 guests.
Contributed by Lanie from Make More Adventures
Great Otway National Park
Distance from Melbourne – 162 km
Great Otway National Park is a nature-filled road trip destination, just a few hours’ drive from Melbourne. This beautiful park is home to lush forests, cascading waterfalls, a stunning coastline and an abundance of Australian wildlife too. So no matter what you’re looking for from a road trip, this national park has something to offer everyone.
To fully explore the park, consider spending the night in the area. One of the best options is to stay in one of the many cosy cabins or lodges that are nestled in the heart of the forest. Our personal favourites are the Sky Pods, located on private land shared with native wildlife that will hop past your window as you relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. All the accommodation here offers the perfect blend of comfort and wilderness, with modern amenities, luxurious touches and a view overlooking the ocean.
When you’re ready to explore the park, make sure to explore the lush rainforests and spot some of the park’s native wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and a variety of bird species on a guided tour with Wildlife Wonders. Another popular activity is hiking the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, which takes you on a breathtaking journey through the forest canopy.
For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go mountain biking, rock climbing, or even zip-lining through the forest. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, take a scenic drive through the park and stop at some of the numerous lookouts to enjoy the panoramic views of the landscape.
Contributed by Anna from Really Wildlife
Distance from Melbourne – 185 km
A road trip to Walhalla from Melbourne is a great way to explore a stunning and less visited part of Victoria! Plus – Walhalla is Australia’s spookiest town so this is an incredibly unique place and certainly a trip you’ll remember! In addition, the scenery along the way is absolutely stunning!
A historic gold mining town where time has stopped, Walhalla is incredibly charming if not somewhat mysterious. Nestled up in the Victoria Hills in Baw Baw National Park, it’s the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. It takes around 2.5 hours to drive to Walhalla from Melbourne so it makes for a really convenient weekend trip.
Take your pick between goldmine tours, spooky ghost tours or strolling down the perfectly preserved Main Street, full of rich history and heritage. The Walhalla Goldfields Railway tour takes you on a scenic ride through the spectacular hills and valleys of Gippsland and is also worth doing! In addition, there are many lovely walks to do nearby.
There are several lovely local cafes and restaurants in Walhalla to go for food, and there are plenty of accommodation options. If you fancy staying overnight the Walhalla Star Hotel makes a great choice.
On the drive back to Melbourne, you’ll drive through Moe, so you may want to stop off at the Old Gippstown Heritage Park. It’s certainly not as authentic as Walhalla, but it’s a great place to visit if you want to gain a deeper insight into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
Contributed by Catrina from 24 Hours Layover
Distance from Melbourne – 223 km
Echuca, is a charming town on the Murray River in North East Victoria. Leaving Melbourne on the Northern Highway is a 2.5-hour drive to reach this gorgeous border town, We recommend checking into the local Echuca Quest apartments which are centrally located near the shops, restaurants and Port of Echuca.
After checking in, begin exploring things to do in Echuca with a visit to the historic Port of Echuca Discovery Centre. We recommend booking a short trip on a paddle steamer for the next day to see how this mighty river was a life blood to the area.
While in the port area call at the local St Anne’s winery cellar door to sample some of the amazing wines and pick up a few bottles for home. Before dinner, take a stroll down High Street, the main street lined with boutique shops and galleries so you can admire the amazing heritage buildings. Have dinner at one of the local eateries like The Mill or pop over the border to the Moama Bowling Club before calling it a night. Don’t miss the National Holden Motor Museum, showcasing an impressive collection of Holden vehicles.
On the second day, head to the Sweet Meadow for breakfast, then explore the Port area further. Jump on the paddle steamer cruise that you booked the day before where you will go a few kilometres up river where you can take in the scenery and learn about the area’s rich history around Echuca.
The area is known for its Silo art and the Echuca Moama Silo art trails provide a perfect way to spend the afternoon. The towns of Colbinabbin, Rochester and Picola are stunning and well worth the drive. If you love animals then a stop at the Kyabram Fauna Park is a must In the evening, take a short walk from your accommodation at Quest and dine at the Curry Club. This Indian Restaurant serves some of the best curry dishes you will find anywhere.
Before returning to Melbourne on the third day, make sure to visit any missed attractions or explore nearby highlights like the National Holden Museum which has over 40 classic Holdens on display or the Great Aussie Beer Shed. The beer shed is home to all things Australiana including collections of beer cans, old Aussie household items, farm machinery, and cars. It really is a wide collection of something for everyone and the ultimate man cave. Enjoy your memorable trip to the Echuca area.
