Melbourne is an amazing city, over the 7 months we lived there we completely fell in love with it, so much so we’ve vowed to move there when we decided to settle down! The city itself is the beating heart of Victoria and feels so alive with people, culture and spirit. But one of the other reasons we fell in love with Melbourne so much is the fact that outside of the city and out into wider Victoria there is also so much to do and see, and being the smallest state on the Australian mainland, around the size of the UK, most of those places are within easy reach for a half day, full day or weekend trip! Here are our favourite Melbourne day trips!
Just outside of the CBD, St. Kilda is a great place to head for a quick trip outside of the city if you don’t have much time on our hands or don’t want to go too far. It’s just a short tram ride from outside Flinders Street station and the closest beach to the city. St. Kilda is a classic seaside town which is becoming more and more trendy with many little bars and it’s famous cake shops to explore.
If swimming isn’t your thing then you can head for Luna Park, this 1912 theme park is an icon of the city and a fun place to either take a wander or go on some of the old rides. Out here it is also possible to see some of the cute Little Penguins that call this area home, even during the day it’s possible to spot some but as the sun goes down many come in from a day out fishing! St Kilda is an ideal if you don’t have time for any of the longer Melbourne day trips.
How to get there:
No. 16 tram from Swanston Street, No. 96 from Bourke Street, or No. 12 from Collins Street (around 25 minutes) to St Kilda; No. 3 from Swanston Street to Carlisle Street (around 35 minutes) and Alma Road (around 40 minutes).
Another spot that’s very close to the city is the trendy town of Brighton. This wonderful seaside town is home to another icon of Melbourne, the Brighton bathing boxes that line the golden sandy beaches area beautiful sight. The colourful and photogenic boxes fetch a fortune and date back to bygone era of public bathing in the early 1900s.
Every time I go down here I am mesmerised by these beautiful boxes and the stunning backdrop of the beach and skyline beyond. On a hot summers day it’s also a great place to go for a swim just a short train ride from the city centre. Heading to Brighton is another one that is ideal if you don’t have time for the longer Melbourne day trips.
How to get there:
Take the Sandringham Line train from Flinder’s Street Station, which is usually on platform 13 and takes around 25mins.
Victoria was a state founded on the Australian Gold Rush and that money created not only the incredible architecture of Melbourne, but many other towns and cities around the state. Bendigo is a beautiful and historic city in the centre of the state that almost seems to spring out of nowhere in the fields paddocks of country Victoria. The discovery of Gold in the soil around Bendigo during the1850s made it one of the most significant boomtowns in Australia.
Visiting Bendigo is a one of the best Melbourne day trips, the architecture of the city and the laid back vibe of a small country city makes it a great place to wander around. The view over the city from the old mining tower is wonderful on a clear day and the buildings along the Pall Mall stunning example of Victorian Gold Rush era architecture. Another great place to visit is the Central Deborah Gold mine that operated from 1939-1954. The mine extracted 929kg of gold, almost one ton, which would be worth around $50 Million today!
How to get to Bendigo:
Driving is the best way to get to Bendigo however it’s easy to get up here on public transport too. You can take the train on the regional lines from Southern Cross. The V/Line express service takes around 90 minutes.
Another one of the best Melbourne day trips is the port city of Geelong, which is the second largest city in the state and home to the Geelong Cats, the second oldest AFL team in Australia! On a warm and sunny day walking along the Geelong waterfront is a wonderful way to spend the day. Along here there are beaches, swimming pools, The Cunningham Pier that dates back to 1850’s. One of the most fun things to discover in Geelong are the Bollard Sculptures, commissioned in 1995 they are dotted around the city and explore the cities colourful history through these quirky sculptures of traditional seaside characters and intriguing figures from the 1930s!
The city itself, which was surveyed just 3 weeks after Melbourne, has a historic and lively city centre that is also much more laid back than the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. The CBD had many wonderful examples of beautiful Victorian architecture to explore and can be covered in a day.
How to get to Geelong:
The V/Line regional services run from Southern Cross to Geelong and take around an hour.
Torquay and Bells beach
If you love your surfing then heading out to Torquay and the famous Bell Beach, the home of Rip Curl, for a chilled out day at the beach or a ripper day on the waves. Bell’s beach is the home to the Rip Curl Pro, the worlds longest running surfing competition and where some of the biggest names in the sport have competed and conquered some incredible waves. Whether you plan on hitting the big waves at Bell Beach, swimming at the more tranquil beaches of Torquay, shopping for a bargain in the surf outlets, taking a coastal walk or just escaping the city, its a cool and chilled out spot to head to. Bells beach is a must on our list of best Melbourne day trips if you love surfing and the beach!
