10 Victoria road trips from Melbourne that are anything but ordinary
Hit the road to adventure with a full tank of petrol and a mate (or four) as company.
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Victoria is undeniably picturesque. Sure, while you could spend your spare days sipping flat whites or browsing market stalls, when the sun is out a road trip adventure can't be beat.
What's in this guide?
- Great Ocean Road drive
- Great Alpine Road
- Black Spur Drive
- Melbourne to Daylesford
- Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula and Sorrento
- Grand Ridge Road
- Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory
- Bunurong Coastal Drive
- Melbourne to Grampians National Park
- Interstate trip: Melbourne to Sydney road trip
- Latest deals and discounts on Victoria travel
Great Ocean Road drive
Arguably the most iconic road trip in the state, the Great Ocean Road is laced with charming coastal towns, roaring surf, blissful beaches and stunning ocean vistas. From Melbourne, head west past Geelong to Torquay – which is the start of the Great Ocean Road. Then hug the coast all the way to Allansford.
- Distance: 507 kilometres/7 hours, round trip. For a longer, more in-depth trip, these itineraries run for two, three and four days.
- Route: Melbourne to the Twelve Apostles via Torquay.
- Highlights: Lorne, Cape Otway Lightstation, Twelve Apostles, London Bridge and Memorial Arch.
- Best time to drive: Winter is the quietest time of year on the road, but it's not ideal if you're keen to take a dip. If you must travel during peak season, start the drive as early as possible to beat the rush.
- Things to do: Skydive over the Great Ocean Road, zip through the trees at the Otway Treetop Adventure and learn to surf at Bells Beach.
- Eat at: Fisho's Torquay, The Pond Cafe or Squires Loft.
Great Alpine Road
Dusted in snow over the winter months for ski enthusiasts and scrub laden in summer for biking and hiking adventures, the Great Alpine Road is an adventurous destination. Road trippers can make the most of the summer months, which are quieter and much more picturesque. Choose between hiking, BMX riding, horseriding and fishing or simply drive through and enjoy the alpine-lined roads.
- Distance: 1,029km/13 hours, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Mount Kosciuszko via Wangaratta.
- Highlights: Beechworth, Chiltern, Mount Buffalo National Park, The Horn, Mount Kosciuszko (view), Gippsland Lakes.
- Best time to drive: Summer is the best time to capture the landscape and avoid the harsh winter conditions that can make this journey dangerous.
- Things to do: Explore Beechworth's gold rush history, hike through Mount Buffalo National Park, catch views of Mount Kosciuszko from Omeo and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Gippsland Lakes by foot, car, boat or horseback.
- Stay at: Beechworth On Bridge, Ramada Resort Dinner Plain and The Moorings at Metung.
- Eat at: The Ox and Hound Bistro in Beechworth, Mountain Kitchen in Dinner Plain and Bancroft Bites in Metung.
Black Spur Drive
Officially the road between Healesville and Narbethong, Black Spur Drive takes you through an ancient forest that tips its hat to the sky. This road is windy, the native wildlife plentiful and the locals in the townships along the way extremely friendly. From Melbourne, this drive can be done in a day making it a winner for short visits or a weekend road trip.
- Distance: 200km, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Healesville to Marysville, return.
- Highlights: Healesville Sanctuary Wildlife Park, Buxton Bridge, Narbethong and Yarra Valley.
- Best time to drive: Year-round.
- Things to do: Platypus encounter at Healesville Sanctuary, ride the Yarra Valley Railway and wining and dining in the Yarra Valley.
- Eat at: The Duck Inn Pub in Marysville and Dixons Creek Cafe Bar & Grill.
Melbourne to Daylesford
Feel that work-life world of yours melt away as you enter the enchanting town of Daylesford with its whispering trees and local acreages.
It's all about boutique wineries, wellness centres and award-winning restaurants like Sault here. No wonder people visit for romance, a girls' weekend away or a digital detox.
Laze around town or check out the Macedon Ranges, where geological wonders such as Hanging Rock and Mount Macedon set the scene for adventure. Alternatively, visit Hepburn Springs and its natural spring waters for a little more R and R.
- Distance: 253km/3.5 hours, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Daylesford to Macedon Ranges to Melbourne.
- Highlights: Hanging Rock, Hepburn Springs, Mount Macedon and Trentham.
- Best time to drive: While there's no off-season for Daylesford, our pick is autumn for the change of the season and to catch the leaves as they golden and brown.
- Things to do: Settle in for a mineral spring spa and massage or a spa and facial. You can also put the pedal to the metal in a Quantum GP700 or Ariel Atom 600 Hypercar ride.
- Stay at: Hotel Frangos.
- Eat at: Sault and Grange Cleveland Winery.
Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula and Sorrento
This casual trip south of Melbourne holds captivating vistas, blissful beaches and friendly seaside towns.
Make your base Sorrento, which overlooks Port Phillip Bay, and spend the weekend kayaking, surfing or swimming with the dolphins. For a more relaxed escape, chill at Peninsula Hot Springs where you can indulge in the ultimate spa pamper, cultivate wellness at a yoga session and bathe in a hot sauna.
- Distance: 270km/4 hours, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Sorrento.
- Highlights: Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, Moonlit Sanctuary, Enchanted Adventure Garden, Cape Schanck Lighthouse, Peninsula Hot Springs, Fingal, Mile Bridge in Frankston and Red Hill for its wineries.
