31 Best Day Trips from Melbourne Victoria (+ Weekend Getaways!)

By: Author The Aussie Tourist

Posted on Last updated: 09/27/2023

Categories Victoria (Vic)

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If you are looking for the best day trips from Melbourne look no further!

We have you covered with the best places to go near Melbourne (within a 3 hour drive) and also places that are up to a 4 hour drive that you can take on weekend trips from Melbourne.

We have done the hard research for you! 31 TOP places to visit near Melbourne right here.

While in Melbs, see also:

  • Things to do in Melbourne at Night
  • Romantic Things to do in Melbourne
  • Best Breakfast Melbourne CBD
  • Romantic Restaurants in Melbourne
  • Melbourne bucket list
  • Best Day Spas in Melbourne
Need Melbourne Car Rental? We have secured a further 5% discount code with Bargain Car Rentals for our readers off their lowest rates!

31 Day Trips from Melbourne (+ a few Weekend Trips from Melbourne)

Williamstown (25 minutes from melbourne cbd).

Located 25 minutes from Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay, Williamstown is a nice relaxing place for a quick getaway. The first port settlement is teeming with museums, historical landmarks, quaint shops, and restaurants, providing a little for everyone!

If city life is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of parks for a walk or relaxing at the Williamstown Beach. This port side town is a perfect place for a day trip along the water, but not straying too far from home. One of the best attractions near Melbourne to visit.

Want to stay overnight? Quest Williamstown is a nice spot!


Image credit: Visit Melbourne

Queenscliff (1 hour, 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

The small seaside resort town of Queenscliff, has a lot to offer. The picturesque views can be seen from every part of the peninsula, creating a very serene and relaxing atmosphere.  Victorian architecture, wide boulevards, and museums make Queenscliff a haven for new and established history buffs.

Family friendly activities, are also in abundance, such as the Queenscliff Music Festival, snorkelling, surfing and various river cruises. This day trip will surely be one to remember!

Fancy an overnight hotel with spa bath? Why not stay and make it a romantic getaway from Melbourne at Vue Grand Hotel 


Lake Mountain (2 hours north from Melbourne CBD)

Snow sports are the main attracting at Lake Mountain. Located two hours north of Melbourne, Lake Mountain is home to the most popular cross country ski resort in Australia. There are plenty of snow related activities such as a tube run, tobogganing, and even snowboard lessons for kids.

Playing in the snow, is just one of the benefits to this mountain, because there are also bushwalks, mountain bike trails, and a zip line, if warm activities are more your speed! This family friendly place, brings a little something for everyone and is sure to make everyone happy.


Geelong (1 hour south west from Melbourne CBD)

Geelong is a small city southwest of Melbourne. This small port city has many attractions along its bay side area including the Waterfront esplanade, the 19 th century carousel, and the art deco boardwalk. The vibrant artistic scene ensures a historic and unique experience for all visitors.

The Geelong Botanic Garden and Eastern Beach provide opportunities to explore nature close to home! A day trip to Geelong, will leave visitors entranced by the vibrant life and history of this port city! One of the best easy day trips from Melbourne!


Hanging Rock Reserve, The Macedon Ranges (1 hour from Melbourne CBD)

Sacred pre-historic volcanic rocks are the main attraction at Hanging Rock Reserve. Home to some of the best food and wine places in the areas, Hanging Rock is not just home to outdoor activities. There are opportunities to explore the artistic mediums of the people who live here, along with cultural experiences, such as plays, musicals, and even concerts!

Each of these activities use the Hanging Rock Reserve as its background, where adventurers can experience hiking trails and opportunities to learn the history of the volcanic rock formation. The Macedon Ranges has something for everyone!


Lorne (2 hours from Melbourne CBD)

There are plenty of popular tourist activities in Lorne to make any family day trip memorable. Many outdoor adventure activities populate the town, such as, swimming, surfing, pier fishing, and even some hiking. All of these activities provide splendid views of the Great Ocean Road and picturesque nature views.

Lorne is host to many cultural festivals that make it an appealing artistic venue for locals. Any trip to Lorne will be sure to leave you excited and awe inspired by the many opportunities this place has.

Wilsons Promontory National Park (3 hours from Melbourne CBD)

Reconnecting with nature and experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat, are just a few of the unique opportunities Wilsons Promontory National Park offers. The winding trails lead hikers from the Tidal River to the beautiful white quartz sand of Squeaky Beach, ensuring you will feel rejuvenated.

The nearby Mount Oberon, provides scenic views of the Bass Straight and nearby islands; while the Lightstation provides a unique historic glimpse back to the 19 th century.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Bendigo (1 hour, 50 minutes north from Melbourne CBD)

The historic gold rush town of Bendigo lies an hour and 50 minutes from Melbourne. Each unique tourist experience, such as the tour of the Central Deborah Mine or the Golden Dragon Museum, allows you to learn and appreciate the history of Bendigo.

The award winning wine region offers a wide variety of food and drink, and are heralded for their Shiraz. So no matter what your poison, Bendigo offers experiences for everyone!


Grampians National Park (3 hours from Melbourne CBD)

Grampians National Park is home to the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre, bringing to light the local Aboriginal history and rock art. Around the centre is a sprawling nature reserve, home to echidnas and wallabies. The winding trails lead to waterfalls and scenic overlooks of the Victoria Mountain Range. While, Halls Gap Zoo, the largest regional zoo in Victoria, exhibits over 160 native and exotic animals.

This unique park, even offers an award winning wine village and glamping experiences. Each activity will be sure to keep you and your family engaged with all aspects of nature.

Ballarat (1 hour, 30 minutes from  Melbourne CBD)

As the third largest city in Victoria, Ballarat is home to a diverse tourist market. Each award winning attraction and unique experience provides a day trip visitor an experience they will never forget. The Ballarat Wildlife Park offers a relaxing atmosphere allowing humans and animals to interact one on one to create memorable moments.

Kyral Castle offers kids the opportunity to experience medieval activities and broaden their imagination. Kids and adults alike will be clamouring to go back!

Yarra Valley (1 hour from Melbourne CBD)

The wine region of the Yarra Valley, boasts a cool climate known for producing Chardonnay. But there are family friendly activities for all day trippers! Many wineries in the area provide activities for children, while adults experience the luxury of the wineries. Along with wine, a unique experience that is a must do in the Yarra Valley, is the sunrise hot air balloon experience with Global Ballooning Australia. The spectacular views of the Yarra Valley are on display as you gaze at the beautiful sunrise.


Great Ocean Road (1 hour and 20 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

The 664 kilometre stretch of The Great Ocean Road, provides spectacular views of the coast of Australia, along with plenty of new experiences. The Great Ocean road can be a multiple day trip, or be shortened to one day. All along this winding war memorial, are surfing spots and spectacular sights, such as the 12 Apostles. These iconic rock formations dot the coastline, and ensure a unique experience for any traveller.

Each town The Great Ocean Road passes through, there are award winning and unique food destinations any foody will love! No matter how long or short your trip is on The Great Ocean Road, you will make memorable moments!

The Dandenong Ranges (1 hour from Melbourne CBD)

Adventure awaits at The Dandenong Ranges. The vibrant and exotic fauna and flora of the ranges, provide a magical and magnificent adventure away from the city. The cool Climate Garden offers visitors the ability to learn and study a wide collection of rare plants. Gumbuya World, Melbourne’s largest theme park, boasts an assortment of wildlife along with adventures for all types of thrill seekers. The Dandenong Ranges provide something for everyone to explore the wonders and joys of nature.

Dandenong Ranges

Mornington Peninsula (1 hour, 10 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

Home to the Wine Food Farmgate Trail, Mornington Peninsula is a treasure trove of wonderful food and wine. Between food/wine stops, visitors enjoy the activities and attractions that populate the area. Historic garden hedges and mazes provide inspiration for the visitor, while activities, such as paddle boarding, at the beach provide relaxation. Each attraction on the peninsula provides something for everyone, leaving the entire family begging for more.

Daylesford (1 hour, 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

The unique landscape of Daylesford provides an opportunity to explore the area of an extinct volcano. Utilizing the mineral springs in the area, the town is home to many natural healing therapies and spas, helping a weary traveller to find relaxation and peace. The region is also home to many walking trails and camp grounds, allowing any visitor the opportunity to explore the lush greenery of the area.

Phillip Island (2 hours south of Melbourne CBD)

Philip’s Island is best known for its Little Penguins that come into shore around sunset. Spectators gather for this unique opportunity once a day at Summerland Beach to see this ‘Penguin Parade.’ The wildlife residing on Philip’s Island makes each day a new opportunity to see something new. If wildlife is not your interest, then there are also beaches, fantastic eateries, and the Philip Island Circuit (a legendary track for racing).


Pentridge Prison (30 mins from of Melbourne CBD)

The Victorian Heritage Register has protected many of the buildings located at Pentridge Prison. The prison is home to various art exhibits as well as some spooky ghost tours. Some of the buildings are currently under restoration to be made into housing, retail, and open spaces for the public. Today, you can go to Pentridge and visit the prison and learn about its historic nature.

St Kilda (20 mins from of Melbourne CBD)

Excitement and adventure can be found at nearly every corner in St Kilda. The beachside town is known for its beachside activities and promenade. Only being twenty minutes from Melbourne, windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing is abound. Each shopping and eating experience holds new opportunities and experiences to explore St Kilda’s diverse culture. A vibrant culture teeming with artistic talent makes this beachside town a perfect day trip.

St Kilda

Bellarine Peninsula (1 hour, 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

The abundance of food and wine located on the Bellarine Peninsula is a foodie’s paradise. The fresh bounty along the Bellarine Peninsula Taste Trail, ensures you and your car will not go home empty. The serene views and distinctive landscape allow for adventures of both the land and sea variety. Art galleries, festivals, and eco-adventures populate the area ensuring each person will find something amazing to do on this day trip adventure.

Healesville (1 hour from Melbourne CBD)

Healesville lies close to the Yarra Valley making this a nice day trip for those interested in a variety of activities. The boutique shops and art galleries provide new inspiration for budding artistes; while the Glassblowing Studio gives visitors the opportunity to witness the historic art of glassblowing. An Animal Sanctuary and park walks allow you to experience nature one on one and explore the lush greenery of the region.

day trips victoria

Flinders (1 hour, 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

Flinders offers a unique architectural experience, with a preserved streetscape and historic shops. Lying on the coast of the Bass Strait and Westernport Bay, Flanders is home to Cape Schanck and the cleanest air in the world. The coastal walk among the bluestone boulders along the Flinders Blowhole Walk, ensure a beautiful view of the ocean coastlines and native animals.

Kyneton (1 hour from Melbourne CBD)

The gold rush brought the thriving village of Kyneton to life. If you enjoy history and picturesque views, Kyneton may be the place for you. Adventurous wine tastings, are sure to leave you raving about the wine of the region; while the bushwalks and village tours allow you to experience the history and natural beauty of the region.

The festivals and other artistic events held here every year are vibrant and diverse, allowing for new interests and activity to excite visitors!

Marysville (1 hour, 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD)

The beautiful town of Marysville is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. The distinct Yarra Ranges National Park is located here, and provides visitors with the opportunity to explore the beauty of nature.

After rebuilding from a raging bushfire, Marysville is a picturesque town rebuilt from the ashes. This small town serves as a launch pad for people who would like to visit the Alpine Resort in winter or a place for hungry hikers to get a bite to eat.


Image credit: Visit Victoria

Weekend Trips from Melbourne Getaways

Bright (3 hours, 30 min from melbourne cbd).

Lying at the base of Mount Buffalo National Park and Alpine National Park, Bright is a region known for its fall foliage and unique experiences. Bright is a place to visit during warm and cold times of year. There are plenty of biking and hiking trails in Bright, along with skiing and snowboarding on Victoria’s Alps. Not only are there plenty activities but they have a world class foodie scene. Boutique restaurants and wineries line the streets, making this the perfect place for a long weekend getaway.

Mount Buller (3 hours from Melbourne CBD)

Mount Buller is a winter resort village situated three hours from Melbourne. The snowy ski slopes and terrain parks, make this an opportunity you cannot miss. Mount Buller is also home to the National Alpine Museum, chronicling the history of Australian’s winter sports.  A sports lover’s paradise, Mount Buller, ensures all adrenaline junkies will find an activity that suits them no matter the time of year.


Beechworth (3 hours from of Melbourne CBD)

A historic and charming town, Beechworth is home to many natural experiences. The hiking and biking trails around the area provide serene views of the valley and historical knowledge.  This once gold rush town, now has an artistic scene connected to nature, along with historic buildings. This long weekend getaway is made for those who like to enjoy nature, while also experiencing life in a small town.

Rutherglen (3 hours from of Melbourne CBD)

Along the Murray River, Rutherglen is known as one of premier wine regions in Victoria. Populated with wineries, this popular place makes for a great long weekend getaway. Along with winery tours, there are plenty of biking and hiking trails. This little slice of paradise, will appeal to the wine lovers and adventure seekers allowing you to have a weekend you will never forget!

Metung (3 hours, 30 min from of Melbourne CBD)

If an escape to the coast is your wish, Metung may be the destination for you! The relaxed village atmosphere is perfect for all the water sport activities and experiences any adventurer will love. Fresh seafood and farm to table restaurants create a unique dining experience. At the foot of the Great Alpine Road, this vacation village is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the road and allows you to explore the Gippsland Lakes from land and water!


King Valley (3 hours from Melbourne CBD)

A slice of Italy in Victoria, awaits you in King Valley. Wineries and Italian eateries line the valley and create the Prosecco Road. Festivals in June have local wineries open their doors to visitors and do winery walkabouts. Liking wine is a must, when visiting this area. The locally grown grapes and ingredients make the food and dining experience different from any other area of Australia.

Apollo Bay (3 hours from of Melbourne CBD)

On the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay is a well-known surfing spot for the surfing aficionado. The pristine coastal waters allow for any water sport fanatic to find something to do. Art, farmers markets, and pristine hikes, allow for fantastic views of the Great Ocean Road, while celebrating the culture of Apollo Bay. This getaway is certain to provide diverse experiences and have something for everyone!

Apollo Bay

Mildura (6 hours from of Melbourne CBD)

Mildura is the centre of Victoria’s Food Bowl, growing most of the citrus fruits in the region. The beautiful sunsets and clear night skies make Mildura a nice relaxing getaway. There are activities for the whole family, including an Aquacoaster and various biking activities. This historical region even has a vibrant art scene and boutique retail stores, making the region a unique and interesting place for the long getaway!

Don’t forget to end your trip with some epic Australian Quotes !

Tip: If you bring a kid on the trip don’t forget safety first! If you need a new carseat, check out our guide one the best narrow carseats Australia


12 Top-Rated Day Trips from Melbourne

Written by Karen Hastings Updated Sep 24, 2021 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Beautiful beaches, quirky wildlife, spa towns, and spectacular wilderness areas — you'll find all this and more within a few hours' drive of Melbourne . One of the country's most dazzling scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road, lies less than 200 kilometers from the city, as well as gorgeous Grampian National Park, the gleaming white-sand shores of Wilsons Promontory, and the rugged Dandenong Ranges.

Wildlife is a highlight at many of these city escapes. You can watch penguins parading up a pristine beach at Phillip Island, and see colorful parrots, wild kangaroos, and wombats in the national parks.

In addition to the rich natural beauty just a short drive from the CBD, Victoria's elegant seaside resorts charm visitors with their quaint shops, art galleries, and award-winning restaurants. History buffs can explore an old gold rush town. And if you're looking for Melbourne day trips in winter, skiers and snowboarders can carve up the slopes of Mount Buller less than a three-hour drive from the city.

Step outside the city limits and explore the surroundings with our list of the best day trips from Melbourne .

1. Great Ocean Road

2. phillip island's penguin parade, 3. the mornington peninsula, 4. the dandenong ranges and the yarra valley, 5. peninsula hot springs, 6. grampians national park, 7. wilsons promontory national park, 8. daylesford: day spas and mineral springs, 10. sovereign hill at ballarat, 11. mount buller skiing, 12. hanging rock reserve, the macedon ranges, map of day trips from melbourne.

Great Ocean Road

About 200 kilometers from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most spectacular stretches of coastline and a top place to visit on a road trip. The drive from the city carves along steep sea cliffs, as well as the surf-thrashed beaches of Port Campbell National Park, where the distinctive rock pinnacles, the Twelve Apostles , tower above a swirling sea.

Other Great Ocean Road highlights include the wind- and sea-sculpted rock formations of Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch.

Mother Nature's power is on dazzling display here. To fully appreciate it, hop aboard a helicopter for a bird's-eye view of this dramatic coast, also called the Shipwreck Coast . While in the area, you can take a walk near koala-rich Kennett River ; look for kangaroos and wallabies in Great Otway National Park; or enjoy a different perspective of the forest at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures , including a treetop walk and zipline tour.

Waves at Bells Beach

Are you a surfing fan? Stop in Torquay along the way to visit the Surf World Museum , and look for huge waves at legendary Bells Beach . This is also one of the best day trips from Melbourne with dogs — many of the beaches around Torquay allow pooches, and a couple allow leash-free romps.

When it comes to Melbourne road trips by car, it's hard to beat the Great Ocean Road. But if you're wondering how to get there without a car, you're in luck. You can enjoy many of these adventures on the Great Ocean Road Small-Group Eco-Tour from Melbourne . This full-day excursion includes plenty of time to soak up the beautiful coastal scenery, including a hike in Great Otway National Park, Kennett River koala spotting, and a stop at Apollo Bay. A 15-minute helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles is an optional extra.

Phillip Island: Seaside boardwalk

Phillip Island, about 140 kilometers from Melbourne's city center, is a top pick for wildlife lovers. Each night at sunset, visitors gather along the shore to watch adorable penguins waddle up the beach at the Phillip Island Nature Park .

Before the "Penguin Parade," you can visit some of the nearby wildlife parks. See koalas in their natural habitat at the Koala Conservation Centre . Hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies at Phillip Island Wildlife Park , or visit the Nobbies , a boardwalk that skirts the headland's seabird gardens with breathtaking views of the coast. Little penguins often rest along here, and in the spring, keep an eye out for silver gull chicks.

For more information on the ecology of the area, stop by the free Nobbies Centre and browse the educational displays.

Across Bass Strait from here is Seal Rocks , Australia's largest fur seal colony . Bring binoculars to see the seals, or board a wildlife cruise for close-up views. Thanks to all these educational experiences and wildlife sightings, this is one of the best Melbourne day trips for families.

An easy way to visit this top tourist attraction is on the Phillip Island Penguin Highlights Day Trip from Melbourne . This full-day excursion covers all the highlights, including wildlife viewing at Maru Koala and Animal Park, the Nobbies, and the famous Penguin Parade.

Official site: http://www.penguins.org.au/

The Mornington Peninsula

A 90-minute drive from Melbourne, the picturesque Mornington Peninsula is a favorite seaside escape from the city. Flanked by the ocean on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other, this prime sliver of real estate hosts tranquil coves, cute villages, and rocky shores.

One of the Mornington Peninsula's top places to visit is stylish Sorrento , site of the state's first mainland European settlement. Heritage buildings, high-end shops, boutiques, and cafés are waiting for you to explore. Soak up the seaside scenery, and see the vacation homes of Australia's posh set along " Millionaire's Walk ," a five-kilometer clifftop trail above Port Phillip Bay, between Sorrento and Portsea.

Hiking is popular on back beach trails and in the rugged bushland on the end of the peninsula at Point Nepean National Park. Other highlights of the area include a ride on the scenic Sorrento-Queenscliff ferry, dolphin cruises, Peninsula Hot Springs, and the chance to swim with wild bottlenose dolphins and seals.

Fall Color in the Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley have been a favorite weekend getaway for well-to-do Melburnians for more than a century. This day trip has a little something for everyone — from nature and wildlife to cute villages, fantastic food, and a fun ride on a historic train.

Start the day with a scenic drive through the Dandenong Ranges, about 40 kilometers east of Melbourne. Here, you can hike through rainforests of mountain ash trees to soothing cascades in the beautiful fern-filled Sherwood Forest. You can also hand-feed native birds, such as crimson rosellas, cockatoos, and galahs at Grants Picnic Ground . Nearby, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens and William Ricketts Sanctuary are also worth a visit.

At Belgrave , board the 100-year-old Puffing Billy steam train and stroll around the artisan shops. You can also relax with a Devonshire tea in storybook-cute villages such as Olinda, a green thumb's delight with the excellent Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens and Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens .

Not far from here, the Yarra Valley is a haven for foodies, with fresh produce, first-class restaurants, and the chance to sample handmade farmyard cheeses at Yarra Valley Dairy . Are you an animal lover? One of the top things to do in this region is visit the popular Healesville Sanctuary to see native Australian animals and birds.

Note that in June, 2021, severe storms struck the Dandenong Ranges, impacting many local businesses. Check for any closures before you visit.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Feel like being pampered? How about a soak in steamy mineral spring pools followed by a customized massage and a nourishing organic meal? You can do this and more at Peninsula Hot Springs, just over an hour's drive from Melbourne in the Mornington Peninsula.

Turkish steam bath, anyone? Reflexology walk? You can choose from 50 bathing experiences from around the world at the Bath House here. Or you might prefer a dip in a cave pool or a soak on a hilltop with breathtaking views. Steamy mineral water seeps from underground springs into the many pools set within a forest of tea trees, creating a relaxing setting to soak your cares away, no matter where you choose to take your dip.

Peninsula Hot Springs is one of the most popular short day trips from Melbourne by car. And don't think this is just for singles and couples. Families are also welcome here.

To make your visit even easier, book the Peninsula Hot Springs Day Trip with Thermal Bathing Entry from Melbourne . This full-day excursion includes transport to and from the hot springs, bath house admission, and a local expert driver so you can sit back and relax on the journey. Luxury spa treatments are an optional extra.

After your pampering visit, save time to complement your therapeutic soak with a healthy meal at the café.

Address: Springs Lane, Fingal, Victoria

Official site: http://www.peninsulahotsprings.com/

Grampians National Park

Grampians National Park (often called "The Grampians") offers beautiful vistas of waterfalls, colorful spring wildflowers, rock formations, and rugged crags. It lies about 260 kilometers from Melbourne.

Avid hikers in particular will enjoy this park, and anyone can admire the breathtaking scenery from its many panoramic lookouts. Called "Gariwerd" by the Aboriginal people, the park also shelters traditional rock art. You can learn more about this rich history and the park's ecology at Brambuk the National Park & Cultural Centre .

Other top attractions in the Grampians include the beautiful MacKenzie Falls , Victoria's tallest waterfall; Beehive Falls, with its fern-fringed rock pools; Fish Falls ; and the panoramic lookouts at the Pinnacle and the Balconies. You can also drive to Reeds and Boroka lookouts.

Wildlife is abundant. Kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and echidnas, make their home here, and sightings of friendly marsupials are common.

Besides hiking, other popular outdoor activities include abseiling and rock climbing on the faces of Mt. Arapiles, fishing and canoeing at the park's lakes and rivers, quad biking, and horseback riding. If you're considering staying overnight, Halls Gap is the gateway to the park and makes a great base. Bring a camera, and be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes.

The Grampians is also a popular destination for foodies. Enjoy the excellent restaurants and fresh local produce, including olives, cheeses, and meats.

Official site: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/grampians-national-park

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Affectionately called "The Prom" by locals, Wilsons Promontory National Park is the state's largest coastal wilderness area and a nirvana for nature lovers and photographers. It lies on the southernmost point of the Australian mainland, about a three-hour drive from Melbourne's city center. It's a long drive for a day trip, but the spectacular scenery of squeaky-clean beaches, cool-climate rainforests, and rugged granite peaks is worth the trip.

Highlights include guided walks through the bushland, the granite rock formations of Giant Rock , the white quartz sands of Squeaky Beach , Lilly Pilly Gully , and the sea-sculpted boulders of Whisky Bay . The park is also known for its rich native wildlife, such as wombats, emus, kangaroos, and many birds.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of things to do. Scenic hikes lace the bushland, from short one-hour walks to multi-day treks. The one-hour hike up Mt. Oberon summit has one of the park's best viewpoints, overlooking the Tidal River and the coast. Divers can explore the underwater world in the marine national park. Other activities include swimming, fishing, canoeing, camping, and bird-watching. Strong hiking shoes are highly recommended.

Official site: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/wilsons-promontory-national-park

Lake Daylesford

Skirting the Wombat State Forest, about 115 kilometers from Melbourne, a Daylesford day trip is perfect for a pampering city escape. Soothing mineral springs, wellness centers, and day spas are the prime draws in this quaint country town, earning it a reputation as the spa capital of Australia .

Drawn by these healing mineral springs and the gold rush, many Swiss and Italian immigrants settled here, imbuing the town with an old-world feel. A popular destination in the region is the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, in neighboring Hepburn Springs, which has been lavishing guests since 1895. Another must-see is The Convent , an enchanting 19th-century estate on six acres atop Wombat Hill, with beautiful views over town, impressive art galleries, a chapel, and museum.

Daylesford is also known for its many award-winning restaurants serving seasonal local produce. To dine at one of the town's top eateries, stroll around beautiful Lake Daylesford and enjoy a gourmet lunch at the Lake House , which is also a small luxury hotel. You can also browse the town's quaint shops, antique markets, and historic buildings.

Teddy's Lookout, Lorne

About 138 kilometers from Melbourne's city center, Lorne, on beautiful Loutit Bay, has long been one of the country's favorite seaside resorts. Snuggled between Otway National Park and the Great Ocean Road , this pretty little town offers an intoxicating mix of Mediterranean ambience, seaside elegance, and natural beauty.

