Take control from the driver’s seat and discover a range of exciting weekend getaways just a short drive from Melbourne city.
Discover spectacular mountain scenery, explore premium vineyards and discover historic villages, all the while enjoying delicious food washed down by memorable wines.
Must-see attractions on a Melbourne weekend getaway, include…
Escape to the romantic hilltop villages, luxury hideaways, colourful gardens and towering forests of the Dandenong Ranges.
Explore the beautiful Yarra Valley, famous for its renowned wines, fresh food and breathtaking scenery.
Take to the skies in a hot-air balloon for an exciting view of the Yarra Valley or enjoy a ride through thick forests, fern-filled gullies and past pretty villages on Puffing Billy, Australia’s oldest steam railway.
Indulge in a picnic lunch along the Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail, with the finest of local produce including smoked fish, handmade cheese and pasta, seasonal fruits, organic salads and chocolates.
Just less than 90 minutes drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges region offers a range of accommodation, from elegantly restored B&Bs and luxury cottages to five-star hotels such as the famous Chateau Yering Historic House Hotel or Sebel Lodge at Yarra Valley.
Trip length from Melbourne 3 days
Total distance 225km
Road conditions All sealed roads
Segment distances: Melbourne to Marysville – 100km, 1hr 55mins; Marysville to Olinda – 75km, 1hr 25mins; Olinda to Melbourne – 50km, 1hr 10mins;
Suggested overnight stops Marysville and Olinda.
Major attractions along the route, include…
With more than 300km of walking tracks that meander through lush gullies and misty ash forests, the Dandenong Ranges is the perfect place in which to unwind and relax.
Drive through a vista of rolling hills strung with vines, towering trees, verdant valleys, pristine rivers and distant blue ranges, especially around Marysville and Warburton. Pop into one of the more than 55 wineries for a wine tasting, and later enjoy a gourmet meal with a premium vintage.
Discover one of the best hotel accommodations in the Yarra Valley – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Explore one of the highest villages in the Dandenong Ranges. Noted for its scenic beauty, Olinda’s gardens reflect the annual seasons including colourful spring blossoms and rich autumn colours.
Browse the many local galleries and craft shops: don’t miss the Touchstone Craft Gallery for a range of jewellery, glass, pottery, leather and ceramics, as well as cake and Devonshire tea at one of its quaint tea rooms.
Discover some of Australia’s most beautiful public and private gardens, including the National Rhododendron Gardens, home to 15,000 rhododendrons, 12,000 azaleas, 250,000 daffodils, native birds and panoramic views of the Yarra Valley and distant ranges.
Go hiking through the forest in the RJ Hamer Arboretum or trek to Olinda Falls in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Along the way, look out for wildlife such as emus, wombats, possums, echidna, lyrebirds, king parrots and rosella.
Sassafras has been a popular weekend destination since the area was first settled in 1894. Discover a range of cafes, restaurants, tea rooms, speciality shops, quality boutique accommodation and antique shops, and explore scenic drives to national parks and gardens.
Hike the 13km Sassafras Creek Forest Trail along the mountain stream to Emerald or visit the Sherbrooke Forest and the Dandenong Ranges National Park for its nature trails, waterfalls, wild life, lush sun-dappled fern gullies and picnic grounds.
In town, browse the award-winning Wise Possum Nature Shop for unique wildlife and nature art and afterwards take tea at Miss Marples tea room and restaurant, an authentic English cottage inspired by author Agatha Christie.
Surrounded by scenic countryside, Healesville is an important food and wine centre that provides a year-round opportunity to sample local wines: check out Rochford Wines, Domaine Chandon and Coldstream Hills.
Visit the award-winning Healesville Sanctuary, home to more than 200 species of Australian native animals. Ride a motorised open-air trolley along the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway; the original trolleys were used by workmen checking the line.
