From the bubbling mineral springs of Daylesford and the rugged coastlines of Wilsons Promontory to Ballarat’s step-back-in-time adventures and Lorne’s beautiful Erskine Falls, if you’re after a short break from Melbourne, you’re definitely spoilt for choice here. Here are our Top 5 Melbourne weekend getaways.
If you’re after a weekend escape north of Melbourne, set your GPS to a north-westerly direction and glorious Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. Bathe in the region’s bubbling restorative springs, enjoy a splash in one of the local swimming holes, or bliss-out with a relaxing day spa experience.
Or why not take a stroll through some of the area’s quaint villages and historic gardens, which offer country-style hospitality and a myriad of studios, art galleries and cultural heritage sites to explore.
Love your food? Blessed with rich fertile soils and crisp mountain air, this region will certainly help you work up an appetite! Experience fine dining in one of Australia’s best restaurants, enjoy a fireside feast at one of the rustic pubs, or pack a picnic basket of fresh local produce to munch on after a long hike through some of the area’s rugged bushland. And don’t forget to pick up a bottle of local wine at one of the rustic cellar doors before you leave!
The perfect Melbourne day trip only an hour east of the city is in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which is brimming with outdoor adventures and bushwalking opportunities. The Ferntree Gully area offers several short walks including the 1000 Steps, where you’ll be surrounded by native wildlife. Once you’re at the top, you have the option of taking the Lyrebird Track (and yes, you may spot a lyrebird or two!), or continuing onto One Tree Hill where you can unload the backpack for a spot of lunch.
If that’s a little too taxing for your untrained walking boots, why not discover the area’s local flora? William Ricketts Sanctuary has a host of wonderful mystical sculptures half hidden among the fern-filled pathways, and the National Rhododendron Gardens feature over 15,000 rhododendrons and over 12,000 azaleas.
Heritage Hill offers a great Melbourne day trip experience, and it’s the perfect spot for history lovers, with almost a hectare of landscaped gardens, three beautifully preserved buildings, and a range of unique experiences including tours and workshops.
Or if you’re looking for a bit of childlike fun, hop aboard the Puffing Billy steam train, where you can meander your way through over 24 kilometres of Mountain Ash forest, while enjoying lunch in the First Class dining carriage.
Around two and a half hours south-east of Melbourne you’ll find the 50,000-hectare Wilsons Promontory National Park, an enchanting world of granite mountains and bushwalker-friendly rainforests.
If you’re after a summer getaway that includes an ocean splash or two, Norman Bay offers decent surf and a tidal river that’s kid-friendly and the perfect spot for a fish ‘n’ chip feast.
Wildlife spotters will love the flocks of black swans that inhabit Miller’s Landing, or head to the Loo-Errn boardwalk track, for a chance spotting of a wombat, echidna or wallaby.
For an adventurous off-land experience, why not take a cruise around the Prom’s stunning coastline? Much of this area is marine national park, filled with fur seals, leatherback turtles and migrating whales, and it offers visitors the chance to see this unique destination from a wonderful new perspective.
And to finish off the perfect Melbourne day trip, take a hike up glorious Mount Oberon, where you can watch the sun setting over the pink-hued ocean and take in the serenity of the Tidal River below.
The perfect spot for a Melbourne weekend getaway, Lorne offers a range of great water activities including whale watching, paddle boating and pier fishing. Adventurous types should also consider hiring a sea kayak, or catching a few waves on some of the superb breaks around the region, including at The Point or popular Cathedral Rock.
If exercise is a big part of your weekend trip away, don’t miss a walk up to Teddy’s Lookout for spectacular views of the Great Ocean Road coastline, or hire a bike and discover Lorne’s hidden treasures while getting active at the same time!
For those who love bushwalking, no visit to Lorne is complete without a trek to Erskine Falls. Plunging 30 metres into a lush tree fern gully, its upper lookout is an easy five-minute walk from the car park, or for a more challenging route, walkers should tackle the 240 steps that lead to the lower lookout for views of one of the highest drops in the region.
Once the most significant Victorian-era-gold-rush town in Australia, a trip to Ballarat is like stepping back in time. Sovereign Hill’s costumed actors and perfectly painted set constructions breathe authenticity into the experience, and activities include a range of gold mine tours that will take you deep into the underground heart of this touristy treasure.
Not quite your thing? Then consider a tour of the historic Ballarat Observatory, where you can view historic stained glass windows, watch 3D movies, or take a peak through their collection of vintage telescopes.
And if your Melbourne short break involves getting back to nature, take a wander around the 40-hectare Ballarat Botanic Gardens, which feature flourishing rose gardens and statue-filled Prime Ministers Avenue. Or explore Ballarat Wildlife Park, which is filled to the brim with Aussie creatures including koalas, crocodiles, kangaroos and wombats.
Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Contact Hughes Limousines on 1300 615 165 and hire one of our luxury chauffeured cars today!