You'll never be bored here. Popular things to do include swimming and surfing at the long, golden beach, with its nearby cafés and skatepark, and casting a line off the local pier for fish like trevally and whiting. The pier also plays host to the fish co-op, where you can buy the fresh catch of the day. Tourists also love browsing the boutiques, bookstores, bakeries, and galleries.

Teddy's Lookout , a five-minute drive from town, offers beautiful views over the coast and Great Ocean Road. Another popular attraction in the area is Erskine Falls , rimmed by lush ferns and eucalyptus forest.

Insider's tip: During peak vacation times around Christmas, a torrent of tourists fills this tiny town, so you should book well in advance if you want to stay overnight.

Ballarat Botanical Gardens

At Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, you can experience the exciting 1850s gold rush days in a living museum. About 110 kilometers from Melbourne, this recreated gold-mining town is one of the top attractions in Ballarat . Here, you can watch goldsmiths and artisans at work in Victorian-era houses and shops, tour an underground gold mine, and even pan for the precious metal. Costumed staff, stagecoach rides, and a dazzling sound and lights show round out all the historical fun.

The town of Ballarat was the epicenter of the Australian Gold Rush. Learn all about this important chapter of Australian history by touring the historic sites, heritage buildings, and old churches around town.

Other highlights include Art Gallery Ballarat , with works from Gold Rush artists; the beautiful 40-acre Ballarat Botanical Gardens on the banks of Lake Wendouree; and Ballarat Wildlife Park . Ballarat is also home to award-winning restaurants, so don't forget to top off your tour with a memorable meal.

Don't have a car? This is one of the most popular day trips from Melbourne by train.

Official site: http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/

Mount Buller Skiing

In winter, rain often means snow in the mountains, so if the weather is not cooperating with your outdoor activities in the city, you can play at the snowy peaks nearby. From early June through late September (depending on snowfall), avid skiers and boarders can hit the slopes of Mount Buller, one of Australia's best ski resorts , about a three-hour drive from Melbourne.

Mount Buller has the most extensive lift system of all the Victorian resorts, with 22 lifts transporting guests to 300 hectares of skiable terrain and three terrain parks. About 35 percent caters to advanced skiers, and the resort also offers plenty of runs for beginners and intermediates. Cross country skiers can explore nine kilometers of trails.

For non-skiers, the village is a fun place to hang out. Relax at the spas, browse the shops, or take the kids to the resort's toboggan parks. This is a great trip for families seeking a first-time snow experience, as well as enthusiastic skiers and boarders looking for a wintertime city escape.

Official site: http://www.mtbuller.com.au/Winter/

Hanging Rock Reserve, The Macedon Ranges

Rich in mystique, Hanging Rock Reserve is a wonderful wilderness escape in the Macedon Ranges. Less than an hour northwest of Melbourne, the massive 105-meter-high extinct volcano, now eroded into columns, was the location for Peter Weir's iconic film, Picnic at Hanging Rock , based on the book by Joan Lindsay.

The rock is also an important Aboriginal landmark and was reputedly a refuge for bushrangers during the Gold Rush. Even if you're not familiar with the legend that captured the imagination of many Australians, Hanging Rock Reserve is truly a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic or a hike in the fresh eucalyptus-tinged air.

The round-trip climb to the top takes about 50 minutes, with plenty of secret nooks to slither in along the way, and beautiful views over the countryside. You can also explore the other hiking trails that weave through the reserve. Keep an eye out for wildlife like wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, and wombats.

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21 Best Day Trips from Victoria, BC (Local’s Guide)

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Looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Victoria, BC? Look no further than the best day trips from Victoria BC, with something for every adventurer. 

With so many day trips from Victoria BC by car to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start.

Which is why we’ve highlighted our family’s favourites & the most popular attractions and hidden gems that Vancouver Island has to offer. 

Explore the charming seaside towns like Sooke, Sidney, and Cowichan Bay. Enjoy the rugged landscapes of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park and Cathedral Grove’s towering trees, or unwind in the serene Gulf Islands.

Growing up in the beautiful city of Victoria I have been lucky enough to have explored the island from top to bottom. And taken many a friend, kid and family member on day trips & longer to all my favorite spots. Which I am so excited to share with you. 

So grab your camera, and let’s go!

Table of Contents


There are so many things to do in Victoria, BC, the capital of British Columbia . Once you’ve finished visiting the “Garden City,” there’s so much more to explore

So why wait? Get ready to cross some items off your Vancouver Island Bucket List !

1. Butchart Gardens

day trips victoria

  • Distance from Victoria : 22 km
  • Driving Time: 35 min

If you’re looking for a quintessential Victoria day trip, look no further than the breathtaking Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay. We’ve spent many a day wandering around as a family enjoying these stunning botanical gardens.

You can take this express shuttle to Butchart Gardens from downtown Victoria, if you don’t have a car.

Begin your visit by exploring the Sunken Garden, a former limestone quarry that has been transformed into a tranquil oasis of flowers and foliage. From there, make your way to the Rose Garden , where over 250 varieties of roses bloom in stunning colors and fragrances.

Mom and tween girl playing on a metal carousel horse outside in Butchart Gardens.

Don’t miss the Japanese Garden, which offers a serene escape. For the kids, head to the Italian Garden for some gelato , and a spin or two (or 5 which happened last time for us) on the Carousel ride.

All the best day trips from Victoria, BC. Woman arms raised at Botanical Beach. Juan de Fuca Trail ocean view.

2. Waterfalls, Cathedral Grove Rainforest, and Coombs

Hiking trail through Cathedral Grove rainforest in BC Canada

  • Distance from Victoria to Cathedral Grove : 176 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hour 30 min

Discover the breathtaking landscapes of Vancouver Island, and many of my favorite places on the island on this.

Drive up island to see Englishman River Falls, Little Qualicum Falls, and Cathedral Grove – a haven for some of the island’s tallest and most ancient trees.

Along the way, drop by the quaint country market Coombs (with Goats on the Roof) , embark on rainforest hikes leading to mesmerizing waterfalls, and seize numerous photo opportunities.

We recommend this all-day, private excursion from Victoria , so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Don’t want a tour, you can make the drive yourself!

3. Sidney 

Blue SIdney FIsh Market & Pier on the waterfront of Sidney, BC

  • Distance from Victoria : 27 km
  • Driving Time: 40 min

Sidney, BC, is a quaint town located just a quick 30 minute drive from downtown Victoria.

One of the most popular spots to visit is Sidney Spit, a small island located just off the coast. Take a ferry over to the island and spend the day exploring the beaches and trails. Or rent a kayak and paddle around the island’s pristine waters.

Back on the mainland, wander through the town’s many shops and galleries, where you’ll find everything from handmade jewelry to local artwork.

Don’t miss the Sidney Pier, where you can watch the boats come in and out while enjoying a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants.

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Seas is on our list of the best cheap things to do in Victoria & area.

Young girl sitting beside a metal statue of a man, in front of a pier on the Si

For a dose of local history, be sure to visit the Sidney Museum, where you can learn about the town’s roots as a fishing and farming community. 

LOCAL TIP: Take the kids to our favourite Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea . A small, yet fun aquarium and learning centre. We stop in every time we’re in Sidney. It’s a perfect day trip if it’s a rainy day in Victoria .

Sidney, BC is a charming and picturesque destination that’s well worth a visit on a day trip from Victoria. 

4. Cowichan Valley

  • Distance from Victoria : 94 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 45 min

If you’re a wine lover visiting Victoria, BC, you’re in luck! There are a variety of wine tasting tours in Cowichan Valley from Victoria that offer visitors a chance to explore the local wine scene and sample some of the region’s best varietals.

One popular tour is this small group Cowichan Valley Wine & Food Tour,  which takes visitors on a scenic drive through the picturesque Cowichan Valley. Along the way, you’ll visit a variety of wineries and taste some of the area’s best wines.

Cowichan Valley is also known as a destination for swimming, fishing and floating in tubes down the Cowichan River on a hot summer’s day. And the Kinsesol Trestle you can hike to.

5. Victoria to Vancouver by Seaplane

Seaplane in Victoria's Harbour on a sunny day.

  • Flight: 35 min

While I highly recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Vancouver, a day trip is definitely doable.

Kick off your adventure with an exhilarating seaplane flight from downtown Victoria to Vancouver , that provides a bird’s-eye view of the picturesque Gulf Islands

Once you’ve landed, make your way to Stanley Park . This urban park is 405 acres of forest, with walking paths, an aquarium, restaurants and much more. You could spend your whole day here.

A bike or walk along the seawall is a delightful way to soak in the park’s natural beauty and enjoy panoramic views of the city, mountains, and ocean.

⭐️ This fun half day guided tour of Stanley Park, Granville Island and through Gastown & Chinatown, takes all the stress out of planning.

Next, head over to the lively Granville Island by hopping on the water taxi. On the island, delight in the bustling Public Market, breweries, art galleries, and charming shops. The toy store is always a must stop with our kids.

🏆 Take this tasty Granville Island Food Tour , a fun way to taste all the best local Vancouver products. Including Canadian cheeses, artisan chocolates, maple salmon, and more.

Finally, to cap off your day, venture to the enchanting Capilano Suspension Bridge , nestled amidst towering evergreens. Traverse the 450-foot-long bridge. While marveling at the lush forest and captivating Capilano River below.

With a day trip like this, you’re bound to create memories that will last a lifetime.

⭐️ Find family friendly hotels here: Where to stay in Victoria with kids .

6. Malahat Skywalk 

  • Distance from Victoria : 33 km

The Malahat Skywalk is fun for all ages.

Featuring a 250-meter-long elevated walkway that takes visitors through the treetops, Arbutus Trees, culminating in a spiral tower that offers 360-degree views of the area.

Plus it’s stroller & wheelchair accessible.

Kids will love the adventure of walking through the canopy and spotting wildlife along the way. Then taking the fast route down on their Spiral Slide.

For the brave, step out onto their Adventure Net suspended above the centre of the tower.

Also one of the best things to do in Victoria, BC in winter too.

7. Saltspring Island

Kayak on the rocks, Saltspring Island Canada

  • Distance from Victoria : 53 km
  • Driving & Ferry Time: 1 hour 30 min

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Victoria for a day? Consider a Saltspring Island day trip! This picturesque island is just a short ferry ride on BC Ferries from Swartz Bay , and offers visitors an arts, food and nature escape.

The Gulf Islands are magical, and not to be missed. 

Start your day by visiting  Ruckle Provincial Park . Where you can hike along the rocky coastline and through old-growth forests. Don’t miss the tide pools, where kids can get up close with a variety of sea creatures.

Next up, sample delicious cheese at the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company. Made right on the island. Kids will love meeting the goats that produce the milk used to make the cheese. Pop into their cafe in the summer for tasty pizzas, salads and their goat cheese cake.

There’s also wandering through the island’s many  art galleries, studios, and fun shops where you can find everything from pottery to paintings,  kids toys and west coast inspired gifts. 

For a dose of history, visit the  Salt Spring Island Historical Museum , where you can learn about the island’s First Nations history and early European settlers. Kids will love the interactive indoor & outdoor hands-on exhibits. Best of all, it’s free. Open Wednesday to Friday & Sunday (End of May to October).

LOCAL TIP: Don’t miss the famous Saltspring Island Saturday Market , where local artisans and farmers come together to sell their wares. We always try to time our day trips with the outdoor market which usually runs from April to October.

8. Pender Island

Rocky Beach with ocean and Mt. Baker in the distance.

  • Distance from Victoria : 54 km
  • Driving & Ferry Time: 2 hours 25 min

Pender Island is another Gulf Island that is a lovely place for a visit. Especially if you love the outdoors and are looking for a laid back vibe with family or friends.

Hike to the top of Mt. Norman for gorgeous views of the surrounding islands. Get out on the ocean with a guided sea kayak tour, through secluded coves.

Or take a swim at Mortimer Spit , and a walk along the beach and marsh trails in north Pender Island at the Medicine Beach & Nature Sanctuary.

Don’t forget to check out Jo’s Place for a tasty meal.

There are so many fun things to do on Pender Island, you may just want to spend more than a day.

Ferries leave from Swartz Bay to Otter Bay up to 8 round-trip sailings daily, depending on the season. It’s only 40 minutes if direct, or longer if there’s stops or transfers at at Galiano, Mayne or Saturna Islands.

9. Pacific Marine Circle Route

A day trip along the Pacific Marine Circle Route showcases what the natural beauty of Vancouver Island is all about. 

If you are looking for a relatively quick Vancouver Island road trip, this tops our recommendations. 

This 255-kilometer drive takes you through stunning coastal landscapes, old-growth forests, and charming seaside towns. While it can be done in one day, it’s best to take at least a weekend, to really enjoy all the sites, vistas and activities each town has to offer. 

Victoria to Sooke, Port Renfrew & Lake Cowichan

Young girl swimming in the river at Sooke Potholes, Vancouver Island Canada.

Starting in Victoria, you’ll head west along the coast & Highway 14 towards Sooke (a 45 minute drive) before turning north towards Port Renfrew. 

  • Sooke Potholes, and East Sooke Park are great places to spend some time in nature, hike or take a cool dip.
  • In Port Renfrew, you can take a break and explore the beautiful beaches and trails of the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, Botanical Beach & Avatar Grove. 

Continuing inland, you’ll head to Lake Cowichan, on Pacific Marine Road. This used to be a dirt logging road, but has since been paved. 

Pass through the  Cowichan Valley , then drive through the town of Duncan, known as the “City of Totems.” It’s a great place to stop and wander through the town’s historic streets, which are lined with charming shops and cafes.

As well as 40 magnificent carved totem poles. They each tell their own story. Duncan also has a fabulous Saturday Farmer’s Market. 

Cowichan Bay back to Victoria

View of Cowichan Bay, boats from the  Museum.

Next make a quick detour off Highway 1 to Cowichan Bay  on the East Coast of Vancouver Island. Slow down and take in the beautiful vistas of this small maritime town.  

Visit True Grain Bread, an old world style bakery,  explore Indigenous art at the Arthur Vickers Gallery, and wander this lovely seaside town.

From Cowichan Bay, you’ve reached the final leg of your journey. We recommend heading over to the iconic Kinsol Trestle, one of the tallest free-standing timber trestles in the world. It’s a quick walk along an easy trail. 

Finally, the drive will take you back to Victoria through the Malahat Drive, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. Stop at the Malahat Summit for amazing views of the Saanich Inlet and the Cowichan Valley.

One of our favorite Victoria parks, Goldstream is a good place to stop along the way. In fall you can even see the salmon run.

10. Kinsol Trestle

Wooden Kinsol trestle over the river in Cowichan BC.

  • Distance from Victoria : 47 km
  • Driving Time: 50 min
  • Hiking time: 30+ minutes

The Kinsol Trestle, along the Cowichan Valley Trail is an impressive wooden trestle bridge spanning the Koksilah River. It’s one of the largest free-standing wooden trestles in the world. 

Originally built in 1920 as part of a rail line that connected Victoria to the interior of Vancouver Island. The Kinsol Trestle has since been converted into a hiking,  biking and horseback riding trail that offers visitors a unique perspective on the surrounding landscape. 

With a height of over 40 meters and a length of 187 meters, the Kinsol Trestle is a true engineering marvel that’s well worth a visit.

You can stop here on your way to Cowichan Bay  (our next stop on Victoria day trips not to miss).

11. Cowichan Bay 

day trips victoria

  • Distance from Victoria : 55 km
  • Driving Time: 55 min

Cowichan Bay is a charming seaside town located on Vancouver Island, and is the perfect destination for a family outing. 

Take this epic whale watching tour   for a chance to see Orcas, Humpback Whales,  and other interesting sea life, leaving from Cowichan Bay.

Or start your day by exploring the  Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre , where you can learn about the town’s rich history as a fishing and boat-building community. Kids will love the interactive exhibits and hands-on activities.

Young girl playing on a kid size boat on the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre deck.

Next up, head to the  Cowichan Bay Fishermen’s Wharf , where you can watch the local fisherman bring in their daily catch. Kids will love seeing the variety of fish and sea creatures up close.

Definitely don’t miss the Rock Cod Cafe for fish and chips.

For a fun outdoor adventure, take a kayak or paddle board around Cowichan Bay , where you can explore the local marine life and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Finally, end your day with a visit to the  Cowichan Bay Estuary Nature Centre,  where you can learn about the local ecosystem and even spot some resident otters and seals.

12. Witty’s Lagoon

Wavy sand on Witty's Lagoon Beach with ocean & shoreline in distance

  • Distance from Victoria : 20 km
  • Driving Time: 45 min

  Witty’s Lagoon ,  is a beautiful coastal lagoon located just outside of Victoria, BC. It’s a popular destination for hikers, bird watchers and beach goers, especially in the summer.

  • The Lagoon Trail is a popular option, as it passes by the Sitting Lady Falls, and the Whitney-Griffiths Point picnic area.
  • The Tower Point Trail is another must-see, with a scenic lookout that offers panoramic views of the ocean. It’s only 500m (one way) on a flat mixed gravel / dirt footpath, and is the most accessible section.

Forested trail and stairs of the Witty's Lagoon Beach Trail.

The Beach Trail is the one we usually take, as it  ends at Witty’s Beach . Bring your beach blanket, & a picnic and take a stroll along the sandy beach. It’s a moderate 1.2 km forest trail that also goes through old apple orchards. Keep your eye out for blackberries to pick.

LOCAL TIP: Stop at  My Chosen Cafe for lunch  after a morning beach day, if you want to forgo the beach picnic. This is our favorite restaurant in the area and a local gem. 

13. Sooke 

Mother and daughter at beach in East Sooke Park

  • Distance from Victoria : 40 km
  • Driving Time: 40 – 60 min

Consider heading to Sooke, BC, where you can explore some of the region’s fun coastal hikes, explore tidepools, and dip in a river. The following are a few ideas of where to stop and hike on your day trip to Sooke from Victoria. 

Head to East Sooke Park,  where you can  hike the Coastal Trail  through old-growth forests and along rocky coastlines. Keep an eye out for the iconic arbutus trees. 

The full Coastal Trail is 10km and ranges from easy (at Aylward Farm) to more challenging, the further out you go. We usually just hike out 30-90 minutes and then return the same way.

LOCAL TIP: We recommend starting at the Aylard Farm Entrance. It’s the most family friendly for all ages. Plus there’s also a sandy beach right there if you don’t want to hike far. 

Sooke Potholes

Rocky holes in the river, with forest on either side.

  • Distance from Victoria : 45 km

For a fun and refreshing adventure, make your way to the  Sooke Potholes , a series of hikes and crystal-clear pools and waterfalls that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Kids will love splashing around in the cool water and exploring the surrounding rocks.

Sooke Potholes Regional Park also makes for a good starting point for a bike trip on the  Galloping Goose Regional Trail . It’s a 55 km multi-use trail that runs from Victoria to Sooke.  Bike south toward Roche Cove Regional Park.

The  Spring Salmon Place (KWL-UCHUN) Campground is open May to September  if you prefer to stay overnight at Sooke Potholes.

LOCAL TIP: Stop at the local’s favourite diner Mom’s Cafe in Sooke after a busy day.

14. Port Renfrew

day trips victoria

  • Distance from Victoria : 111 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours

If you’re looking for a fun day trip from Victoria, BC, consider driving to Port Renfrew, a small coastal community located on the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island.

First on the list is Avatar Grove , a stunning old-growth forest that’s home to some of the largest and oldest trees on the island. Including the “gnarliest tree. ” Just a 20 minute drive north of Port Renfrew, this popular family friendly hiking trail is 1.2km of boardwalk.

Next up,  head to Botanical Beach , a scenic coastal area known for its rich & diverse tide pools and unique rock formations. 

Kids will love exploring the tide pools and spotting the various sea creatures that call them home. Just make sure you go at low-tide to make the most of the tide pools.

It is about a 20 minute scenic forest walk down to the rock & pebble beach along an interpretive trail. Just be prepared for the walk back up.  

Hike part of the Juan de Fuca Trail . The trail follows Highway 14 and the Pacific Marine Circle Route from China Beach to Botanical Beach. A day hike can be as short or long as you like.

Whale Watching!   Their season runs from May to October, so plenty of time to see orca, humpbacks and other marine life. Look to the sky for bald eagles. 

15. Juan de Fuca Trail 

day trips victoria

  • Distance from Victoria : 75km to China Beach Trailhead
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 20 min

Speaking of the   Juan de Fuca Trail , this scenic hiking trail  spans over 47 kilometers along the rugged coastline of Vancouver Island.

Fun fact: I spent a summer building trails here in my youth, back when it was first being created. Showing my age lol!

One of the top things to see on the Juan de Fuca Trail is the stunning natural scenery, including ancient forests, rocky coastlines, and secluded beaches (like Mystic Beach with its waterfall). Don’t miss the chance to spot some of the local wildlife , including bald eagles, black bears, and gray whales.

There are four main  entrances to the trail, each with its own unique features and section lengths. These include China Beach, Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Creek, and Botanical Beach. Depending on your fitness level and time constraints, you can choose a section of the trail that fits your needs.

16. Chemainus

Mural at the post office in Chemainus, BC Canada.

  • Distance from Victoria : 80 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 15 min

Chemainus is  famous for its stunning murals  that decorate many of the buildings in the town. These intricate works of art depict the area’s rich history and cultural heritage .

In addition to the murals, Chemainus is home to a bustling Wednesday market where you can sample local produce and browse handmade crafts and artisanal goods. Popping into their charming boutique stores, is another favorite (antique stores, art galleries, gift shops, & our favorite Hansel & Gretl’s candy shop).

If you’re visiting with kids, take them for a play and wander at Waterwheel Park , or fishing or swimming at Fuller Lake Park.

LOCAL TIP: The  Chemainus Theatre  puts on some of the best local plays I’ve ever seen. It’s a fun date to take in their brunch and one of the 4 or 5 plays they put on each year.  Derek & I have stayed at the Best Western Plus & it was clean & comfortable way to enjoy a weekend away.

17. Parksville & Qualicum Beach

Young girl walking along a sandy and rocky beach.

  • Distance from Victoria : 147 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours 10 min

Parksville and Qualicum Beach are two charming towns located a fun day trip with kids from Victoria, and are home to some of Vancouver Island’s best beaches and beach activities .

In Parksville, you can spend your day  exploring beaches at  Rathtrevor Beach or Parksville Beach,  with plenty of space to relax and soak up the sun. I spent many summers here as a kid, and teen, and take my own kids here regularly. 

Parksville offers a long stretch of sandy beach, which is perfect for building sandcastles or playing beach games. With shallow, protected waters, perfect for toddlers and babies too. 

Parksville Community Park is the playground, with space to kite fly, an outdoor gym and plenty of space to run around.

More things to do in & near Parksville, BC with (or without) kids .

There are also plenty of outdoor activities nearby, including hiking trails, mini golf, golf courses, and water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.

In Qualicum Beach, you can take the kids to the Qualicum Beach Museum, which has a collection of artifacts from the area’s history. The town also has plenty of quaint shops and cafes, perfect for a leisurely stroll. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a  short drive to the nearby Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park , which offers guided caving tours of the park’s fascinating underground caves.

Or take an easy hike through  old-growth and second-growth forests of Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock and maple to either  Qualicum Falls or Englishman River Falls .

Coombs, our next recommendation below is just a short drive away.

Waterfall between mossy rocks at Englishman River Falls

18. Goats on the Roof, Coombs

Goat on the roof at Coombs Country Market

  • Distance from Victoria : 154 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours 15 min

Witness the famous “Goats on the Roof” at Coombs. Yes, you read that right – there really are goats living on the roof of the Old Country Market.

But that’s not all there is to see here. The Old Country Market is also a great spot to shop for local produce, baked goods, and souvenirs. 

And if you’re feeling hungry, there are plenty of food vendors serving up delicious eats. Like our usual stop for an eclectic mix of Billy G’s donuts and of course ice cream for our daughter. 

The town also hosts events throughout the year, such as the Coombs Bluegrass Festival and the Coombs Fair.

19. Cathedral Grove

Mom and young girl staring up at large Tree in Cathedral Grove on a day trip from Victoria.

  • Distance from Victoria : 176 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours 25 min

Immerse yourself in the ancient splendor of Cathedral Grove , a protected old-growth forest in MacMillan Provincial Park.

Stand in awe beneath the towering Douglas firs, some of which are over 800 years old, and breathe in the crisp, clean air as you connect with nature.

Such a magical place. I try to stop here whenever I am in the area.

LOCAL TIP : Make a day of it and see Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Cathedral Grove & Coombs. They’re all relatively close and well worth a visit on a day trip from Victoria.

20. Bike the Galloping Goose Trail

The  Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a 55 km multi-use trail that runs from Victoria to Sooke. You can bike ride part or all of it on a day trip from Victoria, Canada.

Originally a railway line, it has been transformed into a multi use path connecting with the Great Trail across Canada.

You’ll pass by farmland, lakes, marshland, rocky outcrops and more.

Popular Galloping Goose Day trips include

  • Victoria to Thetis Lake Regional Park (11km one way). Spend the day at Thetis swimming, hiking or fishing.
  • Park at the Galloping Goose parking lot on Rocky Point Road and follow the trail to  Matheson Lake , then Roche Cove   Regional Parks (5km one way) then onto Sooke Potholes (another 13km one way).

If you are starting from downtown Victoria, cross the Johnson Street bridge,onto the paved path that connects to Harbour Road and the trail.

LOCAL TIP: ☕️ Stop in at Dockside Green for some tasty croissants, pastries and coffee at Fol Epi & Cafe Fantastico. A local gem. Miss S always goes for the macarons & the buttery croissants.

