Things to do around Melbourne

You planned to spend some time around Melbourne and want to make your trip memorable by exploring the Australian nature. There are lots of places to enjoy around Melbourne – The Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, Yarra Valley and The Dandenong Ranges. Here are four of the most popular attractions around Melbourne with their pros and cons. If you have time we suggest you visit them all.

The Great Ocean Road

This is one of the most scenic drives in the world with the breathtaking coastal views of Otway National Park. During the 19th century many boats ended up shipwrecked when no road existed at all. Modern navigation technologies and the invention of the cars turned it into the best places in Victoria to enjoy the Australian nature.

Depending on your time you can do it either in one or two days. There are also lots of good hiking options along the road. 

Great Ocean Road, Great Ocean Road tours, Things to do in Melbourne, Melbourne attractions

Great Ocean Road Attractions:

  • Torquay: the surfing capital of Victoria
  • Bells Beach: another surfing paradise
  • Aireys Inlet lighthouse: don’t forget to ask about the house keeper’s story
  • Lorne and its beautiful waterfalls
  • Twelve Apostles: the real highlight of the trip
  • Lock Ard Gorge: some believe it is nicer than The Apostles
  • Port Fairy: In incredible town if you get to driver further out
    Great Ocean Road, Melbourne attractions
    Maits Rest Rainforest Trail in Great Otway National Park,
    on The Great Ocean Road

Great for:

  • World class coastal nature
  • Surfing
  • Relaxing

Things to Consider:

  • It is a very long drive. If you get to do it in one day, using a tour or driver can be a reasonable option. Specially if you are from countries that drive on the wrong side of the road 😉
  • There is wildlife in this area, but you need further knowledge to be able to spot it
  • If you are going to hike, please watch out for snakes and check the difficulty level. Use the zoom function to photograph wildlife!

Yarra Valley

A green healy area at the north east side of Melbourne and one of the most southernly parts of The Great Dividing Range. No doubt the area is popular because of the excellent wine and the nice views. Yarra Valley is the producing centre for Pinot Noir due to its cold and wet climate. There are many options for good food in the area. Also Healesville Sanctuary, at the heart of the valley, is where you can see and play with Australian wildlife in a very informative way.

Yarra Valley, Melbourne Attractions
A view at sunrise in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Great for:

  • Fine food and wine
  • Walking in temperate rainforest

Things to Consider:

  • All along the roads, Victorian police check for drunk drivers. Please have a designated driver.

Beautiful kangaroos at Healesville Sanctuary

Dandenong Ranges

Less than an hour from Melbourne, The Dandenong Ranges are a great highlight of the Australian countryside. Belgrave, Olinda and Sassafrass are well known for a relaxed atmosphere with old antique shops. Blegrave is also the first stop for the famous old steam train Puffing Billy.

Dandenong Ranges
Puffing Billy in The Dandenong Ranges

Great for:

  • Brunch
  • Gardens, secret gardens and enchanted gardens
  • Super easy access to mother nature and Australian countryside


Phillip Island

Phillip Island is one of the best places to spot Australian wildlife, guaranteed. This is one of the last places in the world where you can still find little Penguins in their natural habitat. You can also spot wallabies and various species of birds who migrate thousands of mile to lay their eggs here.


Melbourne nature, Penguin Parade, things to do in Melbourne
Phillip Island, Penguin Parade

Great for:

  • Beautiful beaches, a few of the best surfing ones
  • Hassle free bird watching in their natural habitat

Things to Consider:

  • Please note the tours to Phillip Island finish very late in the day, specially in summer time, since the penguins get back from the sea around sunset. 
  • The island is pretty windy so please consider taking warm clothing with you.
  • Please check under your vehicle before you drive out since little penguins might be hiding there. Drive out very cautiously. 
  • And last but not the least, please don’t use the camera flash light.


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