Melbourne is a city of endless opportunities to immerse yourself in art, culture, food, and entertainment. While the city is great to live in and explore from time to time, it also serves as a great location to reach nearby destinations by a quick flight or car ride. If you find yourself in need of a weekend getaway and want to pursue Melbourne travel outside of the city, there is a range of destinations to choose from. While many pursue travel from Melbourne to Sydney every year, there are a range of other destinations that are just as worth visiting and adding to your Melbourne travel itinerary. Keep reading to find out the best places to venture to.
1. Hobart, Tasmania
Tasmania is a popular destination and for good reason. As a national park haven, there is no shortage of wildlife and exploration in the outdoors to be had. Tasmania can offer you a great weekend getaway from Melbourne because a flight is only 1 hour and 15 minutes. So, if you leave work on a Friday around 5, you can be at the airport at 6 and on your flight at 7:15 (considering you only have a carry-on, of course). If you are visiting the island, you will likely fly into Hobart Airport or Launceston Airport. For a weekend trip, we recommend flying from Melbourne to Hobart and staying in Hobart for the weekend. There is so much to do in Hobart, despite having a limited amount of time. For accommodation, look into staying at Movenpick Hotel Hobart for upscale accommodation, The Alabama Hotel for a boutique-style hotel with affordable prices, or the Pickers Cottage, for an air b n b that can accommodate up to 4 guests. Be wary, though, staying in an air b n b in Hobart can cost you the same, if not more, as staying in a luxurious hotel. It is only recommended if you are travelling with a group of 3 or more, and do not wish to split your accommodation into separate hotel stays.
For fine dining and drinks, Aloft offers local Australian cuisine whilst Dana’s Eating House is divine for those looking for incredible Asian fusion dishes. So incredible it was awarded a Traveler’s Choice Award in 2022. Gin (Bar) is a great spot for those looking to try experimental cocktails in a modernist atmosphere. It is even open for cocktail-making classes on Saturdays and Sundays if you want to test your bartending skills!
For Saturday brunches or lunch venues, consider Ginger Brown, an Australian cafe that has vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. Afterwards, make your way to Salamanca Market which is open every Saturday from 8:30 – 3 p.m.
If you do plan to fly to Hobart, or anywhere in Tasmania for a weekend, you can find affordable Melbourne airport parking with Flyparks, a comparison and booking site for airport car parks in Australia and New Zealand.
2. Phillip Island
If you don’t want to fly on your short weekend, consider destinations that are a short drive away. Only an hour 1⁄2 drive, Phillip Island is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long work week.
Known for its beach town center of Cowes, you can enjoy a glass of wine upon arrival at Grenache Wine Bar, then head to Anerie if you are in the mood for fine dining and french cuisine. If you aren’t looking to dine out on your first night in the city, Pino’s Trattoria offers takeaway pizzas & pastas that can be shared amongst the family or a group of two.
On Saturday, consider taking yourself or your family to the Koala Conservation Centre where you can view and interact with koalas up close as you can climb up boardwalks located amongst the treetops, all whilst learning about the ardent conservation efforts taken to protect the koalas. Or, if you would rather spend your time outside enjoying Phillip Island weather, pay a visit to Phillip Island wildlife park, with over 60 acres, and over 100 different species, you can feed and pet the animals you see if they come up to you.
Phillip Island accommodation is fairly easy to come by. If you are looking for luxury accommodation, look no further than Jackalope Hotel Mornington Peninsula. While it is quite extravagant, it is one of the most highly-rated, five-star hotels in the town. With dark and sultry interiors, you may not find yourself leaving the hotel as it offers a five-course dining experience, a complimentary minibar, on-demand movies, and wine tastings. If, however, you seek something a bit more affordable but just as charming, consider a stay at The Castle – Villa by the Sea or Ramada Resort by Wyndham Phillip Island.
Finally, if you can, don’t miss out on seeing Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade, which happens around sunset every day at Summerland Beach.