21. Goldstream Provincial Park

Young girl sitting on the roots of a large tree at Goldstream Park.

  • Distance from Victoria : 19 km
  • Driving Time: 30 min

Goldstream is a lovely park, perfect for a family friendly day trip. It also makes our list of our favorite Victoria area parks for families.

There’s a series of easy trails along the water, picnic areas with firepits, camping and hiking. In Fall, people come from all over to see the Salmon Run & Bald Eagles.

The Goldstream Trestle Trail is a flat, 3.5 km roundtrip easy trail that follows the old railway bed through the park. Past the Trestle.

For the more adventurous, a hike up Mount Finlayson offers a rewarding challenge with stunning panoramic views of Victoria & Valley. It’s a 6km rugged loop.

Another trail short leads you to a  47.5 metres tall waterfall.

You’ll wander through forests full of  600 year old Douglas fir and western red cedar trees along the river. Then arbutus trees, and lodgepole pine in the drier areas.

Final Thoughts: Day Trips from Victoria, BC Not to Miss

And there you have it – 21 incredible day trips from Victoria, BC, that promise to make your time on Vancouver Island truly unforgettable.

With such a diverse range of experiences to choose from, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie.

day trips victoria


Here are our favourite resources we use to research and book our trips. They offer competitive deals, and good customer service. Plus itineraries and more travel ideas for Victoria & Canada: Top whale watching tours in Victoria 3 Day Victoria Itinerary with Kids Free & Cheap Things to do in Victoria, BC Top 11+ Victoria Parks & Playgrounds not to miss! How to travel from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens Seattle to Victoria Ferry Best Seaplane Tours from Victoria —- Vancouver Island Bucket List Fun things to do in Parksville, BC Where to stay in Parksville, BC Canada How to see the Northern Lights in Yellowknife Booking.com – Book accomodations here. Excellent all round site for lowest lodging rates. VRBO – Book family friendly accommodations here, All the comforts of home, but no cleaning! Viator – Find & book even more experiences, tours & fun lessons world wide. Discover Cars – Use this comparison tool to find the best deal (worldwide) Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – Save money on flights Anything else? Check out our Family Travel Resources & Tips page

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Donna Garrison is the founder of Packed for Life, an ever curious traveler with a passion for making memories with her family. With a unique perspective on travelling on a budget gathered over 30 years, 20 countries and 5 continents she gives families the tools & resources they need to experience the joys of travelling more for less through practical solutions. She helps over 20,000 families a month plan & take the family travel, camping and road trip adventures of their dreams in Canada, the USA and around the world. Contact her at: Donna [at] packedforlife.com

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THE 10 BEST Day Trips from Victoria

Day trips from victoria.

  • Victoria to Yarra Valley
  • Victoria to Port Campbell
  • Victoria to Princetown
  • Victoria to Ventnor
  • Private Day Trips
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 2.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Likely to Sell Out
  • Special Offers
  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

day trips victoria

1. Great Ocean Road Small-Group Ecotour from Melbourne

day trips victoria

2. Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne

day trips victoria

3. Grampians National Park Small-Group Eco Tour from Melbourne

day trips victoria

4. Puffing Billy And Healesville Sanctuary Scenic Tour

day trips victoria

5. Small-Group Phillip Island Penguin Parade Day Tour from Melbourne

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6. Great Ocean Road Reverse Itinerary PREMIUM Tour

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7. Puffing Billy And Phillip Island Penguin Parade Bus Tour

day trips victoria

8. Phillip Island Penguin Parade, Wildlife and Beach Boxes Bus Tour

day trips victoria

9. Fruit Picking & Nature Private Tour Yarra Valley & Warburton

day trips victoria

10. Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour from Melbourne

day trips victoria

11. Great Ocean Road and Wildlife Tour for Backpackers aged 18-35

day trips victoria

12. Small-Group Great Ocean Road Classic Day Tour from Melbourne

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13. Yarra Valley Gourmet Small-Group Ecotour from Melbourne

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14. Half-Day or Full-Day Tour with Private Guide from Melbourne

day trips victoria

15. Private Great Ocean Road Day Trip from Melbourne

day trips victoria

16. Wilsons Promontory Day Trip from Melbourne

day trips victoria

17. Dandenong Ranges Private Day Tour

day trips victoria

18. Private One Day Great Ocean Road Tour (12 Hour)

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19. Full-Day Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Sunset Tour from Melbourne

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20. [Private Tour] “Penguin Parade” Phillip Island Tour.

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21. 12 Apostles and Shipwreck Coast Express Private Tour

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22. Private Great Ocean Road Day Tour With Early Departure (12 Hours)

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23. Golden Hour Penguins & Wine Tour with Pickups from Phillip Island

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24. The Great Ocean Road private 1 day tour

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25. Wilson's Promontory Small Group Eco Tour from Melbourne

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26. Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Day Tour from Melbourne

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27. Street Food & Street Art, Backroads & Boroughs

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28. Private Small Group Tour of 2-6pax in Great Ocean Road Melbourne

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29. Personalised private tours Melbourne With luxury chauffeurs

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30. Private Canberra Day Tour from Sydney

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The 16 BEST Weekend Getaways & Day Trips from Melbourne

If you live in Melbourne (or regional Victoria) area – or are just planning a holiday to Australia’s cultural capital and are looking for some great day trips and weekend getaways, you’ll have plenty of amazing choices. It is no secret that Melbourne is a vibrant and exciting place to visit (for 8 years it was ranked as the world’s most livable city! ) and it’s a favourite with foodies, wildlife lovers and sports enthusiasts alike.

But getting beyond the city to its rugged landscapes, dense forests, dramatic coastlines and incredible wine regions is where you find so much more and that’s what makes these weekend getaways in Victoria and day trips from Melbourne an absolute must for residents, visitors, and tourists alike!

psst. Melbourne is featured in both our epic guides to 100 Things to Do in Australia AND the 25 BEST Places to visit in Australia . So you know it’s a pretty cool place, right?!

Day Trips from Melbourne and Weekend Getaways in Victoria Header image of two limestone stacks in the ocean along the great ocean road with text overlay of the title

Table of Contents

  • 1 A Map of the Best Day Trips from Melbourne & the Best Weekend Getaways in Victoria!
  • 2.1 Great Ocean Road
  • 2.2 Phillip Island
  • 2.3 Healesville Sanctuary
  • 2.4 Yarra Valley Winery Tour
  • 2.5 Dandenong Ranges Tour by Puffing Billy Train
  • 2.6 Grampians National Park
  • 2.7 Macedon Ranges Tour
  • 3.1 Daylesford
  • 3.2 Wilsons Promontory
  • 3.3 Ballarat
  • 3.5 Mornington Peninsula
  • 3.6 High Country Silo Art Trail
  • 3.8 Mt Buller

A Map of the Best Day Trips from Melbourne & the Best Weekend Getaways in Victoria!

Weekend Getaways in Melbourne + Best Day Trips from Melbourne Map

Click the map image to be taken to the interactive map! Day Trips from Melbourne are marked in Blue, Weekend Getaways throughout Victoria are marked in Purple and the Green Markers make up the High Country Silo Art Trail (one of our weekend getaway options). Scroll down to find out more about each marker.

And if you need a few city centre wallet-friendly ideas, our guide to the 25 BEST FREE Things to do in Melbourne is right here waiting for you!

The 7 Best Day Trips from Melbourne

Great ocean road.

12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

RATED: ★★★★★½ (4.8/5) This full day coach tour of the Great Ocean Road accompanied by an experienced guide, gives you the wonderful opportunity to sit back and enjoy the views of this stunning stretch of the Australian coastline. Along the way you will stop at some of the roads top attractions including Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles. And if you want to bypass a lot of the crowds consider taking a Great Ocean Road Reverse day trip .


Phillip Island

Little penguin with his arms stretched out on the sand under a wooden pier

RATED: ★★★★½ (4.4/5) No trip to Melbourne is complete without a day trip to one of Australia’s most popular nature reserves where you will see a variety of sea birds, seals, and the famous penguins. Included within this Phillip Island day trip, you will also enjoy meeting the koalas and kangaroos at the Maru Koala Conservation and Animal Park.

On arrival at Phillip Island you’ll visit Cape Woolamai and Woolamai Beach where you’ll feel the sand between your toes as you watch the surfers taking on what are sometimes monstrous waves. You’ll then make your way to the volcano remains at The Nobbies before watching the little penguins make their way back to their burrow for the night at dusk. It’s the ultimate Penguin Parade Tour.

Healesville Sanctuary

Kangaroo lounging under a tree

RATED: ★★★★½ (4.4/5) Visit the Healesville Sanctuary where you can say hello to over 200 Australian native species, including kangaroos, wombats, koalas, and platypus to name a few. Top off your day by watching the spectacular ‘Spirit of the Sky’ bird of prey and parrots show. And if you want a more up close and personal experience, opt for one of the wildlife encounters that are offered by the sanctuary – which can be booked in advance direct (and is recommended in busy times).

Yarra Valley Winery Tour

Single level building with vineyards and fields in the background in the Yarra Valley

Wine lovers will not want to miss out on a day trip to the Yarra Valley, where you will enjoy touring some of the region’s most well-known wineries (including Domaine Chandon, Yering Station and more!) Spend the day gaining an understanding of wine making, sampling some delicious wines and enjoy a sumptuous lunch too. And don’t forget to grab a few bottles of your favourite wine at Cellar Door prices!

Dandenong Ranges Tour by Puffing Billy Train

Old steam train pulling a wooden train carriage through lush green forest on a wooden raised track

RATED: ★★★★ (4.1/5)  Enjoy a day to remember as you travel through Mount Dandenong with its lush Australian rainforest and picturesque bushland on the much loved, historic Puffing Billy steam train. Included within your sightseeing tour is a delicious Devonshire Tea, free time to explore the quaint little town of Sassafras and the opportunity to feed the native Rosella parrots.

Grampians National Park

Woman sitting on a rock looking out over Grampians National Park

RATED: ★★★★½ (4.7/5) Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will fall in love with the Grampians National Park. The far-reaching natural landscapes are ideal for nature lovers and budding photographers alike. As part of your trip, you will also learn about the areas fascinating history during the gold rush.

Macedon Ranges Tour

Hanging Rock looking out over green fields in the Macedon Ranges

RATED: ★★★★★ (5/5) During a day packed full of fun, adventure and wine tasting you will visit a handful of top wineries where you will have the opportunity to sample some award-winning wines, paired with delicious food and learn about the region and it’s wine making history.

As part of your day exploring the Macedon Ranges, you will also enjoy a refreshing morning tea and a two course lunch, and with a maximum of 7 people per tour, it can be easily customized through discussions with your group.

8 Incredible Weekend Getaways in Victoria

Australia is a big place and travel abroad can be a bit of a stretch too far on the wallet of a lot of people. But that doesn’t mean that all travel opportunities are off the table. There are quite a few options when it comes to weekend getaways from Melbourne, which each help you explore the amazing state of Victoria.

Daylesford Cider Company building with path leading down the middle with trees either side

Located North West of Melbourne, the town of Daylesford is renowned for its picturesque setting in the foothills the Great Dividing Range. The area is also known for the natural hot springs, making it popular with nature lovers and spa lovers alike who want to explore the surrounding landscapes.

Attractions to visit: Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, Hepburn Bath House (make it a spa day bathing in the mineral springs), Daylesford Cider Company (above), Daylesford Spa Country Railway & The Mill Markets antique store.

Places to stay: – Budget: The Daylesford Holiday Park – Luxury: Hepburn Spa Retreat – Family friendly: Daylesford Royal Hotel

Wilsons Promontory

Wooden boardwalk over a tidal river with green trees on the far bank at Wilsons Promontory

Journey the southernmost part of the Australian mainland for a weekend getaway to remember in the heart of Wilsons Promontory National Park. Explore the varied landscapes of this area from expansive mudflats to sandy beaches, home to secret coves. The park is also inhabited by a range of local wildlife, including swamp wallabys.

Attractions to visit: Wilsons Promontory National Park , Wilsons Promontory Marine Park, Mount Oberon Summit Track, Squeaky Beach & Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse

Places to stay: – Budget: Prom Gate Getaway – Luxury: Tindoona Cottages – Family friendly: Buln Buln Cabins

Reconstructed gold rush town with horse drawn carriage in Sovereign Hill, Vic

The historic city of Ballarat in Australia’s Central Highlands is known for its temperate rainforests. Famous for the Victorian Gold Rush and the Eureka Rebellion, Ballarat is the perfect weekend break for anyone passionate about history. Or take a drive out to Sovereign Hill to learn all about the regions Gold Rush.

Attractions to visit: Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat Wildlife Park, Kryal Castle, Ballarat Botanical Gardens & The Gold Museum .

Places to stay: – Budget: Begonia City Motor Inn – Luxury: Lascelles Ballarat – Family friendly: Best Western Plus Ballarat Suites

High lookout point looking down on the ocean and a road winding around the base of the green hill opposite the viewpoint

Situated along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, the coastal town of Lorne is just 2 hours drive from Melbourne and is a popular tourist destination for those who enjoy the outdoors, in particular budding surfers. The town is also home to a number of historic buildings. Making it great destination to explore as part of a weekend away.

Attractions to visit: The Erskine Falls, Teddy’s Lookout, Otway National Park & Lorne Beach – check out more things to do on the Great Ocean Road here.

Places to stay: – Budget: Lorne Coachman Inn – Luxury: Lorne World – Family friendly: Lorne Holiday House

Mornington Peninsula

Womans legs in clear hot springs water with a stone floor

Travel to the south of Melbourne to reach the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, Sandwiched between Port Phillip, Western Port and the Bass Strait. Just a short drive from the centre of the city this is the ideal location for an overnight break.

Attractions to visit: Mornington Peninsula National Park, Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens, Cape Shanck Lighthouse, Fort Nepean, Peninsula Hot Springs & Bushrangers Bay

Places to stay: – Budget: Sorrento Beach Motel – Luxury: Carmel at Sorrento – Family friendly: The Mornington Hotel

High Country Silo Art Trail

Silo Art of 3 shire horses walking towards you

Spreading over 200km, the Silo Art Trail in Victoria’s High Country is Australia’s largest outdoor gallery. Providing an insight into the true spirit of the Wimmera Mallee Region, the trail recognizes and celebrates the region’s people through a series of large-scale mural portraits painted onto grain silos, many of which date back to the 1930s. Use the official website (linked above) to help plan your trip as it features information on locations, accommodation options and most importantly – the location of petrol stations!

The Gorge Lookout with rocks either side looking down on green fields and forests below

The town of Bright sits close to both the Mount Buffalo National Park and the Alpine National Park, making it top of the list for anyone wanting to explore this unique area of the Australian landscape.

Attractions to visit: Mount Beauty, Canyon Walk, Mount Buffalo National Park, Canyon Walk & Morses Creek

Places to stay: – Budget: Bright Avenue Motor Inn – Luxury: Bright Colonial Motel – Family friendly: Bright Riverside Holiday Park

Chairlift carrying 2 skiers up the mountain at the side of a manicured flat piste

The resort village of Mount Buller is a thrill seekers dream. With plenty of exhilarating activities to enjoy in this beautiful alpine region, it’s is a great place to hit the slopes or explore the picturesque hiking trails, with breathtaking views guaranteed

Attractions to visit: National Alpine Museum, Bindaree Falls, Scenic chairlift tour

Places to stay: – Luxury: Alpine Retreat Mt Buller – Family-friendly: Breathtaker Hotel & Spa

That’s a wrap! We hope this guide to the best day trips from Melbourne and the top weekend getaways from Melbourne has been of help and most importantly, we hope you have the most amazing time exploring this part of Australia.

And if you like this post, or know someone who needs help planning a trip around the great state of Victoria, please share this travel guide with them via Facebook, Flipboard, Twitter or Pinterest!

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  • South Australia: South Australian Bucket List, Adelaide Travel Guide (Perfect for First Time Visitors)
  • Australian Capital Territory: Top Things to do in the ACT
  • New South Wales: Top Things to do in Sydney(inc. The Sydney Opera House), Best Places to visit in NSW
  • Northern Territory: Best Things to do in Darwin
  • Victoria: The Ultimate Victoria Bucketlist, Melbourne Travel Guide (Perfect for First Timers)
  • General Australia Inspiration: 25 Best Places to Visit in Australia
  • Queensland News & Events: Things to do on the Gold Coast

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6 great day trips from Melbourne

World-class wineries, grand ocean road trips, mineral-rich hot springs – discover them all easily within a day’s drive of Melbourne.

  By Ute Junker

Few cities are as perfectly positioned for day tripping as Melbourne. Just an hour or two out of town, you can find yourself walking through ancient rainforests, watching wild penguins and koalas, or admiring world-class art. Throw in pretty seaside towns, a 100-year-old steam train and some of the best restaurants in the country, and you have plenty of reasons to get out of town.

Soak up the delights of Daylesford

Lake House, Daylesford, VIC © Andrew Vukosav, Visit Victoria

Lake House, Daylesford, Victoria © Andrew Vukosav, Visit Victoria

Where: a 90-minute drive north-west of Melbourne.

With a scenic Central Highland setting and a healthy dose of style,  Daylesford  makes for an easy day out. Spend the morning browsing the enticing shops and galleries. Highlights include the sprawling Paradise Bookshop, the atmospheric  Convent Gallery  and artist David Bromley’s spectacular studio and gallery, Bromley and Co . Follow that with an indulgent lunch at  Lake House , one of Australia’s best regional restaurants. Another good choice is  Frank and Connie's Kitchen  down the road in Hepburn Springs where you will also find the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa . Finish the day with a relaxing soak in the mineral-rich waters, and perhaps a massage, before heading back to Melbourne.

Get a taste of the Great Ocean Road

Lorne, Great Ocean Road, VIC © Rob Blackburn, Visit Victoria

Lorne, Great Ocean Road, Victoria © Rob Blackburn, Visit Victoria

California Redwoods, Aire Valley, Colac-Otway, Victoria © Visit Victoria

Unmissable experience

In the heart of the Otways is a spectacular forest of Californian Redwoods . Stroll through towering trees, visit nearby waterfalls and enjoy a picnic before continuing your journey.

Where: The Great Ocean Road begins 90 minutes south-west of the city, in Torquay.

The  Great Ocean Road  is best explored over a couple of days; however, if you only have a day, you can still take in the highlights of the eastern end of the route. Start your journey from Torquay, one of Australia’s best-known surf towns and home to both the Rip Curl and Quiksilver surfwear labels. A further 45 minutes down the road,  Lorne  is another charming seaside town, known for its lively arts scene (don’t miss  Qdos Arts ) and its one-kilometre (0.6-mile) long beach. You might like to grab some lunch here before continuing on to the Great Ocean Road's most famous sight the  12 Apostles . Nearby, the striking Loch Ard Gorge is also worth visiting before you head back to Melbourne.

Savour the Yarra Valley's wine and wildlife

 Domaine Chandon Winery, Yarra Valley, VIC © Adrian Brown, Tourism Australia

Domaine Chandon Winery, Yarra Valley, Victoria © Adrian Brown, Tourism Australia

Where: about an hour drive north-east of the city.

Wineries aren’t the only attraction in the  Yarra Valley . Your first stop,  Coombe , is a historic house with heritage gardens that belonged to Australia’s first international opera star, Dame Nellie Melba. From here, it’s a quick drive to  Domaine Chandon , one of Australia’s premier producers of sparkling wine. After sampling the bubbles, head on to  Healesville Sanctuary  to encounter kangaroos, koalas, wombats, dingoes, lyrebirds, platypus and Tasmanian devils. Ready for some more wine tasting?  Innocent Bystander  and  TarraWarra Estate  are both recommended, and each has an excellent restaurant. Stop in at the  TarraWarra Museum of Art , which has a fabulous collection of acclaimed Australian artists such as Brett Whiteley, before heading back to Melbourne.

Green up in the Dandenongs

National Rhododendron Gardens, Olinda, VIC © Parks Victoria

National Rhododendron Gardens, Olinda, Victoria © Parks Victoria

Where: a one-hour drive east of Melbourne.

The  Dandenongs’  tall forests and glorious gardens are a perfect escape from the city. Start your adventures at  National Rhododendron Gardens . Its 42 hectares (104 acres) are filled with azaleas, camellias and cherries as well as rhododendrons. From here, it’s a short drive to Kallista, where Grants Picnic Ground is the start of a beautiful 6.6-kilometre (four-mile) circular walk in Sherbrooke Forest through fern-filled gullies where kookaburras and cockatoos make their homes. Continue on to another of the area’s charming villages, Belgrave, to take a trip into the past on a 100-year-old steam train known as  Puffing Billy . Book in for an on-board lunch and enjoy the return journey through the area’s towering forests before making your way back to Melbourne. 

Discover the natural beauty of Phillip Island

Forest Caves Beach, Phillip Island, VIC © David Hannah, Visit Victoria

Forest Caves Beach, Phillip Island, Victoria © David Hannah, Visit Victoria

Where: about a two-hour drive south of the city.

Aim to reach the fishing village of San Remo before midday to watch the daily feeding of the pelicans and stingrays. From here, a bridge takes you to  Phillip Island . Take a walk around rugged Cape Woolamai with its striking pink granite cliffs and golden sweep of sand. Next stop for motor sport fans will be the  Grand Prix Circuit  that hosts the Motorcycle Grand Prix each October; take a guided tour or do laps with a professional driver. After lunch take an  eco-cruise  to admire one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies. Finish the day at the  Penguin Parade , when hundreds of little penguins come ashore at Summerland Beach after a day swimming at sea. The island is also home to a koala reserve where you can walk along an elevated boardwalk to see koalas close up in their natural habitat.

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Where to meet Australia's cutest animals

Go coastal on the Mornington Peninsula

 Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, Red Hill South, VIC © Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove

Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, Red Hill South, Victoria © Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove

Where: about an hour south of the city.

Its pretty seaside villages, superb wineries and restaurants make the  Mornington Peninsula  a wonderful year-round destination. Take the inland route to reach the  McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery  at Langwarrin which showcases more than 100 works by well-known Australian artists. From here, start exploring the area’s celebrated wineries known for pinot noir and cool-climate chardonnay. Many of the best wineries, such as  Montalto  and  Ten Minutes by Tractor , also have acclaimed restaurants that are a great choice for lunch. After lunch, head to Peninsula Hot Springs for a relaxing soak in their thermal mineral baths before exploring historic seaside towns such as Portsea and Sorrento, which both feature well-preserved heritage buildings and beautiful beaches with great snorkelling. From Sorrento, enjoy the car ferry trip to the equally inviting town of Queenscliff, before heading back to Melbourne.

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Sightseeing Tours Australia

Victoria Tours

100% Australian Owned & Operated

Best Victoria Tours & Day Trips

Most famous for its cosmopolitan capital Melbourne, the state of Victoria is home to some of Australia’s best natural attractions. From the dramatic coastline of the Great Ocean Road to the sophisticated wineries of the Yarra Valley, there is something for everyone to love in Victoria. And by Aussie standards, it’s a small state, meaning you can see and do a lot, even in a short trip.

Of course, any trip around Victoria should start in Melbourne . Whether you’re a city person or not, it’s hard not to fall in love with this charismatic capital. But once you’ve been to a footy game, got lost down the laneways and had the best coffee of your life, it’s time to get out and explore the rest of this fine southern state. And we have plenty of Victoria Tours and short breaks to take you there!

Victoria Day Tours & Trips

All our Victorian day tours depart from Melbourne, so staying in the city means the rest of the state is within easy reach.

With over 1,800 kilometres of coastline, Victoria has plenty of beaches to explore. Enjoy one of Australia’s most spectacular coastal drives along the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles . Undoubtedly our most popular day tour in Victoria, a day trip along the Great Ocean Road will take you past pristine surf beaches, dramatic ocean cliffs and lush temperate rainforest. The highlight of the day will be the 12 Apostles, a series of towering limestone stacks off the coast near Port Campbell. With several Great Ocean Road tours available, we’re sure to have an option that suits you.

Other coastal regions of Victoria you can visit on a day trip include French Island, Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory. Besides the unbeatable natural scenery, these areas are also famous for the adorable wildlife. Join a Phillip Island tour to watch as thousands of little penguins make their way ashore each day. French Island is home to a large koala population. At Wilsons Promontory, you should always keep an eye out for wombats!

Melbourne is famous for its food and wine culture, and thankfully the rest of Victoria is no different. If you’re keen to taste Victoria’s regional flavours, sign up for one of our winery tours to the Yarra Valley or the Mornington Peninsula . Both these well-known Victorian wine regions are recognised for their sophisticated wines and world-class restaurants. Cheers!

Short Breaks in Victoria

Some of Victoria’s top destinations definitely warrant a longer stay to better appreciate the area. Outdoor lovers will enjoy a night in the Grampians on our 2 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians tour. Spend day one winding your way down the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles. Then on day two, explore the bushland and rocky scenery of the Grampians with bushwalks.

Our 2 Day Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island tour combines our two most popular tours in Victoria into one short break. Staying overnight in Torquay, you’ll explore the Great Ocean Road on day one, before taking the ferry across Port Phillip Bay to spend day two on Phillip Island. Finish the tour off at the Penguin Parade before returning to Melbourne. It’s the best way to explore these two natural treasures!

Sightseeing Tours Australia has stacks of day trips and short breaks to explore Victoria. Check out what’s on offer or get in touch today to find out more!

Tours in Victoria

50 tours found

Must Do Melbourne Tour Package

Must Do Melbourne Tour Package

Melbourne's two best day tours, Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island, with entrance to Melbourne Skydeck.

