Best Places to Visit About 1 Hour From Melbourne
If you’re looking for some inspirational 1 hour day trips from Melbourne, Australia, read on! I’ve selected 16 of the very best places to go on a short road trip, all within an hour or so from the city limits. Enjoy!
#1 Exploring the Wonders of Phillip Island: A Perfect Day Trip from Melbourne
Nestled just off the southern coast of Victoria, lies the enchanting Phillip Island – a hidden gem that promises a day of natural beauty and unforgettable wildlife encounters.
Located just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Phillip Island is an idyllic escape that beckons travellers with its unique charm and diverse attractions.
Here are some of the best Phillip Island activities I highly recommend doing:
- Seal Rocks
Check out the adorable fur seals at Seal Rocks, a natural habitat where these playful creatures bask and frolic in the sun.
The Seal Rocks viewing platform provides an amazing vantage point to observe them in their element, so whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!
- The Nobbies
The coastal vistas of Phillip Island are nothing short of spectacular. For the best views, I would suggest visiting the Nobbies, where you can stroll along the boardwalks to see the stunning rock formations and sweeping views of the wild Southern Ocean.
- Grand Prix Circuit:
For any motorsport fanatics, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is a must-visit. This legendary track has hosted numerous high-octane events and is open to the public for guided tours, allowing you to walk in the footsteps of racing legends!
- Penguin Parade
Finally, don’t forget to experience the world-famous Penguin Parade at sunset, where you can witness the heartwarming spectacle of hundreds of adorable penguins waddling ashore after a day of fishing.
Phillip Island is home to the largest Little Penguin colony in the world, so this is definitely the most wholesome things you can do just 1 hour from Melbourne.
How to Get to Phillip Island from Melbourne
Getting to Phillip Island from Melbourne is a breeze, making it the perfect destination for a day trip.
From the city, drive southeast along the M1, then take the South Gippsland Freeway and Bass Highway (A420) until you reach the bridge connecting to Phillip Island. The drive takes approximately 90 minutes, and the journey itself offers scenic views of the countryside.
There’s also a coach service from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne which can get you to Phillip Island in about 3 hours.
Overall, Phillip Island is a true gem, offering lots of experiences that cater to all ages and interests. From witnessing the awesome Penguin Parade to soaking in the breathtaking coastal landscapes, this little slice of paradise has it all.
#2 Discover the Mornington Peninsula
Discover a coastal wonderland just a stone’s throw away from Melbourne – the Mornington Peninsula National Park!
This pristine and diverse natural gem offers an unforgettable escape into a world of stunning coastlines, flourishing woodlands, and an abundance of wildlife.
Why the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect weekend trip from Melbourne:
- Incredible Coastal Views: The National Park boasts some of the most mesmerising coastal views in Australia. From rugged cliffs to sandy beaches, each stretch of coastline offers unique and incredibly scenic views. So, make sure you wander along the gorgeous coastal trails to get some epic Instagram shots!
- Diverse Wildlife Encounters: Mornington Peninsula National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, wallabies, and all the bird species that call the park home. If you’re lucky, you might even spot playful dolphins frolicking in the waters or some seals basking on the shores.
- Hiking Paradise: With a network of well-marked trails, the Park is a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a casual walker, you’ll find a trail that’s just right for you here. From lush forest paths to coastal walks, the diversity of landscapes ensures that each hike offers something different.
- The Enchanting Rock Pools: The rock pools at Mornington Peninsula National Park are awesome, especially for families with children. You can explore these natural wonders at low tide, where you’ll discover a fascinating world of marine life, from delicate shells to colourful sea creatures.
How to get to Mornington Peninsula from Melbourne
Reaching Mornington Peninsula National Park from Melbourne is a seamless journey. Head south on the M1, and then take the Eastlink (M3) and Peninsula Link (M11). Follow the signs to the park, and in just over an hour, you’ll find yourself in this coastal wonderland.
Alternatively, you can catch a Metropolitan train towards Frankston and then transfer to a local bus to reach the peninsula.
Ultimately, whether you’re seeking relaxation by the sea or exploration of the great outdoors, this stunning park promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture here.
