5 Short Trips for Melbourne Students

While Melbourne’s vibrant atmosphere and bustling streets make it hard to find a reason to leave the city, the rest of the state is waiting to be explored. With sparkling seaside towns, scenic wine regions and enchanting parklands nearby, you won’t be rushing back to the city anytime soon! If you need a break from city life this weekend, these are some of our favourite places to go. 

Mornington Peninsula 

South of Melbourne lies the Mornington Peninsula, a picturesque seaside region offering great food, lots of wineries, and plenty of fun activities. There are lots of operators providing winery tours of the region, or you can pick and choose your own selection to visit. While you’re in the area, make sure to go strawberry picking at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm; visit Australia’s oldest hedge maze, Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens; or take to the skies on the Arthurs Seat Eagle – a gondola lift complete with incredible views of the region. You can also take a historical steam train ride on the Mornington Railway and discover a unique selection of art galleries and sculpture gardens

Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s top wine-making region. The very first vineyard was planted here in 1838, and today the Yarra Valley is known as one of Australia’s best cool climate wine districts. The region is famous for producing chardonnay, sparkling and pinot noir, but you’ll also find excellent sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and shiraz grown in its many wineries. A great way to see the area is to do a day of wine tasting, with several shuttle and tour bus options available. Even if you’re not interested in wine, a trip to the beautiful Yarra Valley is still worthwhile for its fruit orchards, nature trails and charming country towns

Dandenong Ranges 

Located only 45 minutes to an hour outside of Melbourne (depending on if you drive or take the train to Belgrave Station), the Dandenong Ranges is like a magical rainforest oasis that’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Lots of quaint villages dot the Ranges, including Sassafras, Kallista and Olinda, with each offering a mix of cute stores, country-style cafes, and plenty of charm. While you’re here, take the 1000 Steps Walk, a memorial for the famous Kokoda Track that takes you through lots of beautiful scenery. You can also take a stroll through one of the many botanic gardens in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Don’t miss the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, the Alfred Nicholas Gardens and the Cloudehill Gardens and Diggers Nursery

Ballarat 

The train from the city to Ballarat takes approximately 80 minutes. Between 1851 and the late 1860s, Australia’s population almost tripled due to the gold rush, much of which was concentrated in Victoria. The wealth generated then is still visible today in the beautiful historic architecture of the mining towns located northwest of Melbourne. Head to the ever-popular Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, an open-air museum that has been made to look like a gold rush-era town. Beyond the history, Ballarat is full of fantastic restaurants, interesting art galleries, and fun cycling routes. You can also get up close and personal to some cute native Australian animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park and Ballarat Bird World

The Great Ocean Road 

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic parts of Victoria, making it a must-visit during your time in Melbourne. Starting at the seaside town of Torquay and finishing in Nelson on the South Australian border, it’s a 400-kilometre drive that takes you through some pretty incredible destinations. Visit the famous 12 Apostles, London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge rock formations, or stop by one of the lovely towns dotted along the route. You can drive as much or as little of the Great Ocean Road as you want, but it’s recommended to set aside a few days to enjoy it properly. If you prefer, you can also hop onto one of the many Great Ocean Road tours