Melbourne is, more often than not, named the world’s most liveable city. It’s one of Australia’s most artistic and cultural cities, known around the world for its popular graffiti art, and unique music scene. There is so much to explore in Victoria’s capital city, each region different from the other. Carlton is home to Victoria’s parliament, the Melbourne Museum and the Melbourne Zoo. Melbourne is also famous for its huge range of high quality restaurants, many of which are located on the famous Lygon Street.
The Quality Hotel Batmans Hill is the place to base yourself for exploring the central and southern area of the city. Check out the famous lane ways and graffiti of the CBD, explore the sights and smells of China Town, and relax next to the Yarra River. But we all need to escape the city sometimes. Luckily there are so many opportunities for road tripping to and from the city!
Victoria’s Gippsland: Australian wildlife & wild beaches
Get lost in nature, discover unique Australian wildlife and sink your toes into beautiful sandy beaches in Gippsland.
Phillip Island is the penguin capital of Australia. Every night of the year, without fail, the little blue penguins leave the safety of the ocean at sunset and waddle their way across the sandy beach to their burrows for the night.
Gippsland’s most popular National Park, and in fact, Victoria’s most popular National Park, is Wilsons Promontory. Affectionately known as “The Prom”, this is the best place in Victoria, and perhaps Australia, to spot the elusive wombat in the wild. Bird life is abundant it the park, and plenty of walks along the river, through the bush, and along the beaches will introduce you to this region and its inhabitants.
Don’t miss the nearby Agnes falls, Victoria’s highest waterfall. At the eastern reaches of Gippsland is Lakes Entrance. This fishing and boating paradise is a popular beach escape destination for Melbournites. Surfing, fishing, bird life, beaches and islands characterise this region. The Comfort Inn and Suites Emmanuel is situated near the esplanade, with all the beauty of Lakes Entrance at your fingertips. Nearby Raymond Island offers a chance to spot koalas and kangaroos in the wild, and bird life is abundant in the region.
Turning back towards Melbourne, make sure you don’t miss another great Gippsland National park – Tarra Bulga National Park. There are tons of walks in the region, suitable for a wide range of activity levels. The Corrigan Suspension Bridge and Cynthea Falls walks are great to get a taste of the region. If you are lucky, you might also spot some of the beautiful lyrebirds who live in the park. The Comfort Inn & Suites Latrobe is a great base for hiking adventures in Tarra Bulga National Park. Just a short two hour drive will bring you back full circle, and back to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.
Murray River adventures
Heading north east from Melbourne, travel along the Hume highway to Albury. This part of north east Victoria is gourmet haven. You will find dozens of wineries here, each of them slightly different from the other. The hotel facilities with its incredible outdoor adventure pool, activities, and two restaurants is a destination in itself.
The little town of Beechworth is home to the historical sites relating to the life and misadventures of Australia’s most beloved outlaw – Ned Kelly. Visit the court house in which he was sentenced, and learn about his childhood and life at the Ned Kelly discovery centre. Indulge in local wine, honey products, and beers from the local craft brewery, Bridge Road Brewers. Working off all the treats from Beechworth is easy at nearby Mt Pilot National Park. The summit of Mt Pilot is an easy 300 meter climb from the car park, and the Woolshed falls make a great spot to stop and relax. When you are ready for more wine, the region of Rutherglen will delight your taste buds. The rare Durif grape variety thrives here, producing full bodied peppery reds.
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Beechworth Hidden Wineries • On the second Saturday and Sunday of the month September through June, this select group of wineries throw open their cellars (sheds, barrel halls, gardens and vineyards) for you to visit between 11.00am and 4.00pm. For a personalised tour, barrel tasting or a tasting plate of local produce, visit one of Beechowrth’s Hidden Wineries See Beechworth.com ‘Tours & Activities’ page for more information.
Following the Murray River west, you will come to the town of Echuca. This historic town was the host to the popular “All The Rivers Run” television series, and you can jump into character on an original paddle steamer. The original boat which starred as “The Philadelphia” on the show is still working the river today. Sit on the bow and enjoy the Murray River as you paddle or hang out in the engine area where you can watch the original steam engine from 1906 power the boat through the river.
Moving south to the Gold Rush town of Bendigo, you will come across grand Gold Rush architecture. Kids will have the time of their lives in town, with lots of opportunities to explore art and science. Learn about the night sky, play with optical illusions and experiment with science at the Bendigo Discovery Science and Technology centre, or explore your artistic side at the Bendigo Pottery centre.
Another short drive from the Goldfields, away from the Mighty Murray, will bring you back to the coastal city of Melbourne. Relax, eat, play and explore, and soon it will be time for your next road trip!
About the author
Jade Johnston is based in Melbourne Australia and loves to explore the city and the rest of Australia when she is not traipsing around the world with her husband and a toddler. She records all her adventures on her blog, OurOyster.com, where she provides inspirational stories, destination guides, budget guides, and top travel tips.