Suggested by Bec from Explore Victoria
Distance from Melbourne – 220 km
A road trip to Wilsons Promontory is definitely one of the best road trip from Melbourne if you’re looking for wildlife, beaches, sand dunes and mountains. You’ll get a bit of everything on this amazing road trip.
The Big Drift, Squeaky Beach, Mount Oberon Summit and the Prom Wildlife Walk are the best things to do in Wilsons Promontory.
Big Drift is a sand dune hidden in a forest. Walking through the forest you would never guess you’re so close to a massive dune. But then the ground slowly starts to change from soil to sand and soon after you’re rewarded with an amazing sand dune overlooking the surrounding forest.
Squeaky Beach is, as the name suggests, a beach that squeaks. You can stomp on the sand and actually make it squeak! The beach isn’t just squeaky though, it’s also really beautiful. It’s a great place for a swim or a picnic.
Check out this cruise to Skull Rock for something completely different
Mount Oberon Summit is a scenic hike. From the top, you have the best view of the Wilsons Promontory National Park.
The best place to spend the night on this road trip is the Tidal River Campground. Keep an eye out for wildlife during your stay, as you might be able to see a wallaby hop around or a wombat sniffing your tent in the evening. If you didn’t see enough wildlife during your stay, you can also try your luck at the Prom Wildlife Walk, a short nature walk in an area highly populated by Australian wildlife. This tour is a great option if you don’t want to hike alone.
Suggested by Tina from Veganderlust
Distance 235km from Melbourne
One of the most picturesque road trips to take from Melbourne is to Mount Buller. Being the closest snow resort to Melbourne, Mount Buller makes a perfect weekend getaway. Part of Australian Alpine National Park, the resort is around 3 hour’s drive from the city centre via Mansfield town.
Note: all cars staying overnight at the resort must have snow chains and the last petrol station is at Mirimbah town.
Even though Mount Buller is perfect to visit all around the year, the ski season is between the months of June and August.
To get to Mount Buller from Melbourne, there are a few routes that can be taken to leave the city behind. And one of them is through the roads of Yarra Valley and Healesville regions. In this beautiful countryside route, you can indulge in some of the most amazing wines in the country.
As Mount Buller is a ski resort, we recommend you stay within the resort itself. They have a variety of options ranging from budget to luxury. We love this 2 bedroom apartment. It has amazing views and can sleep up to six people.
At Mount Buller, skiing and snowboarding are top choices for daytime fun. If you are not into adventure sports the resort also offers plenty of less strenuous activities such as history hunt tours, sculpture park walks, and indoor sports and air zone areas.
From Raksha Nagaraj at Solo Passport
Halls Gap, The Grampians
Distance from Melbourne – 260km
This road trip from Melbourne to Halls Gap is mostly about the destination – the spectacular Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park. It takes 3 hours to get from Melbourne to the Grampians township of Halls Gap. The most direct route is through Ballarat where you could stop for a day to visit Sovereign Hill, the gold mining pioneer village.
Halls Gap is a great base for exploring The Grampians. On your first day you can hit the walking tracks and check out some waterfalls and lookouts. See water tumbling over Mackenzie Falls, amazing views from Reed Lookout and incredible rock formations at the Pinnacle. Exploring the rock pools at Venus Baths is great fun too.
Take it a bit easier the next day. Start with brunch at one of the Stoney Creek cafes or bakery then try your luck at Halls Gap mini golf – one of the toughest mini golf courses in Australia. In the afternoon, meet the animals at the fantastic Halls Gap Zoo or take lunch to the picturesque Zumsteins Picnic where you can spot emus and wallabies on the walk to pretty Fish Falls.
Breeze Holiday Park in Halls Gap is a great place to stay, it is so centrally located and has excellent facilities. There is no bad time to go to the Grampians. In winter the falls have lots of water, go in spring for wildflowers, autumn for great hiking weather (there are plenty of family-friendly walks) and summer to kayak on Lake Bellfield.
Contributed by Natalie and Steve from Curious Campers
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Distance from Melbourne- 277km
The Gippsland Lakes are one of the most popular summer tourist destinations in Victoria. Located 3 hours east of Melbourne on the Princes Highway, it is one of the biggest lake systems in Australia. Home to numerous types of native flora and fauna, you will love your time on the Lakes.
