Based in Melbourne and looking for a quick weekend getaway from the city? You’ll find options aplenty, with stunning country and coastal regions readily accessible, and only a few hours from the main CBD.
For an ultimate weekend away, rent a campervan and head to one of Victoria’s incredible campgrounds: you won’t have to rush or worry about packing a tent!
No matter how you’re venturing out on a weekend road trip from Melbourne, we’ve put together our top four destinations – the only question is – are you ready to explore?
Let’s get stuck right in…
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is well renowned as being one of the world’s most iconic road trips and best of all, it can be properly explored in just a few days return from the city of Melbourne. Along the 243 kilometre stretch of road, you can witness the magical 12 Apostles, iconic surf breaks, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife.
Starting in Melbourne, head west for just over an hour until you reach the Great Ocean Road turn off just after Geelong. If a surf trip was what you had in mind, or if you just enjoy watching pro surfers carve up the waves, you won’t be disappointed by the world-class surf beaches surrounding the town of Torquay. Namely, Bells Beach which is host to annual surf Rip Curl competitions.
Next, head down the coastal road towards Apollo Bay which will be a great place to base yourself for the night. Along the way, stop at Kennett River which is one of the best places in Australia to spot wild koalas in the trees. When you arrive at Apollo Bay, you can enjoy the seaside town’s cafes and seafood restaurants before settling in for the night at your campground.
Campground recommendation – BIG4 Apollo Bay Pisces Holiday Park for something fully facilitated, or Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve & Camping Ground for somewhere more budget friendly.
Onwards from Apollo Bay, get your camera ready for the spectacular coastline and its famous 12 Apostles. If you can get up early enough to witness sunrise over the 12 Apostles, you won’t regret it! Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge are two other must-see coastal rock formations that are definitely worth a visit.
Campground recommendations – NRMA Port Campbell Holiday Park or Port Campbell Recreation Reserve
Loop back to Melbourne through inland Victoria, where you can explore the Great Otway National Park. The rainforest section of the National Park encompasses stunning creeks and waterfalls, a drastic change from the coast just under 2 hours away.
How long does it take to drive the Great Ocean Road?
If you plan to drive the Great Ocean Road in one direction, it will take approximately 9.5 hours from one end to the other.
Can you do the Great Ocean Road in one day?
The Great Ocean Road can be driven in a single day, but if you have the time, stretching it out over the entire weekend will make for a much more enjoyable experience.
Head 3 hours southeast from Melbourne and make a weekend trip out of visiting Wilsons Promontory, or ‘The Prom’ as it is affectionately called by locals. The stunning national park is mainland Australia’s most southerly point and Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness. It’s well known for its rugged granite mountains and abundant wildlife including kangaroos, emus, echidnas, and wombats.
This gorgeous coastal reserve is intertwined with hundred of well-signposted walking tracks that vary in difficulty levels. So pack your walking shoes, your sunscreen, and your sense of adventure because a weekend in ‘the Prom’ is waiting for you lovers of the outdoors.
There are endless sights to explore in Wilsons Promontory, but one of our highlights is Squeaky Beach, which gets its name from its white, squeaking sand. Take a wander across the beach and a dip in the turquoise waters at Squeaky Beach before settling into your campground for the evening.
If you had outdoor activities that were a little more challenging in mind, don’t miss Mount Oberon. The summit track at this hiking destination offers dramatic views of Wilsons Promontory and the coastal landscapes surrounding it. The 6.8km return track will take around 2 hours to complete and is suitable for most fitness levels.
Campground recommendation – Wilsons Promontory National Park Tidal River campground is a great, and well-located place to rest for the night.
Bonus – If you have a little more time on your trip, on your way home from Wilsons Promontory to Melbourne, make a stop at Phillip Island. Although you could make a weekend out of the island itself, it can also easily be explored in a day and is sure to be a highlight of your trip! Explore the wonders of land and sea, within the island’s seaside villages and beautiful coastlines. The biggest highlight of Phillip Island, perhaps, is the nightly fairy penguin parade, when around 300 to 750 waddle up from the sea across the beach, where they burrow for the night.
How far is Wilson Promontory from Melbourne?
Wilson’s Prom is just under 3 hours from the heart of Melbourne.
Grampians National Park
Just three hours northeast of Melbourne is the Grampians National Park, a stunning inland region famous for its rugged natural beauty, panoramic views, waterfalls, and a multitude of hiking tracks. Nature and outdoor lovers will be delighted with a weekend spent in the Grampians, where you feel another world away from the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne.
One of the most popular activities to do in the Grampians is walking to The Pinnacle lookout to witness the stunning views of Halls Gap and the Grampians’ many peaks. There are a number of walking options to reach The Pinnacle, varying in the distance in difficulty. We recommend the track from Wonderland Car Park, which is a steady uphill track taking around 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
Campground recommendation – You could spend one night or all your time in the Grampians at the Halls Gap Caravan Park, a fully facilitated, leafy grounds with mountain range views.
The spectacular MacKenzie Falls is a must-do for all visitors of the Grampians National Park. MacKenzie Falls is one of Victoria’s largest waterfalls and flows year-round, cascading over cliffs into a deep pool. It is easily accessible on foot by taking the one-kilometre path to the viewing platform at the Bluff, or the steep trail to the base of the falls.
Campground recommendation – Not far from Mackenzie falls, stay at the grassy and welcoming Smiths’ Mill Campground for the night.
If you have an interest in history and something a little spooky, make sure you visit J Ward Museum while in the Grampians. The building, which was once an old prison turned psychiatric asylum, is now a popular attraction where visitors go to learn about Australian history as well as stories of murder, ghosts, and mistreatments of people of past eras.
For something a little more relaxing, the Grampians also has a wine region, home to some of the world’s oldest vines. The Grampians Wine Village is known for its dense, purple shiraz and sparkling wines. Visit one of many vineyards, which have been operating since the mid-1800s, or complete a full day wine tour popping in and out of amazing cellars and picnicking in the sun.
How far is the Grampians from Melbourne?
To reach the Grampians National Park from Melbourne, it’ll take you 3 hours by car.
Less than 400 kilometres away from Melbourne In the Victorian High Country, you can visit Falls Creek for a weekend full of adventure. Snow-cloaked mountain peaks and one of Australia’s top ski resorts make Falls Creek an ideal winter location for skiers and snowboarders. Falls Creek is just is amazing in summer and year-round, with endless hiking and mountain biking tracks.
If you’re visiting in winter, there’s no doubt you are heading to Falls Creek to take advantage of the white, powdery landscapes and snow activities. The Alpine National Park hosts the ski resort attracting thousands of keen skiers and snowboarders every year. With slopes for beginners, intermediates and those with more experience, it’s your perfect weekend destination to learn a new skill or improve on what you already can do.
Summer is a beautiful time of year to go camping and exploring in Falls Creek when the snowy mountains melt into lush, rolling pains and sparkling lakes. The Alpine National Park is an incredible place to base yourself for a weekend of hiking, mountain bike riding, and water activities such as canoeing.
How far is Falls Creek from Melbourne?
Falls Creek is located 4 hours and 30 minutes from Melbourne.
Road trips offer a perfect mix of food, culture, and sightseeing. Hire a campervan in Melbourne, pack your bags, get set, and go! Speak to the team at Travellers Autobarn for more details today.
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.