Duration: 2 Days

Tour type: Attraction; Sightseeing

Available Now

1 Day Great Ocean Road Tour & 12 Apostles Tour

1 Day Great Ocean Road Tour & 12 Apostles Tour

Travel along one of Australia's most spectacular coastal drives and visit the iconic 12 Apostles.

Duration: 1 Day

Tour type: Sightseeing; Bus Tour

1 Day Phillip Island Tour

1 Day Phillip Island Tour

Observe Australia's adorable wildlife at the Penguin Parade, Moonlit Sanctuary & Nobbies.

1 Day Mount Buller Snow Tour

1 Day Mount Buller Snow Tour

Visit a winter wonderland as you ski down the slopes, play in the snow and peruse the charming shops.

Tour type: Large Coach

1 Day Lake Mountain Snow Tour

1 Day Lake Mountain Snow Tour

Visit Melbourne’s closest snow resort for 3 hours of snow play, explore Steaveson Falls & more.

Tour type: Small Group

1 Day Wilsons Promontory Tour

1 Day Wilsons Promontory Tour

Join our tour including wildlife spotting & guided bush walks to some of Australia's best beaches.

Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour

Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour

The Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour offers world famous surf beaches, Aussie wildlife, and the awe inspiring 12 Apostles at sunset.

Half Day Melbourne City Tour

Half Day Melbourne City Tour

Explore the best of Melbourne from iconic landmarks to the vibrant waterfront and delicious cuisine.

Duration: 4 Hours

Tour type: Small Group; Attraction

1 Day Grampians Tour

1 Day Grampians Tour

Explore the lookouts, waterfalls and sandstone mountains of the Grampians with guided bushwalks.

1 Day Mornington Peninsula & Hot Springs Tour

1 Day Mornington Peninsula & Hot Springs Tour

Our ultimate Mornington tour visiting hot springs, colourful beach boxes and Murrays Lookout.

French Island & Phillip Island Penguin Tour

French Island & Phillip Island Penguin Tour

Enjoy unique wildlife encounters, rugged coastal scenery and sample scrumptious local produce.

Mornington Peninsula Wine and Food Lovers Tour

Mornington Peninsula Wine and Food Lovers Tour

Savour the flavours of the Mornington Peninsula with tastings at 3 wineries and a brewery, plus more.

Yarra Valley Wine & Food Lovers Tour

Yarra Valley Wine & Food Lovers Tour

Savour the flavours of the Yarra Valley with wine tasting at four wineries and lunch included.

Private Group Great Ocean Road Tour

Private Group Great Ocean Road Tour

Explore the Great Ocean Road your way with family and friends on our customisable private tour. 

Tour type: Private Tour

From $ 1100

Explore Mornington Peninsula & Lunch Cruise

Explore Mornington Peninsula & Lunch Cruise

Enjoy highlights of the Mornington Peninsula with a bay cruise, brewery tasting, and more!

Tour type: Boat/Cruise; Attraction

Yarra Valley Sunset Tour from Melbourne

Yarra Valley Sunset Tour from Melbourne

Join this tasting tour to sample the best from the Yarra Valley, then embark on a Kangaroo Safari!

Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tour from Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tour from Yarra Valley

Enjoy a yummy champagne brunch, wine tastings, cheese samples, and more on this exciting day tour.

Private Group Phillip Island Tour

Private Group Phillip Island Tour

Relax with your group on private transport while you admire the sights & wildlife of Phillip Island.

2 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour

2 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour

2 days exploring beaches, coastal cliffs, waterfalls & bushland with accommodation in the Grampians.

Melbourne City Foodie Walking Tour

Melbourne City Foodie Walking Tour

Delight your taste buds on a delicious culinary journey through Melbourne.

Tour type: Walking; Small Group

2 Day Great Ocean Road Tour

2 Day Great Ocean Road Tour

Take your time soaking up the Great Ocean Road’s best-loved landmarks and attractions over two days.

Great Ocean Road Reverse Tour

Great Ocean Road Reverse Tour

Avoid the crowds and head straight to the 12 Apostles, travelling on the Great Ocean Rd in reverse.

1 Day Phillip Island Boutique Tour

1 Day Phillip Island Boutique Tour

Spend a day exploring the home of the little penguins, immersing yourself in the beauty of the area.

Tour type: Boutique

Boutique Great Ocean Road Tour

Boutique Great Ocean Road Tour

Maximum group size of 12 travellers with reverse itinerary to beat the crowds at the 12 Apostles.

Tour type: Small Group; Boutique

2 Day Melbourne to Adelaide Tour

2 Day Melbourne to Adelaide Tour

Travel along the Great Ocean Road, hike the Grampians and learn about the local Indigenous culture.

3 Day Melbourne to Adelaide Tour

3 Day Melbourne to Adelaide Tour

Take your time travelling via the Great Ocean Road and Grampians, including accommodation.

Duration: 3 Days

3 Day Adelaide to Melbourne Tour

3 Day Adelaide to Melbourne Tour

Delve into Victoria’s country landscapes as you explore the Grampians, 12 Apostles and much more! 

Mt Buller Return on a Different Day

Mt Buller Return on a Different Day

Stay overnight to take full advantage of Mt Buller's epic ski runs & activities on and off the snow.

Half Day Puffing Billy Tour

Half Day Puffing Billy Tour

Hop on this historic steam train as it weaves through the lush greenery of the Dandenong Ranges.

Duration: 5 Hours

Currently Unavailable

Sydney to Adelaide Tour

Sydney to Adelaide Tour

Explore Canberra, Melbourne and the amazing landscapes & wildlife in between as you head to Adelaide.

Duration: 4 Days

Sydney to Darwin Tour

Sydney to Darwin Tour

See Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, and the Australian Outback on a 12-day adventure to Darwin!

Duration: 14 Days

1 Day Puffing Billy Steam Train & Healesville Wildlife Tour

1 Day Puffing Billy Steam Train & Healesville Wildlife Tour

Experience the magic of the past as you embark on a journey through the Dandenong Ranges aboard the legendary Puffing…

Melbourne Hidden Bar Tour

Melbourne Hidden Bar Tour

Uncover three of Melbourne's best-kept secret bars and experience a personalised cocktail (or three).

Duration: 3 Hours

Tour type: Walking

Sydney to Perth Tour

Sydney to Perth Tour

Explore the natural & cultural wonders along the south coast between these two great Aussie cities.

Perth to Melbourne Tour

Perth to Melbourne Tour

Start from sunny Perth and finish in Melbourne! Uncovering beaches, national parks, and more.

Duration: 13 Days

Perth to Sydney Tour

Perth to Sydney Tour

15-day journey including beach stops, wildlife encounters and sandboarding before you reach Sydney.

Duration: 15 Days

Melbourne to Perth Tour

Melbourne to Perth Tour

Spend 12 days zigzagging along the South coast and see Adelaide, Esperance, and Margaret River.

Duration: 12 Days

1 Day Great Ocean Road Tour - Large Coach

1 Day Great Ocean Road Tour - Large Coach

Enjoy a more comfortable experience with travel on our luxury coach amidst stunning coastal views.

Melbourne to Darwin Tour

Melbourne to Darwin Tour

Get a blend of urban & natural wonders by trekking from the art hub Melbourne to the outback Darwin.

Duration: 11 Days

Adelaide to Sydney Tour

Adelaide to Sydney Tour

Explore the Grampians, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, and Canberra on this epic 4-day journey!

Duration: 5 Days

Tour type: Small Group; Large Coach

1 Day Sovereign Hill & Ballarat

1 Day Sovereign Hill & Ballarat

Discover the stories of the historical Victorian goldfields, visiting museums, lookouts & landmarks.

2 Day Wilsons Promontory & Phillip Island Nature & Wildlife Tour

2 Day Wilsons Promontory & Phillip Island Nature & Wildlife Tour

Join our small-group, overnight tour exploring the natural wonders of Phillip Island & Wilsons Prom.

Around the Bay Food & Wine Lovers Tour

Around the Bay Food & Wine Lovers Tour

Taste your way around the Bay in search of the best local food and wine, including a 2-hour cruise.

Tour type: Small Group; Boat/Cruise

The Evening Penguin Parade Tour

The Evening Penguin Parade Tour

Head straight to the Penguin Parade with tickets included on our late departure tour from Melbourne.

Melbourne Highlights with River Cruise

Melbourne Highlights with River Cruise

Explore the highlights of Melbourne on our city tour aboard a luxury coach, including river cruise.

Tour type: Large Coach; Boat/Cruise

Melbourne City Tour

Melbourne City Tour

Enjoy a morning exploring Melbourne, admiring top landmarks & hearing stories of the city's history 

Bellarine Food & Wine Lovers Tour

Bellarine Food & Wine Lovers Tour

Discover the Bellarine Peninsula through its exquisite food, wine, and beers on this tour of gourmet delights.

2 Day Melbourne to Sydney Tour

2 Day Melbourne to Sydney Tour

Stay overnight in Australia's capital, Canberra, as you journey through stunning scenery to Sydney!

2 Day Sydney to Melbourne Tour

2 Day Sydney to Melbourne Tour

Explore Australia's vibrant capital, Canberra, as you travel through the countryside to Melbourne.

2 Day Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island Tour

2 Day Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island Tour

Explore two of Victoria’s most iconic destinations, including overnight accommodation in Queenscliff.

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M is for Melbourne

17 Great Day Trips from Melbourne in 2024: Beaches, Bushland and Small Towns

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Looking for some great day trips from Melbourne? With so much to do in Australia’s Capital of Culture, you can easily spend 3 days in Melbourne , a week, or even longer – it’ll be hard to drag yourself away. But there are also so many gorgeous places outside the city to explore, and I highly encourage you to do just that.

Within an hour you can be in one of Australia’s premier wine regions, within two hours you can be by gorgeous beaches or spotting wildlife (penguins! koalas!), and within a few more hours you can be in a heritage-listed national park.

As a Melbourne local, I’ve explored all over Victoria, and these are my favourite places to visit near Melbourne.

So, if you want to explore some of these spots, here are the best Melbourne day trips. Make sure you add a few extra days to your Melbourne itinerary so that you can squeeze one or two of these day trips in!

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

What's in this article (Click to view)

How to do these Melbourne day trips

While Melbourne has an extensive public transport network , it’s going to be difficult to do most of these day trips without your own car. There may be buses or trains that can get you to the towns listed here, but once you’re there you’ll have to rely on local public transport (which may be limited) or taxis (Ubers don’t exist in most of the smaller towns).

Because of that, I highly recommend doing day trips from Melbourne by car. Most of the well-known car rental brands have branches in the Melbourne CBD (central business district); check out DiscoverCars for options and pricing. You can rent automatic and manual cars.

Remember, if you’re visiting Melbourne from overseas, we drive on the left-hand side here in Australia!

An alternative is to rent a car for the day through Popcar . Popcar is a local car-sharing company that allows members to access cars on an hourly or daily basis.

It’s a great option for locals who want to take day trips from Melbourne but don’t have a car (and don’t want to deal with hassles like insurance, car payments and petrol). And it’s also great for people visiting Melbourne who want access to a car for just a day or two. There’s a fuel card in each car so you don’t even need to pay for petrol, and there are plenty of convenient Popcar locations around Melbourne.

You can easily rent a car for one of these Melbourne day trips

Some roads to these day trip destinations will have tolls – if you’re renting a car or hiring a car through Popcar, you’ll be billed separately for these tolls (which can cost between $2 and $10 each). Alternatively, go into your Google maps settings to switch the route to avoid tolls.

However, if you’d prefer to relax and let someone else do the driving for you, I’ve also suggested some Melbourne day tours for these awesome day trip destinations (where available).

Melbourne day trips map

If you’re not familiar with Victoria, here’s a map that shows the location of each of these day trips around Melbourne.

Day trips under 1 hour from Melbourne

1. yarra valley.

Distance from CBD: 58km / 1 hour

There aren’t many cities that can boast a world-renowned wine region just under an hour from its doorstep. Well, Melbourne can. One of Australia’s best wine regions, the Yarra Valley, is just a short drive from the CBD, making it an easy day trip from Melbourne.

The Yarra Valley is known for its Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varietals. The fertile soils here have been producing award-winning wines since the first grapes were planted back in the 1830s.

But it’s not just wines that the area is famous for – the rolling hills are also home to fruit and vegetable production and cheese and dairy products.

TarraWarra Estate in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne is a great destination for a day trip

Don’t miss:

  • The wineries of course! With more than 300 wineries, you’ll have to make some difficult decisions to whittle down to a list of places to visit in one day. A few popular ones are Yering Station , Oakridge , Giant Steps and TarraWarra
  • Taking a hot air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley at sunrise (book online here )
  • Tasting cheeses at Yarra Valley Dairy, and ice cream and chocolates at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
  • Dining in style at a winery like TarraWarra, Ezard at Levantine Hill or Yering Station, or something more casual at Innocent Bystander

Best time to visit the Yarra Valley:

Year-round, although it’s of course a little chillier in the Yarra Valley during winter. Check ahead of time to make sure wineries are open during your visit. Some only open on certain days of the week, or require reservations in advance. Do the planning ahead to avoid being disappointed!

How to get to the Yarra Valley:

You’ll need a car to get here – public transport won’t get you to the cellar doors, unfortunately. Of course, be safe and make sure someone’s the designated driver!

Guided option: Stay safe and hire a driver or join a Melbourne Yarra Valley wine tour like this one which includes visits to 4 wineries, lunch and chocolate tasting, or this day trip to 3 wineries, or this day tour to sample wine, cheese and chocolate.

2. Healesville

Distance from CBD: 65km/1.25 hours

day trips victoria

If you want to see wildlife in Australia, then head to Healesville and the famous Healesville Sanctuary.

This renowned wildlife park is dedicated to the preservation and display of Australia’s unique fauna. Visitors can get up close and personal with iconic Australian animals, such as kangaroos, koalas, wombats and platypuses.

Beyond the wildlife, Healesville is also home to some great pubs and distilleries, so plan your trip to the Healesville Sanctuary around lunch. Healesville is in the Yarra Valley, so you can also combine a trip here with visits to the wineries I mentioned earlier.

  • Seeing wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary like kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, dingoes, platypuses and native birds (book tickets online here )
  • Wandering around Healesville to get a taste of country Australia – stop in at the stores selling local produce, have lunch at a pub or check out the Four Pillars Gin Distillery
  • A favourite of mine, the Healesville Hotel has recently undergone a huge reno, making this gastropub even better

Best time to visit Healesville:

Healesville is a great destination year-round. Winters are cold out here. Weekends are particularly busy, so if you want to avoid the crowds, head to the Healesville Sanctuary during the week (just check that restaurants are open).

How to get to Healesville

Healesville is an easy drive from the city. If you’re intent on public transport, you can take a train to Lilydale and then a bus, but it’ll take around 2 hours.

Guided option: Book a tour to Healesville and combine it with other Melbourne attractions like Puffing Billy. This tour combines both with air-conditioned pick-up from the CBD.

3. Dandenong Ranges

Distance from CBD: 50km / 1 hour

The Dandenong Ranges offers a quick escape to nature from the city. An hour east of the city you’ll find great hikes, city views, cute villages and gorgeous gardens to explore.

This area has something for everyone. Hiking? There’s the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Foodie experience? No problem – there are plenty of restaurants and farmgates to visit. Shopping? Check out the boutiques in towns like Olinda and Sassafras. Travelling with kids? Get them on board a historic steam train.

The Dandenong Ranges is one of the easiest day trips from Melbourne at under an hour's drive from the CBD

  • Taking a ride on the century-old Puffing Billy – this steam train ride through lush temperate rainforest is one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids (and big kids!)
  • Stopping for Devonshire tea at Miss Marple’s Tea Room
  • Exploring the sculptures carved into tree trunks and rocks at tranquil William Ricketts Sanctuary or wandering through the picturesque Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
  • The great views of the Melbourne skyline from SkyHigh Mount Dandenong
  • Hiking through the Dandenong Ranges National Park – the 1000 Steps walk is a 3-kilometre track with plaques that commemorate the soldiers who fought and died on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea (if you want to know what it’s like trekking the real Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, then read here !)
  • Walking the Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track between Sassafras and Emerald – this 15km hike takes 5-6 hours, so this is a day trip in itself!

Best time to visit the Dandenong Ranges:

You can visit the Dandenong Ranges and surrounding area year-round, but rug up in winter. At any time of year, it’s generally a few degrees cooler here than it will be in the city. This is where I live, so I know!

Insider tip: It’s usually very busy here on weekends, especially if the weather is nice, so plan to get here earlier in the day. You’ll find it much quieter during the week.

How to get to the Dandenong Ranges:

Depending on where you want to visit, you can catch public transport to train stations like Belgrave, Upper Ferntree Gully or Croydon, and then walk or bus from there. But if you want to really explore the area at your own pace, then having your own wheels is the best to way to visit the Dandenong Ranges.

Guided option: Although the Dandenong Ranges is just a short drive from the Melbourne CBD, you can leave the planning to someone else on this tour that covers both Puffing Billy and the incredible Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary

4. Macedon Ranges

Distance from CBD: 65km / 1 hour

Less than one hour’s drive northwest of Melbourne is the underrated region of the Macedon Ranges. I’d venture that not many tourists make it up this way when they visit Melbourne, but if you do make the effort, you’ll discover charming towns filled with wineries, restaurants serving up local produce, plenty of outdoor activities and the laidback vibe of country Victoria.

Trentham Falls in the Macedon Ranges makes for an underrated day trip from Melbourne

  • Taking the scenic drive to the summit of Mt Macedon – especially stunning at sunset
  • Exploring the almost 30 cellar doors in the region, including Hanging Rock Winery and Mount Macedon Winery
  • Visiting mysterious Hanging Rock, famous for being the location where a group of schoolgirls disappeared mysteriously in 1900 (the story’s actually not true, but because of the Peter Weir movie Picnic at Hanging Rock, most Australians think it is!). You can hike to the peak, which takes about 30 minutes
  • Seeing Victoria’s longest single drop waterfall at Trentham Falls – these falls are gorgeous and just a short walk to get to
  • Trekking with llamas – yes really!

Best time to visit the Macedon Ranges:

You can visit the Macedon Ranges year-round, but it’s especially beautiful during autumn (Fall) when the leaves start changing colour.

How to get to the Macedon Ranges:

The Macedon Ranges is a region, so if you’re planning to visit a few of the things I’ve just mentioned, you’ll need a car to see them all. Alternatively, if you plan to visit just one town in the region – Trentham or Woodend, for example – you can reach those towns by train from Melbourne.

Melbourne day trips 1-2 hours away

5. mornington peninsula.

Distance from CBD: 75km / 1.5 hours

For such a small slice of land, there’s actually so much to do around the Mornington Peninsula – you could easily turn a visit to the region into multiple day trips or a weekend away.

The Mornington Peninsula is just 1.5 hours from Melbourne city and is a collection of seaside villages ranging from family-friendly beaches to high-end resort areas. There are wineries, art galleries, great bushwalks, and plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars.

The Mornington Peninsula is one of the most popular day trips around Melbourne

  • Taking a walk or two through the almost 3,000-hectare Mornington Peninsula National Park, or exploring the military forts and tunnels and former quarantine station of Point Nepean National Park
  • Spending some time on the beach – Sorrento Back Beach, Mt Martha and Safety Beach are all good choices, but I’d actually spend the day exploring all the beaches around the peninsula if you have the time!
  • Spending a day lazing about in one of the natural springs or pampering yourself with a massage at Peninsula Hot Springs or Alba
  • Taking a few pics at the colourful beach bathing boxes that dot the various beaches around the peninsula
  • Checking out upscale Sorrento and Portsea for some boutique shopping
  • Exploring the wineries around Red Hill – Pt. Leo Estate has a spectacular sculpture garden and two great restaurants, while Montalto and Ten Minutes by Tractor are two other well-regarded wineries in the region
  • Getting a great view from Arthurs Seat, either from the various roadside lookouts or from a gondola on the Arthurs Seat Eagle
  • Tasting some locally made gin – or even make up your own concoction! – at Bass and Flinders Distillery

Best time to visit the Mornington Peninsula:

Year-round, but it’s very busy during the summer holidays (the week before Christmas to the end of January). Beach car parks are usually full by mid-morning and there are lines for restaurants and cafés. Traffic can bank up for kilometres, so factor traffic jams into your Mornington Peninsula day trip planning.

How to get to the Mornington Peninsula:

A car is going to be the easiest way to get to and around the Mornington Peninsula. You can catch trains from the Melbourne CBD (head to Frankston, Hastings or Stony Point) and then you’ll need to use local bus services, which makes it convoluted and time consuming.

Guided option: There are several tours of the Mornington Peninsula that include transportation from Melbourne. Here are a few that I found online:

  • Sightseeing Tour with Bay Sailing – enjoy the sights of the Mornington Peninsula from land and the water
  • Mornington Peninsula and Hot Springs Tour – this active day trip includes taking in the views from Arthurs Seat, an 8-kilometre hike and then a soak in the Peninsula Hot Springs 
  • Mornington Peninsula Food and Wine Taste Trail – explore the Mornington Peninsula’s culinary side on this full-day tour

6. Bellarine Peninsula

Distance from CBD: 92km / 1.5 hours

On the opposite side of the bay to the Mornington Peninsula is the Bellarine Peninsula, two spits reaching out to each other like arms in a big hug. Like the Mornington Pensinsula, the Bellarine Peninsula is a popular place for summer holidays, offering surf, beaches, historic towns and wineries.

Close to Melbourne is the Bellarine Peninsula, known for great beaches, wineries and charming towns

  • Stopping at each of the towns around the peninsula and picking your favourite. Visit Queenscliff, Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale and Portarlington, to name just a few
  • Hitting up one or two of the many beaches around this coastal region
  • Visiting the Queenscliff Maritime Museum to learn about the area’s marine history
  • Touring Fort Queenscliff , built to defend Port Phillip (and Melbourne)
  • Checking out the wineries around the Bellarine: Jack Rabbit , Oakdene (with an upside down house!) and Scotchmans Hill are top picks

Best time to visit the Bellarine Peninsula:

Like the Mornington Peninsula, you can visit the Bellarine Peninsula year-round, although it’s cold in the winter months and you won’t even want to dip a toe into the water! During summer, the beaches are packed.

How to get to the Bellarine Peninsula:

Again, a car is going to be the most efficient way to get down to the Bellarine Peninsula. For public transport, you’ll need to get to Geelong (via V/Line train) and then take a bus/es to where you want to go, limiting yourself to what you can see and do in a day.

A fun way to get down here is the ferry – jump on board at Dockalnds in Melbourne and alight at Portarlington. Check tickets here , and you can even arrange a full-day tour with transfers included.

Guided option: Here are some tours that I’ve found online:

  • Around the Bay Food and Wine Taste Trail – hit both the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas on this foodie tour of the region
  • Bay Sightseeing and Ferry Ride with Lunch – spend a full day exploring with stops at a brewery, scenic lookouts and the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre

7. Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

Distance from CBD: 112km / 1.5 hours

Rejuvenate yourself in the natural mineral waters that bubble up from the ground in the areas around the two towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. These two towns are a great day trip from Melbourne, offering relaxation, great food and a New Age vibe.

This is one of my favourite day trips from Melbourne – although I’ve only ever visited here on weekends away, actually!

Spend a day away from Melbourne pampering at one of the bathhouses in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

  • Soaking at Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, with its historic bathhouse . If you don’t want to take a dip, you can simply fill up a bottle from one of the pumps and sip the water instead
  • Checking out funky Convent Gallery , now an art gallery and café
  • Nibbling on charcuterie and sipping on wine at the very funky Winespeake
  • Dining at Lake House , one of Victoria’s (and Australia’s) premier restaurants
  • Sipping a few local brews at Daylesford Cider
  • Chowing down on an incredible breakfast at Cliffy’s Emporium (delicious!) or dinner at the Farmers Arms Hotel

Best time to visit Daylesford and Hepburn Springs:

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs can both be visited year-round. There’s a special atmosphere, however, during winter you’ll need to rug up, but it’s so cosy sitting in front of fires in cafés and restaurants.

How to get to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs:

Rent a car for the 1.5-hour drive to Daylesford. V/Line trains and buses run from Melbourne to Woodend; from there you’ll need to get a separate bus to Daylesford.

8. Torquay and Lorne

Distance from CBD: 105km / 1.5 hours (Torquay), 142km / 2 hours (Lorne)

If you don’t have enough time or energy to do a whole Great Ocean Road itinerary (see later on in this post) in one day, then plan a day trip from Melbourne to visit Torquay or Lorne – or both towns.

Torquay is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, a surf town where it’s perfectly acceptable to wander around barefoot. Lorne is a little more sophisticated, but still charming and relaxed. While there’s a lot to do in the area, the chilled out vibe of these towns makes a visit one of the most relaxed day drives from Melbourne.

Torquay is a short drive from Melbourne, making it a great destination for a day trip

  • Learning about surfing at the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay
  • Hitting up the beaches along the coast – Bells Beach is world-famous and a great spot to watch surfers, Torquay Front Beach has calm waters and Lorne Beach is conveniently in the main part of town
  • Exploring Erskine Falls, just outside of Lorne
  • Learning to surf at Torquay Surf Academy or Go Ride a Wave
  • Sipping some local brews at Blackman’s Brewery and Bells Beach Brewing (both in Torquay)
  • Learning about the history of the Great Ocean Road at the Great Ocean Road Story exhibit at the visitor centre in Lorne

Best time to visit:

You can visit Torquay and Lorne year-round. You’ll find fewer crowds if you come on the edges of the summer holidays (early to mid-December and then late January) but still have great summer weather (hopefully!). Winter is colder of course, but you’ll still be able to spot surfers. If you’re brave enough to take a surf lesson in winter, surf classes are usually offered at a discount.

