Let’s get one thing straight, I love Melbourne. The endless events and festivals, the shopping, the beach, the Sunday sessions and of course the food.
However, I’m the first to admit that city life can sometimes get a bit much, and everyone needs time to rest and regroup in a less busy and stressful environment. Who doesn’t love the wide open road and a place yet to be explored? Travelling near and far is a huge passion of mine and I just can’t help myself but venture.
I’ve been lucky enough during my time in Melbourne to explore the surrounding area and have regular getaways in the greater Victoria region and beyond, so today I am collating my top spots for the best weekend getaways from Melbourne.
Great Ocean Road & Great Otway National Park
This one comes first an foremost, and any Melbournian will always recommend this first. The amazing Great Ocean Road winds down the coast past epic surf beaches and sleepy towns towards the famous Twelve Apostles. Huge chunks of the cliff side that have been separated over years of crashing waves.
This is one trip where the destination and the journey are equally as awesome. Don’t look at a map and confuse the drive for ‘doable in one day’ – you can, but it will be a long day. You’ll stop to admire the view more times than you can count and spend ages marvelling at mother nature’s creation of the Apostles.
This is why I highly recommend visiting Great Otway National Park as an overnight stay while you explore the area. There is an abundance of accommodation options ranging in campground up to resorts. Check out my travel diary here
If you’re in the mood for a romantic weekend in a colonial town with thermal hot springs, look no further than the gorgeous town of Daylesford. We rented a little cottage from Dayget and even though it rained the entire time, it was the best place to go to get away from work stresses and become one with a hot tub and bottle of wine.
Daylesford is known for their thermal hot springs, but you can still enjoy the place without indulging in that luxury. Walk around the lake, visiting the lavender fields, take a look at the convent art gallery, and have a good pub dinner at the local. The surrounding area of the Macedonian ranges is great for walks and picnics.
The Grampians National Park
Red dirt, unreal rock formations, and waterfalls. The Grampians National Park is about a 3-hour drive from Melbourne and best done in the summer. Arguably the most remote feeling area for a weekend getaway and definitely quintessentially Australian.
When I went, we camped in one of the many campgrounds and spent time hiking, swimming in waterholes and hanging out with Kangaroos, Emus and all the other wildlife found there.
The hiking is definitely the highlight of the Grampians, you can find a comprehensive list of all the best ones here. But my favourites were Mt Stapylton Walk, MacKenzie Falls, Hollow Mountain and The Pinnacle.
Possibly the most accessible option from Melbourne city is the Mornington Peninsula. Providing beautiful bay beaches, endless luxury vineyards, hot springs and adorable beachside towns. Book an Airbnb or stay in one of the many hotels or even beachside camp and wake up to the sound of the ocean.
With many events throughout the year, most notably the Portsea Polo, I’ve found myself frequenting the Peninsula more often than the other areas on this list, and I’m not complaining! One of my favourite memories was a summer getaway with a bunch of friends, we rented a large beachside property and spent our days sipping on drinks and playing board games.
I may have saved the best till last, and you’re probably thinking Tasmania can’t possibly be done in one weekend, and you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pop down for a small taste.
With only a 50min flight from Melbourne to Hobart, for around the price of a dinner out, you’d be silly not to explore Tassie every chance you have.
Admittedly, I spent longer than a weekend in Tasmania. We flew into Launceston and drove down to Hobart over a 6-day road trip. But I maintain that a weekend in Hobart is easily done. Hobart is a gorgeous little town and has the awesome Salamanca market every weekend where you can pick up fresh food and op shop to your heart’s content.
My top places in Tasmania would be Bay of Fires, Port Arthur, Hobart and of course Wineglass Bay.
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