With its vast and varying landscapes, Australia is a fantastic country to road trip and Victoria is no exception. We found some of the best road trips in Australia within hours of our home in Melbourne.
From the Great Ocean Road (they don’t call it ‘Great’ for nothing) to Daylesford’s hot springs, Phillip Island’s famous penguins and the most staggering outdoor art gallery, The Silo Art Trail – here are 6 of the best road trips from Melbourne for a great day trip (or 2!) in Victoria.
Note: This post is based on my personal experiences and may contain some affiliate links.
Best road trips in Victoria, Australia
1. Great Ocean Road
Within hours of Melbourne is one of the world’s best scenic drives – the Great Ocean Road. This famous highway winds its way along Victoria’s south-west coast, past golden bays and famous rock formations, with incredible views at almost every sharp turn.
The biggest attraction on the Great Ocean Road are the 12 Apostles – striking limestone pillars that were once attached to the mainland and now dot the ocean.
Adrenaline junkies will want to take the turn off for the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk, the longest and tallest treetop canopy walk in the world, which you can climb or zip-line.
Best for: Ticking off your bucket list.
How to get there: The 12 Apostles are 230km from Melbourne. It takes about 3 hours to drive to the Visitor Centre but it’s much more enjoyable to break the journey up with leisurely breaks along the way, especially if you grab fish n’ chips at Apollo Bay. For longer visits book a beach house in Torquay or Lorne.
2. Phillip Island
One of the best day trips from Melbourne is to Phillip Island, home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins, whom you can watch parade home across the beach each evening.
There’s lots for nature lovers to do in Phillip Island as, in addition to the world-famous Penguin Parade, you can also spot whales, seals and dolphins with Wildlife Coast Cruises and visit the Koala Sanctuary, which has raised boardwalks that allow you to get shoulder height with super cute koalas.
Best for: Nature lovers.
How to get there: There’s a bridge at San Remo that connects Phillip Island to the mainland. The Penguin Parade starts at sunset so I recommend staying overnight at this tranquil farm retreat like we did. (Find the full review here.)
3. Mornington Peninsula
Just 90 minutes from Melbourne is the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula, which offers quiet beaches, boutique wineries and Victoria’s first natural hot springs resort.
The Peninsula makes a great day trip from Melbourne and some of my favourite places to check out are the colourful beach boxes at Mount Martha (just like the more well-known ones at Brighton Beach but MUCH quieter) and Red Gum BBQ, which has legitimately some of the best BBQ I’ve eaten in Australia.
The Peninsula Hot Springs deserve a day all to themselves. With 20 outdoor plunge pools and bathing experiences spread across the Victorian countryside, The Peninsula Hot Springs are just like a Japanese onsen but right here in Australia.
Read more: Chic weekend guide to the Mornington Peninsula
Best for: A chic weekend break.
How to get there: Mount Martha Beach is just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Peninsula Hot Springs are another 30 minutes from there. For an overnight stay consider basing yourself in chic seaside town Sorrento or check out this quirky glamping experience in Rye.
Speaking of hot springs, Daylesford is known as Victoria’s Spa Country and offers a beautiful fusion of mineral spa facilities, gourmet restaurants and a welcoming country atmosphere.
There’s a trail set up specifically to help foodies sample the best produce in the region. Follow the Daylesford Macedon Produce Trail to discover artisan cheese, truffle, trout and more.
Best for: A food-filled girl’s weekend.
Get there: Daylesford is just under 2-hours’ drive from Melbourne CBD. There’s a range of boutique hotels and homely B&Bs in Daylesford and nearby Hepburn Springs. Check out these gorgeous spa villas for a luxury treat.
5. Silo Art Trail
The most extraordinary reason to hit the road in Melbourne is to see the Silo Art Trail, Australia’s largest outdoor gallery, which features the unusual pairing of silos with street art.
Some of Australia’s biggest names in street art (Fintan Magee, Matt Adnate, Rone & more) have transformed 200kms of rural Victoria into a street art experience with a difference.
Large scale murals decorate wheat silos, celebrate rural communities and draw crowds from the city to parts of Victoria they wouldn’t normally see. To quote the last line of this video:
Lots of people think that once you get out of Melbourne you fall off the edge of the earth, the world stops. Well let me tell you the world just starts.
Best for: Urban art in unexpected places.
