Day Trips and Weekend Breaks Around the Melbourne Area

A few years ago I spent six months in Melbourne, and the highlights of my time there were all the day trips I went on during the weekends I wasn't working. Here are some of the highlights for me :-

Dandenong Ranges National Park
This is right on the doorstep on the city (about an hour from the city) and is an easy day trip if you can't stay overnight anywhere but want to escape the city and get deep into nature. The forest is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city. There are many trails to choose from depending on how much walking you want to do. I took a ride on Puffing Billy (a steam train) to take in more of the scenery - it's highly recommended if you want to see as much as possible of the Ranges (the length of the railway line is about 15 miles). If you have time, head over to Mount Dandenong - there are incredible views from the summit - including looking back at the city.

Mount Buller
Not many people associate snow with Melbourne, but the ski slopes of Mount Buller are only a 3 hour drive from the city. I went there a couple of times booking a tour. It's a fairly long day, leaving the city at 6AM and getting back in the early evening...but I was impressed with the facilities there, and the amount of snow! The season's fairly short if you want the best snow (mid July to mid August) though it's open from June to October.

The Grampians
The Grampians are a 3 to 4 hour drive from Melbourne, and there's lots of walking to do here - so I'd advise this to be at least a one night stay, preferably longer. I stayed at Hall's Gap - a small village well located near a lot of trails. The highlight for me was the Balconies - it's an elevated area that gives you views over an immense area, untouched by humanity.

St Kilda and Toward Frankston
St Kilda is a part of the city, but it's also the start of the coastal area all the way down to Frankston. I really love this area because it has a great bike trail, and going down the coast as far as your fitness levels allow is a great way to spend the day.

Great Ocean Road
This is a real "must see" if you only have a short time in Melbourne. The Great Ocean road day trip will take you right out of the city and right next to the untamed Southern Ocean. Here you can see the 12 Apostles, island archway and the London arch rock formations.

Bendigo and Ballart
These two towns are often overlooked, but for the discerning traveller, these gold-rush towns give you a sense of Australia's historical past.

Article kindly provided by