#3 Flinders: A Coastal Retreat
Flinders is a small, charming village located on the Mornington Peninsula, about 90 kilometers south of Melbourne. In my opinion, it’s the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Nestled between wild, oceanic coastlines and rolling hills, Flinders is a haven for foodies, nature lovers and those looking for a relaxing weekend getaway from Melbourne.
Why you’ll love Flinders:
- Incredible Coastline: One of Flinders’ major draws is its breathtaking coastline, featuring rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. The panoramic views from the clifftop at Flinders Blowhole and the Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary are truly awe-inspiring, while Flinders Beach offers an idyllic spot for beach-combing or taking a refreshing dip.
- Fresh Air: With its coastal location and abundant plant life, the quiet village of Flinders is a sanctuary for nature lovers and boasts some of the cleanest air in the world.
- Foodie’s Paradise: The rural location of Flinders makes it a prime spot for fresh, locally sourced food, which is served at tons of the restaurants and cafes in the village. Flinders is also renowned for its exceptional vineyards, with wine tasting here being an absolute must. I highly recommend checking out Ten Minutes by Tractor, which is an acclaimed winery and restaurant that not only serves exceptional wines, but also serves tasty food made with locally sourced ingredients.
- Top Spot for Golfers: For golf enthusiasts, the Flinders Golf Club provides an amazing golfing experience with its challenging layout and stunning views of the Bass Strait and Western Port Bay.
How to get to Flinders from Melbourne
Traveling to Flinders from Melbourne is straightforward and scenic. By car, it’s around a 90-minute journey via the M1 and M11. The journey takes you through beautiful countryside and coastal scenery, making it a thoroughly enjoyable part of the trip.
If you prefer public transport, you can take a train from Melbourne to Frankston on the Frankston line, and then transfer to the 782 or 783 bus to Flinders. The total travel time is roughly two hours. This option allows you to sit back, relax, and take in the picturesque views.
In a nutshell, Flinders offers a tranquil, refreshing experience away from city living. Whether you’re looking for some gourmet food and wine, natural beauty, or just some fresh, crisp air, Flinders has it all.
#4 Experience Serenity at Peninsula Hot Springs
In the picturesque Mornington Peninsula is where you’ll find these award-winning Hot Springs, which promise to leave you feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated.
With over 50 thermal pools, mineral-rich bathing experiences, and an array of spa treatments, Peninsula Hot Springs provides the ultimate escape from everyday stresses.
These are the best things to do at this wellness haven:
- The Bath House: This is the heart of Peninsula Hot Springs, offering thermal pools with varying temperatures. From the soothing hot pools that ease tense muscles to the refreshing cold plunge pools that invigorate the senses, each pool provides a unique experience, surrounded by lush gardens.
- The Hilltop Pool: For an unforgettable experience, don’t miss the Hilltop Pool, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. This is the perfect place to relax in the warm waters as you take in the beauty of the Mornington Peninsula.
- The Spa Dreaming Centre: Indulge in the ultimate pampering at the Spa Dreaming Centre, a tranquil space reserved for guests aged 16 years and above. Here, you can choose from an array of bathing experiences and holistic spa treatments that will leave you feeling completely revitalised.
How to Get to Peninsula Hot Springs from Melbourne
If you’re coming straight from Melbourne, the Peninsula Hot Spring is just 90 minutes away.
Drive south along the M1, then take the EastLink and Mornington Peninsula Freeway (M11). Follow the signs to Peninsula Hot Springs, and you’ll soon find yourself in this haven of relaxation.
Public transport options are also available, primarily involving a train to Frankston and then a bus.
Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a day of pampering with friends, or a moment of solitude to soothe the mind, body, and soul, Peninsula Hot Springs is undoubtedly one of the best Melbourne day trips you can do.
#5 Explore Australia’s Gold Rush History
If you fancy immersing yourself in the captivating world of the Australian gold rush, head to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, Victoria, which is an open-air museum designed to recreate the bustling life of a gold mining town.
As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter costumed characters, horse-drawn carriages, and historic buildings, all transporting you to a bygone era of excitement and discovery.
