Melbourne and Regional Victoria in 12 days
Not only do you get to experience the joys of Melbourne, but you also get out into the wilderness of the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians.
What to expect
- Go to a major cricket or Aussie Rules match at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
- See Victoria's largest coastal wilderness area in Wilsons Promontory National Park.
- Climb the granite cliffs of the Grampians region.
- Time: 12 Days
- Transport: Car
- Price: $$
Okay, so for this trip we’re taking you from Melbourne via Phillip Island, Mornington Peninsula and Wilson’s Promontory to the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians. There’s great food (obvs), motorsports, zip lining and water activities, because why not? There’s also some Australian wildlife in here, too.
Day 1: Urban adventures
You’re starting in Melbourne and to get a lay of the land, start with a Hidden Secrets Tour to hit up Melbourne’s café culture, dabble in some high tea, and explore the city’s lanes and arcades.
Day 2: Get into some sport
Wake up and grab good coffee to go at the STREAT social enterprise coffee roaster and bakery. STREAT hires young disadvantaged people and trains them to roast beans, make coffee and bake - so y’know, all the good things.
While you’re working off your coffee buzz, take a bike tour of Melbourne. The All In One Melbourne Bike Tour is a 4-5 hour relaxing bike ride around the best sights of Melbourne. Or if riding for 4-5 hours sounds like exercise hell, pack a picnic and jump on a tram to Carlton Gardens or Albert Park.
Tonight you’re partaking in a Melbourne rite of passage – a sports match at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Aussie Rules or AFL is practically a religion in the city. In summer months the MCG is home for international cricket tests including the Ashes and the annual Boxing Day Test.
Day 3: Get some street cred
Melbourne has some pretty rad street art. Sign up for a street art tour for the opportunity to meet local street artists, hear about their methods and just generally bathe in their glory.
In the afternoon head to Fitzroy. There are some awesome little bookstores and record shops and a thriving live music scene in pubs, clubs, warehouses and basements.
Day 4: Camping at Wilson's Promontory
It’s time to leave the city, kids. Drive 2.5 hours to Wilsons Promontory. Affectionately known as 'The Prom' by people who like to shorten things, it is one of the state's best loved parks. En route, stop off at the village of Meeniyan for a coffee at Moo's and drive on to Foster for barbecue and camping supplies.
Tidal River is the main location for camping and accommodation in the National Park. There are heaps of natural delights here - tranquil rivers, granite mountaintops, secluded beaches and awesome fern gullies.
For dinner use the free public barbecues to cook yourself a feast to enjoy in the outdoors.
Day 5: Explore the Prom
Spend the day enjoying the National Park. There are a number of shorter walks or take a day for an extended hike. Walk from Tidal River to Squeaky Beach and back (one hour each direction) via Pillar Point, for epic coastal views, and keep an eye out for whales from June to August. For an extended four-hour walk, cover Norman Beach, Squeaky Beach, Picnic Bay and Whisky Bay.
Day 6: Wheels and wildlife on Phillip Island
This morning you’re headed to Phillip Island, and that means PENGUINS.
First up, head to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Visitor Centre for a lap around the Go Kart track. You can also buckle up with a driver for a hot lap on the real thing.
At sunset it’s time for Phillip Island’s star attraction. Watch the colony of little penguins return home to their burrows on Summerland Beach. Take the Ultimate Penguin Tour at the Penguin Parade, or visit the Penguins Plus viewing area for prime views.
Stay overnight at The Island Accommodation.
Day 7: The Mornington Peninsula
Start the day with breakfast at Mad Cowes Café, then head to Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. When you get to Rye, get out on the water with Peninsula Stand Up Paddleboarding, or hire a snorkel to see the weedy sea-dragons under Rye Pier. During the warm months from November to April you can do a tour to swim with the dolphins of Port Phillip Bay.
Warm up with a soak at the Peninsula Hot Springs in the afternoon or book an evening tour at Moonlit Sanctuary, where you’ll get to spot nocturnal birds and meet endangered quolls, Tasmanian devils,koalas and feed kangaroos.
Camp right on the foreshore at Rye Foreshore Camping or further along the coast at Sorrento.
Day 8: Drive the epic Great Ocean Road
Today you get to drive your car onto a ferry which let’s be real, is weirdly fun. You’re bound for Queenscliff, across the bay on the Bellarine Peninsula. Once there, drive on to Torquay. This is the birthplace of surfing in Australia. Hit up the Australian National Surf Museum and visit nearby Bells Beach, home of the Rip Curl Pro surfing championship.
Continue on to Apollo Bay and check in to your accommodation. Kayak with the seals in the Marengo Marine Park near Apollo Bay then head out for perfect fish and chips from Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-op.
Day 9: Catch the Twelve Apostles at sunset
Move on to Port Campbell from Apollo Bay. On the way, stop off at Cape Otway to see the glow worms at Melba Gully, take the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk, or for the super adventurous, a zipline tour of the forest.
When you get to Port Campbell, you’ll get to see the infamous Twelve Apostles. Hit them up at either sunset or sunrise to see them in all their majestic, stony glory.
Day 10: Learn about the Aboriginal culture of the Grampians
From Port Campbell, head to Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park and visit the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre for some good old educational fun/an introduction to the local Aboriginal culture. The centre offers art exhibitions, artefact displays, cultural talks and a bunch of interactive activities such as didgeridoo, traditional dance, basket weaving, boomerang throwing and painting.
The Grampians is also home to ancient Aboriginal rock art paintings in shelters throughout the park. Head to Billimina Shelter, Gulgurn Manja Shelter and Manja Shelter.
Day 11: Hiking and birdwatching in the Grampians
Today the wilderness is your oyster. Go bushwalking! Rock climbing! Fishing! Canoeing! Do it all!
The Grampians also happens to be a bird lover's paradise. It has sulphur-crested cockatoos, long-billed corellas, crimson lorikeets and honeyeaters. And if all that meant nothing to you, you can also spot kangaroos at Halls Gap and emus over the ridge in Wartook Valley.
Day 12: Discover Ballarat en route to Melbourne
Set out on your return to Melbourne via the Goldfields town of Ballarat.
Ballarat is an old gold-mining town which means you get to do fun things like pan for gold and get confused when you see people wearing old timey clothes. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is also well worth a visit as Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery.
Last but certainly not least, stop in at the Ballarat Wildlife Park to get one last cuddle with a kangaroo.