Enjoy a picnic at the tranquil Badger Weir Park then take a short stroll through fern gullies and mountain ash. Get lost within the Hedgend Maze and browse for bargains in antique and local handicraft galleries or the Healesville River Street Market. Don’t miss the annual Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival in February.
Wander through the 30ha natural bush setting and watch birds and animals living in their native habitats. Get up close to more than 200 species of Australian wildlife, including platypus, koalas, emus, Tasmanian devils, lyrebirds, wombats and eagles.
See colourful king parrots and the helmeted honeyeater – Victoria’s bird emblem and an endangered species – in the Flooded Forest Aviary; glimpse a platypus at the nocturnal creek habitat, complete with living ferns, mosses and lichens growing above pools and waterfalls; and catch the spectacular ‘Birds of Prey’ presentation, starring the peregrine falcon as it dives from the top of a gum tree, and the wedge-tailed eagle with its 2m wingspan.
Nestled in the valley beside Melbourne’s closest ski fields, Marysville is surrounded by waterfalls and forests of mountain ash.
Stroll down the main street beneath century-old oak trees and past gardens alive with blossoms of dogwood, azaleas and rhododendrons. Browse the art and crafts shops for locally made products or sample traditional sweets at the old-style Lolly Shop.
Drive along Lady Talbot Drive through a eucalyptus forest and, after a picnic lunch, take a forest trail to see waterfalls and panoramic views. Head out to Steavenson Falls – at 82m, these falls are one of the highest in Victoria. Later admire a stand of old growth mountain ash in the Cumberland Memorial Scenic Reserve.
The former gold rush town is regarded as one of the most picturesque places in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges region.
Surrounded by lush, tall forests of mountain ash, Warburton has also become known for its practise of alternative medicines and therapies. Swim and fish in local rivers or view wildlife on a night tour in the Upper Yarra Reservoir Park.
Cycle the scenic 38km Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail or experience one of the many
Stroll out into the canopies of giant eucalyptus trees along the treetop skywalk at Mount Donna Buang Rainforest Gallery. Browse handicrafts at the Yarra Valley Showcase or Brittania Creek Glass.
Discover an ideal base for enjoying cellar door tastings and sampling local produce. Here it’s easy to meet the winemakers of some the state’s best-known and award-winning wineries, including Yering Station, De Bortoli and TarraWarra Estate winery. You can also experience the vineotherapy treatment at Natskin at Balgownie Estate.
Visit the region's only ‘pioneer’ working farm, enjoy a sunrise balloon flight over the picturesque valley or walk the 18km trail in Sugarloaf Reservoir Park.
Indulge in a relaxing spa at the Immerse Spa and Winery, experience the Yarra Valley Horse and Harness race meets and find handmade treasures at the Yarra Glen Craft Market on the first Sunday of each month.
Discover a place of great natural beauty and tranquillity in a setting renowned for quiet reflection and contemplation. Stroll trails past mystical kiln-fired clay sculptures of Aboriginal figures and animals half hidden among the rocks, ferns and mountain ash trees.
Ride Australia’s oldest surviving steam railway on a 25km journey through thick forests and lush fern-filled gullies from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park and Gembrook. Along the way enjoy lunch, Devonshire tea and an evening meal.
Discover some of the best hotel accommodation in Sassafras, Dandenong Ranges – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Hug the contours of Victoria's rugged south-west coast for one of Australia's greatest and most spectacular coastal drives.
Discover beautiful beaches, great restaurants and a captivating maritime heritage while enjoying a choice of activities including golfing, fishing, diving and surfing.
Explore the coastline around Port Campbell and visit the Twelve Apostles, one of the state’s, if not the nation’s, most spectacular natural attractions.
Stroll around historic towns such as Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland to explore fishing wharves, beautifully preserved colonial buildings and maritime museums that tell tales of tall ships lost off the rugged shipwreck coast.
Total distance from Melbourne 682km
Road conditions All sealed roads
Segment distances: Melbourne to Apollo Bay – 195km, 3hrs 30mins;
Apollo Bay to Port Fairy – 196km, 2hrs 55mins; Port Fairy to Melbourne – 291km, 4hrs 10mins.
