The following list is a compilation of day trips all within a day’s comfortable reach, and return, from Melbourne. Victoria certainly has much more to offer; but I won’t even delve into the delights of Port Fairy, Wilson’s Prom and the Murray River here.
My focus is primarily the places I’ve been, for instance Mount Buller (‘Bulla’ = Aussie pronunciation, see here for more giggles) is loved by many, but I’m waiting until I return to Canada to alpine ski.
Although, on the note of skiing, Lake Mountain (accessible from Marysville) might be the most expensive day of country skiing you could have (considering it is usually free in Canada), but it is really fun and was totally worth it since there were many trails and your pass entitles you to a full day, and a wide range of high quality (mostly) equipment.
1. Phillip Island:
watch the little penguins come in from a day of fishing on the surf and rush up the beach to their burrows. In close proximity to the Penguins is a Koala sanctuary. And it was there I saw a Kookaburra and a snake and realised who was going to eat who… You can see seals out on their rock at the Nobbies nearby. It’s a wildlife bonanza!!!
2. Yarra Valley:
Healesville Sanctuary (see baby koalas being fed and ‘roos; and it’s the only place they have successfully bred platypus); Yarra Valley Wine Touring is another great day out.
3. Great Ocean Road:
12 Apostles and the many shapes and shipwrecks of Victoria’s famous limestone Coast…it’s amazing. If you can stay the night and make it a two-day trip you can enjoy it more slowly, but you can drive pretty far along past Geelong and still come back to Melbourne that night. Bell’s Beach, Victorian surfers’ favourite spot, is accessed from Torquay.
Although this area is famous for its ‘Otway Tree-Top walk’, I had an amazing weekend there without even getting that far! There is a cheap little cabin campground which allows you to in their backyard and count wild koalas very intimately–I saw 20 in one afternoon! From there you can also do a hearty walk to the old lighthouse (Victoria’s first). Ok this might be tough in a day, but you could do it.
5. The Peninsula:
There are hot springs, wineries and chartered fishing on the peninsula. You could even bike to here along the Bay (past Frankston).