Melbourne is a scenic and cosmopolitan city in Australia that offers wonderful food, shopping and culture. There are times, though, when you just want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and spend the day exploring another area. Yarra Valley, Adelaide, Phillip Island and Great Ocean Road are good choices for day trips from Melbourne.
Yarra Valley is a short drive from Melbourne. While there is enough to see and do for longer, it makes a perfect day trip from the city. Spend some time sampling at the wineries, from the large ones like Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli, to some of the smaller ones you will pass all along the roads between the peaks and valleys.
While in Yarra Valley, make sure you spend some time at the Healesville Animal Sanctuary. The entire family will enjoy this zoo, where the creatures are all native to Australia. Stay for the bird show and be sure to have lunch at the Sanctuary Harvest, which will rival many restaurants in its selection of gourmet food and local wine.
Even though Adelaide is technically in South Australia, you can get there from Melbourne in under an hour on a direct flight from Melbourne Airport. If you don’t have time for a long visit to this quaint city, it’s still worth it just for a day. Adelaide has a great public transit system that can get you from downtown to the beach in no time. Genelg Beach is worth the trip to Adelaide alone. It has cute little shops, restaurants and coffee houses and the long stretch of sand is open to the public.
Adelaide is a major foodie town so don’t get filled up at the beach. The Central Market is the place for the freshest of produce and it’s located just outside Chinatown. Gouger Street is full of restaurants from every nationality. Cocolat, where they make everything imaginable out of chocolate, is a place not to be missed.
From Melbourne, it’s only about an hour and a half to Phillip Island. The main attraction here is the Penguins and there certainly are a lot of them. Be sure to catch the “penguin parade.” Those aren’t the only creatures you will want to see at this on the island, a non-profit nature park that’s dedicated to nature conservation. You will also find the Koala Conservation Centre, Nobbies Centre and Churchill Island Heritage Farm.
Great Ocean Road
If the urge to take a day trip from Melbourne comes upon you and you don’t have time to plan anything, hop in the car and take a ride on the Great Ocean Road. The best thing about this scenic drive is you can go as long as you’d like and always find something to see. Among the sites along the Great Ocean Road are: 12 Apostles, a formation of a dozen rocks that jut up from the Southern Ocean; Bells Bridge, one of the top surfing spots in the region; Cape Bridgewater, where you can see a petrified forest, the blue waters of the bay and a magnificent blow hole; and Cape Otway, home of beautiful Johanna Beach, a remote rainforest and the Centre for Conservation, full of kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and other wildlife native to Australia.