How to get to Torquay and Lorne:

Rent your own car so that you can plan a leisurely day of driving between the two towns and then back to Melbourne. You’ll need a car to get to places like Bells Beach.

On public transport, you can take a V/Line train to Geelong and then a bus to Torquay or Lorne.

Watching surfers at Bells Beach is one of the best things to do in Torquay

9. Ballarat

Distance from CBD: 116km / 1.5 hours

Ballarat was built off the back of the 1850s gold rush, and you can still see the spoils in the town’s streets. Grand old buildings still stand today, and attractions that recognise the past draw thousands of visitors each year.

Visiting the Ballarat Botanical Gardens is one of the top things to do in Ballarat, Victoria

  • Visiting Sovereign Hill , a “living museum” that immerses visitors in life in a gold rush township. This is one of the best things to do in Victoria for families. Here, you can pan for gold or dress up in Victorian costume for a photo
  • Checking out the Eureka Centre and learning about the Eureka Rebellion
  • Browsing the Art Gallery of Ballarat , the oldest regional art gallery in Australia
  • Exploring 40 colourful hectares of flowers, gardens and trees at Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Best time to visit Ballarat:

Ballarat is fine to visit year-round, although winters can be brutally cold. My grandparents used to live nearby and I always froze when we visited them in winter. Rug up!

How to get to Ballarat:

Rent a car for the 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne to Ballarat, or take a direct V/Line train from Melbourne to Ballarat (which also takes about the same amount of time).

10. Geelong

Distance from CBD: 75km / 1 hour and 15 mins

Melburnians have often looked down their nose at Victoria’s second-largest city, but Geelong is coming into its own. It’s now filled with hip restaurants, funky galleries and street art, and there’s a beautiful waterfront that’s perfect for strolling.

Check out the second largest city in Victoria, Geelong, on a day trip from Melbourne

  • Strolling along the Geelong Waterfront and finding unique pieces of outdoor art
  • Visiting the Geelong Art Gallery to see some notable Australian artworks
  • Learning about the importance of wool at the National Wool Museum
  • Discovering Fyansford Paper Mill , a picturesque old bluestone paper mill that’s now jammed with wineries, cafés and arts and crafts stalls
  • Visiting the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre to learn about the Aboriginal connection to land

Best time to visit Geelong:

Geelong is great to visit year-round, although summer and the warmer months mean better weather for wandering along the waterfront. As one of Victoria’s bigger cities, there are events held throughout the year.

How to get to Geelong:

As usual, the easiest way to get to Geelong is by car. The city is well connected to Melbourne via V/Line trains that run regularly every day and take around an hour.

Guided option: This tour includes the Geelong Waterfront, Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre and a bay cruise.

11. Castlemaine

Distance from CBD: 129km / 1.5 hours

Located in the goldfields region in central Victoria, Castlemaine is another destination that isn’t often on the radar of visitors to Melbourne. This is country Victoria at is most charming, with 18 th century buildings mixing with funky art galleries and trendy cafés serving locally grown produce.

Charming Castlemaine is a great option for a road trip from Melbourne

  • Visiting the Castlemaine Art Museum , which dates back to 1913
  • Seeing Castlemaine’s vibrant culture of food and arts at The Mill , a former woollen mill that’s now a hub for small businesses and foodies
  • Hunting for antiques at one of Castlemaine’s many antique shops
  • Exploring abandoned mines at the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park , a gold rush-era site

Best time to visit Castlemaine:

Year-round, but like many parts of central Victoria, Castlemaine can be chilly (although atmospheric) during winter.

How to get to Castlemaine:

Rent a car so you can explore the town at your leisure, or jump on a V/Line train from Melbourne to Castlemaine (1.5 hours).

12. Bendigo

Distance from CBD: 153km / just under 2 hours

Another of Victoria’s gold rush towns, Bendigo is now fast becoming renowned for its culinary scene. In fact, in 2019 it was crowned Australia’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy. So, come here to fill your belly but also learn about the town’s history.

Bendigo's history as a goldrush town makes it one of the best places to visit in Victoria

  • Browsing the award-winning Bendigo Art Gallery
  • Riding the Bendigo Talking Tram , restored trams that drive the highlights of Bendigo with narrated history and information
  • Going down, down, down up 228 metres underground at the Central Deborah Gold Mine , a former working mine – not an activity for you if you’re claustrophobic!
  • Learning about Chinese heritage in Australia at the Golden Dragon Museum
  • Getting behind the wheel or simply buying a souvenir from Bendigo Pottery
  • Reflecting at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion , an almost 50-metre-high pagoda
  • Sipping shiraz at the gorgeous Balgownie Estate cellar door

Best time to visit Bendigo:

Bendigo is a great city to visit year-round, although it’s cold in winter.

How to get to Bendigo:

Hire a car for the 2-hour drive to Bendigo, or there are regular V/Line trains from Melbourne to Bendigo each day.

13. Phillip Island

Distance from CBD: 142km / 2 hours

Mention Phillip Island and it’ll usually elicit awwwws for the cute little penguins that waddle up the beach each night to sleep in their burrows. But penguins aren’t the only nature you’ll see here – there are seals, koalas, birdlife and other Australian creatures.

Oh, and the Hemsworth brothers spent part of their early lives on Phillip Island – Liam apparently has a house here, so you might be lucky to spot him!

The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island in Victoria is one of the most popular things to do near Melbourne

  • Watching the nightly Penguin Parade
  • Cruising past Seal Rock and spotting plenty of, well, seals
  • Taking a virtual journey to Antarctica with the interactive and immersive experiences at the Antarctic Journey
  • Wandering the tree-top boardwalks to see cuddly koalas at the Koala Conser vation Reserve
  • Becoming a revhead at the Phillip Island Circuit , where you can drive a BMW around the track, mess about on Go Karts or visit the History of Motorsport Museum
  • Gorging at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

Best time to visit Phillip Island:

Winters are cold – even in summer the whipping wind puts quite a chill in the air, so come with a jacket. The little penguins come ashore all year around, but you’ll be able to fit more into your day trip during the summer months when the sun sets around 8.45pm.

How to get to Phillip Island:

This is a day trip from Melbourne where I’d recommend visiting by car, because getting here by public transport is fiddly and time-consuming.

Guided option: Because Phillip Island is such a popular day trip from Melbourne, there are plenty of tours that include transport from the city:

  • Phillip Island Tour and Penguin Parade – this full-day tour includes penguin spotting, as well as encounters with kangaroos, wombats and echidnas
  • Penguins and Wildlife Full Day Tour – this tour includes plenty of wildlife spotting as well as an extensive tour of the island
  • Seal Watching Cruise – get out on the water to spot seals (note that this tour  doesn’t  include transport to and from Phillip Island)
  • Phillip Island Day Tour – hike around Cape Woolamai and see koalas at the Maru Koala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • French and Phillip Island Wildlife Expedition – take a ferry across Western Port Bay for a 4WD tour of French Island, before ferrying over to Phillip Island

Day trips 2+ hours from Melbourne

14. great ocean road.

Distance from CBD: 227km / 2 ¾ hours (to Twelve Apostles)

One of Australia’s most spectacular drives, the Great Ocean Road is famous for scenic views, charming seaside towns and villages and – of course – the Twelve Apostles. Driving the Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips in Australia.

While I actually think you really need more time to enjoy this magical part of Victoria (take a look at my 3 day Great Ocean Road itinerary for recommendations), it is possible to do a Great Ocean Road trip from Melbourne in a day. Just plan ahead, get an early start – and know that you’ll probably be pretty exhausted at the end of the day.

Don’t attempt to do it all. Just pick a few things from my list of the most fun things to do on the Great Ocean Road and enjoy the day!

I’d recommend taking a guided tour (see below) or sharing the driving with someone else.

The Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips in Australia and can be done on a long day trip from Melbourne

  • Gazing out at the 12 Apostles of course! This the most famous landmark along the coast – if not across Victoria
  • Visiting Loch Ard Gorge and learning about the tragic history of this area
  • Koala spotting around Kennett River or on the road to the Cape Otway Lightstation
  • Watching surfers at Bells Beach
  • Snapping a few pics at Split Point Lighthouse in Airey’s Inlet or taking the stairs to the top of the Cape Otway Lightstation
  • Exploring Cape Otway National Park’s rainforests and waterfalls
  • Taking a helicopter tour over the 12 Apostles for a completely different view of this famed sight

Best time to visit the Great Ocean Road:

You can visit the Great Ocean Road year-round, although it’s colder in the winter months and very busy during summer, particularly when school holidays are on.

How to get to the Great Ocean Road:

The best way to visit the Great Ocean Road is to rent your own car so you stop when you want. And believe me, you’ll be pulling over frequently to take photos. You can take the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to Allansford (the official end of the Great Ocean Road), and then go inland back to Melbourne (a 3-hour drive).

Guided option: If you don’t want to drive yourself, there are full-day tours to the highlights of the Great Ocean Road:

  • Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Full Day Tour – see the best of the Great Ocean Road on this 11-hour Melbourne Great Ocean Road tour
  • One Day Reverse Great Ocean Road Tour – avoid the crowds by doing the opposite route that most tours and day trippers take
  • Great Ocean Road Sunset and Chocolate Tour – hit the Great Ocean Road with a sweet stop at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery

15. Great Otway National Park

Distance from CBD: 211km / 2 ¾ hours

If you’re in need of nature, the Great Otway National Park will deliver in spades. This 103,000-hectare national park is stunning. It’s along the Great Ocean Road, so you can potentially squeeze both in in a very long day of travelling.

Great Otway National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Victoria, Australia

  • Exploring the gorgeous Hopetoun, Beachchamp and Triplet Falls – Hopetoun is my favourite
  • Exploring the rainforest on the Maits Rest rainforest walk
  • Heading to the top of the Cape Otway Lightstation , Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse
  • Learning about native foods during a Native Plants Talk with a First Nations guide at the Cape Otway Lightstation
  • Gazing up at the huge trees in the California Redwood Forest
  • Seeing glow worms at Melba Gully
  • Spotting koalas on the road to the Cape Otway Lightstation. Just keep an eye out for cars parked along the side of the road, that’s how you’ll find them!

Best time to visit the Great Otway National Park:

The Great Otway National Park can be visited all year. But like the rest of Victoria it’s quite cold this way during winter. Summer holidays mean the area around the Great Ocean Road is busy. So make sure you leave Melbourne early so you can visit some of the hiking trails and waterfalls before the crowds descend.

How to get to the Great Otway National Park:

Like the Great Ocean Road, you need your own car to explore the Great Otway National Park at your own pace. There’s no public transport that goes directly to the park, nor is their transport within the park.

Guided option: 12 Apostles, Otways and Great Ocean Road – This Great Ocean Road day tour includes a drive through the Great Otway National Park, visiting Beauchamp Falls and the Californian Redwoods Forest

16. Gariwerd (Grampians National Park)

Distance from CBD: 258km / 3 hours

Heritage-listed Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) is one of Victoria’s most stunning places to visit. On a day trip here you can discover Aboriginal rock art paintings, incredible hikes with spectacular vistas, magnificent waterfalls, and maybe even spot a kangaroo or an emu.

This is another trip from Melbourne that I don’t think you should do in just a day. But if you’re short on time it is possible. You’ll need to get up early and be prepared for a long day.

There are some great day hikes you can do on a trip to Grampians National Park from Melbourne

  • Learning about First Nations culture and history at the Brambuk Cultural Centre
  • Taking in MacKenzie Falls, a 35-metre-tall waterfall that flows all year
  • Hiking through the park to some incredible viewpoints. The Wonderland Loop or Balconies Lookout should be doable on a day trip
  • Exploring Aboriginal rock art and shelters that are around 20,000 years old
  • Eating a hard-earned, post-hike meal at the famous Royal Mail Hotel in nearby Dunkeld

Best time to visit Grampians National Park:

Visit Gariwerd year round – although expect chilly weather in winter. This is a huge national park. People do get lost here, so come prepared with plenty of water and dress appropriately for hiking.

How to get to Grampians National Park:

While you can get to Halls Gap (the nearest town to the national park) on a mix of public transport, you will need a car to get around Gariwerd.

Guided option:  Day trips from Melbourne to Grampians National Park include:

  • Grampians National Park and Kangaroos – marvel at breathtaking views and spot kangaroos
  • Grampians Small-Group Hiking Day Tour from Melbourne – this tour stops at the best Grampians hikes

17. Wilsons Promontory

Distance from CBD: 239km / 3 hours (to Tidal River)

Our final destination on this list of the best day trips from Melbourne goes to yet another location that I think deserves more of your time than just a day.

Wilsons Promontory – better known as Wilsons Prom or The Prom – is the southernmost point of mainland Australia. This slice of land jutting off the coast is home to white-sand beaches, impossibly blue water, great bushwalks and a plethora of wildlife.

You’ll need to set off early and have your day planned well – it’s a 3-hour trip each way by car.

Wilsons Promontory is a gorgeous place to visit from Melbourne

  • Walking over Squeaky Beach – a beach that literally squeaks underfoot
  • Spotting wildlife on the 2.3-kilometre Prom Wildlife Walk
  • Taking in the Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk, a 5-kilometre walk where you can usually spot plenty of wildlife
  • Climbing to Mt Oberon Summit, a 7-kilometre return trip
  • Swimming at Norman Bay (but note that it’s only patrolled during January)
  • Seeing Skull Island by boat with Wildlife Coast Cruises
  • Whale watching during the right season (May to October)

Best time to visit Wilsons Promontory:

You can take a day trip to Wilsons prom year-round, but its coastal location means that there can be brisk breezes throughout the year, but especially so during winter. Take note of fire warnings during fire season.

How to get to Wilsons Promontory:

To really explore The Prom, you’ll need a car for sure. It’s quite a remote area and there’s no transport within the park.

Guided option: A day trip to Wilsons Prom is a  long day, so leave the driving to someone else on one of these day tours:

  • Wilsons Promontory Day Tour – this full-day tour includes a hike up Mount Oberon and lunch at Tidal River
  • Whale Spotting Cruise with Lunch – while this tour doesn’t include transport to Wilsons Prom, it’s a spectacular chance to spot migrating humpback and southern right whales between May and October

Wrap up: Melbourne day trips

As you’ve seen, there are so many fantastic day trips from Melbourne. While I love this city, I know that there are so many places to visit outside Melbourne that are worth your while.

So, take your pick from small towns, beaches, mountains and culture. While Melbourne is an incredible city, you can also make time to see what else Victoria has to offer!

Found this article useful? Consider buying me a coffee as a way to say thanks!

Related posts

Before you go… you might like some of these Melbourne travel blog posts:

  • 3 days in Melbourne itinerary
  • The absolute best things to do in Melbourne
  • Ultimate Melbourne bucket list
  • Where to eat in Melbourne
  • Where to stay in Melbourne
  • Best time to visit Melbourne
  • Fun things to do in Melbourne at night
  • Great things to do in Melbourne with kids
  • Free things to do in Melbourne

Best Melbourne resources

  • Check out my Melbourne travel guide for everything you need to know about planning a trip to Melbourne
  • Look for flights to Melbourne on Skyscanner .
  • Book accommodation on Booking.com or Expedia for your Melbourne trip. The Ovolo Laneways Hotel is a good choice in the CBD.
  • You won’t really need a car in Melbourne, but if you do want to get out of the city, then rent a car through DiscoverCars .
  • Pick up a copy of the Lonely Planet Pocket Melbourne to help plan your trip.


Save this guide to the best day trips to Melbourne to Pinterest for later.

Get out of the city with one of these awesome day trips from Melbourne. Includes Melbourne day trips options under an hour from the city, between 1-2 hours away or 2+ hours' drive. | Melbourne Day Trips | Day Trips From Melbourne | Melbourne | Visit Melbourne | Melbourne Australia | Melbourne Tourist Guide | Melbourne Visitor Guide | Melbourne Itinerary | Things To Do in Melbourne | Things To Do Near Melbourne | Melbourne Day Tours | Best Day Trips From Melbourne | Road Trips Melbourne


I’m Rebecca, a Melbourne local excited to show you the best of Melbourne. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. After living abroad for 8 years, I’m back home in Melbourne, rediscovering this city that I love and have missed. My aim is to help you find the best things to do in Melbourne.

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Adventures & Sunsets

13 Must-See Day Trips from Melbourne – Victoria, Australia

Posted on Last updated: January 10, 2023

Melbourne is incredible in and of itself, but the extensive amount of day trips from Melbourne make it that much more incredible. While the culture, coffee, bars, history, laneways, and food make the city great, the amazing amount of natural beauty surrounding the city renders it a fantastic base to travel or to live.

I spent the second year of my working holiday visa living in Melbourne and leading walking tours around the city each day. As it was literally my job to know the city and its surroundings, I have helped thousands of travelers plan their day trips in Victoria. I would like to think this makes me pretty darn qualified to recommend the best Melbourne day tours and trips (and general Melbourne tips!) to you as well.

If you are looking for other tips on Melbourne, I’ve got you covered as well – just click the links below! But for the best day trips from Melbourne, read on. I’ll give my best tips from my experience on these days trips, recommend to stay more days when applicable, let you know where would be best to rent a car and drive , and always link to the most trusted day tour provider I have tried and tested myself.

13 Day Trips from Melbourne that you cannot miss!

Check Out My Other Articles about Melbourne Day Trips:

  • 50  Places to Visit in Melbourne : A Melbourne Travel Guide Organized by Suburb
  • Things to Do in Ballarat : A Melbourne Getaway
  • Visiting Mount Hotham : A Snowy Getaway from Melbourne
  • Great Ocean Road Itinerary: 2-3 Day Self-Drive Trip
  • Mornington Peninsula Activities + Things to Do

There are enough Melbourne day trips to explore for weeks! Check out 13 of the best destinations to visit from melbourne, from beaches and coasts to wildlife and mountains. #melbourne #melbournedaytrips #australia #greatoceanroad #yarravalley #phillipisland #grampians #twelveapostles

Great Ocean Road

What it is: Gorgeous Rugged Coastline road trips

How far from Melbourne:  The Great Ocean Road starts at least 1.5-2 hours from the city, and is at LEAST a 3-hour drive to the end.

How to Get There: Follow signs to Geelong and join the Great Ocean Road just past Anglesea

Recommended Day Tour: Great Ocean Road Day Tour with Go West Tours

If you haven’t heard of this Melbourne day trip by now, you’re missing out! The Great Ocean Road is perhaps the number one option for day trips from Melbourne, as it allows you to experience the rugged and beautiful Victorian coastline.

The Great Ocean Road gives you an entirely different perspective on the region than you can get in the city. You’ll drive through quaint little beach towns like Lorne and Apollo Bay , get to search for wild koalas climbing gumtrees out in the country, experience the sheer power of mother nature through powerful waves crashing on distant rocks, and view famous natural landmarks you may have seen in guidebooks and on Pinterest.

Best Stops on the Great Ocean Road Day Trip from Melbourne

There are important Great Ocean Road trip stops throughout the entire journey, which your driver will be very familiar with. Perhaps the most famous stop on Great Ocean Road day trips from Melbourne is the Twelve Apostles. The 12 apostles used to have twelve standalone cliffs out amid the waves on the shore, but today there are only seven remaining. Either way, it’s a gorgeous must-see sight in Victoria.

My other personal favorite stops along the way are London Bridge (a beautiful sandstone rock out in the ocean that used to be connected to the land) and the Loch Ard Gorge . You’ll see all these stops on a tour from Melbourne, but you can see WAY more if you rent a car and explore for a few days. Check out my perfect Great Ocean Road 3 Day Itinerary here or my Great Ocean Road Accommodation Guide if you’d like to do that. Or, you can view the 12 apostles from a Melbourne helicopter ride.

Must See : Memorial Arch, Teddy’s Lookout Rock, Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge

day trips victoria

Dandenong Ranges – Puffing Billy and Belgrave

What it is:  Beautiful mountain ranges (with a steam train) just outside the city

How far from Melbourne: about 45 minutes from the CBD

How to Get There: Rent a car and drive east , or travel by train to the base of the mountains

Recommended Day Tour: Dandenong + Puffing Billy Half Day   or Dandenong Ranges + William Ricketts Sanctuary Tour (a beautiful garden in the mountains)

The Dandenong Ranges are a bit of an undiscovered gem in my opinion. It’s not one of the most popular day trips from Melbourne, but really should be due to the remote beauty of the mountain ranges.

Within the Dandenong Ranges, you can find all sorts of undiscovered gems along the way. The beautiful town of Belgrave is home to some amazing eateries and the famous Puffing Billy train , which is a decked-out steam train that serves meals and provides amazing views to patrons riding it through the mountainous region.

You can explore some gorgeous small mountain towns and explore lots of different forest hikes and mountain trails even in the cool climate. There are a gorgeous botanic gardens too – an area called the Alfred Nicholas Gardens as well the William Ricketts Sanctuary , for any plant lovers out there.

Perhaps the most famous viewpoint of the Dandenong Ranges is from Sky High , a restaurant at the top of Mt Dandenong. Here you can try different types of food and telescopes looking out over the land, towards the city and other mountain regions of Victoria. Spot wild kookaburra as you hike to Burke’s lookout, which has a pristine view of Melbourne’s city skyline on a clear day.

Must See : Puffing Billy, Sky High, Burke’s Lookout

phillip island day trip from melbourne

Phillip Island + Penguin Parade

What it is: An island inhabited by hundreds (thousands?) of indigenous (tiny!) penguins

How far from Melbourne: About 2 hours from the CBD

How to Get There: Take a day tour or rent a car driving south

Recommended Day Tour: Moonlit Sanctuary + Penguin Parade with Bunyip Tours (allows you to see Australian animals at a wildlife park along the way with lunch)

Phillip Island is one of Australia ‘s best day trips, and rightfully so! Although kangaroos and koalas are definitely very exciting, one of the most local wildlife species to view in Victoria is the ‘little penguins.’ They used to be called the ‘fairy penguin,’ but they have been aptly renamed because they are, well…. little penguins!

What to See on Phillip Island on a Day Trip from Melbourne

When visiting Phillip Island, you can experience what they call the ‘ penguin parade ‘ as dozens if not hundreds of these lil’ guys pop out of the water at dusk to make their homes on land for the night. You’ll sit in a stadium-like area to make sure their habitat is respected while still having a great vantage point. This happens at sunset, so it depends on the time of year that the penguin parade will happen.

Some Phillip island day tours are half-day, but some are longer and include a visit to a wildlife sanctuary to view other types of classic Australian animals. You may also want to look into an explore at Summerland Beach or the famous ‘ seal rocks’ on Phillip Island also. Many tours stop at the Moonlit Sanctuary about halfway between the city and Phillip Island.

Must See : Penguin Parade

grampians national park in australia trip from Melbourne

Grampians National Park

What it is: Bushy + Rocky Mountains with waterfalls and rich aboriginal culture

How far from Melbourne: About a 3 hour drive from Melbourne CBD

How to Get There:  Take a day tour or rent a car driving northwest up the M8

Recommended Day Tour: Grampians Day Tour   with Autopia Tours takes you to all important POI’s and the cultural center!

The Grampians National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty and rock formations in a more regional part of Victoria. Due to its distance, it’s recommendable as a weekend trip but still doable to see its main sights in a day trip from Melbourne. Day tours from Melbourne to the Grampians will leave the city very early, but they will be worthwhile to experience main viewpoints, hikes, and waterfalls.

What to See on a Day Trip from Melbourne to the Grampians

The Grampians National Park is known for its extensive native wildlife and rock formations/mountain regions. You can walk to high vantage points like Boroka Lookout over the valley with many hikes of varying difficulties throughout the park. There are also some famous waterfalls that are popular to visit, namely MacKenzie Falls.

It’s highly advisable to explore the cultural center when visiting the Grampians National Park, as well. The local aboriginal tribes have an extremely rich culture full of fascinating legends on how the area came about. You’ll learn all the different theories on colorful animals and regions while educating yourself on one of Australia ‘s historic indigenous cultures.

Must See: MacKenzie Falls, Hall’s Gap, Boroka Lookout, Cultural center

yarra valley wine region places to visit near melbourne

Yarra Valley

What it is: Wine Region with scenic rolling hills

How far from Melbourne: About an hour from Melbourne CBD

How to Get There:  Take a full day tour or rent a car and travel directly east

Recommended Day Tour: Yarra Valley Gourmet Tour with Go West Tours – wine, fruit, cheese, AND chocolate!

The Yarra Valley is an absolute must for those who love wine, alcohol in general, and/or rolling hilly regions. Generally less than an hour outside the city, the Yarra Valley is a stunning departure from the city bustle and easily done in a simple day trip.

Many day trips from Melbourne to Yarra Valley will visit 3-4 of the best wineries as well as a selection of other venues to change it up a little. Check on the itinerary of your tour of choice to make sure it visits all the stops you’d like to see! My personal fave is the Go West tour linked above, which visits plenty of wineries AND places to taste fresh fruit/juice, cheese, AND chocolate!

What to See on a Day Trip from Melbourne to Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is pretty special because there are over 150 wineries dotted through the countryside. While exploring these wineries, you can also visit a fresh dairy (helloooo, fresh cheese), a famous Gin Distillery called Four Pillars , a cider brewery , and the famous Yarra Valley chocolaterie . In other words, there’s plenty of wine, and also variety as well!

If you have more time and want to stay on a winery for the ultimate experience, check out my guide to Yarra Valley wineries with accommodation! 

