Are you looking for things to do near Melbourne? Don't know what's out there for you, or if it is worth doing? Find out the best day tours & and trips from Melbourne right now!
Are you looking for something to do? Sick of Melbourne and need to get out for a day? If so, I have some great ideas of local day trips and tours you can make. So what are you waiting for? Pack the bag and discover what's on offer around Melbourne!
1. The Dandenong's. Distance from city centre: 35 kms
The Dandenong's is a mountain range that edges Melbourne. For those of you who love bush walking and hiking there are some great walks through native old growth forests, which can be taken all year round. However, during winter there is occasionally snowfalls and can be very cold, and during summer there is the chance of bushfires - you should check the local weather reports before departing. Things to do there include taking the scenic "Puffing Billy" steam train ride through the mountains (Puffing Billy Place, Emerald, 9757 0700, www.puffingbilly.com.au), the stunning National Rhododendron Gardens (The Georgian Road, Olinda, 131 963), and the quaint and delightful Miss Marple's Tea Rooms (382 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, 9755 1610). Doesn't sound like your "cuppa tea"...? Then what about local wine tastings or a thrilling tree-top obstacle course with 12 mammoth flying foxes and 65 aerial challenges ranging from beginner to expert. For more details on the Dandenong's, check out www.experiencethedandenongs.com.au
2. Healesville. Distance from city centre: 65 kms
For any backpacker who wants to get up and close and friendly with some native Australian animals the Healesville Sanctuary (Badger Creek Road, Healesville, 5957 2800, Healesville Sanctuary) is an absolute must. There are huge areas of native parkland in which to explore and play. Healesville is a gorgeous area in which it is tempting to just drive around and soak up the views. However, there are many places well worth stopping and taking in the sites. Fancy your chances finding your way through the local Hedge Maze? It also includes such activities as the 2 other mazes, mini-golf, laser tag, BBQ facilities, the "bush tucker" walk, giant checkers, Frisbee golf (you'll have to play it for yourself to find out what it is all about), and more. www.hedgend.com.au. And don't forget to pop into the local glass blowing studio for a rare and free glimpse into the intriguing art that is glass blowing. hgbs.com.au
3. Phillip Island & the Fairy Penguins. Distance from city centre: 140 kms
That's right, you heard correct - penguins! Many people are amazed to hear that Australia actually has a penguin population, but we do! The penguin parade at Phillip Island Nature Park (1019 Ventnor Road, Ventnor, 5951 2800) occurs daily at about 9pm - so it can make it a long day. But that's okay, if you're going in the summer months just take a towel and your bathers and enjoy the pristine beaches. Or visit the Nobbies, the park's spectacular boardwalk path along the natural sea bird gardens of the headland. There is also the Koala Conservation Centre and the Churchill Island Heritage Farm. To learn more about the Nature parks visit: www.penguins.org.au, and to learn more about other attractions (walking/bike trails, BBQ areas, surfing/swimming, local health spas, etc) visit: www.visitphillipisland.com. In fact, there is so much to do you could easily spend an entire weekend there.
Located right at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay (known as the Port Phillip Heads) these are beautiful seaside resort towns with some grand old building and war fortifications from WWII (designed to repel Japanese ships and submarines from entering the port). There are some great rock pools (at low tide) to discover the local marine wild life - but be careful and wear water shoes and gloves as this area is home to the small and beautiful, yet potentially lethal, "Blue Ringed" octopus. Point Lonsdale is home to some beautiful beaches and is a well known surfing and scuba diving hot spot by locals. People often take the ferry (about 1 hour) across the "Heads" to the opposite seaside town of Sorrento. There is so much to see and do in and around Queenscliff, ranging from world's one and only Blues Music Train, diving, surfing, swimming, nature walks through national parks, fishing charters, the WWII fort and museum tours, shopping, gourmet foods and wines, and much more. Visit www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au for a full list of options. Just like Philip Island, one could easily spend an entire weekend (or longer) exploring and experiencing all that is on offer.
5. Torquay & Lorne. Distance from city centre: 101 and 138 kms
Torquay is known as the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. It is a small, yet very busy, seaside surf town that hosts the international Rip Curl Pro - the longest continuous running surfing contest in the world. If you're looking for cheap surf cloths such as Rip Curl, Billabong, Quicksilver ( which are all Australian brands for those of you who didn't know) you'll find factory outlet shops where you can pick up some dirt cheap bargains. Torquay has surf beaches close by, and a cove in the town centre which is perfect for a lazy day of swimming without the pounding 1 - 3 meter waves you get on the surf beaches. There is plenty to do in and around the town, visit www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/torquay to find out about surf lessons, skydiving, the marine park and more. Lorne is another 38 - 40 kms up the Great Ocean road from Torquay and boasts some beautiful beaches, national park land and walking tracks. To discover more about what you can do in Lorne apart from whale watching and the national parks visit www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/lorne for more details.
6. Yarra Valley. Distance from city centre: 51 kms
Yarra Valley is known as one of Australia's premier wine growing regions with over 100 wineries and vineyards. It is cool climate award winning wines are world famous with wine buffs. The area is also renowned for its gourmet foods. For a list of major and minor vineyard events visit www.wineyarravalley.com The Yarra Valley area is littered with small townships, most of which have interesting things to see and do. The best thing to do is just pull up in your car and ask one of the friendly locals what you can do. However, if that's not your style and you'd like to know in advance what happening around the area, you can find the full list of upcoming events organised on a month-by-month basis by visiting www.visityarravalley.com.au. And don't forget to check out other attractions like hot air ballooning and taking a ride on the local stream train!
7. Mornington Peninsula. Distance from city centre: 95 kms
The Mornington Peninsula is an area hugging the Eastern entrance to Port Philip Bay and has an abundance of vineyards, olive groves and little townships just waiting to be explored. Some people just like to drive around for the day, stopping where ever takes their fancy. If exploring the ocean or beaches is more your style you can try surfing, scuba diving, sailing, diving with dolphins or swimming with seals, fishing in Port Phillip Bay or the thrill of horse-riding along the sands of Gunnamatta Beach. There is also extensive national parklands just waiting to be explored either by foot or by bike. There is no possible way I could cover here everything that is on offer in this amazing area, so to check out local events listed on a month-by-month basis, visit www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/events or to find out what some of the local attractions and activities are visit www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/thingstodo. If you have the spare time, the Mornington Peninsula is best explored over a long weekend, there really is that much to see and do!
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