Some of the best things to do at Sovereign Hill:
- Gold Panning and Mine Tours: Don’t miss the chance to try your hand at gold panning in the creek just like the hopeful prospectors of the past! Learn the art of gold panning from knowledgeable guides and experience the thrill of finding gold specks amidst the sand.
- Traditional Crafts and Activities: Throughout Sovereign Hill, artisans demonstrate traditional crafts and trades, giving visitors a glimpse into the daily lives of blacksmiths, candle makers, and wheelwrights. You can also check out demonstrations of gold pouring and watch as gold bars are cast before your eyes.
- School of Mines: For anyone with a thirst for knowledge, the School of Mines offers fascinating interactive exhibits on the history of mining and the gold rush era. The museum features artefacts, geological displays, and historical photographs, making it a must-visit for history buffs.
How to Get to Sovereign Hill from Melbourne:
Located approximately 1.5 hours from Melbourne, Sovereign Hill is an easy day trip.
You just need to drive west along the Western Freeway (M8) until you reach Ballarat. Follow the signs to Sovereign Hill, and you’ll soon find yourself stepping into a world of historical wonders.
You can also catch a V/Line train from Southern Cross Station to Ballarat and then a local bus to Sovereign Hill, if you prefer public transport.
Overall, Sovereign Hill is a great place to check out if you are looking to do an easy day trip from Melbourne. Whether you’re fascinated by history, eager to try your hand at gold panning, or simply seeking a unique day out, you should totally add this living museum to your list!
#6 Bellarine Peninsula, a True Hidden Gem
On the southeastern coast of Victoria, you’ll find the stunning Bellarine Peninsula, which is a great option if you’re looking to do a 1 hour day trip from Melbourne.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing weekend by the beach, a gastronomic adventure, or an incredible encounter with nature, this hidden gem caters to all interests and ages.
Some of the highlights of the Bellarine Peninsula are:
- Breathtaking Coastal Beauty: From the tranquil shores of Portarlington to the scenic cliffs of Point Lonsdale, each coastal town here offers incredible views of the most pristine beaches and sparkling waters.
- Food and Drink Scene:
This beautiful part of Australia also boasts a thriving culinary scene, with charming cafes and restaurants serving dishes made from fresh, locally sourced produce. Some of the best restaurants to check out here are the Terindah Estate, known for its modern Australian cuisine, the Dunes for its seafood specialties and Merne at Lighthouse for its breathtaking setting and fresh local dishes.
- Outdoor Adventurers: The Bellarine Peninsula is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. You can easily explore the picturesque coastline through coastal walks and cycling trails. Nature lovers will find themselves in paradise with the Peninsula’s abundance of parks, which are perfect for birdwatching and wildlife encounters. Or, if water sports are your passion, catch some waves or embark on a kayaking adventure, there’s literally so much to do here!
- Historic Charm: Discover the region’s rich history at awesome towns like Queenscliff, which is known for its Victorian-era architecture and heritage buildings. Or, take a ride on the historic Bellarine Railway, where vintage steam trains traverse the scenic landscapes, taking you on a journey back in time.
How to Get to Bellarine Peninsula from Melbourne
Getting to the Bellarine Peninsula from Melbourne is easy and convenient.
From Melbourne, take the M1 towards Geelong, then take the exit toward Leopold/C401 from M1, continue on Bellarine Hwy/B110. The trip usually takes just over an hour by car.
Alternatively, V/Line trains and buses run from Southern Cross Station to Geelong and then to various towns on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Although the Bellarine Peninsula is just a stone’s throw away from Melbourne, it offers a treasure trove of outdoor adventures just waiting to be experienced.
#7 The Beautiful Macedon Ranges
Just a short drive from Melbourne, lies the Macedon Ranges – an enchanting destination that promises a journey of discovery and natural beauty. Nestled in the heart of Victoria, the Macedon Ranges offers a tranquil escape into a world of rolling hills, lush forests, and quaint towns.
What you’ll love about the Macedon Ranges:
- Natural Beauty: The Macedon Ranges are a nature lover’s paradise, boasting breathtaking landscapes that change with the seasons. Here you can explore the scenic Macedon Regional Park, where ancient hanging rock formations, hidden waterfalls and lush fern gullies will captivate your senses.