Most people base themselves in the town of Lakes Entrance, which is considered the capital of the lakes system. It is the biggest town featuring hotels, caravan parks, and apartments for all budgets.
Lakes Entrance is a good base for a road trip, and we suggest booking into the Esplanade Resort and Spa for a few nights. You can have fun on the 90-Mile Beach or in the calmer waters of Cunningham Arm. You will find people swimming, fishing, and enjoying local food, wineries and breweries.
We always say when you’re by the sea eat seafood and the Boathouse floating restaurant has great views and even better seafood. The local fishing fleet brings in fresh fish daily. If you have a sweet tooth, head to the local Riviera Ice Creamery. Homemade ice cream made from fresh farm milk awaits you in a variety of inviting flavours, or pop into Big Bears Donuts.
Smaller towns such as Paynesville and Metung are worth visiting on the second day. Both these towns are within easy reach of Lakes in under 30 kilometres. In Paynesville, you can visit the nearby Raymond Island Koala Walk where you will see koalas in the wild. Jump on the free ferry that takes you over the island and enjoy a peaceful walk spotting koalas.
Metung is known for its small village feel and popular pub on the waterfront. In the warmer months, there is no better place to sit down and relax than at the table on the waterfront. Grab a meal, then head to the newly opened Metung Hot Springs to bathe in the waters or have a spa treatment. The Metung Hot Spring was created by the team behind the famous Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs.
Red Bluff Brewery is a great place to grab dinner and try some of the local beers after you head back into town. On your last day, head over to the 90-mile beach and do the Entrance walk along the beach that takes you to the point where the ocean meets the lakes. You may see the local Burrunan Dolphins playing in the waters.
Head to Wyanga Park Winery for lunch and grab a few bottles of local wine before heading back to the attractions in Melbourne.
Contributed by Mark from Wyld Family Travel
Great Alpine Road
Distance from Melbourne – 290 km
One of the best three-day road trips from Melbourne is driving along the Great Alpine Road. This scenic journey offers a diverse range of attractions, from world-class vineyards to breathtaking viewpoints.
Day 1: On your first day, make your way out to the city of Wangaratta, which marks the starting point of the Great Alpine Road. From here on out, your days are going to be about local produce, historic architecture, and hiking in nature.
From Wangaratta, journey through the charming gourmet region of Milawa, where you can jump on tastings of locally-produced delights, like cheeses, olives, mustards, and wine.
You’ll venture next to some of the state’s most impressive gold rush-era towns. Beechworth and Yackandandah are the two that are most worth spending time in, with their well-preserved buildings dating back to the mid-1800s.
End your day in the peaceful town of Myrtleford, which makes for an ideal overnight base.
Day 2: After breakfast at Cafe Fez, spend your morning tackling the best walks in Mount Buffalo National Park. Here, you can hike to impressive waterfalls, marvel at dramatic rock formations, and even climb to the summit of Mount Buffalo. The best short walks in the park include the Eurobin Falls Track and the Gorge Heritage Walk.
Stop in the bustling town of Bright for lunch, opting for the excellent pizzas in the sunny beer garden at Bright Brewery.
In the afternoon, cruise over the highest part of the Great Alpine Road, at an elevation of 1,800 metres. There are so many viewpoints here, but if you only stop at one, make it Danny’s Lookout. It offers the best views of the Victorian Alps.
Spend the night in Omeo, another historic gold mining town that’s home to one of the best pubs in the area: the Golden Age Hotel.
Day 3: The main attraction on day three is the Buchan Caves Reserve, a collection of impressive limestone caves that are said to be some of the best in Australia. Aim to spend two hours exploring the Royal Cave and Fairy Cave.
Bairnsdale will be your final stop on the Great Alpine Road, and what a wonderful place to finish. Spend an hour strolling alongside the waterfront, devour some fresh fish and chips, and then make your return to Melbourne.
Contributed by Lauren from Everything Victoria
Where will you go next?
We hope you have found some road trip inspiration from these suggestions of place to visit near Melbourne by car. If you are exploring South Australia check out 5 fantastic road trips we did last year.
If it’s your first time driving in Australia check out these driving tips for Australian roads put together by Charles who has spent the last 12 years working as a professional driver.