How to get there: The Rupanyup Silo by Julia Volchkova is the closest to Melbourne and at 300kms away it takes approximately 3.5 hours to reach by car. There’s limited accommodation along the route so I’d recommend doing this road trip by campervan if you can. You could buy a second hand campervan on Gumtree and have your own hotel on wheels to explore all the destinations on this list!
Alternatively you can stay in a combination of motels and Airbnb’s like we did. Find more information in my guide to the Silo Art Trail.
6. Wilsons Promontory National Park
Down at the southernmost point of Australia are the 50,000+ acres of Wilsons Promontory National Park. The Prom, as it’s affectionately known to the Aussies, offers vast untouched beaches, miles of bushwalks and abundant wildlife. (Yes, I’m talking ‘roos and wallabies galore.)
For the spectacular experience of seeing the humpback whale migration, time your visit for October and November when they pass this way on route to the Antarctic.
Best for: Bushwalks & humpback whales.
How to get there: Wilsons Promontory is 220m south-east of Melbourne and takes appropriately 3 hours to drive without stopping.
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You may also like:
Chic weekend guide to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs
Tiny hideaways and quirky places to stay in Melbourne and Victoria
Visiting the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
Melbourne on a budget: Stylish but thrifty travel guide
Featured image thanks to John Burnett
Originally published March 2018 and updated May 2020
25 thoughts on “6 Must-Do Road Trips From Melbourne”
Only made it to the Great Ocean Road… gotta get back to Melbourne to hit these I guess!
Next time 😀
Excellent info! I’m in Oz now but not gonna make it to Melbourne. But next time it’s a definite!!
There’s almost too much to do Down Under – I’m sure you’ll have a long list for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th visit 😀
I’ve done a few on the list, but still plenty more to see. I still can’t believe it took me so long to finally drive the Great Ocean Road and it was so so worth it!
We’ve done it a few times on day trips but writing this post even made me want to go back and do a longer stay.
So timely! I’m going on a 2-week trip in AU and don’t know what exactly to do in Melby, and I came across this. Do you think a week in Melbourne is enough? I might have to split 2 weeks for SYD and MEL.
I do think a week is enough for Melbourne if you just pick 1 or 2 of the road trips – most visitors go for Phillip Island and/or Great Ocean Road which you could do in a day each if you leave early and don’t do too many stops!
We went to Australia from the US two years ago and visited Melbourne, Sydney, Port Douglas, Yulara, and Uluru. Would not go back to Sydney if we ever return! Port Douglas is a MUST! Beautiful! Would definitely do New Zealand on a return trip!
I’ve done the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island. They are so beautiful! Didn’t know about all these other day trips. I would definitely love to go back to Melbourne one day. Thanks for sharing!
I’m slowly making my way through them all – there’s so much variety in each state!
Now you’ve made me miss Australia! I have lived in Sydney, Adelaide and Pilbara some 8 years ago. The idea was to live in Melbourne as well but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I visited Melbourne once but didn’t get to go around Victoria. As an avid street art lover, that Silo Art Project really hit the spot! And the other recommendations weren’t bad either =)
Doesn’t it look incredible. I love the motivation behind it too. Sounds like you’ve had some good Aussie adventures already though 😀
I went to Melbourne late last year with the intention of doing a Great Ocean Road trip, which we attempted but the weather was SO bad that we couldn’t see out to the ocean! Hopefully, I’ll get to see the 12 Apostles next time haha! I’d also love to go to Phillip Island.
Typical Melbourne weather hey! You definitely need a clear day to get the best impression of the apostles. Hope you make it back in sunnier times 😀
I love Melbourne! Been wanting to go for a long weekend with my partner. Thanks so much for all the great inspiration!
I miss Australia. That is all. x
Haha I guess it’s alright here :p
Amazing pictures, and how exciting these all sound! I hope to visit Melbourne soon and then surely will go on one of these!
This looks like the perfect road trip for me! I love that this route includes the longest and tallest treetop canopy walk in the world and the smallest colony of penguins. Will definitely have to book a ticket to Melbourne very soon!
WOW this is the first I’ve heard of the Silo Art Trail, and definitely adding it to my bucket list! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I’m hoping to get there soon – it looks amazing doesn’t it!
Totally love the silo art…so awesome! Great photos and thanks for sharing.
GREAT article! I’m currently planning our trip to Melbourne/Sydney for November from the US and you are spot on with your unique ideas, hotels, and eats. I am trying to plan a few nights in the city and definitely experience some of the beauty of the country side. Thank you for these recs!
You’re very welcome Heather! Hope you have a great trip 😀