- Best time to drive: Summer and autumn to soak up that sunshine.
- Things to do: Visit Adrenaline, or go horseriding along Fingal Beach, sink into the natural hot springs, kayak to a dolphin sanctuary and explore the Enchanted Adventure Garden.
- Stay at: Sorrento Beach Motel.
- Eat at: Le Bouchon French Cuisine and The Milbri in Mornington Peninsula.
Grand Ridge Road
Dense forest and farmland pave the way as you manoeuvre you way along the ridge lines of the Strzelecki Ranges. This popular tourist drive is only 132km but can be coupled with a trip to Mount Baw Baw for adventure sports and Tarra-Bulga National Park with its brilliant green ferns, giant mountain ash trees and babbling gullies.
The Grand Ridge Road is a mix of sealed and gravel roads, so it's a good idea to bring a car with a decent clearance.
- Distance: 538km/9 hours, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Grand Ridge Road and Mount Baw Baw, return.
- Best time to drive: Year-round, though it's best to avoid winter as the road can get icy.
- Highlights: Strzelecki Ranges, Mount Baw Baw and Tarra-Bulga National Park.
- Things to do: Drive the official Grand Ridge Road, ski, snowboard or mountain bike around Mount Baw Baw (depending on the season) and walk through the canopy at Tarra Bulga National Park.
- Stay at: Tarra-Bulga Guest House Cafe.
- Eat at: Grand Ridge Brewery in Mirboo North.
Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory
Bush trails meet rocky coastline and heavenly secluded beach fronts in Wilsons Promontory. The National Park eats up a space of 505km², crowning it the largest coastal wilderness area in the state.
Adventurous souls can hike to the mainland's southernmost tip driving to Telegraph Saddle car park then legging it the 21km to the point where the bush meets the sea. Don't worry, there's a campsite (Roaring Meg) just past the halfway point for you to rest overnight.
More casual players can park at Tidal River and bask on the park's famous beaches, including Squeaky Beach with its quartz sands and Picnic Bay with its rock pools. This is the itinerary we've outlined below.
- Distance: 452km/6 hours, return trip (this doesn't include any drives you may take to summits or hiking points in the park).
- Route: Melbourne to Tidal River, return.
- Highlights: Tidal River settlement, Squeaky Beach, Norman Beach and Picnic Bay.
- Best time to drive: Spend those summer days with the windows rolled down, soaking up the sun as you pop from one beachfront to another.
- Things to do: Go on a wilderness cruise and see marine life and the rugged coastline from the water, hike to the southernmost tip of the mainland and sink your feet into the sand at Squeaky Bay.
- Stay at: Wilsons Promontory Wilderness Retreat
- Eat at: There are no dining venues within the national park, only a general store. For a meal, bring you own or eat in one of South Gippsland's towns before you arrive.
Bunurong Coastal Drive
With the sign shining high in the sky and the beaches calling, you can do no better than gaping over this coastal wonder. The drive itself is a mere 14km but exhibits some of the most enchanting landscapes from yellow sands and craggy rock formations to dinosaur fossil sites and heritage mining towns.
Take this one on with a full tank of petrol and your swimmers.
- Distance: 306km/4 hours, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Cape Paterson to Inverloch.
- Highlights: Cape Paterson, Inverloch, Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park and Eagles Nest.
- Best time to drive: Summer for a dip in the many beaches.
- Things to do: Whale watching, fossicking at the Dinosaur Dreaming site, hiking through Bunurong Marine Coastal Park and exploring Victoria's mining history in the town of Wonthaggi.
Melbourne to Grampians National Park
Fill up the car, lace up your boots and turn on the ignition for adventure when you take to the Grampians.
Bring the GoPro and check out Halls Gap, Mackenzie Falls, Mount Rouse and The Balconies. For that "humblebrag", ensure you book a glamping spot at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park to sleep in a bell tent or renovated caravan under the stars.
- Distance: 710km/9.5 hours, round trip.
- Route: Melbourne to Grampians National Park.
- Highlights: Halls Gap, Mackenzie Falls, Victoria Valley, The Balconies, Boroka Lookout and Mount Rouse.
- Best time to drive: September is high season at Grampians National Park as it's when the waterfalls are in full force and the weather is pleasant enough for the hiking trails. If you want to steer clear of the crowds, winter isn't too shabby as you can still hike comfortably, and there's a rumour that the nearby vineyards and their tipples are at their finest.
- Things to do: Rock climbing or abseiling in The Grampians.
- Stay at: Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park or the Royal Mail Hotel in the Southern Grampians.
- Eat at: Livefast Lifestyle Cafe and Spirit of Punjab.
Interstate trip: Melbourne to Sydney road trip
From A to B, the drive from Melbourne to Sydney takes under nine hours, but that's along a boring highway. Looking for something more scenic? Take five days out of your schedule for an interstate trip along the southern coast calling in at sweet coastal towns, quiet beaches and national parks on the way.
- Distance: 1,047km/13.5 hours without stops.
- Recommended trip length: Five days.
- Highlights: Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland Lakes/Lakes Entrance, Mimosa Rocks National Park, Hyams Beach and Jervis Bay.
- Best time to drive: Warmer months.
- Stay at: Bay Motel Safety Beach, Bellevue on the Lakes, The Seahorse Inn and The Esplanade Motel in Batemans Bay.
- For more: Visit our Sydney to Melbourne drive itinerary guide (and drive them in reverse from Melbourne).
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