Four great daytrips outside the city

Melbourne is packed with diverse and memorable landmarks, experiences and places to visit. Whether you’re a visitor or a lifelong local, there are countless ways to spend a day in Melbourne – from the iconic sites like Federation Square and Melbourne Museum, to the hidden gems that require a little research, local knowledge or adventurous spirit to discover.

But what if you’re looking to head out of the CBD? Luckily suburban Melbourne and wider Victoria offers plenty of options within a few hours’ drive – making for some great trips and experiences that you can do in just a day.

Phillip Island

One of Melbourne’s most popular and recognised seaside destinations is Phillip Island, lying just off the south coast of Victoria. Almost any visitor or resident of Victoria would be familiar with the Island’s Penguin Parade, where you can catch a glimpse of the adorable penguins coming home for the evening. But beyond the penguins, Phillip Island has attractions for all tastes, including an array of accessible beaches; shopping and dining precincts in Cowes, Rhyll and Newhaven; racing at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit; the heritage farm and natural landscape at Churchill Island; wineries; seasonal markets and much more. All this, for less than two hours in the car.

Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges region is a perfect option if you don’t want to travel too far but want to enjoy some of the best natural landscapes Melbourne has to offer. In less than an hour’s drive from the CBD, you can be among fern-filled forests, waterfalls and abundant wildlife so striking you’ll feel like the city is countless miles away. Some of the most well-known attractions include the historic Puffing Billy steam train, National Rhododendron Gardens and Pie in the Sky, but the Ranges are also home to kilometres of scenic walking trails, national parkland and unique villages with locally-owned shops and eateries.

Sovereign Hill

sovereignhill.melbourne

Located in Ballarat, just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, is the iconic Sovereign Hill. This “outdoor museum” recreates life in the 1850s in Ballarat, when the region was the centre of Victoria’s gold rush. From the costumed townsfolk, to live events and demonstrations, period stores and buildings to explore, and even the chance to try your luck panning for gold, Sovereign Hill has been a staple part of the Melbourne experience for tourists and locals alike for many years.

Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges region is a perfect option if you don’t want to travel too far but want to enjoy some of the best natural landscapes Melbourne has to offer. In less than an hour’s drive from the CBD, you can be among fern-filled forests, waterfalls and abundant wildlife so striking you’ll feel like the city is countless miles away. Some of the most well-known attractions include the historic Puffing Billy steam train, National Rhododendron Gardens and Pie in the Sky, but the Ranges are also home to kilometres of scenic walking trails, national parkland and unique villages with locally-owned shops and eateries.