Suggested overnight stops: Apollo Bay and Port Fairy (or Warrnambool)
Major attractions along the route, include…
Gaze in awe at the giant rock stacks that rise majestically from the Southern Ocean. The spectacular Twelve Apostles are the result of constant erosion by wind and stormy sea that began 10 to 20 million years ago.
Caves were formed from the slowly eroding cliff faces, then the caves became arches, and when they collapsed, rock stacks up to 45m in height were left isolated from the shore.
Great to see at any time of the day but probably most dramatic at sunrise when the Twelve Apostles change colour under a rising sun.
Stroll the fishing wharf past stacks of craypots or along the crescent-shaped sandy swimming beach with its backdrop of rolling green hills. Swim in the clear water, kayak alongside local seals, hook up a charter for some deep-sea fishing, go surfing or ride a horse along the beach at sunset.
Enjoy a delicious meal of fresh seafood at one the local cafés and restaurants; for great views try Chris’s at Beacon Point high in the hills overlooking the sea. Browse for curios and handicrafts in the gift shops, galleries and Saturday foreshore market.
Drive to Mariners Lookout Road for panoramic views over the town and coast or take to the air on a charter flight for spectacular views of the nearby Twelve Apostles. Head into the Otways to find mainland Australia’s oldest lighthouse and explore the nearby forest and waterfalls on foot or by mountain bike.
Take a treetop walk along the Otway Fly and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the spectacular rainforest; see Triplet Falls, one of the most spectacular falls in the Otways; and enjoy the beauty of the rainforest and fern gardens at Maits Rest and Melba Gully. Don’t miss the nightly spectacle of the glowworms at Melba Gully.
Discover some of the best hotels in Apollo Bay – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Stroll the historic wharf beside the beautiful Moyne River and along wide streets lined by 19th century cottages, towering Norfolk Island pines, old stone churches and inns, in this quaint old fishing village.
Follow one of the town’s historic walking trails and discover charming, fully restored white washed cottages built by whalers and seamen alongside Georgian-style merchants’ homes and grand public buildings. Discover many fine examples of 1800s architecture, with more than 50 buildings classified by the National Trust.
Take a cruise out to the seal colony on Lady Julia Percy Island, home to four different breeds and up to 20,000 seals in total living on the small island, or explore Griffiths Island and watch thousands of mutton birds flying in at dusk to feed their young. (The nesting season is from September to May).
Go whale watching in winter or hook up a fishing charter any time. Browse the galleries and antique, art and craft shops or relax over fine food and wine at one of the many great pubs, cafés and restaurants in town.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these hotels in Port Fairy at TripAdvisor.
Nestled on the wide sweep of Lady Bay amid green countryside, Warrnambool has had a long and colourful history linked with the sea. Sail back in time at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, the re-created 19th century port.
Experience ‘Shipwrecked’, the stunning sound and laser show at Flagstaff Hill, and of the many shipwreck relics on display, don’t miss the famous porcelain peacock washed up from the tragic wreck of the Loch Ard in 1878.
Follow the Shipwreck Trail and discover the treacherous history of the coastline between Moonlight Head and Nelson; explore coastal reserves and walking tracks with secluded beaches and rocky points and penguin colonies; and watch native wildlife at the Tower Hill State Game Reserve, home to an ancient volcanic crater complete with lake and lava tongue.
Visit the whale nursery at Logans Beach between June and September and watch giant southern right whales with their calves just 100m off the shore.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these hotels in Warrnambool at TripAdvisor.
Enjoy a scenic circuit to the majestic Grampians, en route driving through the three major wine regions of western Victoria – Ballarat, the Grampians and the Pyrenees – producing some of Australia’s finest cool-climate wines.
The Grampians region is one of Australia’s finest destinations for outdoor adventures. Experience the grandeur of the Grampians from a light aircraft, cast a line for trout or paddle a kayak across a lake or river.
