The Yarra Valley is a fantastic destination where beautiful wine and food are matched perfectly with views of expansive plains merging into gently rolling green hills! It's only an hours drive of Melbourne, making it very popular with tourists and day trippers who flock eastward to visit the Valley's winery cellar doors and soak up the romance of the hills. For more information on this special area check out the Appy Travels Yarra Valley app.
The Mornington Peninsula is the south-east curve of Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne is at the head). It's an area of pretty coast, wineries, spas, surf, tea tree bush and restaurants. The wealthier residents of Melbourne have their holiday houses at the end of the peninsula in Sorrento and Portsea, and inland Red Hill is a beauty; full of orchards, quality cafes and bakeries. Go horse riding, visit a sculpture park, taste the area's lovely Pinot Noir or peruse the local galleries. Great for a weekend away.
If you haven't got a car, or would just like someone else to do the driving, the following Mornington Peninsula tours are available:
- Mornington Peninsula and Strawberry Farm Day Tour A full-day bus tour visiting Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, and either a strawberry farm or two wineries.
- Mornington Peninsula Wineries Custom Private Tour A full-day private customised wine tour where you can visit as many (or as few!) wineries and attractions as you wish.
Phillip Island is a large island at the mouth of Western Port Bay, located less than two hours drive south of Melbourne. Because of its proximity to the city and wonderful beaches, it's a popular weekend tourist destination, especially during the Summer months. It's famous for its Little Penguin colonies, with many tours operating out of Melbourne specifically to see the little guys on their nightly parade up the beach. Hooray penguins! (Miley Cyrus also likes Phillip Island - True Story!)
The following Phillip Island tours are available:
- Phillip Island Penguin Day Tour A one-day small group tour visiting Phillip Island's Bass River winery, a chocolate factory, the Koala Conservation Center and penguin parade.
- Phillip Island Penguin Parade Evening Tour An evening penguin parade tour, leaving at either 3pm or 5pm and returning around 10pm.
- Phillip Island Nature Park and Wildlife Seals Cruise Take a cruise to see the seals in Bass Straight then onto the penguin parade.
- Phillip Island Three Parks Pass A pass for the penguin parade, the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island. Valid for six months, good for those with their own transport.
Known locally as 'The Prom', Wilsons Promontory contains the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria. Its exceptional natural beauty draws many campers and tourists to mainland Australia's rugged, most southern tip every year. Imagine sandy beaches, sheltered coves, plentiful bird and animal life, plunging granite cliffs and the dense green of the Australian bush. This popular camping and bush walking destination is a three hour drive south-east of Melbourne. For more information on this natural haven, check out the Appy Travels Wilsons Promontory app.
The Bellarine Peninsula is on the south-west curve of Port Phillip Bay beyond Geelong, directly opposite the Mornington Peninsula. It's a popular Summer holiday beach destination and can be considerably more low key and less expensive than Mornington. Its historic town of Queenscliff is a lovely place to stay, otherwise Point Lonsdale is a good option, and the area provides excellent access to the Otway National Park and the Great Ocean Road.
Grampians National Park
This wild landscape of mountains, waterfalls, bushwalks and rock climbing is but a three hour drive north-west of Melbourne. Stay in Halls Gap or grab your tent and rough it, seeing kangaroos, lookouts and Aboriginal rock art aplenty. For more information on this beautiful place check out the Appy Travels Grampians National Park app.
Geelong is a city located 70 km south-west of Melbourne, on Corio Bay, part of Port Phillip Bay. Greater Geelong, with just on 210,000 people, is the second-largest city in the state of Victoria, but still just sort of like a large country town. It has a pretty waterfront area which is great to stop in as you pass through.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is just beyond Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, running between Torquay and Warrnambool. It winds its way through some of Victoria's prettiest countryside, the dense rainforest of the Otways, and culminates in a visit to the Twelve Apostles rock formation. For more information on Victoria's famous road, check out the Appy Travels Great Ocean Road app.