- Charming Towns: The region is dotted with charming towns and villages, each with its own unique character. Visit Woodend, a delightful town known for its historic architecture and welcoming locals. Stroll through the gorgeous streets, browse boutique shops, and treat yourself to a gourmet meal.
- Gourmet Delights: Experience the region’s renowned wine and food culture by exploring cellar doors, local markets, and farm gates. Indulge in artisanal cheeses, locally sourced produce, and exquisite wines that reflect the area’s fertile soils and cool climate.
- Heritage and Culture: Visit historic sites like Hanging Rock Reserve, made famous by the iconic novel and movie, “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” Explore art galleries, museums, and cultural centres that showcase the region’s incredible artistic talents and heritage.
How to get to the Macedon Ranges from Melbourne
Getting to the Macedon Ranges from Melbourne is a breeze. Simply take the Calder Freeway (M79) and in about an hour, you’ll find yourself amidst the rolling hills and picturesque landscapes of this idyllic region
If you’re using public transport, V/Line trains regularly depart from Southern Cross Station towards Bendigo, stopping at various stations in the Macedon Ranges.
#8 Healesville Sanctuary: A Captivating Wildlife Retreat Near Melbourne
Escape to a world of Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary, just a short drive from Melbourne.
Why you’ll love it:
- A Wildlife Wonderland: Healesville Sanctuary is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream, providing up-close encounters with over 200 species of native Australian animals, including koalas, kangaroos and wombats. The well-designed exhibits and interactive experiences allow you to connect with the animals on a personal level.
- Conservation and Education: Beyond being a sanctuary for wildlife, Healesville Sanctuary is dedicated to conservation and education. As you explore the grounds, you’ll learn about its vital role in protecting endangered species and preserving Australia’s unique biodiversity.
- Spectacular Bird of Prey Show: One of the highlights of any visit to the sanctuary is the Spirits of the Sky bird show, where you’ll get to witness majestic eagles and playful parrots soaring overhead. The awe-inspiring show highlights the beauty and intelligence of these incredible creatures, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for our feathered friends!
- Picturesque Natural Setting: Healesville Sanctuary is situated in a picturesque bushland setting, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Australian bush.
How to get to the Healesville Sanctuary from Melbourne
Getting to Healesville Sanctuary from Melbourne is a convenient and scenic route that takes around an hour. Simply travel northeast from the city along the Eastern Freeway (M3) and Maroondah Highway (B360). The drive itself offers picturesque views, making the trip even more enjoyable.
Public transport options involve taking a train to Lilydale and then a bus directly to Healesville Sanctuary.
If you’re seeking a wholesome wildlife retreat just a short distance from Melbourne, Healesville Sanctuary is where you should go. It’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and the incredible wildlife that makes Australia truly unique!
#9 Embrace the Wilderness: Visit the Dandenong Ranges National Park
Known for its lush forest and picturesque scenery, the Dandenong Ranges National Park stands as a testament to Australia’s incredible natural beauty.
Nestled in the heart of Victoria, just an hour east of Melbourne, this oasis offers both locals and tourists an immersive experience into the wild.
- 1000 Steps: This memorial walk is the busiest hike in the Dandenong Ranges. Lots of people use the track for fitness but it also deserves respect, as it was created to honour the 625 Australian soldiers killed during World War II’s ‘Kokoda’ campaign. It might be a bit of a workout, but it’s worth the hike as you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views and a profound sense of history.
- Grant’s Picnic Ground: Next on your must-visit list should be Grant’s Picnic Ground. Known for its spectacular bird feeding area, visitors can get up close and personal with Rosellas, Cockatoos, and Galahs. Enjoy a packed lunch or buy a gourmet hamper from the local café, while these feathered friends keep you company!
- Sherbrooke Forest is located in the Ranges and home to the tallest flowering plant in the world, the Mountain Ash. Its diverse flora and fauna also includes the famous Superb Lyrebird, making it a truly special place. A tranquil walk along its trails is a magical experience.
- Puffing Billy Railway: A visit to the Dandenong Ranges National Park isn’t complete without a trip to the Puffing Billy Railway. This historic steam train ride takes you on a journey through the picturesque Dandenongs, offering breathtaking views of the rainforest, fern gullies, and farmlands. It’s a trip back in time that appeals to visitors of all ages.