Try rock climbing at Mount Stapylton in the Grampians National Park, hike through the pristine wilderness or take an exciting downhill mountain bike tour through the ranges.
Indulge in barrel-side wine tastings in underground tunnels or sophisticated tasting rooms, explore rugged mountain ranges, see Aboriginal rock art sites and experience a huge range of outdoor activities.
Choose from the many luxurious accommodation options in the region and dine on gourmet cuisine washed down with premium wine.
Famous for its scenic beauty, the Grampians region is a great place to dine al fresco at an award-winning restaurant.
Trip length from Melbourne 3 days
Total distance 550km
Road conditions All sealed roads
Segment distances: Melbourne to Halls Gap – 254km, 3hrs 15mins; Halls Gap to Avoca – 112km, 1hr 30mins; Avoca to Ballarat – 72km, 1hr 5mins; Ballarat to Melbourne – 112km, 1hr 30mins.
Suggested overnight stops: Halls Gap and Ballarat.
Major attractions along the route, include…
Discover a picturesque town set in the heart of the Grampians. Take time to explore on foot the many natural attractions located nearby including cascading waterfalls, scenic lookouts and unique rock formations.
Enjoy the scenic drives through the beautiful Grampians National Park, join a tour of the many ancient Aboriginal rock art sites and learn about the diverse culture of the local indigenous people at Brambuk.
Explore the park on foot or try a new adventure activity, from rock climbing and mountain biking to cycling and kayaking. Don’t miss driving along a beautiful stretch of the Southern Grampians called the Serra Range, past towering Mount Abrupt to the quiet little town of Dunkeld.
If you can, plan your trip around one of the following annual events, for a richer experience of the regions: Grampians Jazz Festival in February; Grampians Gourmet Festival in May; Grampians Wildflower and Arts Show in September; or Halls Gap Film Festival in November.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about hotels in Halls Gap at TripAdvisor.
Discover grand and rugged mountain ranges, spectacular wildflower displays (best seen from August to October) and a wealth of Aboriginal rock art sites at Billimina Shelter, Gulgurn Manja Shelter, Manja Shelter and Ngamadjidj Shelter.
Visit lookouts with stunning panoramic views over picturesque waterfalls and spot native animals and birds such as kangaroos, koalas, emus and wedge-tailed eagles.
Enjoy a huge range of outdoor activities, from bushwalking, fishing and canoeing to rock climbing and abseiling.
Drive along Victoria Valley Road through the untouched southern section of the Grampians National Park. Watch out for emus and kangaroos along the way.
Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside on one of the walking tracks to Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt; tee-off amid hopping kangaroos and wallabies at the Grampians Golf Course; and dine at the award-winning Dunkeld Royal Mail Hotel with stunning views of Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon.
Savour tastings at local vineyards and sample some of the delicious sheep milk yoghurts and cheeses along the Glenelg Highway near Glenthompson.
Discover some of the best hotel accommodation in Dunkeld – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Explore an area of unspoilt and diverse scenery near the northern section of the Grampians National Park, one of the best wildflower regions in the park. Explore one of the numerous trails on Mount Stapylton, Hollow Mountain or Mount Zero.
Go on foot or on horseback and discover the majestic Grampians waterfalls such as MacKenzie Falls and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Try your hand at fly-fishing with a local guide, go rock climbing or be on the watch for birds and wildlife.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these hotels in Wartook at TripAdvisor.
One of the first goldfields in the north-western area of Victoria, today the area is known for its fine wines and wool production.
Try your luck at finding gold on one of the old goldfields, go bushwalking in the Pyrenees ranges or the state forests, sample the famous Pyrenees wines at some of the district's 16 wineries and don’t miss taking the Avoca Historic Walk past historic buildings such as the courthouse (1857) and the Avoca Primary School.
