Rev up your weekend with these hot Victoria road trips
Hit the road to adventure with a full tank of petrol and a mate (or four) as company.
The state of Victoria is undeniably picturesque. And while you could spend your weekend sipping flat whites or browsing market stalls for retro threads, when the sun is out, a road-trip adventure can't be beat.
There's so much to explore. And it's not just limited to the longest war memorial in the world, aka the Great Ocean Road – although that is worth returning to time and time again.
Here are just some great places you could zip off to:
The Great Ocean Road
Let's discuss the obvious. It's arguably the most iconic road trip in the state and if you haven't driven it yet, what are you waiting for? Even locals rave about it and its charming coastal towns, roaring surf, blissful beaches and stunning ocean vistas. From Melbourne, head west past Geelong on to Torquay (which is the start of the Great Ocean Road) then hug the coast all the way to Allansford.
Now, you can blitz it in a day but why would you short-change yourself when you can stay overnight along the coast in Anglesea, Torquay, Lorne or Port Campbell? The answer: no reason whatsoever.
- Ideal for: Iconic drives, coastal views and capturing the best of the coast.
- Distance: 244 kilometres.
- Top road trip stops: 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.
Mornington Peninsula and Sorrento
If the thought of being thronged by the tourists on the Great Ocean Road sends your head into a spin, take a more casual trip south of Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula. The vistas are just as captivating, the beaches just as blissful and the seaside towns just as friendly.
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, bathe in a hot sauna or ice cave and generally bliss out.
- Ideal for: Relaxing, pampering and special occasions.
- Distance: 270km, round trip.
- Top road trip stops: Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, Moonlit Sanctuary, Enchanted Adventure Gardens, Cape Shanck Lighthouse, Peninsula Hot Springs, Mile Bridge in Frankston and Red Hill for its wineries.
- Best time to drive: Summer and autumn to soak up that sunshine.
Grampians National Park
Fill up the car, lace up your boots and turn on the ignition for adventure when you take to the Grampians. The sprawling National Park is the kind of place you can return to weekend after weekend to explore a new patch.
Bring the GoPro and check yourself into Halls Gap, Mackenzie Falls, Mount Rouse and The Balconies. For that "humble brag", ensure you book a glamping spot at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park because no one wants to rough it if they can opt to sleep in a bell tent or renovated caravan.
- Ideal for: Adventure seekers and outdoorsy types.
- Distance: 821km, round trip.
- Top road trip stops: 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.
Bush trails meet rocky coastline and heavenly secluded beach fronts when you gear up for a weekend 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 all the way to the mainland's southernmost tip by putting the pedal to the metal all the way 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 and reset 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 assortment of rock pools.
- Ideal for: Adventure seekers and outdoorsy types.
- Distance: 505km round trip including the hike to the southernmost tip or 462km without.
- Top road trip stops: The mainland's southernmost tip, Tidal River settlement, Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, 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.
Feel that work-life world of yours melt away as you enter the enchanting town of Daylesford and experience the whisper of trees and local acreages.
It's all about boutique wineries, spa and wellness centres and award-winning restaurants like Sault (pics or it didn't happen). It's also a great excuse for romance, a girls' weekend away or a digital detox. (You can feed the 'gram when you return to reality.)
Laze around town or go hard by stacking on the Macedon Ranges, where geological wonders such as Hanging Rock and Mount Macedon set the scene for adventure, and Hepburn Springs and its natural spring waters for a little more R and R.
- Ideal for: Romantic escapes, wines and a cheeky girls' weekend.
- Distance: 114km from Melbourne to Daylesford, one-way.
- Top road trip stops: Sault, 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.
Excited for a road trip?
Now imagine doing it in a brand new Jeep Compass Longitude. All you have to do is shop at Bayside, Box Hill Central, Cranbourne Park or Victoria Gardens, sign up to the e-newsletter and enter to be in the running. The competition closes 3 April 2019.
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