A huge draw card for visitors to Melbourne is the excellent transport system. Traveling around this wonderful city and its surrounds is easy and affordable. Sightseeing is a breeze when you visit Victoria. Here’s my top Melbourne day trips by rail or road to give you a head start on your holiday planning.
The Mornington Peninsula
Of all the charming oceanside villages on the Peninsula my favourite is Sorrento. It’s a sophisticated yet fun place to visit that features an impressive array of a la carte and alfresco dining establishments. You can’t go passed a gourmet pub lunch at Conti’s – the burger I had for lunch here was outstanding & yes I fancy myself somewhat of an expert burger critic.
After something to suit a fine dining palate? Done and done – book into Audrey’s, upstairs at the Continental Sorrento and I promise you will not be disappointed, such is the extraordinary quality of succulent dishes on offer. Note: the degustation menu at Audrey’s $150 comprises approx. 7 courses with optional extras and is mostly seafood focused.
Before you leave Sorrento, I’d recommend a touch of retail therapy. Wander the limestone shopfronts for fashion, antiques, homewares and maritime inspired souvenirs. Overall, an indulgent yet casual day out.
Go direct to the Eastern Beaches and in particular, Corio Bay, the sprawling beachside estate adjacent to one of Australia’s largest regional cities aka Geelong. It’s only about an hour train journey from the city of Melbourne to the sea.
The foreshore park precinct is excellent for family gatherings and the boardwalk with water jump tower (& lifeguards) is fun for teens. Whilst little ones will love the shallow pool play area. Explore the extended pier here and seek out a seaside feast (many). Sports fans take note, nearby Kardinia Park is the home ground for the Geelong Cats. To do; attend a live football match.
Explore Phillip Island
Aside from being renown as the home of the Phillip Island MotoGP this spectacular coastal region is particularly famous for the many penguins that inhabit the area. Find a sunset spot at Summerland Beach and watch the flocks of Little Penguins return to shore after a day’s fishing. There’s also the National Vietnam Veterans Museum, Purple Hen Winery and the Phillip Island Brewing Co. to check out if you’re that way inclined.
Travel Tip: The mellow waves of Smiths Beach make for a great spot to learn to surf at Phillip Island. While the aptly named Express Point is hollow reef break best left to experienced surfers.
This historic gold rush town in a great day out. Explore the city’s heritage listed streets, art galleries and delicious cafe eats. Adventurous folk will love the Central Deborah Gold Mine tour. At 228 metres down below ground, its an extrasensory excursion indeed. Tip; Bendigo Art Gallery is one of, if not the finest of galleries in regional Australia.
All About Ballarat
Ballarat is a famed day trip destination from Melbourne. Board at Southern Cross Station (CBD) and arrive in less than 90 minutes to Ballarat’s picturesque 19th century-built railway station. Visit Sovereign Hill, Australia’s foremost outdoor museum that re-creates the gold rush circa 1851. Period costumed hosts add to the attractions flair and guests can pan for real gold too. Fact: the Sovereign Hill hotel has great value accommodation options too. Dining options here range from à la carte, to quaint bars, take-away cafe’s and of the course, the famous savoury flavours of Hope Bakery.
Werribee Open Range Zoo and The Lancemore Mansion Hotel
This Open Plains Zoo is home to roaming wildlife including rhino’s, zebras giraffes, gorilla’s and African lions to name but a few. Entry cost is reasonable and all profits go toward maintaining this awesome animal conservation centre. Escorted open air vehicles take guests on an outdoor safari like no other in oz. Werribee is an easy 45 minutes rail journey or an approx. 30 minutes drive from the Melbourne CBD.
To Stay: The Lancemore Mansion Hotel Werribee Park Quite literally one of the grandest hotels in all of Australia. Their flawless service and opulent guest rooms match effortlessly with the noble 19th Century estate and 10 acres of ever so charming English gardens.
St Kilda Beach
Ok, so technically St Kilda Beach is still in Melbourne however, I think it’s well worth a full day trip. This hip beachfront locale that can be described as both eclectic and stylish. Mexican food and margaritas by the beach – yes please. A juicy steak and a cold pint in a classic pub – done & done. Cool clothing boutiques and an iconic Aussie beachfront filled with recognizable landscapes to take picture of. What more could you want?
To do; pop in for a bite to eat or catch a live music gig and stay the night at the Prince Hotel. Fact: For over 75 years, the Prince Bandroom has been revered as one of Melbourne’s premier music venues.
Craving an authentic Italian pasta or mouthwatering steak (pictured above) while you’re in Melbourne? Good, you’ll want to go directly to Rococo restaurant on Acland Street then.