We all know Melbourne. It boasts hidden laneways, great coffee, a great love for sport and is a hipster’s urban paradise, yet the most liveable city in the world has more to it than that. Melbourne and the rest of Victoria have some awesome spots ready for you to experience just a few hours away. So plan a day off or two, make sure the sun is shining and get a group of mates together and try out some of these expeditions.
1. Drive the Great Ocean Road
The drive alone is pretty epic, with smooth yet windy roads overlooking the ocean and mountainsides ahead. There are so many stop offs you can do, it just depends how much time you have. This is seriously the easiest trip to take because it’s the journey that makes it awesome. You have an abundance of places to hit along the way, yet sometimes it’s best to just go with it, drive until you want to stop, then drive some more. Whack the tunes on, get the chips out and be free on the open road.
2. The Twelve Apostles
If you head out early, you can make the drive to these wonders about four hours away from Melbourne. The limestone rocks are still named the twelve apostles despite only eight being left, and are raised due to erosion on the Victorian coastline. These are truly remarkable – don’t forget the obligatory selfie!
3. Erskine Waterfall
Erskine Falls is just over two hours away from Melbourne, situated in Great Otway National Park. You will think you are in the Amazon Rainforest at some point – it feels miles away from Victoria!
4. Phillip Island
One of the most popular destinations, Phillip Island has an abundance to see and do. It isn’t even two hours drive from the city so prepare yourself for a fun-filled day. The beaches are gorgeous as they outstretch on the coastline, however the main thing to do here is stay until the evening for the penguins – where they show up for their daily walk from the sea at Phillip Island Nature Park.
5. Yarra Valley Wineries
In the lovely Victorian countryside, or wilderness if you like, lies the Yarra Vally, marbled by rows of crops and farms. Going on a winery tour is a must, so make sure you aren’t the designated driver that day!
6. Wilsons Prom
Wilsons Promontory (Prom) is a peninsula that forms the southernmost part of the Australian mainland, and a favourite among travellers and locals alike. It has flurries of kangaroos, wallabies, emus and wild wombats. If you like pure white sand beaches, Squeaky Beach is a must! Check out Whiskey Bay too for some epic boulder-like rock formations by the beach and embrace the stunning surroundings.
7. Turpins Falls
Turpins Falls is gaining popularity especially in the summer. According to AWOL Magazine, Turpin contains the 8th best swimming hole in the WORLD. It is situated about 82km away from Melbourne and is perfect for relaxing, having a picnic and listening to music. Jump off the rocks at your own risk, they can get as high as 20m!
8. 1,000 Steps
If you like the outdoors, the Dandenong plays home to the 1,000 steps hike. You’ll see everyone from the one-day-a-week exercisers to the fittest running up and down this circuit. You may hear a lot of panting along the way and gasps for air at the top, but you can finish this in 30 minutes if you go at a steady speed. Show offs will run it in 15! The lush green forest you’ll encounter may make you mistake the trail for somewhere in the tropics of Southeast Asia.
9. Mornington Peninsula
If you want a perfect place to detox, unwind or just get rid of that Saturday night hangover then head to the Hot Springs in Mornington. There is no better place to sweat out. It has a wide range of soul-cleansing spas and Turkish baths. If you want beaches thereafter in Mornington, head to Safety Beach or Sorrento.
Love a good surf? Or want to try it for the first time? Torquay boasts an awesome beach just outside of Melbourne. The smaller waves are consistent yet will relentlessly throw you around the water until you submit.
11. Dandenong Ranges
Getting lost in the forest can be good, and Dandenong brings a good range. It’s eerily quiet in the Ranges, but can be a peaceful spot to collect your thoughts, and, if you’re stuck in a rut, get your creative juices flowing.