Victoria’s largest inland city is recognised as the site of the world’s largest deposit of alluvial gold. Stroll along wide, tree-lined streets to discover the town’s rich history and heritage. Walk the Eureka Trail and visit the Mining Exchange, where soldiers assembled to quell the miners revolt of 1854.
Pan for gold or chat with the storekeepers and miners at Sovereign Hill, where a typical gold mining settlement has been re-created.
Re-live the ‘Battle of the Southern Cross’ in a sound and light spectacular at Sovereign Hill; check out the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery; and visit the award-winning Ballarat Wildlife Park.
Stop at one of the wineries and sample the region’s award-winning wines at the cellar door.
Discover some of the best hotel accommodation in Ballarat – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Experience Australia’s highest year-round-accessible sealed road, winding past lofty mountains, scenic valleys, towering forests, rivers, vineyards and farms.
Along the way sample local produce and premium wine and make time to fish, cycle, climb or go horseback riding. Choose from a wide range of luxurious accommodation in the region.
This route offers an amazing range of active pursuits, including hiking, horseback riding, cycling, fishing, kayaking and rafting in summer, spring and autumn; while in winter you can choose from some of Australia’s best downhill skiing and snowboarding trails.
Be adventurous and try abseiling or rock climbing and later sample sample local produce and award-winning wines at world-class restaurants.
Choose from a wide range of luxurious accommodation in the region.
Trip length from Melbourne 4 days
Total distance 898km
Road conditions All sealed roads
Segment distances: Melbourne to Beechworth – 285km, 3hrs 15mins; Beechworth to Omeo – 209km, 3hrs 10mins; Omeo to Bairnsdale – 122km, 1hr 30mins; Bairnsdale to Melbourne – 282km, 4hrs.
Suggested overnight stops: Beechworth, Falls Creek and Bairnsdale
Major attractions along the route, include…
Take a scenic drive through Victoria's largest park and the state’s highest mountains and alpine environments. While winter brings snow, warmer months produce stunning wildflower displays and is the ideal time for bushwalking, horse riding, kayaking, rafting, bike riding or fishing.
In winter, go cross-country skiing and downhill skiing at resorts such as Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. On foot, atop a horse or by bicycle, discover historic huts on the Bogong High Plains and Mount Buller, belonging to the legendary cattlemen immortalised by poet AB 'Banjo' Paterson in The Man from Snowy River.
Enjoy one of Australia’s premier alpine resorts and winter playgrounds. In winter, thrill to some of Victoria's steepest and deepest skiing and boarding, while in spring, summer and autumn you can join a range of activities and a full calendar of events and festivals.
Explore the Bogong High Plains on a self-guided walk and discover historic cattlemen’s huts.
Choose from a wide range of mountain bike trails that cater for all levels of ability around Falls Creek and Mount Beauty. Or try fly-fishing the many creeks and lakes of Falls Creek and the Kiewa Valley with an instructor, or perhaps discover your own secret spot.
Known as the ‘powder capital’ of Australia and perched high on a ridgeline, Mount Hotham ski resort offers spectacular 360° views across the alps, with Mount Feathertop, Falls Creek, Mount McKay and Mount Buffalo all visible on a clear day.
With its fresh mountain air and temperatures that average 25°C, Mount Hotham is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain bike riding and sightseeing.
Explore the spectacular winter alpine terrain on skis or a snowboard, while at other times of the year, hike or mountain bike along cross-country and downhill ski trails and enjoy breathtaking views of the Australian Alps. Saddle up for a horseback riding adventure or cast your line for trout.
Nestled at the foot of Victoria's highest mountain, Mount Bogong, in the fertile Kiewa Valley, Mount Beauty offers many scenic highlights.
Go horseback riding along scenic High Country trails, bushwalk the Alpine National Park, try mountain biking along numerous bush tracks or fish in the Kiewa River.
Visit Wallace's Hut, the oldest existing cattleman's hut in Australia, admire the magnificent views of Mount Bogong and the Mount Beauty township from Tawonga Gap and sample premium vintages at one of the region's fine wineries.
