See & Do

Day trips from Melbourne

A great thing about Melbourne is that you can get away from it quickly. You can get in your car, drive in any direction, and, in about an hour, you could be in the mountains or at the beach. Here are some great day trips from Melbourne I look forward to doing.

The Dandenong Ranges are a set of low mountain ranges. I’m looking forward to seeing the rolling hills and weathered valleys from the Puffing Billy Railway.  The William Ricketts Sanctuary, which features over 100 clay figures representing the Aboriginal Dreamtime, is high on my list of attractions to see. Unfortunately, it’s been closed for some time due to storm damage. Here’s hoping it will be restored and open at some point during my visit. Theo also suggests we visit Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens, which looks lovely.

I’m not clear on what there is to do in the Yarra Valley. It seems it’s wine country and that we’ll spend the day going from vineyard to vineyard getting increasingly drunk. We’re going to need a designated driver. The Healesville Sanctuary sounds like a great place to visit while we’re there.

The jury is still out on Phillip Island. I know avoiding tourists will be impossible considering I am a tourist and want to visit popular attractions. However, the Penguin Reserve sounds highly commercialised and staged.  Plus busloads of tourists are not my idea of a good time. I think we’ll explore other areas to watch homecoming penguins and koalas. Have you been to Phillip Island? Is it worth it or are there better alternatives?

I’m looking forward to exploring the relaxed coastal areas of Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula as well as the Mornington Peninsula. I don’t have anything specific in mind beyond lazing around the beach, visiting a gallery or two, and tasting local wine. Sounds like a good vacation to me.

In the Macedon Ranges, I’d like to visit Hanging Rock and check out some art galleries, shops, and, of course, taste some local wine. Finally, there’s Daylesford, which looks so beautiful in photographs. I want to visit the Convent.

What have I missed? What are some great day trips from Melbourne?



  • I don’t know if you’ve done Phillip Island yet, but if you do the Ultimate Tour (kinda pricey), then it is worth it. You go with maybe 8 other people and a guide out to a secluded beach with night vision goggles and the penguins waddle right up next to you. It’s pretty amazing. If you just do the general viewing with the thousands of other people, I can’t imagine that would be much fun. Much better to get up close and personal with them, in my opinion.

    • Cosette

      I didn’t get around to it this time. I put it low on my list because I’ve heard it’s something of a tourist trap, but the Ultimate Tour sounds pretty good. I’ve also heard penguins can be seen at St. Kilda and in Kangaroo Island too. Thanks for your comments!