No one denies the fact that Melbourne makes for one of the absolute greatest destinations in Australia. As the unofficial capital of sports, culture and food in the country, this amazing city hosts the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open and the F1 Grand Prix in Australia. Additionally, there are several world-class museums in the city, exhibiting everything from art to history, and more ethnic restaurants than you can count. Not only is Melbourne a great city to visit; it’s also a wonderful base for a road trip! A road trip from Melbourne has so much potential, it’s almost absurd—the city’s surroundings include the Mornington Peninsula beaches, the wineries of the Yarra Valley and some of the world’s most spectacular coasts along the Great Ocean Road.
Here’s a suggested—no, recommended—one-week road trip from Melbourne
One-Week Road Trip from Melbourne
Day 1: Phillip Island
Pick up your rental car or motorhome (which is a great way to save money on accommodation) in Melbourne and drive for about two hours to Phillip Island. There, on this small island, you can go for coastal walks, visit the Koala Conservation Centre and the Seal Rock Sea Life Centre, and see the famous Penguin Parade, which is the major attraction on the island.
Day 2: Mornington Peninsula
From Phillip Island, on day two, it’s a short and pleasant drive to the Mornington Peninsula, a stunningly peaceful region renowned for its sand beaches, fun outdoor activities and inland vineyards. This is a wonderful place to go hiking, horseback riding or cycling—a large part of the peninsula is protected by national parks and nature reserves.
Day 3: Yarra Valley
The next stop on this one-week road trip from Melbourne is the scenic Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s premier wine regions. There are dozens and dozens of vineyards and cellars that you can visit—you can tour the wineries or go wine tasting or simply enjoy some delicious country food. Spend the night at one of the wineries.
Day 4: Apollo Bay
Continue your road trip from Melbourne toward Apollo Bay, thereby covering the first part of the world-famous and absolutely spectacular Great Ocean Road. The total drive time on day three isn’t more than three and a half hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore some sights along the way. Consider stopping in Torquay, a popular surf town at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. From there until Apollo Bay, you will be able to enjoy breathtaking coastal scenery, including koala-inhabited rainforests, coastal hills and stunning beaches.
Day 5: Twelve Apostles
One of the major attractions in all of Australia, the Twelve Apostles are the highlight on day four of the road trip. All along the so-called Shipwreck Coast, there are imposing cliffs and rock formations, the most popular of which are the Twelve Apostles. There are so many stops on this section of the Great Ocean Road that you’ll spend a whole day exploring.
Day 6: Grampians National Park
Linger around a bit in the morning and hit the beach again, or get up early and go for a drive across inland Victoria—your options are endless. For a change of scenery, you are encouraged to go for a short drive north to the Grampians, a spectacular series of mountain ranges rising steeply out of the flat surrounding farmlands. Go for a hike in the mountains before heading back to Melbourne.