Getting to Dandenong Ranges National Park from Melbourne
Getting to the Dandenong Ranges National Park from Melbourne is quite straightforward. If you’re driving, take the Eastern Freeway (M3) and Eastlink (M3) to the Burwood Highway (C412) in Wantirna South, continue on Burwood Highway, then take Mount Dandenong Tourist Road to your destination in Sherbrooke. The entire journey should take approximately an hour.
For those without a car, public transportation is also convenient. Simply take the Belgrave train line from Flinders Street Station and get off at Upper Ferntree Gully Station. From here, it’s just a short bus ride on route 688 or 694 to reach the park.
Visiting the Dandenong Ranges National Park offers a chance to escape the urban rush and reconnect with nature. It’s not just a place, but an experience – a beautiful blend of natural wonders, historical significance, and stunning views, all within an hour’s reach from Melbourne.
#10 Experience the Best of Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley, just an hour’s drive east of Melbourne, is a feast for the senses. It can be described as a vibrant blend of vineyards, rolling green hills, and Australian wildlife, where natural beauty, food, and wine converge.
- Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery: This chocolaterie is a delight for all ages. With an incredible range of handcrafted chocolates and ice creams, it’s a heaven for dessert lovers. As you walk through the doors, the tantalising aroma of chocolate makes it impossible to resist all the sweet treats on offer. From their famous truffles to the chocolate-infused sauces and the richly flavoured ice cream, everything is crafted to perfection. The chocolaterie also offers cool interactive experiences like the world of chocolate-making.
- Unforgettable Hot Air Balloon Rides: Yarra Valley is also famous for hot air balloon rides, offering an unparalleled view of the valley. The view from the top is probably one of the most incredible sights that you will ever get to see in your lifetime. As the sun rises, imagine seeing a magical glow over the vineyards, farms, and forests below. The sight of the meandering Yarra River from up above is breathtaking. This hot air balloon ride is truly an exhilarating way to appreciate the grandeur of the Yarra Valley, giving you memories that will last a lifetime.
- Awesome Vineyards: Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a complete novice, the spectacular rolling hills of Yarra Valley are an unmissable day trip from Melbourne. Here you’ll find rows of vineyards and bottles of the finest waiting for you! Thanks to its cool climate, the Valley is perfectly placed to produce well-loved wine variants like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Getting to the Yarra Valley from Melbourne
Getting to the Yarra Valley from Melbourne is relatively straightforward. By car, take the Eastern Freeway (M3) from Melbourne, then continue on Eastlink (M3), take the Maroondah Highway exit and continue to your destination. The drive typically takes about an hour.
For those planning on using public transportation, take the Lilydale train line from Flinders Street Station. Get off at Lilydale Station, then catch bus 685 to Healesville, and get off at Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd. Finally, continue to your end destination in the valley.
Note: For the hot air balloon ride, operators usually arrange pickups from select hotels or meeting spots in the Yarra Valley.
#11 Discover Geelong: A Coastal Wonderland
Geelong is just an hour’s drive from the bustling heart of Melbourne, but the city has a radically different vibe. There’s enough to see and do to fill the whole weekend. Among other things, the town is known for its outdoor activities, bayside views and vibrant culture.
- The Waterfront: Stepping into Geelong, the first thing that captures your eye is the spectacular waterfront. Offering expansive views of Corio Bay, the Geelong Waterfront is a lively hub, teeming with cafes, restaurants, and unique public art installations such as the iconic Baywalk Bollards. These whimsical, painted sculptures, representing local historical figures, offer an engaging storytelling experience that uniquely merges history with art.
- Botanic Gardens: Another Geelong treasure is the Botanic Gardens, where nature enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the beauty of native and exotic plant species. With its well-curated collection dating back to the 1850s, it’s a sanctuary for relaxation and inspiration.
- Geelong Gallery: If you’re a culture vulture, head to the Geelong Gallery, which is one of Australia’s leading art galleries, showcasing an impressive array of Australian and international art pieces.
