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.
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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Featured image thanks to John Burnett
Originally published March 2018 and updated May 2020