Best Day Trips from Melbourne

Melbourne in Victoria, Australia is full of coffee, culture, art, shopping and laneways covered in street art. It’s a busy capital city so getting away from the hustle and bustle and into nature for the day is the best way to re-energise yourself.

If you’re a nature lover like myself, you’ll find these day trips perfect for your wanderlust soul.

All within a couple of hours from the Melbourne CBD, you can easily explore these sights with a car or using public transport.

The Redwood Forest

Redwood Forest in Warburton

How to get there?

Located on Cement Creek Rd in East Warburton, if you’re driving by car from the CBD, head down the M3 and exit at Ringwood (first exit after the tunnel). Then turn left into Maroondah Highway and continue driving until you drive through Lilydale. You’ll come to a fork in the road and take a right towards Warburton (NOT Healesville). Continue driving through Warburton and you’ll see a small sign on the left hand side that says “Cement Creek Rd”, follow that for a couple of hundred metres and you’ll find the Redwood Forest Carpark.

If you’re taking public transport, hop on a Lilydale train from the CBD. When you arrive at Lilydale, get the 683 bus to Warburton. Only one bus goes the whole way to Cement Creek Rd and at that is the 12:09pm bus on weekdays and the 3:55pm bus on weekends. Its a 1 hour bus journey. There’s also the option of getting a bus to Warburton then ordering a taxi to the Redwood Forest.

What to see?

A magical secluded forest full of California Redwood Trees. Walk through the forest and you’ll come across a beautiful stream at the back. These trees were originally planted in 1930 as an experiment to study the effects on introduced tree species. Around 1450 were planted and they’re not even half their maximum height yet! The area is also now Heritage Listed.

Where to eat?

Restaurants in Warburton that have vegan options include: BT Dubs Cafe, Warburton Pantry, Three Sugars Cafe, Warburton Village Pizza Cafe and Symphony 36.

Pelicans at San Remo

Phillip Island

How to get there?

Located in the South East of Victoria, it’s only a 90 minute drive from Melbourne CBD. Head down the M1 (Monash Freeway) for 50kms until you reach C422 (Koo Wee Rup Road) and turn right. Keep on driving for 10kms until you reach M420 (South Gippsland Highway) and turn left onto that. Keep on driving down the M420 and you’ll see signs that say “Philip Island”.

There’s a Vline bus that leaves from Southern Cross Train Station to Cowes roughly every couple of hours.

What to see?

The walk from Woolamai Surf Beach to the Pinnacles Lookout is absolutely stunning. Then head to the Forrest Caves Beach area for a swim if it’s warm and explore the caves near the water. Check out the Boardwalk near The Nobbies and the quiet beaches around there. Cowes is next for some shopping and yummy food. If you’re staying overnight on Phillip Island or driving back to the city later, don’t forget to see the penguins at dusk.

Where to eat?

The best places to get Vegan food is Island Wholefoods in Cowes and San Remo Bakehouse over the Bridge in San Remo that is 100% vegan. All of the local supermarkets are stock full of vegan options too.

View of Mornington Beach

Mornington Peninsula

How to get there?

Easiest way is to drive straight down Nepean Highway and past Frankston.

Or you can get a train to Frankston and then a bus to where you want to go on the Mornington Peninsula. Some bus numbers that leave from Frankston train station are…781, 788, 787, 782.

What to see?

Arthur’s Seat Cable Car Eagle takes you up a mountain that’s over 300 metres high in a metal gondola. The cute bathing boxes on the beaches from Mt Eliza down to Portsea. Point Nepean National Park has lots of great walks and cycling paths and the London Bridge lookout is amazing! Be aware that it can be incredibly windy as air is blown up from Antarctica. The Cape Schanck Lighthouse also has some stunning walks around it.

Where to eat?

Because the Mornington Peninsula is such a large area, here are a few restaurants that have vegan options and what town they are located in. Wombat cafe in Dromana, Soulful Vegan Food in Mornington, La Frasca in Rosebud, Hunter in Rye, Conscious Cravings Co in Moorooduc.