How to get to Torquay from Melbourne:
The best way to visit Torquay and Bell beach is with a car if you have one and as part of a trip down the Great Ocean Road. However if you only have access to public transport you have to take a train and bus. The best way is to take the V/Line regional service to Geelong and then take the bus route 51.
Moving a little further afield is the incredible Grampians National Park. Around 3 hours north of Melbourne this is a place where you can truly escape the congestion of the city and explore the best of the Victorian countryside. This mountainous region offers something for everyone from short walks in the valleys, to impressive lookouts, incredible hikes, stunning waterfalls and even world class rock climbing and bouldering. The Grampians is one of the best Melbourne day trips but can also be done over a few days too.
There are plenty of campgrounds up here too for those who want to explore for longer as well as climbing shops in the main town of Halls gap that lend out equipment, For those less adventurous there are also short walks in the valleys and the small towns and villages are delightful to visit. The oval in the centre of Hall’s Gap is also home to wild kangaroos who come out every evening to graze!
We’ve written a full post about here: The awe inspiring Grampians National Park
How to get to the Grampians from Melbourne:
Though there are public transport links via a train to Hall’s Gap via a train to Ararat and a bus to Hall’s Gap. The best way to make the most of a trip up here is in your own transport. If you do go via public transport then you can still see many of the viewpoints but of course each will take you much longer to hike!
Another option is to take an organise tour from Melbourne.
The Great Ocean Road
The highlight of a trip to Melbourne and Victoria is no doubt the legendary Great Ocean Road. Built to commemorate those who died during the First World War, it is the largest war memorial in the world. The road stretches for 243 kilometres (151 mi), winding its way through some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. From the sleepy town of Lorne to the towering sea stacks of the 12 apostles, the road is home to wild koalas, incredible views and stunning scenery.
A day trip is possible to see the main sights but a multi day trip is really the best way to take is all the road has to offer. Our favourite section is the Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch area as well as the views from Teddy’s Lookout in Lorne and we’ve been lucky enough to visit many times whilst living in Melbourne! Great Ocean Road is a must do on our list of Melbourne day trips but if you have longer then we suggest doing it over 3 days.
We wrote a more in depth post here: A 3 day camping trip on Great Ocean Road
How to get to The Great Ocean Road
Having your own transport is a must for the Road as it is by it’s very nature a road! The road itself starts just after Torquay which is around an hour from Melbourne and ends near the 12 Apostles from which it will take around 3 hours to get back to Melbourne. The best way to do it for us is to get an early start and drive straight to the 12 Apostles on the higher roads and then work backwards towards the city.
If you don’t have your own transport then there are many tours leaving from the city, some day trips and some multi day. In theory it might be possible to take regional buses from Torquay and then camp but this would take some time. A good option is to rent a car for the day through someone like GoGet.
The Mornington Peninsular is around an hour out of Melbourne and it situated on the opposite side of Port Philip to Geelong, in fact you can get a ferry across! The peninsular is yet another example of the incredible coast of Victoria but unlike the Great Ocean Road it is much more low key and gets far fewer visitors. The lack of people and closer proximity to the city make it one of the best Melbourne day trips.
From the sleepy town of Sorrento there are endless coastal walks, empty beaches, rugged cliff faces and even historic war remnants to explore. The small towns of Rye and Portsea offer incredible beaches to swim, London Bridge offers a striking sea stack to explore and Point Nepean National Park is a wonderful place to take in the history of this region from ships wrecks to the Second World War and even missing Prime Ministers.
We wrote a more in depth post here: The most incredible day on Mornington Peninsula
How to get to Mornington Peninsular from Melbourne:
Like many of the other further a field destinations the best way to get the most out of a trip is to have a car. The drive is around an hour from Melbourne so it’s perfect for a day trip.
However. You can take the train from Melbourne out to Frankston and then connect to many regional buses that do visit all the small towns along the Peninsular. If you visit this way it would be good to plan the day out more and pick a few main stops to make the most out of your time.
What are your favourite Melbourne day trips?
See our guide to backpacking Melbourne here: 16 FREE things to do in Melbourne
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