- Geelong Vintage Market: Geelong has one of the highest vintage-market-to-person ratios on the planet! This market is a must-visit destination in Geelong for vintage lovers, where you can snap up some sweet bargains every day of the week.
- Adventure Park: Head to the Adventure Park for a thrilling day filled with roller coasters, water slides, and other fun-filled attractions. While families can head to the Geelong Adventure Playground, a sensory-rich space designed to cater to children of all abilities.
Getting to Geelong from Melbourne
Getting to Geelong from Melbourne is a breeze. If you’re driving, it’s a straightforward trip via the M1 freeway, taking approximately an hour to reach.
If you’d prefer to relax and enjoy the journey, V/Line trains depart regularly from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and will have you in Geelong in just over an hour.
For those who love to travel at a leisurely pace, another option is the Port Phillip Ferries service from Docklands in Melbourne to Geelong. This 90-minute journey across the bay provides stunning views of the coastline, making the trip an attraction in its own right.
Overall, Geelong offers experiences catering to everyone, all within an hour’s reach from Melbourne. The journey to this beautiful city is convenient and packed with scenic beauty, promising an awesome experience to all who venture this way.
#12 Torquay: Gateway to the Great Ocean Road
Just a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne’s bustling city centre, you’ll find the start of one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road.
This 240-kilometre stretch of road is famous for stunning ocean views, rugged cliffs, picturesque beaches, and rich wildlife, promising an unforgettable adventure.
The iconic journey starts in the Victorian city of Torquay, which is just 1.5 hours from Melbourne’s central business district. If you don’t have time to do the whole journey, which is a relatively long drive of about four hours without stops, Torquay is a great option with plenty to offer.
Why you’ll love Torquay:
- Surf Capital: Known as Australia’s surf capital, it’s home to world-famous surf brands Rip Curl and Quiksilver and the much-celebrated Bells Beach. Here, you can catch professional surfers riding impressive waves, or even take a surf lesson yourself.
- Stunning Beaches: With its beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, Torquay is a dream for beach lovers.
- Gastronomy: Beyond the surf, Torquay offers charming cafes, restaurants, and shops. Indulge in fresh, locally sourced seafood, or enjoy a laid-back barbecue in one of the town’s beachside parks, such as Torquay Common or the Elephant Walk Reserve.
If you hit the road from Torquay, you’ll embark on the Great Ocean Road journey, where every turn unveils breathtaking views. You’ll pass through quaint coastal towns, pristine rainforests, and cliff-top lookouts.
Wildlife encounters are another highlight of this journey. Look out for koalas in the eucalyptus trees, kangaroos hopping through local golf courses, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale during the migration season.
Getting to Torquay from Melbourne
Getting to Torquay from Melbourne is simple. By car, the journey via M1 and B100 is not just the fastest route but also a scenic one, giving you a taste of the coastal beauty that awaits!
If you prefer public transport, you can take a train from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Geelong, then switch to bus route 50 to Torquay. The journey offers a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the changing landscapes from the city to the coast.
Whether you’re a surfer, nature lover, or just someone seeking a memorable coastal adventure, the Great Ocean Road and Torquay offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, awesome activities, and relaxed seaside vibes.
#13 Castlemaine: A Historic Gem
With its glittering seascapes, the coast gets all the glory. But central Victoria should be your next weekend away destination, particularly the arty hub of Castlemaine, which is just an hour’s drive from Melbourne.
Why you’ll love Castlemaine:
- Heritage: Stepping into Castlemaine is like stepping back in time. The town’s well-preserved gold rush architecture, epitomised by the impressive Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park and the Castlemaine Art Museum, provides a fascinating glimpse into Australia’s golden past. This heritage is further brought to life through captivating tours of the old gold mines and the vintage steam train rides offered by the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
- Nature: For nature lovers, Castlemaine’s is full of scenic beauty. Explore the Kalimna Park, home to a wide array of native flora and fauna, or enjoy the tranquility of the Botanical Gardens, one of Victoria’s oldest and most beautiful parks. Also, the nearby Mount Alexander offers stunning views from the summit and lots of bushwalking and rock climbing opportunities.
- Art: Castlemaine’s vibrant arts scene is one of the main attractions. With a host of galleries, live music venues, and regular arts festivals, the town is a hub of creativity.
