Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula
Distance from Melbourne: An hour to Geelong and an additional 30-40 minutes’ drive to other nearby locations on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Key attractions: Attractions include wineries, extreme sports, beautiful beaches and marine life (dolphins, seals and blue whales).
Add-ons: Take a trip to Queenscliff Harbour to catch a ferry to Mornington Peninsula or Point Lonsdale to enjoy the beachside views of the Bass Straits.
Food and wine: For coffee (and cocktails), head straight to Cartel Roasters; for wine, charcuterie and cheese, go to Geelong Cellar Door; and find great beer at Little Creatures and White Rabbit Brewery. Igni is an excellent option for fine-dining fare.
Optional extras: Drive further down south and you’ll even catch a glimpse of humpback whales on the Great Ocean Road in Warrnambool (four hours from Melbourne).
Distance from Melbourne: An hour’s drive or a 45-minute ferry ride (cars and bikes welcome) from Queenscliff Harbour.
Key attractions: Hot springs, stunning beaches, golf, wineries, marine life and water sports.
Food and wine: Try Montalto Vineyard for Italian; Main Ridge Dairy for goat’s cheese; Johnny Ripe at Red Hill for mouthwatering apple pie; and for some outdoor fun, try strawberry and cherry picking or horse riding wine tours.