3. Taggerty, Victoria
Located a little under 2 hours outside of Melbourne, Taggerty is the ideal getaway for those that want to immerse themselves in the cool mountain air, and perhaps hike to a waterfall or two.
For accommodation, the Big 4 Taggerty Holiday Park is what often draws people to the region – to stay from two nights, up to two weeks. It is highly recommended for those travelling with children and who seek an outdoors-style vacation as there are local rivers close by for swimming and fishing, in addition to a mini golf course, a swimming pool, gaming room, playground, and more. If you wish to camp in a tent or caravan, you can do so with ease here. If camping out doesn’t appeal to you, though, you may also rent accommodation in one of the cabins offered on the property.
While you are in Taggerty, and if you enjoy hiking or spectacular mountain-top views, visit Cathedral State Park. There are trails that can accommodate every type of hiker – from the beginner to the experienced. Afterwards, if you haven’t seen enough wildlife, visit Healesville Sanctuary, just 45 minutes outside of Taggerty. They are known for hosting native Australian animals from wombats to dingoes, which are also endangered species. Finally, for dinner, try dining and a wine tasting at De Bortoli Winery for Italian cuisine, or Herd for middle-eastern style tapas.
4. Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula is a great place to escape, especially if you are a wine lover. The region is renowned for its high-quality wines, especially pinot noir. Only a 1 hour and 15-minute drive from Melbourne, you can find great Mornington Peninsula accommodation at Flinders Hotel, Boathouse Resort Studios & Suites, or the Portsea Hotel.
Visiting Mornington Peninsula hot springs is a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday, no matter if you want to spend a day at the spa or a few hours sitting in the thermal bath. If you are looking for a bit more adventure, visit the Portsea Pier or Port Phillips Bay for incredible dive spots where you can witness remnants from WWII and deep-sea shipwrecks. Enchanted Adventure Theme Park is also a great way to spend the day if you are looking for a bit of a thrill or the Mornington Peninsula National Park if you are seeking a wildlife escape. You can also go on mini-day trips with Moonraker Dolphin Swims (1-3 hours), swim with seals or dolphins, or simply take a boat ride off the coast.
Finally, dining on the peninsula will not leave you disappointed. You can find exceptional steak and seafood at The Rocks Mornington or Mediterranean-inspired dishes and fabulous cocktails at Lorida Restaurant and Bar. Don’t miss God’s Kitchen for a Sunday morning brunch.
5. Victoria’s High Country
Flying from Melbourne International Airport into Victoria’s High Country is a simple feat as it only requires a one-hour flight into Mount Hotham Airport, as opposed to a 3 ½ hour drive. The high country offers visitors a rich history to explore and various drinks to indulge in, as the region is known for its plethora of craft beers, wines, and spirits. Not to mention, all of the cuisines you indulge in while in the High Country are sourced locally and some of the freshest produce you can find.
If you are staying for a weekend, indulge in Bridge Road Brewers for beer and bites, or Tomahawks to try the local’s favourite beachside bar with delicious burgers, pizzas, and salads. If you are a gin lover, Reed & Co offers gourmet, quality gins & spirits to taste and take home. Not a spirit lover? No problem. Visit Brown Brothers for a gourmet wine tasting. Do try and book your reservation here in advance as it is very popular amongst locals & tourists alike.
If drinking your way through the weekend isn’t your style, try skiing or snowboarding if the weather is cooler at Falls Creek, or if the weather is warmer upon visiting, opt for a bike ride or hike along the Murray up towards the Mountain Rails Trail. It is a long trek, though, as the full length of the trail is 100 km, so pack plenty of water if you plan to do even half of it. Finally, If hiking is your style, don’t miss the opportunity to hike up to Craig’s Hut, as seen in the famous Australian film ‘The Man from Snowy River.’
By now, you have some of the best options to choose from for a weekend trip away from Melbourne. Whether you plan to fly or drive, the options above will present you with a relaxing, nature-filled getaway with activities to amuse every type of traveller. Happy travelling!