Must See : a few wineries, at least! Also a few of a dairy, chocolaterie, gin distillery, and cider brewery.

mornington peninsula Arthur's Seat melboure day trips

Mornington Peninsula

What it is: A scenic peninsula south of the city with beach towns, farmland viewpoints, and more wine.

How far from Melbourne: Between 30-90 mins from Melbourne CBD

How to Get There:  Take a day tour or rent a car driving directly south to the Mornington Peninsula. Public Transport only goes to the northern end of the peninsula.

Recommended Day Tour:  Peninsula + Hot Springs Tour with Hide and Seek (for adventurers – includes viewpoints, a 5 mile hike, and then the peninsula hot springs!) OR Mornington Peninsula Day Tour with Bunyip Tours for those who prefer strolling along beaches (Sorrento/Portsea included) and tasting wine! Both tours are fab.

The Mornington Peninsula may not grace the top of the lists on day trips on Victoria, but it’s yet another lesser-known gem in Melbourne tourism. The peninsula faces Port Phillip Bay on one side (perfect calm waters and pristine beaches) and the open ocean on the other (heavy surf and rocky areas). There are some perfect Mornington Peninsula Beaches for surfing OR relaxing and plenty of Mornington Peninsula activities.

What to See on a Mornington Peninsula Day Trip from Melboure

Between the two bodies of water are r olling hills of farmland, sheep/cows, small beachy towns, and beautiful viewpoints overlooking the coastline. Arthur’s seat is a famously touristy part of the peninsula, with a cable car going up a scenic beachside hill. There are dozens of wineries and also Mornington Peninsula Breweries to visit as you make your way around, the most incredible of which is a winery/restaurant/sculpture garden called Pt Leo Estate.

Sorrento and Portsea are well-known beachside towns on either side of the thin tip of the peninsula. Mornington is a trendy town on the bay side of the peninsula. There are lots of gorgeous walks to do along the cliffy coastlines, and once you’re finished, you can dip in the warm waters of the amazing Peninsula Hot Springs . If you want to stay longer, check out my Mornington Peninsula Accommodation guide .

Must See: Arthur’s Seat, wine tasting, bush walking, hot springs

There are SO many day trips from Melbourne - it would be a shame to miss out on the rugged coastlines, mountainous national parks, diverse wildlife, amazing views, wine regions, and relaxing getaways accessible from one of the best cities in the world. #melbourne #melbournedaytrips #australia #greatoceanroad #yarravalley #phillipisland #grampians #twelveapostles

Daylesford/Hepburn Springs

What it is: A relaxing mountainside getaway

How far from Melbourne: About a 1.5 hour short drive from Melbourne

How to Get There: Rent a car and drive northwest – there are a few day tours but mostly private/wine tours

Recommended Day Tour: Daylesford Wine Tour  or a weekend trip.

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are known to be a relaxing getaway from Melbourne. Daylesford’s most popular feature is why it’s called a ‘spa town:’  pools of hot mineral springs at Daylesford Day Spa . You can visit mineral springs, explore galleries in the quaint town, and dine lakeside at some highly acclaimed restaurants.

Although possible as a day trip, I would highly recommend Daylesford as a weekend getaway from Melbourne ! The area is also a popular wine region, with dozens of wineries in the area.

Must See : Hot Springs, Lake Daylesford

The Macedon Ranges + Hanging Rock

What it is: Adventurous hikes + historical mountains

How far from Melbourne: About a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne near Daylesford

How to Get There: Rent a car and drive northwest or visit after Daylesford

Recommended Day Tour: I don’t think there are any – this is a real self-drive day trip from Melbourne

Nearby Daylesford, you will find the beautiful Macedon Ranges . If relaxing isn’t your thing (or before you unwind in the hot springs) there are plenty of trails to hike in the area. Check out Mount Macedon for the most incredible view, or many more trails and tiny country towns as well.

Hanging Rock is the most famous place in the Macedon Ranges, famous for its part in the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock . It’s a mysterious extinct volcano that also has rich aboriginal significance as well.

healesville sanctuary koalas australian wildlife

Healesville Sanctuary

What it is: Sanctuary to experience Australian Wildlife

How far from Melbourne: About an Hour

How to Get There: Rent a Car, Take a Tour, or travel by train and bus.

Recommended Day Tour: Healesville Sanctuary + Puffing Billy Combined Tour  

Healesville Sanctuary is one of the most popular day trips from Melbourne and places for visitors to experience Aussie wildlife. It’s not a complete trip down under unless you get to experience some kangaroos and koalas, is it?! Healesville is a perfect destination to combine with a trip to the Dandenong Ranges or with Yarra Valley, and many day tours do so.

You can feel content that the animals are kept in a natural bushland setting and allowed to roam freely. Spend a few hours exploring many different species of marsupial, mammal, reptile, and bird!

Must See : Aussie animals!

day trip from melbourne to ballarat sovereign hill

Ballarat + Sovereign Hill Day Trips from Melbourne

What it is: An inland Gold Mining Town

How far from Melbourne: about 1.5 hours north

How to Get There: Rent a car, take a day tour, or take a direct train

Recommended Day Tour: Sovereign Hill + Ballarat Tour from Melbourne with Gray Line

Visiting Ballarat is like stepping back in time. Ballarat was the epicenter of Victoria’s massive gold rush in the mid-1800’s, and there are still many remnants of this rich history there today.

Sovereign Hill is an actual replica of what the gold rush town may have looked like all those years ago – complete with gift shops, craft stores, restaurants, and even gold panning opportunities! You can also visit an old mine and experience what it may have been like.

The Gold Museum is a fascinating look back into the gold rush period, and you can also visit the Eureka Center to learn about a rebellion in 1854 that shaped the future of Australia. There are lots of trendy eateries in the Ballarat CBD, and you must also take a walk by Lake Wendouree for a bit of peace and quiet. See my Ballarat Travel Guide for an in-depth look at visiting the area!

Must See : Sovereign Hill, Gold Museum, Lake Wendouree

wilson's promontory national park views

Wilsons Promontory National Park

What it is: A seaside national park with animals, coast, and forest

How far from Melbourne: Under 3 hours from the CBD

How to Get There:  Take a day tour or rent a car driving southeast.

Recommended Day Tour: Wilsons  Promontory National Park Day Tour with Bunyip Tours

Wilsons Promontory National Park is another gorgeous area of nature in Victoria, and one of the most rugged day trips from Melbourne. It’s a National Park with gorgeous viewpoints looking down pristine coastlines and rock, complete with hiking trails that could take you for miles and miles. In fact, the hiking in Wilson’s Prom  is among the best in Victoria.

What to See on a Day Trip from Melbourne to Wilson’s Prom

There are dozens of beaches to explore in what is actually the most south point of mainland Australia. The famous ‘ squeaky beach ‘ actually has sand so white and fine that it squeaks when you walk on it!

It’s a huge area, but the day tour will take you to all the best bits within one big day. You’ll see some of the best viewpoints such as Mt Bishop and empty beaches, but perhaps one of the biggest pulls of this day trip is the wildlife. ‘Wilson’s Prom,’ as they call it for short, is inundated with local kangaroos and other marsupials, so make sure to keep your eyes out!

Must See: Squeaky Beach, Mt Bishop

my hotham clouds sunset

Mount Buller + Ski Area

What it is: One of the closest skiing mountains to Melbourne

How far from Melbourne: About 3.5 Hours

How to Get There: Take a day tour, rent a car, or travel by coach

Recommended Day Tour: Mt Buller Day Tour on RedBalloon

Many people are unfamiliar with the beautiful ‘Victorian Alps’ region. Mt Buller would also be much better as a longer trip, but the area is worth checking out as a day trip if you don’t have much time.

Mt Buller is an alpine terrain park where you can explore and adventure to your heart’s content: skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, and more. You’ll have about 5 hours of free time on Mt Buller day trips from Melbourne, which surely is plenty to try out a few runs and more. You can also reserve snow gear as well. Day tours will also stop in quite a few other small towns and scenic viewpoints to round out the journey.

There’s also a great alpine village in Mt Buller if you are not quite the skiing type but want to enjoy the area. Visitors can enjoy many different food options alongside walks and viewpoints. There are also sled dog tours! I visited Mt Hotham too which is a mountain close by.

Must See: Mt Buller Village Square, Mountain Vistas/Snow

Silo Art Trail

What it is: Massive murals painted on country silos

How far from Melbourne: Between 3 and 5.5 hours from beginning to end

How to Get There: Rent a Car and Drive!

Recommended Day Tour:  You’ll have to rent a car and do this adventure yourself! 🙂

There are various parts of rural Victoria whose silos have been graced by the mural art of some incredible artists. These silos can be visited in order on what is known as the Silo Art Trail. Visit the silo art trail website to view a map and learn about all the official locations of these murals.

This silo art is actually known as Australia’s largest outdoor art gallery. It’s a brilliant way to get more people to visit the smaller country communities, and an incredible style of art not very attainable in other parts of the world.

To create these artworks, well-known artists met with the local indigenous communities of the areas and created artworks that represented unique stories about that town and its people. If you’d like to get out a bit more into real country Australia, and see how the farmers live in more remote corners of the state, this maybe the the Melbourne day trip for you!

Must See : Each silo that is part of the trail!

view of melbourne from the you yangs regional park

Geelong + You Yangs Regional Park

What it is: Beachside city and bush walks

How far from Melbourne: 1-1.5 hours

How to Get There: Rent a car or travel by train

Recommended Day Tour: You’ll have to rent a car and explore yourself! 🙂

Geelong is the second-largest city in Victoria. It’s located on the Bellarine Penisula in the southwestern part of Port Phillip Bay. Geelong is much more laid back than Melbourne, and is defined by its beautiful botanic gardens, seaside paths, restaurants, museums, and galleries.

A perfect day trip from Melbourne would be to mix in a visit to Geelong with a stop at the nearby beach, Torquay , and a beautiful mountainous regional park called the You Yangs . Torquay area is roughly considered the starting point of the Great Ocean Road, and usually has lots of windsurfers and people on the sand.

The You Yangs regional park is the perfect place to have a classic Aussie bushwalk. The park has a few large hills with trails throughout. The trails are only mildly challenging. But, they present incredible views of the surrounding farmland and also of the Melbourne city skyline.

All of the destinations above are fine as day trips, but many would be preferable as weekend trips so that you can spend more time and make the most of your time there.

So if you’d like to keep reading about other places to visit from Melbourne, but this time for places you should visit for LONGER than just a day trip, check out my article on Melbourne weekend getaways right here.

There are enough Melbourne day trips to explore for weeks! Check out 13 of the best destinations to visit from melbourne, from beaches and coasts to wildlife and mountains. #melbourne #melbournedaytrips #australia #greatoceanroad #yarravalley #phillipisland #grampians #twelveapostles

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day trips victoria

22 best day trips from Melbourne

Keen to leave the city behind but short on time? Never fear, we’re big on ideas. Here are our picks for the  best short breaks in Victoria.

This article may contain links from our affiliate and advertising partners. When you click on them, or share this content, we may earn a commission.  Learn more

day trips victoria

Mornington Peninsula

For a day away that’s everything food, wine, and nature, head to the Mornington Peninsula . Just over an hour southeast of Melbourne, visitors head to the area to swim with seals and dolphins, gulp their way around the wineries, munch on local fare and explore the various bush walking trails. Stay at Flinders Hotel or Pride and Prejudice in the nearby historic village of Flinders .

day trips victoria

Yarra Valley

Within arm’s reach of Lake Mountain Alpine resort, and one and a half hours from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is the perfect day trip. The area is bursting with museums, notably Tarra Warra Museum of Art which features the likes of Brett Whiteley, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd. Walking trails, steam train mountain tours, and lush gardens also feature. Head for the Marysville’s Jazz and Blues Weekend in October.

day trips victoria

Inland town Bendigo, Victoria’s fourth largest city, is the perfect day away. To make a weekend of it, try glamping among the vines at Balgownie Estate , get inspired by international drawcard exhibitions at the Bendigo Art Gallery , hop on a tram, shoot down Australia’s deepest gold mine, picnic in Rosalind Park, or have a go at pottery.

day trips victoria

If you know your chardonnay for your chenin blanc, or just like the occasional boozy break, Ballarat is popping with options. Just an hour west of Melbourne, the historic gold rush town has canola fields (pictured), wineries and restaurants aplenty. Take a gander at the several galleries dotted around the town too. Tip: head over in late June and July for the Ballarat Winter Festival for fabulous food, wine and entertainment. Stay at Craig's Royal Hotel or Quest Ballarat .

day trips victoria

Just 10km from the Murray River border with NSW, Rutherglen is an ex-gold rush town that’s steeped in history, and wine. Small-town charm makes this getaway the perfect break, especially when coupled with a crisp riesling and local produce. Glamp among the vines and wake up to views of rolling hills at your tent step. Line up a visit in May for the High Country Harvest. Rutherglen is three hours from Melbourne.

day trips victoria

Great Ocean Road

Wind your way along the famous Ocean Road that stretches west out of Melbourne like a vein. Stay in an eco-lodge, meet many native hopping animals, encounter the majestic 12 Apostles , learn to surf, and explore one of the state’s lushest national parks, the Otway . Camping spots are also dotted along the drive for those keen to get in among nature.

day trips victoria

Unspoilt Metung in the Gippsland Lakes , tucked away on the southeast coast, is a great seaside and winery escape. The tiny village is steeped in local fishing, boats and a slower way of life, and if you don’t mind the occasional vino, head twenty minutes inland for wine tastings. While you’re in town, throw a line out, learn the basics of driving a boat, or, if hands off with a caipirinha is more your style, slurp one back with the catch of the day. Metung is about four hours east of Melbourne so it's a long - but doable - day. But an overnight stay may be the wiser option. Stay at Metung Holiday Villas or McMillans of Metung Resort . Picture: Visit Victoria / Josie Withers

day trips victoria

Wilsons Promontory

Three hours southeast of Melbourne, Wilsons Promontory National Park is the place to retreat from the bustle of city living and dig your hands into nature. Enjoy bush walks, camping, fishing and surfing. If you’re partial to a spectacular vista, climb the granite mountaintops for Pillar Point , Norman Lookout or Mount Oberon Summit . Camping is available, as are contemporary cabins and glamping. There's also a Wilderness Retreat . Picture: Visit Victoria / Roberto Seba

day trips victoria


On the Bellarine Peninsula, about 1.5 hours south of Melbourne, near the entrance to Port Phillip Bay is the seaside town of Queenscliff . Accessible by both road and ferry, the town is a snapshot of times passed, with Victorian-era buildings dotting the high street, and a quiet elegance swathing the place. Enjoy local music shows, munch on the daily fresh catch, and dangle your legs on the century-old jetties jutting out around the main harbour.

day trips victoria

For a truly outback, remote town, Mildura is extremely cosmopolitan. The town lies on the banks for the Murray River, and boasts “Feast Street”; a parade of delectable restaurants, ranging from Italian, Thai, and Spanish to modern Australian. Wineries and lemon groves skirt the town, and you can taste their wares after disembarking from one of the scenic paddle boats. The town has a recently hatted restaurant, Stefano, arts centre and annual country music festival. Mildura is just under six hours drive from Melbourne and definitely more of a weekend than a drive.

day trips victoria

King Valley

Often likened to the rolling hills of Italy, rich in bountiful wine and hearty produce, King Valley isn’t far off. Set among the vineyards, the valley is renowned for its quality of food, and not just that, but activities too; horse riding, camping, fishing, hiking, 4WD tours, water holes and a brewery (if you can call drinking an activity…). Accommodation options are available too for all budgets. King Valley is three hours northeast of Melbourne. Picture: Visit Victoria / Josie Withers

day trips victoria

At the foothills of the Otways, lies half-moon shaped Apollo Bay . The area is about as seaside as it gets, with seal colonies flubbing about, and kayaking, swimming, fishing, and surfing all on offer. Enjoy the catch of the day for breakfast (if so inclined), lunch and dinner, and if seafood is truly a passion, head to the Seafood Festival in February. When not floating in, or eating, the ocean, head to the Otway Forest Park to get lost in rainforest ridges and gullies. Apollo Bay is just under three hours from Melbourne. For accomodation, try the Seafarers Getaway or the Apollo Bay Waterfront Motel Inn . Picture: Visit Victoria / Paoli Smith

day trips victoria

Dandenong Ranges

Just over an hour east of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges is an outdoors lover’s paradise with 250km worth of bush trails. The town itself is an eclectic mix of local produce, art(ists), music, open gardens, and lyrebirds (home of the ten cent piece icon). Take a ride on the lovingly named Puffing Billy , to see the range in all its glory as the steam train curls itself around the mountains. A range of cottages , B&Bs, and hotels are available to stay in.

day trips victoria

Melburnians routinely flock to the hot springs of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, a pampering paradise, just an hour and half northwest of the capital. Among the spa sessions and marvellous massages, art galleries, markets, museums and high end restaurants (one overlooks the lake) also keep weekend visitors busy. To really kick your heels up, stay at the luxurious Lake House. Picture: Visit Victoria / Cormac Hanrahan

day trips victoria

Just three hours west of Melbourne, the Grampians is the type of landscape that sticks with you; from the deep valleys, to the dramatic gorges and rooftop panoramic views. Glamping is available at the Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park , walking trails twist and turn everywhere, and swimming in one of the water holes is a must. After cooling off, head out to one of the many lookouts close to sunset — so magnificent are the views they take your breath away (no, it’s not just the altitude).

day trips victoria

French Island

French Island , only accessible by boat, is one of the most remote spots in the state, yet just 60km southeast of Melbourne. Two thirds of the island is national park, so wildlife is nurtured here, and that’s abundantly clear when you realise koalas are a more common sight than humans. Set up camp with French Island Glamping , go wine tasting in the vineyards, head for a surf, have a swing of golf, or watch the local penguins come home to their young after a day of fishing at sea. Picture: Visit Victoria / French Island Glamping

day trips victoria

An hour northwest of Melbourne lies the mysterious, infamous Hanging Rock . But apart from the spooky story of school girls going missing in 1900, there’s a lot to love about the area, including art exhibitions in January, pie workshops in February, long lunches among the vines, golf, cycling and llama-chaperoned walking tours through the Macedon Ranges.

day trips victoria

Alpine village Bright, along the picturesque Great Alpine Road , is nestled between several ski resorts including Mount Hotham , Mount Buffalo and Falls Creek. Taste local tipples at the Bright Brewery , head on a bush walk to Apex Lookout , eat local produce from surrounding farms and wineries on the Ovens River, or take a dip in the Porepunkah swimming hole. Bright is three and a half hours northeast of Melbourne.

day trips victoria

Mount Buller

Toast marshmallows, devour some raclette, and enjoy some warming apres ski in Australia’s most accessible ski resort, Mount Buller . The resort is an easy three hour drive from Melbourne, and is as good in summer too, with bush walking, a spa, horse riding, and a sculpture park to name a few. Stay at the Buller Backpackers , Mount Buller Chalet Hotel and Suites , the Duck Inn Mount Buller or the Alpine Retreat Mount Buller .

day trips victoria

Phillip Island

If you're a nature lover, Phillip Island is overflowing with animals. Head down each evening to watch penguins return from their daily catching spree, waddling up the beach. Keep an eye out for migrating whales, while you throw a line out at one of the many fishing spots. Take a dip at Ventnor Beach (pictured), head to the Koala Conservation Centre , or jump on a tour with Wildlife Coast Cruises to see wildlife in their element.

day trips victoria


This vibrant little town is a true all-rounder. Make your first stop The Mill – originally built in 1875 and now home to a Viennese coffeehouse and coffee roastery, winemakers, sourdough baker, craft brewery, smallgoods maker, cheese and dairy producer, chocolatier and ice cream maker. Also be sure to check out the onsite Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar and Platform Number 5. Time your visit right and you can catch a gig at the art deco Theatre Royal – Australia’s oldest continually operating theatre. Kids of all ages will also love the Victorian Goldfields Railway rides.

day trips victoria

Once a city focused on more on trade than tourism, it now boasts a buzzing waterfront precinct complete with the famous bollards artworks. Not to mention prime swimming spots. There are over 100 National Trust Buildings scattered through the city and on its doorstep you’ll discover a bunch of wineries . A massive attraction is the Museum of Play and Art ( MOPA) which is geared towards kids. 

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Explore Victoria

12 fun-filled day trips from Melbourne for families

Melbourne is a great place to visit with the whole family. It has a lot of cool activities for all ages and is a home city to the sporting teams for most major sports in Australia.

With pristine beaches, a rich history and culture, and a vibrant food scene, this city has something for everyone, but day trips from Melbourne for families are also a great idea.

Within a few hours of driving, there are many short family fun day trips from Melbourne where you can get out of the city and do some pretty exciting things with your family.

While we recommend these day trips from Melbourne CBD for families, anyone can go on a road trip to the amazing Victorian destinations and have a wonderful time. So, how many of these awesome day trips from Melbourne can you add to your must-do Melbourne itinerary list?

The best day trips from Melbourne for families

Getting out and about as a family is so important in these times and many of us parents are looking for the perfect activities in Victoria for families.

Finding something that everyone will like and for every budget is the hardest part so luckily we have this awesome guide for you to help you plan some of your most memorable day trips from Melbourne for families.

colourful water slides and lazy river at Gumbuya world. Gumbya world is one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families

Fun Day trips in Victoria – Gumbuya World

Gumbuya World or as many people could remember it as Gumbuya Park is a brilliant day trip from Melbourne for families. It’s the perfect place to spend a hot summer’s day.

With water slides, wave pools and cabanas to shade you from the heat, you can easily spend an entire day at Gumbuya World. On-site you will also find a small amusement park and a wildlife sanctuary.

Gumbuya World opening times

Opening times do differ during the seasons and for the separate sections of the park. The timetable is at times difficult to read on the website but you should allow time from 10 am is to 4 pm for all the sections.

Gumbuya World entry prices

Below are the Gumbuya World Entry prices as of November 2021

GA = 120cm+ JA = 90cm – 120cm TA = below 90cm SA = 60+ years

Distance from Melbourne to Gumbuya World

Gumbuya World is located at 2705 Princes Highway Tynong, Victoria 3813 making it an easy family day trip. You can easily drive to Gumbuya World via the M1 and allow approximately an hour drive to get there for exhilarating water slide fun.

Tips for visiting Gumbuya World with kids

  • Gumbuya World is NOT a BYO venue
  • You can purchase snacks, food and drinks at the shops on site
  • Lockers are available for hire to store your valuables
  • Get there early to secure a lounge by the water. First in best dressed.

How much time do I need at Gumbuya World?

With the price of the tickets, I would plan to spend all day at Gumbuya World. If it is a hot day I would also consider spending the extra money on a cabana for the day which will make it an easy day trip from Melbourne for families and especially parents!


This border town packs a punch and there are so many things to do in Echuca for families. You can easily spend the day here or if you have more time a perfect getaway from Melbourne. Echuca is the perfect place for day trips from Melbourne for families.

2 old time paddle steamers on the bank of the river at Echuca

Things to do in Echuca for families

There are so many things to do we have put together a list of the most popular activities in Echuca on your day trips from Melbourne for families list.

  • Echuca Paddlesteamers run cruises on the river at 10.15 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm and 2.45 pm 7 days a week
  • Twisted Science runs 3 sessions 10 -11:30am, 12:30 – 2pm and 2:30 – 4pm. Open days are school term opening hours – Wednesday to Sunday.  School holidays opening hours – Monday to Sunday.

Places to eat in Echuca for families

There are some brilliant places to eat in Echuca for families as they wrap up their day trips from Melbourne.

  • The Moama Bakery for a great pie or pasty
  • The Curry Club
  • Moama Bowling Club

Distance from Melbourne to Echuca

The drive from Melbourne to Echuca is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes along the Calder Freeway (M79).

Parking around the Port of Echuca is free but has a 2-hour limit

How much time do I need at Echuca?

Being only 2 hours 45 minutes from Melbourne you can easily plan a wonderful day in Echuca with plenty of the activities mentioned. I would plan to start your day with the 11.30 am river cruise and then pop in the activities you would like to do from there.

Finish with an early dinner at one of the restaurants in town and head home down the highway on your day trips from Melbourne for families.

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Places to visit near Melbourne by car – Sovereign Hill

The award-winning Sovereign Hill is one place kids and adults alike fall in love with and is one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families all year round. A completely immersive experience from the gold rush era where you can pan for gold, see old gold mines and wander streets from a forgotten era.

Take a walk around and see people dressed in period costumes, get photos and go on a horse and cart ride.

Sovereign hill mining settlement in Victoria australia

Located in Ballarat , a family day trip to Sovereign Hill is an epic day trip from Melbourne for families. If you have more time, stay in Ballarat and enjoy a weekend getaway.

Sovereign Hill opening times

Sovereign Hill is open on Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

Sovereign Hill entry prices

Here are the entry prices to Sovereign Hill valid as of November 2021

  • For concession to be given a valid concession card must be used
  • Prices are for entry, it does not include extra activities like mine tours or carriage rides
  • For a brilliant addition, there is also Aura at Sovereign Hill which is a nighttime activity.

Distance from Melbourne to Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill is located approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Melbourne along the Western Freeway.

Parking at Sovereign Hill is free and there is a short walk to the entry if it is busy.

How much time do I need at Sovereign Hill?

For anyone that wants a great day out, I would plan on arriving at around 11 am from Melbourne. This will give you time to do mine tours, have some old-time photos taken together, pan for your wealth in gold, have some lunch, rider the carriage, have some lunch and wander the grounds easily.

If you leave at around 5 you can pick up some dinner in Ballarat and be home for bed before 9 with memories of the perfect day trips from Melbourne for families.