- Gastronomy: For foodies, Castlemaine’s local produce, bustling farmers’ markets, and artisanal eateries offer a gastronomic delight, with something for everyone. I highly recommend heading to the Mill, which is a giant hub for food and artisan manufacturing. Some awesome pitstops here include the Viennese coffeehouse Das Kaffeehaus, the Taproom, which is a haven of craft beer, and Cabosse & Feve Chocolates serving artisan chocolates that are as pretty as they are delicious.
How to get to Castlemaine from Melbourne
Getting to Castlemaine from Melbourne is simple and straightforward. If you’re driving, the journey via the Calder Freeway/M79 takes approximately 90 minutes. This route offers the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views of the Victorian countryside.
For those who prefer public transport, V/Line services run regularly from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Castlemaine Station. The comfortable train journey takes around 90 minutes, allowing you to relax and enjoy the evolving landscapes from the city to the heart of Victoria’s Goldfields.
Overall, Castlemaine is a charming blend of historical allure and contemporary culture, nestled within a breathtaking natural landscape. Just a short trip from Melbourne, it offers something for everyone, from history buffs and nature lovers, to art enthusiasts and foodies!
#14 St Kilda: Melbourne’s Seaside Playground
Even though St Kilda is part of Melbourne’s suburban area, it’s such a great place it totally deserves a mention.
The eclectic seaside suburb of St Kilda is just 6 kilometers from central Melbourne and offers a unique blend of city sophistication with laid-back beach vibes, making it an essential stop on your Melbourne itinerary.
- Sunday Esplanade Market: This Market is a vibrant and enchanting marketplace along the coastal waterfront. With a diverse array of stalls showcasing unique crafts, tasty food, and a lively atmosphere, it’s a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists.
- Lush green spaces: Nature lovers can explore the lush green spaces of the St Kilda Botanical Gardens or the famous Luna Park, a historic amusement park full of fun-filled rides and games.
- Cultural things: St Kilda is a cultural hotspot, boasting vibrant music scenes, live performances at Palais Theatre, and an array of unique arts and craft markets. Acland Street and Fitzroy Street offer tons of eateries, bars, and cafes, ensuring you can sample everything from street food to fine-dining delicacies.
- St Kilda Beach, with its golden sands stretching along Port Phillip Bay, is the heart of this stunning suburb. Here, you can bask in the sun, take a dip in the refreshing waters, or do some water sports like kitesurfing and paddleboarding.
- St Kilda Pier and Pavilion, is a historic landmark that provides the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll with panoramic views of the Melbourne skyline and the bay. This is where you’ll want to get some epic Instagram content!
- Little Penguins: No visit to St Kilda is complete without seeing the Little Penguins that you can observe from the St Kilda Breakwater. Every evening at sunset, these adorable creatures waddle ashore, which is something you won’t want to miss!
How to get to St Kilda from Melbourne
Reaching St Kilda from Melbourne couldn’t be easier. By car, the journey via St Kilda Rd/A60 takes around 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
But the most popular way to travel is by tram. Trams 16, 3a, and 96 will get you from Melbourne’s CBD to St Kilda in around half an hour, providing an enjoyable ride that gives you a glimpse into the city’s charm. The public transport system is frequent and reliable, making it an easy and stress-free journey.
In essence, St Kilda offers an enchanting mix of sun, sea, and vibrant city life, providing a refreshing seaside escape within easy reach of Melbourne.
#15 Lake Mountain: An Alpine Oasis
Lake Mountain is Melbourne’s closest snow resort. This alpine oasis is just two hours northeast of Melbourne and serves as a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Renowned for its snow-laden landscapes in winter and vibrant wildflowers in summer, Lake Mountain is an exhilarating escape from the city, offering a blend of adventure and relaxation amidst a stunning natural backdrop.
Why you’ll love lake Mountain:
- Winter Wonderland: During the winter months, Lake Mountain transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors keen to ski, snowboard, or simply have a good old-fashioned snowball fight! With over 30 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, it’s the ideal destination for both beginners and seasoned pros. For families, the snow play parks and toboggan slopes provide endless fun, making it a perfect winter getaway from Melbourne.