Torquay and Bells Beach

How to get there?

From Melbourne CBD, drive over the West Gate Bridge and keep on heading down the M1 (Princes Freeway) for 83kms (around 1 hour). You’ll see an exit sign that says “B130 Torquay to Great Ocean Rd” and you’ll exit there and follow the signs to Torquay.

If you’re using public transport, get on a Geelong/Waurn Ponds or Warrnambool Vline train from Southern Cross Train Station in the CBD. Disembark at Geelong Train Station and then get on the 51 Bus to Jan Juc (stops in Torquay also).

What to see?

Torquay is a famous surfing town with a chill vibe and lovely sights. There’s a beautiful walk along the sea from Jan Juc to Bells Beach that I recommend. Pretty much any walk along the sea is gorgeous around here! Torquay also has a really cool Australian National Surfing Museum and tons of surfing brand factory outlets (like Billabong, Quiksilver and Rip Curl).

Where to eat?

There are some great vegan options around here that include Lush Vegan, Ole and Ginger Monkey in Torquay. Also Diggers Veggie Kitchen in Anglesea just down the road is 100% vegan.

Belgrave and Puffing Billy

How to get there?

Take the M3 (Eastern Freeway/East Link) for 30kms until you see an exit that says “Burwood Highway”. Exit there and follow Burwood Highway all the way and up the mountain to Belgrave.

If you’re using public transport, it’s super easy! Get on a Belgrave train from Flinders Street.

What to see?

Belgrave is a hippie paradise with nature all around it. First thing is riding the Puffing Billy steam train. A return journey from Belgrave to Gembrook is around 5 hours. You can also walk from Belgrave into the Sherbrooke Forest quite easily as the entrance is only 15 minutes by foot from Belgrave. Spending time in the Forest is the best thing ever for your soul. Just wander.

Where to eat?

Belgrave has a plethora of vegan options! The Laughing Owl, Sooki’s Lounge, Babaji’s Kitchen, Earthly Pleasures and Kallista Tea Rooms.

Ballarat, Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

How to get there?

From the CBD, take the M8 (Western Freeway) towards Ballarat for about 60kms until you reach an exit sign that says “C141 Daylesford” and exit there. If you want to go to Ballarat first, don’t exit and keep on following the signs straight to Ballarat.

If you’re using public transport, you can get a Vline train direct to Ballarat from Southern Cross train station. Then there are public buses from the Ballarat Train Station to Daylesford.

What to see?

Ballarat is an old fashioned gold rush town so a wander around the old city centre to see the architectural history is a highlight! Hop on a famous tram at the Tramway Museum and explore the Ballarat Botanical Gardens near Lake Wendouree. In Daylesford, the Hepburn Springs are a must see! Also Sailors Falls Waterfalls is magical and the Mills Market stocks retro and hip items. (HOT TIP: drive to Hepburn Springs Golf Club to see a mob of local wild kangaroos)

Where to eat?

Himalaya Bakery and Cafe in Daylesford is lovely. In Ballarat, The Lake View Hotel, Cafe Merkama, Brown Grain Thai Restaurant.

RESOURCES

Vegan fast food options in Australia (if you’re on the road and want something quick!)

Public Transport Victoria (find out schedules for trains and buses in Victoria)

Happy Cow (best website and app to find where to eat vegan)

Penguin Parade at Phillip Island

Arthurs Seat Cable Car

Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay

Puffing Billy Steam Train in Belgrave

Tramway Museum in Ballarat

Ballarat Botanical Gardens 

Hepburn Springs

Mill Market in Daylesford and Ballarat

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One thought on “Best Day Trips from Melbourne

  1. Now I know what my Melbourne friends are talking about when they’re going to see Puffing Billy with their kids! I love Melbourne so much, and it’s great to know that there are lots of day trips from the city as well!

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