Need more time in Ballarat?  Discover 7 amazing places to stay near Sovereign Hill for a hassle-free visit

Places to visit around Melbourne – Kryal Castle

Step back into the medieval past at Kryal Castle. This one is definitely one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families of younger kids. For some Aussie kids, they have not seen a castle so this is a great opportunity for them to experience one.

Many people think that Kryal castle is a real castle but unfortunately, this is a theme park and there are no medieval castles in Australia, however, it does provide good family entertainment.

Kryal Castle opening times

The family-friendly Kryal Castle park is open 10 am-4 pm (last entry at 3 pm) every weekend and daily during the school holidays.

Kryal Castle entry prices

Entry prices to Kyral Castle are correct as of November 2021

Tips for visiting Kryal Castle with kids

  • There are activities like jousting, potion making and axe throwing throughout the day. Get a timetable and plan to see them when they are on
  • Kids’ birthday parties can be organised in advance
  • There are Murder Mystery Nights held throughout the year. While aimed at adults, older kids may find these brilliant to experience

Distance from Melbourne

Kryal Castle is an easy day trip from Melbourne and takes approximately 1 hour to arrive along the Western Freeway towards Ballarat.

How much time do I need at Kryal Castle?

I would aim to arrive around 10 am at the opening. This will give you time to plan out your day and organise what themed shows you would like to see while you are at Kryal Castle. I would expect to be there for around 4 hours with a lunch break in there too. You can also easily visit Ballarat while at Kyral Castle.

Book Kryal Castle entry tickets

Drives from melbourne – puffing billy.

A Victorian institution that not many older kids missed out on as they were growing up. It was the place to go at least once in your life and now it is time to pass it on to the next generation on your day trips from Melbourne for families.

So much fun is to be had on Puffing Billy this old steam train can bring new life to old, memories and make new family ones.

Old style steam train coming around a bend in a forest near Melbourne Australia

Puffing Billy’s opening times

While there are technically no opening times for Puffing Billy we have included the running times.

Puffing Billy departs Belgrave Station at 10 am. Your ticket will tell you what time you will depart and arrive at your chosen destination. Allow 4 hours for the full Belgrave to Gembrook journey with a short stopover.

Puffing Billy entry prices

Below are the Puffing Billy prices as of November 2021

Tips for Puffing Billy for families:

  • Tickets must be pre-booked
  • Children under 4 ride free
  • A valid concession card must be held to receive the discount price
  • Tickets are set for return journeys. You must ride on the time your ticket is booked to leave each station

Distance from Melbourne to Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy is one of the best short trips from Melbourne, located in the Dandenong Ranges approximately 1 hour from Melbourne via the M1 freeway.

How much time do I need at Puffing Billy?

You should allow at least 5 hours for the full experience of Puffing Billy. If you are short of time you are able to book shorter rides on Puffing Billy.

Budget travel in Melbourne? Yes!   Here are the best free things to do in Melbourne

Day trips in Victoria – Healesville Sanctuary

One of the best day trips from Melbourne for families who love animals, The Healesville Sanctuary is a wonderful place to visit with kids . You can find so many animals to see here and you may even be able to have an animal experience if your budget allows.

An Echidna having a drink of water

Healesville Sanctuary opening times

Healesville Sanctuary is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm

Healesville Sanctuary entry prices

Healesville Sanctuary prices as of November 2021

Tips for visiting Healesville Sanctuary

  • Tickets can be booked 30 days in advance
  • Children under 16 receive FREE entry on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian Government school holidays
  • Discounts are available to child disability concession card holders, an Australian pensioner concession card, a full-time student card, a healthcare card, a disability concession card, a DVA Gold Card, to a carer accompanying a person with a disability who is a holder of a child disability allowance health care card, or a disability pension card. 
  • Valid concession cards must be presented on entry

Distance from Melbourne to Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary is located approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Melbourne vis the M3 freeway and the Maroondah Highway.

How much time do I need at Healesville Sanctuary?

The Healesville Sanctuary day trips from Melbourne for families can take you all day. If you decide to do an animal experience or see the Ranger talks you need to make sure you have enough time to experience the whole park.

Short drives from Melbourne – Werribee Open Range Zoo

Why head to the Savannah when you can visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo. With all the top African animals on display, you can visit the Werribee open range Zoo to get your safari fix! This is one of the best day trips from Melbourne ideas for families.

A Giraffe near a truck carrying visitors

Werribee Open Range Zoo opening times

The Werribee Zoo opening times are 9 am – 5 pm daily with the last entry at 3.30 pm

Werribee Open Range entry prices

Werribee Zoo entry prices are correct as of November 2021

Tips for visiting Werribee Zoo for families:

  • Children aged 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult at the zoo

Distance from Melbourne to the Werribee Open Range Zoo

The Werribee Open Range Zoo is a short road trip from Melbourne, located approximately 45 minutes from Melbourne via the M1. You will get a great view of the animals.

How much time do I need at the Werribee Zoo?

To have one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families at the Werribee Zoo you should set aside 5 hours.

The Mornington Peninsula – family day trips

A day trip to the extremely popular and stunning region of the Mornington Peninsula for families is a fun way to spend a day.

Start your day by exploring the breathtaking Port Phillip Bay, where you can enjoy various water activities such as swimming, snorkelling, or even hiring a paddleboard or kayak.

Next, head over to the enchanting Enchanted Adventure Garden at Arthurs Seat, where a thrilling Flying Fox awaits. Zip through the lush treetops and marvel at the panoramic views of the Peninsula. For some relaxing family time, visit the family-friendly beaches scattered along the coastline.

Sorrento Back Beach and Safety Beach are perfect options for outdoor activities, offering calm waters and picturesque surroundings. Build sandcastles, have a picnic, and soak up the sun while creating precious memories with your loved ones.

The mineral springs at Peninsula Hot springs provide a unique experience, or take a walk at Point Nepean National Park.

A day trip to the Mornington Peninsula promises endless fun, natural beauty, and quality time for the entire family.

Great Ocean Road

One of the most iconic places in Victoria that everyone should witness at least once in their life. People travel for hours from near and far to witness this natural breathtaking masterpiece along the Great Ocean Road and it’s on our back doorstep! This has to be one of the most scenic day trips from Melbourne for families.

The 12 Apostles from the viewing platform on the great ocean road

Places to visit along the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road has many stops along the way, so we will only focus on the larger ones, the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibsons Steps, for our day trips from Melbourne for families post.

Opening times

These areas are all managed by Parks Victoria, and being part of the natural environment, there are no such opening and closing times. In saying that, there would be no use going after dark as you would not see any of these amazing natural attractions on your day trips from Melbourne for families.

Entry prices

There are no entry fees into the Great Ocean Road attraction near Melbourne.

Distance from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road

The 12 Apostles Visitors Centre is 226 kilometres from Melbourne.

How much time do I need at each of these Great Ocean Road attractions?

Depending on how much time you want to stare in awe, the 12 Apostles can be done in 30 minutes, while Gibsons Steps and Loch Ard Gorge will take longer if you want to walk down the cliffs (paths provided by Parks Victoria) to the actual beach area of these sites.

At Loch Ard Gorge, you also have the bonus of being able to see the famous blowhole. You could see all 3 and drive the short distance between them in around 3 hours.

This is an epic day trip from Melbourne for families, so take the whole day, stopping at gorgeous towns along the way!

Autumn in Victoria: 13 spectacular places to see the autumn colours

Places to see around Melbourne – Phillip Island

This little island is famous for its Little Penguins that call Phillip Island home, but there is so much more to do there. From Australian native wildlife such as Koalas to Chocolate factories, you can find so much to do on Phillip Island that you actually may find this a day trip from Melbourne for a family destination that needs so much more time. There are no more popular attractions near Melbourne for family day trips.

A boardwalk that leads to the Penguin parade on Phillip Island

Things to do on Phillip Island for families

There are so many things to do on Phillip Island for families that your whole day can easily be spent having a wonderful time.

Tips for visiting Phillip Island with family:

  • There are different viewing sections at the penguin parade. Rug up as it can get cold
  • Purchasing a 4 park pass when you visit Phillip Island will save you on entries to Phillip Island attractions
  • The 4 Park Pass includes Arctic Journey, Penguin Parade, Churchill Island and the Koala Conservation reserve
  • Entry to the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory Cafe and Shop is free but you must pay for a tour of the Chocolate factory

Free things to do on Phillip Island with kids

There are so many wonderful free things to do on Phillip Island that can be incorporated into your day there. A mix of these free and paid Phillip Island activities will give you a great budget-friendly trip to Phillip Island.

  • Watch the feeding of the Pelicans at the San Remo jetty at noon daily
  • Spend some time watching the huge stingrays glide through the water at the San Remo jetty
  • Find the shipwreck S.S Speke at Kitty Millers Bay
  • If the day is warm take a swim at Kitty Millers Bay too
  • Walkthrough amazing Aussie bush and look for wallabies at the Oswin Roberts Reserve
  • Wander the local markets and maybe even take some local produce home

Places to eat on Phillip Island

There are some great places to eat with kids on Phillip Island and just off the Island too. Here are some of the ones we have checked out over our time there.

  • Fresh fish and chips at the San Remo co-op
  • The Haven Wave Cafe
  • The Spicy Duck

Distance from Melbourne to Phillip Island

Phillip Island is approximately 90 minutes from Melbourne via the M1

How much time do I need on Phillip Island?

Depending on what you choose to do while you are visiting Phillip Island with family your should really try to spend the whole day there. Phillip Island is absolutely perfect for day trips from Melbourne for families.

You can buy a 4 Park Pass for entry to Phillip Island nature parks

Explore Victoria: The detailed guide on things to do on Phillip Island

Adventure Park Geelong (Geelong Water Park)

Adventure Park is the biggest water park in Victoria and is on top of day trips from Melbourne for families list in the summer! Featuring water slides and water playgrounds this is a brilliant family day trip in Victoria.

Geelong Water Park opening times

At this time the park is not due to open till the summer and the times have not been released.

Geelong Water Park entry prices

Entry prices to the family-friendly Adventure Park are correct as of November 2021.

Top tips for visiting Adventure Park with family:

  • Children under 90 cm tall are free
  • ID and valid concession cards must be presented on entry
  • All rides are included in the entry price
  • You are able to bring your own food to Adventure Park Geelong

Distance from Melbourne to the Geelong Water Park

Adventure Park Geelong is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Melbourne via the M1.

How much time do I need at the Geelong Water Park?

Day trips from Melbourne for families to Geelong Water Park should be a full-day experience.

Family day trips – The Grampians

If you love nature, then a trip to the Grampians has to be one of the top of your day trips from Melbourne for families list! To get the best out of your day, I would base myself in the amazing town of Halls Gap and plan your activities from there.

There is also a great number of activities for families in Halls Gap, so if you tire out of the hiking and pure scenic beauty you can do some of the top-rated activities in Halls Gap .

a young girl standing at a lookout in the Grampians National Park

Things to do in Halls Gap

There are so many wonderful things to do in Halls Gap for families. Day trips from Melbourne for families to Halls Gap will become a regular occurrence.

Free things to do in Halls Gap

Being one of the biggest nature hubs in Victoria there are so many free things to do in Halls Gap with kids. Some are nature-based and some are visiting places where you chose if you spend money or not.

  • Visit the Pinnacles
  • McKenzie Falls
  • Watch the kangaroos on the footy oval
  • Visit a winery with epic views
  • Silverband Falls
  • The Balconies
  • Visit 5 Ducks farm for homemade jams
  • Hike some of the trails

Distance from Melbourne to Halls Gap

Melbourne to Halls Gap is approximately 3 hours via the National Highway M8

How much time do I need at Halls Gap?

For all of the amazing activities in Halls Gap, you should expect to spend around 5 hours in total on your day trips from Melbourne for families to the Grampians.

Planning to explore Victoria more?  Here are the best things to do in Halls Gap, the gateway to the Grampians!

Day trips from Melbourne for families are a great way to get out and visit Victoria. There are so many wonderful day trips from Melbourne for families in both the summer and winter months and they all will make lasting memories of your time together.

We hope this article from us here at Explore Victoria has inspired you to embark on your adventure in Victoria, Australia, from popular  caravan parks  and  pristine beaches  to drives along the  Great Ocean Road . Enjoy weekends away on the Mornington Peninsula and discover the cosmopolitan charm of  Melbourne, Victoria ,  with a range of experiences for every traveller who wants to visit Victoria.

Whether you’re drawn to the rugged beauty of the Grampians, the cultural richness of Ballarat , or the autumn colours of  Bright  and  Northern Victoria , there’s no shortage of hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Victoria.

Even if you love  exploring Gippsland  or driving the  Great Alpine Road , Victoria has something special for you, and there is so much more for you to discover. If you are looking for more incredible and best places to  visit in Melbourne  or more travel in Victoria destinations,  Explore Victoria  has some more articles below for you to check out. Expand your horizons and get out and about in Victoria, Australia, for an unforgettable experience. 

If you have an idea, attraction, or top spot in Victoria, please comment or email us at  [email protected] .

More Explore Victoria’s inspiration

21 best places to visit in Victoria
12 awesome things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
10 of the very best caravan parks in Victoria


Bec Wyld is the creative force behind the words, blending Explore Victora with a touch of wanderlust. With an innate ability to tell a story that resonates, Bec invites readers on a journey through her home of Victoria Australia. Beyond the keyboard, Bec works in Aged Care helping people to live a better life. With a pen in one hand and on the road in front Bec is on a quest to inspire those looking to explore Victoria through words, images and lifestyle

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The Pariliament Buildings in Victoria, BC

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One Day in Victoria, BC: Itinerary & Where to Go in 24 Hours

Spending a day in Victoria, BC, and don’t know what to do? If you only have 24 hours to spend in Victoria and need an itinerary of things to do, we’re here to help!

From its historical buildings and scenic ocean views to the expansive selection of tourist activities and great restaurants, there’s more than enough to do in the beautiful city of Victoria. With so much to see and do in one day, knowing where to start for your Victoria day trip can be a challenge.

Victoria is one of those places that has so much to offer that you can’t fit it all in one day. We’ve been living here for years and still haven’t seen and done everything!

Even so, you’ll be able to see some of the best tourist attractions that Victoria has to offer if you know where to go and what to do. So, what should first-time visitors do when they have limited time in this incredible city?

If you’re looking to make the most of your time in Victoria, British Columbia, here’s a suggested itinerary for spending one day in the city. This comprehensive itinerary covers things to do, see, and eat in Victoria – all in the span of one day. You won’t be bored for a minute with this 24-hour Victoria travel guide!

One Day Itinerary for Victoria, BC

One of the best, most beautiful gardens in Victoria is the Butchart Gardens

There is a lot to see in Victoria and doing it all in one day isn’t always the easiest option. But, this Victoria travel guide will give you an itinerary and the basics on what to do so that you can make the most of your 24 hours.

Our day trip itinerary for Victoria covers the best things to see and do, must-see attractions, places to eat, and where to stay around this beautiful city. We also discuss how to get around Victoria, as well as other travel tips and advice.

This itinerary assumes you’re starting in the morning and have the entire day free. You may have to modify the itinerary if you don’t have a full 24-hours in Victoria. Also, you may need to modify the itinerary depending on your travel style. If you like to take your time sightseeing, you may need to drop an activity or two!

At the end of the article, we’ve also provided a list of alternative things to do and see around Victoria if you don’t like the activities listed in the itinerary. We tried to provide a variety of options so there’s something for everyone.

Now, on to the suggested itinerary for how to spend your time in Victoria!

Eat Breakfast at a Local Cafe

Pancakes and eggs benny from Jam Cafe

Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast at one of Victoria’s many cafes. You don’t want to be exploring the city hungry!

Victoria has many amazing cafes that are worth checking out. Some of the best breakfast food we’ve ever eaten has been at these Victoria restaurants.

One of the most popular spots in the city for all-day breakfast food is the Blue Fox Cafe . This funky restaurant serves some of the best brunch food in Victoria, from stacks of fluffy pancakes to ten different kinds of eggs benny. There’s usually a line of waiting patrons out the door, so get there early!

Jam Cafe is a breakfast experience that’s worth the wait as well. This all-day breakfast cafe is popular for a reason – you won’t be disappointed with the food here! Choose from egg bennies, veggie bowls, waffles, french toast, pancakes, and more. One of their best dishes is the Charlie Bowl – you should definitely give it a try!

If you want lots of breakfast choices, head over to John’s Place Restaurant on Pandora Avenue. They have a massive menu with all kinds of different breakfast food options, including Belgian waffles, delicious customizable omelettes, and so much more.

For vegans or vegetarians, check out the Fern Cafe and Bakery . It’s a bit outside of downtown Victoria, but they are 100% vegan with plenty of delicious brunch foods and baked goods to try. And, if you need a gluten-friendly spot, try Nourish Kitchen & Cafe near the Inner Harbour.

Tour the Butchart Gardens

The sunken gardens at the Butchart Gardens

Once you’re fueled up and ready to go, it’s time to explore some of Victoria’s top attractions. The first stop is the world-renowned Butchart Gardens near Brentwood Bay. These famous gardens are one of the highlights of Victoria and definitely a must-see spot in southern Vancouver Island.

If you don’t have a vehicle, a Butchart Gardens tour is the best way to get to this must-see attraction. The tour shuttles you from downtown Victoria straight to the gardens and brings you back later in the day. The fee includes entry to the gardens and round-trip bus transportation.

Once you’re there, you can explore the different gardens and admire all of the beautiful flowers and plants. Our favorite spot in this botanical oasis is the Sunken Garden, followed by the incredible Ross Fountain. There are also Rose, Italian, Mediterranean, and Japanese Gardens to explore.

Expect the Butchart Gardens tour to take about 3 to 5 hours, depending on your pace. You don’t want to rush through because there are lots of things to see!

The amount of time you should budget for this activity will also vary depending on whether you’re driving or taking the Butchart Gardens tour bus . The gardens will take up more time in your day if you’re taking the bus. However, the Butchart Gardens is one of the must-see destinations around Victoria and it’s worth the effort to get there!

Eat Lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

When you return to downtown Victoria, you’ll probably be ready for lunch. If you haven’t eaten already, it’s time to head to the colorful Fisherman’s Wharf for a bite to eat. Or, save some time by grabbing food at Butchart Gardens from The Blue Poppy Restaurant , The Dining Room , or their coffee shop.

From downtown Victoria, you can walk or drive to Fisherman’s Wharf. But, if you want to get the most out of your Victoria experience, we recommend taking one of the Victoria Harbour Ferries to the wharf.

These charming water taxis cruise all around the harbor waters. The small ferries link tourist destinations like the Fairmont Empress, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and Old Town.

Jump on one of the harbour ferries near the Empress and enjoy scenic views of Victoria’s Inner Harbour from a unique perspective. The water taxis are pretty cheap so they’re a great way to get around and sight-see!

Fisherman’s Wharf is only a 15-minute walk from downtown Victoria. If you don’t feel like walking, you can drive, cab, or bus. Alternatively, you could use a hop-on hop-off tour bus to get around between tourist destinations.

Harbour ferry at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, BC

Once you’re at Fisherman’s Wharf, you have plenty of food kiosk options to choose from. These kiosks aren’t really sit-down restaurants, although there is outdoor seating available.

Barb’s Fish and Chips is a world-famous restaurant serving some of the best fish & chips in Victoria (and probably all of Canada). We definitely recommend giving them a try.

Or, try some of the local fresh seafood at The Fish Store , like salmon, mussels, oysters, and Dungeness crab. You won’t get much fresher seafood than this!

Fisherman’s Wharf is a marine tourist destination that’s worth a visit, but we wouldn’t budget too much time at this spot. In our opinion, Fisherman’s Wharf is only really worth a visit to grab a bite to eat, see the colorful houseboats, or join an eco-tour. Most of the houseboat areas are private access only so be respectful to the homeowners!

Walk along the Breakwater

The lighthouse at the end of the Ogden Point Breakwater, Victoria

After lunch, head to the Ogden Point Breakwater for some of the best views of Victoria’s harbor area. Not too far from Fisherman’s Wharf, this short, easy walk is a great way to get some incredible ocean views!

One of the stops on the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses in Victoria, the breakwater is a popular tourist destination in James Bay. This 762-meter long walkway takes you far out into the water from Dallas Road. For this reason, we recommend only visiting the Breakwater on calm days, unless you’re ready to be splashed by waves!

Look for seals and river otters swimming beside the Breakwater as you walk. Massive cruise ships dock near the Breakwater at the cruise ship terminal. Floatplanes take off near the end of the walkway and you can also watch boats zooming around the waters. And, if you’re really lucky, you might spot some whales!

The Ogden Point Breakwater is the perfect place for a stroll to help you digest lunch. If you need a pick-me-up, grab a coffee for your walk at the Breakwater Bistro & Bar at the start of the pathway.

Beacon Hill Park

Hummingbird in the flowers at Beacon Hill Park

A visit to Victoria isn’t complete without wandering through Beacon Hill Park. This beautiful, 200-acre parkland treasure is located just outside of downtown and is one of the best parks in Victoria.

Beacon Hill Park is brimming with stunning flowers, serene ponds, unique wildlife, and fun events. Best of all, it costs nothing to visit this park!

There are many pathways that wind their way through the gorgeous parkland. You could walk around the park for hours!

Don’t feel like walking? Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of Beacon Hill Park instead! These carriage tours are an excellent way to see the beautiful park. It’s also a lot of fun getting towed around by the horses.

At the top of Beacon Hill, enjoy views of brilliant purple camas flower meadows in the spring. Check out the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole near Dallas Road, then wander through the parkland finding fountains, animals, and abundant flowers.

The beautiful Goodacre Lake is full of ducks and turtles sunning themselves on logs. Search for the nearby Moss Lady , hidden among the trees. Admire the stunning, colorful flowers near Chestnut Row. And for children, there’s even a petting zoo!

In summer, there are weekend events at the Cameron Bandshell in the park. Sit and enjoy free concerts, from jazz to folk music.

After exploring Beacon Hill Park, head back downtown to enjoy Victoria’s core. Depending on what time it is, you can spend some time exploring downtown Victoria or head for dinner.

Check out Thunderbird Park

From Beacon Hill Park, head north along Douglas Street. You’ll pass by the Royal BC Museum on your way. This museum is home to over 200,000 artifacts and specimens, making it one of the largest museums in Canada.

Outside of the Royal BC Museum, you’ll find Thunderbird Park, featuring a collection of impressive totem poles. A walk through Thunderbird Park only takes a few minutes but it is definitely worth stopping for!

Take some time to admire the striking carvings and longhouse of the west coast First Nations peoples. Many of these poles are replicas carved by master carver Mungo Martin, with the originals stored inside the museum.

Victoria is located on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen people, known today as the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. These Coast Salish people have an intimate, long-lasting relationship with the land of southern Vancouver Island.

View the BC Parliament Buildings

The front fountain at the BC Parliament Buildings

Next, head towards the Inner Harbour to get a good look at the BC Parliament Buildings, home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. With 5-acres of waterfront land and historic buildings constructed in 1893, the Parliament Buildings are an impressive sight.

There are self-guided or public tours of the Parliament Buildings if you’re interested. But, you probably won’t have time for one on a day trip.

Instead, enjoy the building’s Romanesque architecture, manicured waterfront grounds, beautiful water fountains, Premier’s rose garden, and statues of founding BC figures.

On the top of the central dome of the Parliament Buildings, you’ll spot Captain George Vancouver, known for exploring the Pacific coast of North America. Both Vancouver and Vancouver Island take their name from this British Royal Navy officer.

Other notable monuments include the Cenotaph memorial to the unknown soldier, Queen Victoria’s statue, the Speaker’s chair, and the Knowledge Totem Pole.

A walk through the BC Parliament grounds won’t take too long. Even if you don’t want to explore the property, it’s worth taking a look at the impressive buildings.

Walk the Harbour Causeway and Government Street

The Inner Harbour Causeway in Victoria, BC.

For amazing views of the harbour, cross the street to the Inner Harbour Causeway. This is the pathway that runs alongside the ocean beside Belleville and Government Streets. You can access the causeway via the stairs or ramp near the Bateman Gallery.

Here, you’ll get excellent views of the ocean, marina, and harbour traffic. The causeway is a great place to sit and watch the boats cruise by.

The Inner Harbour Causeway features a “Welcome to Victoria” sign made out of flowers. There are also food kiosks, local vendors, and a lemonade stand.

At the north end of the causeway, you’ll have an excellent spot to watch floatplanes take off from the Victoria Harbour Airport. If you’re interested in experiencing a seaplane flight, book one of the scenic floatplane tours of Victoria that will depart from this marine airport!

If you have time, you can also explore Government Street, the main shopping street in Victoria. This popular road is perfect for browsing unique stores and picking up souvenirs. You’ll find everything from bookstores to art galleries to clothing stores.

Dinner in Downtown Victoria

By now, you’re probably getting hungry again so it’s time for dinner!

Downtown Victoria has plenty of amazing restaurants to choose from. Some of the best foods we’ve tasted in BC have come from restaurants in Victoria. There’s a variety of cuisines and restaurants that fit any dietary needs.

One of our favorite places to eat in downtown Victoria is Finn’s Seafood Restaurant . This is one of the best restaurants in Victoria, in our opinion. This brick restaurant sits right beside the water, offering incredible ocean views from the outdoor patios.

Red Fish Blue Fish is a casual seafood restaurant located on the waterfront. The dockside restaurant is known for its tacos, fish and chips, and fish sandwiches. Order your food to go and eat it at one of the bars overlooking the harbour.

Pagliacci’s is a local favorite for Italian food and isn’t too far from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The eatery has a great selection of pasta dishes, as well as delicious seafood and grilled meats. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a hearty meal after a busy day of sightseeing.