- New season, new reason to visit: As the snow melts away, the mountain doesn’t lose its charm – every season brings a new reason to visit! The warmer months reveal a landscape teeming with native flora and fauna. Hikers will be rewarded with stunning views on the Lake Mountain Summit Walk and the mountain bike trails are an awesome place for cycling enthusiasts.
- Lake Mountain’s Alpine Resort Centre: Here, you can enjoy a hearty meal, warm up by the fireplace, or simply take in the spectacular alpine views from the balcony. The centre also provides ski hire and lessons during the winter months.
Getting to Lake Mountain from Melbourne
Getting to Lake Mountain from Melbourne is an enjoyable journey in itself. By car, it’s a 2-hour drive via the Maroondah Highway and Marysville-Woods Point Road. The route takes you through the scenic Yarra Valley and Black Spur, known for its towering mountain ash trees and lush fern gullies.
Alternatively, you can take a train from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station to Lilydale, and then catch a bus to Marysville. From there, you can arrange for a taxi or shuttle service to Lake Mountain.
Ultimately, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking an adventurous skiing holiday, a nature enthusiast on the hunt for beautiful landscapes, or a family looking for a fun-filled day out, Lake Mountain promises an unforgettable experience, just a short drive from Melbourne.
#16 Brighton: A Luxurious Coastal Escape
Just 11 kilometers southeast of Melbourne’s bustling CBD lies Brighton, which is one of Victoria’s hottest beach day-cation spots.
This stunning seaside suburb is renowned for its laid-back ambiance, iconic Brighton Beach Boxes, upscale boutiques, and vibrant food scene.
Why you’ll love Brighton:
- Stunning Beach: One of the main attractions in Brighton is its beautiful beach. Along this sandy stretch, you’ll find the colourful Brighton Beach Boxes, a row of 82 wooden structures that are as historic as they are vibrant. The boxes, standing against the epic backdrop of the Melbourne skyline, are not only an iconic sight but also provide countless opportunities to get some awesome photographs.
- Shopper’s Paradise: Just off the beach, the bustling Church Street is a shopper’s paradise. Home to designer boutiques, antique shops, homeware stores, and tons of cute cafes and restaurants, Church Street provides an upscale shopping experience matched with fabulous dining options.
- Outdoor Adventures: For those who enjoy the great outdoors, a visit to Dendy Street Beach and the Brighton Beach Gardens is a must. These offer the perfect locations for picnics and leisurely walks, while the Middle Brighton Pier and Breakwater are made for fishing. For cycling enthusiasts, the Bay Trail provides a scenic route along the coastline all the way from St Kilda to Mentone.
- Gastronomy: Brighton’s food scene is no less appealing. With a delightful range of eateries offering everything from modern Australian fare to exotic international cuisine, food lovers are truly spoilt for choice here. Don’t forget to grab a coffee from one of the local cafes – Brighton’s coffee culture is among the best in Melbourne. Brighton Soul and Brighton Schoolhouse are a must!
Getting to Brighton from Melbourne
Travelling to Brighton from Melbourne is super easy. If you’re driving, take the Nepean Highway from Melbourne’s CBD, and you’ll reach Brighton in about 20 minutes. There’s also ample parking available, making this a convenient option.
If you’d prefer public transport, Brighton is well served by the Metro Trains service, with the Sandringham line stopping at both Middle Brighton and North Brighton stations. The journey takes less than 30 minutes from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station, making it an easy and stress-free commute.
All in all, Brighton provides a tranquil yet exciting escape from the concrete jungle, just a short distance away from Melbourne. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, this is the place to be – so make sure your itinerary includes a day trip to Brighton!
Melbourne, the vibrant and bustling cultural capital of Australia, is undeniably captivating. But just an hour’s journey from the city can transport you to a world of diverse landscapes, rich history, and unique attractions. These excursions demonstrate that you don’t have to venture far from Melbourne’s CBD for an incredible getaway.
From alpine resorts to coastal adventures and just about everything in between, there are endless opportunities for a short adventure just beyond the city limits. So, why wait? Start ticking off all of these amazing 1 hour day trips from Melbourne – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
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