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7 Day Trips From Melbourne, Australia (Closest To Furthest)

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

People surfing in Australia

When you’re a poor student in Australia (in debt from school and your 5-month exchange program decision), you’re honestly just hoping that you have enough money to get back home when it’s all over. This means you don’t really have a “smart” or easy option to travel the entire country to explore the outback and other cities.

Fortunately, my university’s campus was in Melbourne, the third biggest city in Australia, so I already had a lot going for me. And what you do when you can’t afford to go very far is learn to not only explore the city that you’re living in but also travel to fascinating places just outside of the city.

So during your next stay in Melbourne, here are some day trips (from closest to furthest) to consider.


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The Chadstone Shopping Center in Australia

Chadstone Shopping Centre

(Car: 45 minutes | Public Transportation: Nearly 2 hours)

The biggest shopping center in Australia, Chadstone also claims to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere. I visited it solo on a Saturday when I had no better plans (unless you count homework that I’m sure I should have done). I’m not much of a shopper, but this mall was ENORMOUS, and it was nice to get away, visit stores I'd never heard about before, eat some lunch and people watch while enjoying ice cream.

Colorful bathing boxes at Brighton Beach in Australia

Brighton Beach

(Car: 47 minutes | Public Transportation: Nearly 2 hours)

Reminiscent of a page from a Dr. Seuss book, this beach is famous for its brightly colored bathing boxes that line the shore. I went to Brighton Beach several times. While it’s not as crowded as St. Kilda's beach, it’s an exciting day spot. (My friends and I talked to a man who was setting up his bathing box for a fancy dinner, saw three wedding photoshoots and participated in a sing-along with a random guitar player during one trip.) There are also restaurants and cafes nearby.

Taking photos at the Dandenong Ranges in Australia

Dandenong Ranges

(Car: 1 hour | Public Transportation: 2.5 hours)

If you’re into hiking and unique sights, this is the day trip for you! There are nearly 125 miles of trails to explore, and the surrounding nature can feel like you've been dropped into an adventure movie scene. I also did the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, or 1,000 steps completely uphill. And yes, I did make it to the top! Although I mainly hiked at the Dandenong Ranges, there are plenty of other things to do like visiting the gardens, going on tours, treating yourself to a spa day or shopping.

Hot springs at the Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

(Car: 1 hour and 30 minutes)

Toward the end of my five months in Australia, some of my international friends and I rented a van and drove to the Mornington Peninsula to do all the touristy things. (I actually did drive a little. It’s weird steering on the right-hand side but possible ha.) This visit included Arthurs Seat Eagle - Base Station, the historic sites, walking the piers (we saw a floating dead and venomous jellyfish), and last but definitely not least, the Peninsula Hot Springs. There were, if I remember correctly, more than 30 pools, so we obviously had to do them all, starting at the top of the hot spring and working our way down. This experience is a must!

The boardwalk on Philip Island in Australia

Phillip Island

(Car: More than 2 hours)

This was probably my most memorable day trip, as I was part of an intimate party of four, which meant we could take our time. I also interacted with my favorite type of animal: kangaroos! At the Phillip Island Wildlife Park, we saw quite a few different species, but nothing was as exciting as being in fields with kangaroos (and emus, yikes!) and feeding them. Next, the sights at Nobbies Boardwalk are unforgettable, and there are plenty of beaches to stop at, too. Finally, we stayed until the evening to watch the Penguin Parade, which is when hundreds of fairy penguins cross the shore to get to their nests in the grass.

Hiking up Mt. Oberon in Australia

Wilsons Promontory National Park

(Car: More than 3 hours)

For this longer car ride, I signed up for a big group trip with a “tour guide” and bus. There are many outdoor adventures to enjoy at the park, but I definitely recommend walking up Mt. Oberon. It’s only a little more than 2 miles, but it’s a killer workout since the gravel trail is so steep. We also took a hike through the park, which was beautiful, and ended up at Squeaky Beach, named for the noise the sand makes when you walk on it. I even said hello to my first wild wombat, the cutest little fuzzball you ever did see!

People on the beach on the Great Ocean Road in Australia

Great Ocean Road

(Car: 1 hour and 30 to Torquay | Full Drive: More than 9 hours)

I can’t say that I traveled the entire 9-hour route along the coast, but I did go to many of its beaches during a weekend surfing trip. As you drive to the Great Ocean Road, you'll pass through Geelong, a town that’s known for its wooden people. Then begin your actual road trip in Torquay, where there’s a great beach for swimming and surfing. Past Torquay, you’ll find wonders of nature like waterfalls, gorges, redwoods and rock formations such as the famous 12 Apostles. Although driving the entire Great Ocean Road is more than a day trip, it’s a popular adventure for anyone visiting Melbourne.

* Some other places I would like to do a day trip to next time I visit Melbourne — and I have heard great things about them — include Yarra Valley Wineries, Grampians National Park and Daylesford.


Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this is old footage from 2017, a time before I bought any normal equipment, so I apologize for the shaky camera!

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