5 easy Melbourne day trips: Road trip!


One of the greatest things about living in one of the world's most liveable cities is you don’t have to venture very far to get back to nature.

Melbourne has stunning mountain ranges, numerous wine regions, beautiful beaches and majestic National Parks all within a stone’s throw of the CBD.

If you’re looking for ideas for a day trip or a short stay within easy driving distance of the city, you really are spoilt for choice! Read on for five of our favourite Victorian road trip destinations.

1. Strathmerton- Cacti galore!

Located an easy three-hour drive north of Melbourne you’ll find Australia’s largest cactus collection, Cactus Country. The 10 acres of jaw-dropping gardens feature more than 4,000 species of cacti and succulents sourced from all over the world. If you’re inspired to start your own succulent display (and how could you not be!) you can pick up your own cactus cutting from the gift shop as a souvenir on the way out. Adult admission is $15 and they’re open seven days a week, 9am to 5pm.

Stops along the way-

Country town- Euroa is a picturesque small town and the perfect spot to pause for lunch and window shopping. It's about two-thirds of the way to Cactus Country. Browse op shops, antique stores, the Rockery Gemstone Museum or grab lunch at a local café. If it's a sunny day take a picnic lunch to the beautiful gardens at Euroa Butter Factory. You may even spy a wedding in progress.

Silo art- Drop by the towns of Devenish and Benalla en route to check out their impressive silo artworks.

 Image:  @itschromatical , Devenish

Image: @itschromatical, Devenish

2. The Dandenongs- Head for the hills.

For all you health nuts and forest nymphs the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (aka 1000 Steps) is your must-do destination in the Dandenong Ranges. Best of all it’s only one hour east of Melbourne. The track is 3 kilometres long and takes about 90 minutes to complete. You’ll take in the fresh crisp air and lush gully, gumtree and tree fern views on the challenging climb. Note: Going back down the steps is the trickiest bit and they can sometimes be slippery, so take extra care.

 Image: AdventureMe

Image: AdventureMe

Stops along the way-

Afternoon tea- Drop into Miss Marple’s Tearoom in Sassafras for their famous fluffy scones with homemade jam and whipped cream. It’s only an 8-minute drive from the 1000 Steps trail.

Pretty garden stroll- If a slower paced leisurely walk is more your speed, take a tour around the 36-hectare National Rhododendron Garden in Olinda. There are lots of benches and grassy knolls so it’s the perfect setting for a romantic Sunday picnic. You can even pick up a picnic hamper from nearby Café Vireya.

3. Red Hill- wine time!

There are a number of fantastic wineries and breweries dotted all around Red Hill and its surrounding suburbs. Red Hill highlights for tastings include Ten Minutes By Tractor, Montalto, Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill Brewery and Red Hill Estate. Also, check out the cool sculpture trail (pictured below) at Montalto. For a delicious rustic tapas style lunch try Green Olive restaurant where you can dine amongst the veggies in the garden and admire the stunning olive tree scenery.

 Montalto sculpture trail

Montalto sculpture trail

Stops along the way-

Strawberry picking- Stop off at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm or Ellisfield Strawberry and Cherry Farm to pick your own farm fresh sweet fruity treats.

Craft market- The Red Hill Community Market is on the first Saturday of the month from September to May. It’s a great place to sample local produce, browse the work of local artisans and pick up a unique gift or two.

Distillery tour- Bass and Flinders Distillery host cellar door tastings and tours of their barrel room and distillery on weekends. You can also book a Gin Masterclass where you learn to make your very own gin.

Ah-mazing- Get lost for an afternoon in the incredible Ashcombe hedge maze and lavender labyrinth. Keep an eye out for the quirky garden gnomes. It’s open daily 9am to 5pm.

4. Healesville- Koala cuddles.

Healesville Sanctuary is the top spot for animal lovers to get up close and personal with their favourite Australian critters. Just 90-minutes from Melbourne you can arrange to pat a wombat, feed kangaroos, meet a dingo or even hold a python (if you’re game!). You may even learn a thing or two on your zoo excursion from the expert wildlife rangers.

 Image: Melbourne Private Tours

Image: Melbourne Private Tours

Stops along the way-

Award-winning dining- Just 7 minutes down the road from the zoo is Healesville Hotel. The dining room oozes old-world charm and Parisian sophistication. You’ll feast on cheese platters, succulent melt in your mouth 12-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder and salted caramel fudge for dessert. Don’t forget to make a booking, it gets especially busy on weekends.

Yarra Valley breweries- Sample and stock up on some of the regions finest beer and cider. Coldstream, Napoleone and Hargreaves Hill are just a few must-visit watering holes.

5. Werribee- Step back in time.

Journey over 100 years into the past to Werribee Park and Mansion. Located one hour south-west of the city, you can tour the grand Italianate residence and grounds circa 1870s. They often hold events and night theatre performances on the grounds too. If you’re up for some pampering, indulge in a massage, facial or pedicure at the Mansion Hotel and Spa. They also serve up high tea every Sunday afternoon in winter by the open fire at the hotel restaurant. Bliss!

 image: Journeys To Come

image: Journeys To Come

Stops along the way-

Go wild- Drop into the Werribee Open Range Zoo to go on a thrilling off-road safari tour, say hi to the meerkats, and see and learn about Africa’s most iconic wildlife.

Cellar door- For a tasty Italian-inspired meal or wine tasting swing by Shadowfax Wines located on K Road as you leave Werribee Park. Buon appetito!

We hope these five brilliant Victorian locations inspire you to hit the road and go on an out of town adventure. Where are your favourite getaways in the state? Please share them in the comments below.

For more fun things to do over the weekend check out these crafty DIY projects and top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

Happy road tripping! 

The Homely Team

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