Located in Gippsland along the Great Alpine Road, Omeo is known for its gold mining history, high country cattle grazing and historic buildings, including the 1858 jail, built of logs.
Stroll the A.M. Pearson Historical Park to see the town's original courthouse (1865), post office (1890s), log lockup (1858), blacksmith shop, stables and waterwheel.
Head to Kozsciusko Lookout for panoramic views of the Victorian alps and surrounding countryside, fish for trout in the nearby Mitta Mitta and Cobungra rivers, join a white water rafting trip down the Mitta Mitta River or wander through spring wildflowers on the Bogong High Plains.
Discover one of the oldest wine-growing areas in Australia, best known for its superb fortified wines, especially muscats. The region is also renowned for producing crisp, fruity whites and rich red wines that cellar well.
Visit the Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre to learn about winemaking and to sample premium wines.
For a variety of winery and cellar door experiences, join a coach tour to explore the scenic winery circuit of more than 20 outstanding wineries, or cycle the Muscat Trail past stands of river red gum and secluded billabongs along the Murray River.
Stroll through the town’s historic streets, enjoying the sidewalk cafés and browsing a mixture of friendly shops.
The stunning mountains, valleys, lakes, waterways and rich heritage of this region offers an inspiring setting for a host of adventure activities. Wander around town on a self-guided heritage walk and browse local art galleries, museums, craft and antique shops.
Don’t miss the National Trust-classified St Mary’s Catholic Church in Main Street with its unique murals and painted ceilings.
Hike through the Mitchell River National Park and visit the Den of Nargun, fish on the Mitchell River or the nearby lakes and rivers, cycle the East Gippsland Rail Trail from Bairnsdale to Nowa Nowa or drive the local Twin Rivers Food and Wine Trail.
Tour the Bataluk Cultural Trail and discover elements of Koorie history and culture or visit the Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place to view artefacts and history on the Gunai/Kurnai people of East Gippsland.
Discover some of the best hotel accommodation in Bairnsdale – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Explore one of Victoria's best-preserved gold rush towns. Take a walking tour of the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct and discover more than 30 historical buildings, many of which are made of local honey granite.
Stroll through the historic courthouse at Beechworth, where Ned Kelly stood trial in 1880 after the siege at Glenrowan. Visit Burke Museum to learn about local Aboriginal heritage, gold fever and the history of the town and region, and to see Ned Kelly's death mask.
Browse the many antique and craft shops, some of which are housed in historic gold rush buildings; savour a meat pie, lamington or pastry at the famous Beechworth Bakery; or visit cellar doors to sample local wine and taste the gourmet fare of local producers.
Cycle the scenic Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail, a sealed bitumen trail following the historic railway lines linking Wangaratta, Beechworth and Bright.
Or drive to the nearby towns of Yackandandah and Chiltern, which have changed little since the 19th century and are often used as the setting for Australian period films.
Nestled in the valley below Mount Buffalo on the beautiful Ovens River, the township of Bright is one of Victoria's most picturesque destinations. In autumn, the town’s deciduous trees put on a breathtaking display of colour.
Follow the many walking and bicycle paths that circle the town, including Canyon Walk and the Apex Lookout Walk. Along the river you'll find great fishing spots renowned for trout, as well as safe swimming holes for a cooling dip on a warm summer’s day.
Enjoy a relaxing picnic or barbecue in beautiful Centenary Park among the centuries-old elms and friendly resident ducks, ride a bike or walk along a section of the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail, stretching between Wangaratta and Bright, or go paragliding, abseiling, kayaking and horse riding.
Explore nearby Mount Buffalo National Park’s sheer cliffs, imposing granite tors, tumbling waterfalls, snow gums and stunning views. Along the way pop into world-class wineries to sample local wines, and later dine in award-winning restaurants.
Latest update: Melbourne Weekend Getaways: 21 January, 2020
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