When it comes to Australia’s most sought after destinations, Melbourne is definitely on top of the list. This coastal capital city offers travelers historic places, plazas, restaurants, bars, and beaches all in one destination. But as much as we love Melbourne, we’ll want to escape from the big bustling city looking to find a completely different travel experience.
Luckily, within just a three hour drive from Melbourne, you’ll find a wide range of destinations and activities to see and do. Here you’ll find some of the best weekend escapes from Melbourne.
A true escape from the urban landscape, Grampians is where cars and crowds give way to scenic views and countless flora and fauna. A mountain trail in the Grampians National Park called the Pinnacle Walk is an hour long hike, flanked by ancient volcanic rocks, up a lookout where you can get the perfect view of the peaks jutting up from the mist.
You will see Mt. Arapiles, famous for being a 230-metre quartz sandstone standing over the Wimmera Plain. On your way here, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for kangaroo and peregrine falcon sightings.
The mountains of Grampians are a key part in the creation stories of the Aborigines. You can learn more about it when you visit Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre. See Aboriginal art, artifacts, as well as join a tour to ancient rock art sites known as Gariwerd.
Daylesford has the largest concentration of Australia’s natural mineral springs, so it just makes sense that this town at the foothills of the Great Dividing is known as an ideal retreat. For a relaxing day at the spa, drop by the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa where you can try out their Salt Therapy Pool or Aroma Steam. Visit The Convent Gallery to see art pieces from different historical periods inside a 19th century Victorian mansion. They also have ghost tours, a six-acre garden, boutiques, and a bar.
Shop for your picnic lunch out at the food shops on the main street and head on over to Lake Daylesford. Later, get yourself to the award-winning Passing Clouds Winery to try out their Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Chardonnay. And for dinner, try a platter of cheeses, olives, and meat at the La Trattoria at Lavandula.
Less than an hour away from Melbourne are the lush Dandenong mountain ranges. Find yourself going up the 1000 Steps and Kokoda Memorial Walk trail where you will see native fauna and tall gum trees. After your morning hike, you can lounge about in the small village found along the winding roads of Olinda. Here, you can purchase local goods, from clothes to fresh produce.
If you’re still looking to shop, head on over to Emerald Market. It is the largest market in the Dandenong Ranges where artisan food products, homemade knits, and locally grown plants can be found.
Once you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, make it in time for sunset to Sky High Mt. Dandenong where you will be treated to a breathtaking view of the Melbourne skyline.
If that isn’t enough, you can check the communities found outside of Melbourne, suburbs which sit just a few kilometres from the busy metropolis. For instance, a popular choice among homebuyers is the house and land options in Atherstone.
This community has it all from retail and grocery stores, outdoor activities, lifestyle amenities, and more. It is the perfect opportunity to mingle with the locals and learn more about the day-to-day lives of some homemakers.
On your Melbourne trip, don’t forget that you have more options other than the city itself. Get on your rented car and get yourself to these destinations!