Lastly, if you want something quick to eat, try ordering something from Tacofino . We think that Tacofino is the best taco restaurant in Victoria. Usually, we order their fish or steak tacos.

The last activity of the day will be whale-watching by boat. If you get seasick easily, you may prefer to eat dinner afterward. Also, try to pick a restaurant that’s near the harbour because it’ll make it easier to get to your wildlife viewing tour.

Sunset Whale Watching Tour

Pod of orcas swimming near Vancouver Island

One of our favorite things to do in Victoria is a sunset whale-watching tour . Explore Victoria’s coastline on a luxurious catamaran while searching for whales and enjoying the gorgeous colors of the setting sun. With opportunities to spot orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, and so much more, you won’t be disappointed on these wildlife viewing tours!

The sunset whale watching tour departs from Wharf Street in downtown Victoria and lasts three to four hours. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see whales – they have a 95% success rate! If you don’t spot whales, they’ll send you on a second tour, free of charge.

Perfect for photographers, this wildlife viewing adventure leads to some excellent photo opportunities. There is spectacular lighting for whale photos, no matter what species you see. Also, the beautiful sunset colors look incredible over the islands and serene ocean water.

Overall, this sunset experience is unforgettable and the perfect way to wrap up a day of exploring!

Keep the Night Going?

When you get back from the sunset whale watching tour, you’ll have the choice to head back to the hotel or keep the night going. If you choose the latter option, there are a few things you can do to enjoy Victoria’s nightlife.

  • Head to a local pub – Fancy a drink to end the night? There are plenty of pubs and bars that are local favorites near Victoria’s Inner Harbor that you can head to for a nightcap. Try the Bard & Banker with its Scottish style and historic charm. Or, Whistle Buoy Brewing Company is another popular watering hole in downtown Victoria.
  • Catch a show – Victoria has plenty of late-night shows. You just have to find them! The Friends of Dorothy Lounge often offers late-night drag shows, karaoke, and other events. The Mint regularly hosts evening variety shows and comedy nights. And, the Irish Times Pub usually has live music in the evenings.
  • Stargazing at Cattle Point – One of the most peaceful ways to end a day of exploring in Victoria is to go stargazing. Cattle Point in Uplands Park is a dark sky preserve with incredible starry views over the ocean. Sit outside under the stars or in the warmth of your car, enjoying the beautiful night sky.

Other Things to Do in Victoria in 24 Hours

Looking for something else to do in Victoria other than the activities listed on the one day itinerary? Here are some ideas for other things to do during your day trip to Victoria.

Scenic Floatplane Tour

Harbour air seaplane docked in Victoria's Inner Harbour

A breathtaking way to experience all that Victoria has to offer is with a scenic floatplane tour . If you’ve never flown in a seaplane before, it’s a great time to try it!

Harbour Air seaplane tours depart from the Victoria Harbour Airport in the Inner Harbour. You’ll spot the floatplanes all docked at the marina, looking out of place among the boats.

The scenic seaplane tours are spectacular and unforgettable. You take off from the ocean, speeding along the water until the plane picks up enough speed to take flight. Then, soar over the beautiful city, enjoying views of Victoria and southern Vancouver Island.

Guided Food and History Tour

A great way to see and taste all that Victoria has to offer is with a guided food and history tour . You won’t miss any attractions with a local guide showing you around!

This awesome culinary tour takes you to must-see attractions around downtown Victoria. It’s a great way to see some of Victoria’s hidden gems.

On this guided walking tour, you’ll see the impressive Parliament Buildings, walk along the Inner Harbour Causeway, and visit Trounce Alley. You’ll also visit Chinatown to see the famous Fan Tan Alley and the Harmonious Gates of Interest. There are also stops in Bastion and Market Squares, as well as the Victoria Public Market.

Along the way, you’ll get to taste multiple different local foods, while learning about the history of the city. Make sure you’re hungry before you go on this tour!

Fan Tan Alley

Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest one in Canada and also the second oldest in all of North America! The neighborhood features brilliant red and gold colors, unique architecture, and an ornate archway marking the entrance.

Here, you’ll also find the hidden gem of Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada. Within the alley, there are a bunch of hidden shops that are fun to browse. This small alley is easy to walk by, so don’t miss it on your adventures!

Government House Gardens

The Government House Gardens are one of the best gardens in Victoria but they aren’t as well known as the famous Butchart Gardens. Even so, these gardens are breathtakingly beautiful.

Overflowing with plant life, the Government House gardens feature a variety of unique gardens and plants. The best part is that entry into the gardens is free!

Head to the Beach

Gonzales Beach, one of the many beautiful beaches in Victoria, BC

The beaches in Victoria are some of the best in Canada. So, if it’s a nice day, you should head to the beach to get some sun and enjoy the sand!

Many of the beaches in Victoria are rocky and rugged. However, there are a few excellent sandy beaches that are perfect for laying out your beach towel and sunbathing. Willows Beach and Gonzales Beach are two of Victoria’s best sandy beaches .

Unfortunately, the water around Vancouver Island is pretty chilly. While you can brave the cold, most people find the temperature too cold for much more than wading.

Tour Craigdarroch Castle

This Victorian-era castle is a must-see for history buffs. Located not too far from downtown Victoria, Craigdarroch Castle is a magnificent Victorian-era mansion and national historic site.

The extravagant castle was built for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish-Canadian coal baron, to reflect his wealth and importance. He is recognized as a National Historic Person and his family plays an important role in British Columbia’s history.

Craigdarroch Castle is open for tours from Thursday through Sunday. The tour takes about an hour. You’ll learn all about the castle’s history as well as get to see some of the beautiful rooms and views.

Want to see Craigdarroch Castle but don’t feel like touring it? Try this Castle Bike Tour which takes you from the Inner Harbour to Craigdarroch Castle, with a stop at Beacon Hill Park and the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole.

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress

After a busy day of sightseeing, relax with afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress . This iconic hotel is located right on Victoria’s Inner Harbour and is known for its afternoon tea service.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy some delicious afternoon tea while taking in the views of Victoria’s harbour. The afternoon tea service includes sandwiches, scones, and pastries served with housemade jam and honey. You’ll be served your choice of premium loose-leaf tea, presented in royal china.

Where to Stay in Victoria

The Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC

Staying overnight in the city? You’ll want the perfect place to stay for your one-day getaway in Victoria.

There are lots of great places to stay in Victoria, depending on your budget and preferences. Check out these articles for some recommendations:

  • Top Oceanfront Vacation Homes in Victoria
  • Best Oceanfront Hotels in Victoria
  • Best Romantic Getaways in Victoria
  • Most Unique and Unusual Hotels in Victoria

Here are some of the top hotels in Victoria to help you find the best place to stay.

Luxury Hotels

  • The Fairmont Empress is a luxurious, elegant hotel located right in the heart of downtown Victoria. From this hotel, it’s easy to access all of the best attractions. With an oceanfront location, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the water. Plus, as a national historic site, this hotel is pretty much a tourist attraction on its own.
  • The Inn at Laurel Point is another excellent luxury hotel with a convenient location. This waterfront hotel is beside the Victoria harbor and offers stunning ocean and downtown views. There are also oceanfront patios and beautiful gardens!

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Strathcona Hotel is a mid-range priced hotel located downtown. It has comfortable, modern rooms. Also, the hotel has plenty of fun things to do, including billiards, darts, and a rooftop sand volleyball court!
  • Helm’s Inn is right beside Beacon Hill Park and close to the Inner Harbour. It’s easy to walk from this hotel to downtown attractions. Suites at this hotel have a kitchenette, making it a great choice if you don’t plan on dining out.

Budget-Friendly Hotels

  • Ocean Island Inn is a great choice if you don’t mind hostel-style accommodations. This hostel is centrally located and perfect for travelers looking for budget-friendly rooms. Pick from a variety of room types, from private rooms to dorms.
  • Hotel Zed Victoria is a good choice if you need affordable accommodations but don’t want a shared dorm room. This colorful hotel has private, spacious rooms at a low affordable price. They pride themselves on providing a fun, funky atmosphere with plenty of unique amenities.

Getting around Victoria

A bicycle on Pandora Avenue in Victoria

Cars – You don’t need a vehicle to get around downtown Victoria, but it’s handy if you plan on exploring more of the city. If you’re looking to rent a vehicle for your trip, we recommend booking through RentalCars.com . This site allows you to compare prices between companies to find the most inexpensive rental vehicle for your trip.

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours – These double-decker buses take you around Victoria to all the must-see destinations. They pass by the Breakwater, Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle, Oak Bay Marina, and more. On nice days, you’ll get the best views from the top of the bus!

Bikes – Victoria is a very bike-friendly city. There are plenty of bike lanes and trails, like the Galloping Goose and Lochside Regional Trails. If you don’t have your own bike, there are lots of rental shops with hourly or daily rates. You can even rent e-bicycles if you don’t want to pedal!

Top Travel Tips & Resources for Victoria, BC

  • Travel Insurance – If you’re travelling internationally, travel insurance is a must for any trip. Being covered by insurance is especially important when you’re going to an adventure-filled place like British Columbia. If you injure yourself while adventuring, you want to have insurance! We recommend using SafetyWing for international travel insurance. They are affordable and have great policies for travellers, digital nomads, and remote workers. Also, SafetyWing provides COVID-19 coverage, which many other insurance companies don’t cover.
  • Car Rental – We find the best deal on vehicle rental prices using RentalCars.com . They compare the prices for different car rental companies so you can find the best deals out there!
  • Accommodations – We prefer booking all of our hotels, hostels, and other accommodations through Booking.com because they have a flexible cancellation policy. Also, there are lots of different options on their platform, from hotels to vacation homes. Alternatively, Expedia and Hotels.com are good for booking accommodations. For vacation home rentals, VRBO is an excellent choice (they have lower fees than Airbnb, many of the same properties, and are more ethical).
  • Flights – You’ll find many good flight deals on Skyscanner or Google Flights. You can book flights through these websites and they’ll help you find the best prices and flight times. If you fly at less popular times (e.g. mid-week or red-eye flights), you can also save some money.
  • Tours – Get the most out of your vacation by taking a guided tour! This is a great way to see the city, adventure to exciting new locations, and learn about the local culture. Viator or GetYourGuide are great options for booking tours.

Related posts:

  • 36 Best Things to Do in Victoria, BC
  • Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary for a Seattle to Victoria Trip
  • 12 Best Oceanfront Hotels in Victoria, BC
  • 8 Beautiful Gardens around Victoria, BC
  • 7 Best Romantic Getaways in Victoria, BC
  • 15 Top Oceanfront Vacation Homes in Victoria

day trips victoria

Hey, I'm Nicole! I've travelled all over the world but my favorite place is British Columbia. I've lived in Victoria, BC since 2019 and spend most of my free time travelling around BC. My goal is to explore as much of this beautiful province as possible. Along the way I'll be sharing travel tips with you!

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One Day In Victoria, BC – A Perfect Day Trip Itinerary

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria, BC , is a city surrounded by stunning natural beauty. With its mild climate, historic buildings, and seaside charm, it’s no wonder that Victoria is a popular day trip from Vancouver.

If you only have one day to spend in this beautiful city, don’t worry – there’s plenty to see and do in Victoria to make the most of your time. In this itinerary, I’ll take you through the highlights of Victoria, from the iconic Fairmont Empress to the eclectic shops of LoJo.

I love Victoria, it has a perfect mix of history, outdoor spaces, a vibrant art scene and incredible food! I visit Vancouver Island often, usually stopping in Victoria, and every time I discover something new and exciting.

Whether you are on a cruise stopover, driving the Pacific Marine Circle Route, or a bigger Vancouver Island road trip , Victoria is a great city to spend a day exploring. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this perfect itinerary for one day in Victoria, BC.

Heading To Victoria Soon? Check Out These Helpful Resources!

Find the perfect place to stay in Victoria with Booking.com . Through Booking.com you can choose from a range of hotels to suit your needs.

I recommend booking tours and activities in Victoria online in advance with Viator . They offer a best price guarantee and flexibility with bookings.

Explore Victoria by car by booking with Discover Cars . Renting a car is the best way to see Victoria as you can go wherever you want!

One Day In Victoria Itinerary

Breakfast/brunch in victoria.

The first thing you should do when you arrive in Victoria is brunch! Victoria is famous for it’s vast array of brunch options, and honestly they do not disappoint!

My personal recommendation is Blue Fox Café – there is a TON of hype over this place, but it definitely lives up to it (and then some!) It’s rare a place that’s so hyped exceeds my expectations, but they Blue Fox truly did.

You will most likely be greeted by a line of people already waiting, so I recommend to get here as early as possible. If you do manage to get a table, you should try their Honey Macadamia Nut Latte (pure heaven!) Their eggs benny selection, and french toast menu are both to die for.

My other recommendations for brunch in Victoria is the Jam Café and Floyd’s Diner.

Eggs benny at the Blue Fox Cafe in Victoria BC

Explore The Inner Harbour

After breakfast, take a stroll through the picturesque Inner Harbour. The Inner Harbour is one of my favourite places to visit in Victoria. The architecture will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

This bustling area is home to some of Victoria’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Make sure to stop by the Visitor Centre to pick up a map and get some insider tips on must-visit spots in the city.

Parliament Buildings

As you continue your walk around the Inner Harbour, make sure to stop at the Parliament Buildings. These impressive buildings are a must-visit for their stunning architecture and rich history.

These grand structures aren’t just a feast for the eyes with their intricate architecture; they’re also packed with history.

The free tours offered here are a fantastic way to spend an hour or so. You’ll get to peek inside the legislative chambers, learn some cool facts about British Columbia’s politics, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be snapping pics of those gorgeous stained glass windows like there’s no tomorrow.

Don’t pass up on this — it’s not every day you get to explore a place this grand for free.

Rachael sitting on a wall at the Parliament buildings in Victoria, BC.

Fairmont Empress

If you thought the Parliament Buildings were something, wait until you see the Fairmont Empress. This grand hotel, standing majestically by the waterfront, is pretty much a postcard picture come to life.

It’s been around since 1908, so you can bet it’s seen its fair share of history. Pop into the lobby to catch a glimpse of its elegant interior or, if you’re feeling fancy, treat yourself to their world-famous afternoon tea.

The tea experience here is something you won’t forget—think delicate pastries and sandwiches served in a setting that’ll make you feel like royalty. Even if tea’s not your thing, just walking by and seeing this iconic building is a must when you’re in Victoria.

The Empress is by far one of my favourite places in Victoria, it’s so hard not to stop by and photograph it! I have stayed at the Empress and it is everything you would imagine it to be, luxurious and elegant – if you’re considering a stay here check out my comprehensive guide to the Empress Hotel for more info.

Rachael standing in front of the Fairmont Empress - it's definitely worth checking out this grand hotel during your one day in Victoria, BC.

Thunderbird Park

After soaking in the historical and architectural wonders of downtown Victoria, make your next stop Thunderbird Park. This unique park, located next to the Royal BC Museum, is an open-air showcase of totem poles and First Nations monuments that tell the story of Canada’s indigenous cultures.

Thunderbird Park is a spot where you can really feel the rich history and cultural significance of the indigenous peoples of Canada’s Pacific Northwest. Plus, it’s completely free to wander around, making it perfect if visiting on a budget, and one of the best free things to do in Victoria.

Make sure to visit the Mungo Martin House, located within the enchanting grounds of Thunderbird Park. This traditionally constructed Kwakwaka’wakw big house was named after the renowned Chief Mungo Martin, a pivotal figure in the revival of Northwest Coast First Nations art and culture during the mid-20th century.

The house serves as a living tribute to Mungo Martin’s legacy, showcasing his extraordinary work along with that of other First Nations artists.

Inside you’ll find a vibrant murals and intricate carvings that adorn the walls, each telling a story of the Kwakwaka’wakw people’s connection to the land, their traditions, and their ancestors.

Photo of a totem pole in front of a traditional first nations long house at Thunderbird Park in Victoria, BC.

Royal BC Museum

Next stop is the Royal BC Museum , and honestly, this place is an absolute must-visit. Imagine walking through a door and stepping straight into the heart of British Columbia’s history – that’s the Royal BC Museum for you.

The museum has got everything from realistic dioramas that bring BC’s wildlife to life (we’re talking about lifelike scenes that’ll have you doing double takes) to exhibits that transport you back to the 19th-century streets of Victoria. Plus, their First Peoples gallery is incredibly insightful, giving you a close look at the rich culture and history of the Indigenous peoples of BC.

The museum is always bringing in something new and fascinating. Check their website before you go. They often have cool events and exhibitions that you won’t want to miss.

Photo of a wooly mammoth diorama at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

Go Shopping On Government Street

No trip to Victoria would be complete without a bit of shopping, and Government Street is the place to hit for that. This bustling street is lined with shops that range from souvenirs to high-end boutiques.

One of the coolest spots has to be Munro’s Books . This place is a book lover’s dream, with its stunning architecture and shelves upon shelves of books. Plus, it’s been around since 1963, making it a true Victoria classic.

For something uniquely Canadian, swing by The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some mouth-watering treats. And if you’re into quirky and eclectic finds, you can’t miss Market Square just off Government Street. It’s a little nook full of indie stores that sell everything from vintage clothes to handmade jewellery.

China Town in Victoria, BC is a burst of colour, flavours, and history smack in the middle of the city. It’s actually the oldest Chinatown in Canada, so you can bet it’s packed with some pretty cool stories.

Walking down Fisgard Street, the main strip, you’ll be hit by the aroma of delicious food coming from every direction. Dim sum, perfect for sharing (or not, I won’t judge), Peking duck that’s just crispy enough, and bubble tea shops scattered generously throughout.

Chinatown in Victoria isn’t just a place to eat (though, seriously, the food is a big part of it). It’s a vibrant piece of the city, with bright red and gold accents that make for perfect photo ops.

Fan Tan Alley

Walking into Fan Tan Alley is like squeezing into a little slice of history. Seriously, this alley is so narrow, you might have to turn sideways if you come across someone going the other way. But, trust me, it’s worth the shuffle. Fan Tan Alley holds the title of the narrowest street in Canada, and it’s jam-packed with character.

Loaded with unique shops and tiny boutiques, this alley is the place to find things you didn’t know you needed, from trendy fashion and vinyl records to artisan chocolates and hand-crafted jewelry. The vibe here is super casual and a bit eclectic, making it a cool spot to explore without any rush.

And while you’re meandering through, don’t forget to look up and around. The buildings towering over you are a vivid reminder of the area’s rich history and cultural significance.

The colourful shop signs lining Fan Tan Alley in Victoria's China Town.

Lower Johnson Street

Next head to Lower Johnson Street, or as the locals like to call it, LoJo. LoJo is this eclectic mix of old and new, where historic buildings house contemporary boutiques and restaurants.

The architecture itself is a treat – think colourful facades and Victorian-era charm that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but with a modern twist.

It’s home to some of the coolest spots in Victoria. First up, Oscar & Libby’s , the go-to place for whimsical gifts and unique finds. Their collection ranges from quirky kitchen gadgets to amusing greeting cards.

Another gem is Still Life For Him & For Her . This boutique offers a carefully curated selection of clothing and accessories from both local and international designers.

And if you’re a fan of all things sweet and delectable, Kid Sister Ice Cream is a must. This little ice cream shop serves up some of the most delicious, handcrafted frozen treats you’ve ever tasted.

But LoJo isn’t just for the shopaholics. This street is also packed with cool cafes and restaurants where you can just sit back, relax, and soak in the atmosphere.

Lower Johnson Street is super pedestrian-friendly, making it a breeze to wander and explore. It’s one of those places where you can easily spend a whole afternoon without even realizing it!

Colourful buildings in Victoria's shopping district.

Late Afternoon/Evening

After a busy day exploring the city, end your time with a bucket-list experience. Below are my two options for ending your one day in Victoria.

If you are visiting with a car, the Butchart Gardens are beautiful to walk through and an iconic part of Victoria’s identity. Alternatively you can take a whale watching tour, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most.

There are several options for whale watching tours in Victoria. Most have a shuttle service that will pick up from downtown, but I recommend this Prince of Whales tour as they have convenient pick-up from the Inner Harbour.

Visiting Butchart Gardens – Option 1

If there was one attraction that is quintessentially Victoria, it’s the Butchart Gardens. Now, you’re probably thinking gardens are gardens, but trust me, Butchart is on a whole other level.

This sprawling 55-acre site is not your average garden. Established by the Butchart family in the early 20th century, it has grown into one of Canada’s premier botanical showcases.

The gardens are meticulously maintained, featuring diverse areas such as the colourful Italian Garden, the tranquil Japanese Garden, and the breathtaking Sunken Garden.

This stunning property is not just limited to the summer season either; with each changing season bringing a new display of flowers and foliage, there’s never a bad time to visit.

If you want the full Butchart experience, take advantage of their afternoon tea service, which is served on the outdoor terrace overlooking the gardens.

There is no complimentary shuttle to the Butchart Gardens, so if you are visiting Victoria without a car you will need to take public transport. You can get there by taking the number 75 from downtown Victoria, the total travel time is just under an hour.

The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Bc.

Whale Watching In Victoria – Option 2

Victoria, BC, is one of the best spots on the West Coast for getting up close and personal with marine life. We’re talking about orcas, humpback whales, gray whales, and sometimes even minke whales making an appearance.

What makes Victoria so great for whale watching? It’s all about location. The waters around Southern Vancouver Island are smack dab in the middle of major migration routes for whales. Plus, there’s a healthy population of resident orcas living right in these waters. That means your chances of spotting whales are pretty darn good.

Most tours leave from the Inner Harbour and come in all shapes and sizes, from big boats with plenty of amenities to zodiacs that get you closer to the action (if you don’t mind getting a bit wet).

This 3-hour whale watching tour by Prince of Whales includes a photo package and a lifetime whale sighting guarantee – so if you don’t see any whales on your trip you can tour again for free (minus GST and fees) The guides are super knowledgeable, often with a background in marine biology, ready to spill all the fascinating facts about these creatures and their habitat.

And it’s not just about the whales. You’ll likely spot seals, sea lions, and a variety of seabirds along the way. You might even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring over!

Photo of Orca fins off the coast of Vancouver Island. Whale watching is a bucket list activity when spending one day in Victoria.

Other Things To Do In Victoria

Victoria’s downtown area is quite condensed so it’s easy to explore within a day. But if you do want to venture further out of the city, here are some other suggestions.

  • Beacon Hill Park: An urban park in the heart of Victoria. This 200-acre park offers a serene escape with its beautifully landscaped gardens, expansive lawns, and a variety of ponds and waterways.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf: This unique spot combines a working fisherman’s dock with a vibrant tourist attraction, where colourful houseboats float alongside seafood vendors, quirky shops, and outdoor dining areas. You can take a water taxi to or from Fisherman’s Wharf from the Inner Harbour.
  • Mount Douglas: Just a short drive from downtown Victoria, this is one of the easy hikes in Victoria and one of my absolute favourite views of the city and ocean. The summit can be reached by car, or by taking one of the many hiking trails. The park’s 360-degree view from the top is unmatched.

How To Get To Victoria, BC

Victoria is located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the city of Vancouver) Unless you live on Vancouver Island, you will most likely be taking a ferry to get to Victoria.

The most popular route is from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria), which takes about 90 minutes. Once you reach Swartz Bay, you can take a bus or taxi into downtown Victoria.

You can also take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (Nanaimo). Once you reach Departure Bay it is about a 2-hour drive south to Victoria. You can book through BC Ferries in advance for both vehicles and passenger fares.

If you’re flying into Victoria, the Victoria International Airport is located just outside of downtown and offers flights from major cities in Canada and the United States.

Harbour Air also offers multiple daily flights between downtown Vancouver and Victoria’s Inner Harbour, with a flight time of just 35 minutes. This is a great option if you want to save time or have limited travel days.

Where To Eat In Victoria

  • Red Fish Blue Fish: A popular spot for freshly caught seafood served from a converted cargo container on the Inner Harbour. Best fish and chips I have had on Vancouver Island – highly recommend!
  • Irish Times Pub: A traditional Irish pub with a cozy atmosphere, live music, and delicious food. I ate here on my most recent trip and the food is AMAZING. Try the blackberry gin smash and the truffle mushroom dip!
  • Q at the Empress: Located inside the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Q offers a fine dining experience with an emphasis on sustainable and local ingredients. The views of the Inner Harbour are pretty hard to beat.
  • Beavertails: A Canadian classic! Beavertails is a must-visit for their iconic fried pastries topped with your choice of sweet toppings.
  • Noodlebox: For a quick and tasty meal, check out Noodlebox for their selection of Asian-inspired noodles and rice dishes. Perfect for a grab-and-go lunch or dinner. There are several locations throughout the city. Try the Singapore Cashew or Spicy Peanut bowls!

Cheese and meat plate at Q at the Empress restaurant.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a jam-packed itinerary for one day in Victoria! Of course, if you have more time, feel free to add on some of the other suggestions and make it a 2 to 3 day trip to Victoria . But if you only have one day, this itinerary will give you a taste of all the incredible things Victoria has to offer – from its stunning natural beauty to its vibrant downtown and delicious food scene.

If you are spending some time on Vancouver Island, I have a detailed Vancouver Island road trip post, or if you want to venture further, check out my guides on Jordan River and Tofino itinerary . If you are exploring more of BC, you can also check out all my guides here .

Explore More Of British Columbia

  • 3 Days in Victoria, BC
  • Easy Hikes in Victoria, BC
  • 3 Days in Tofino
  • Vancouver Island Road Trip
  • Things to do in Jordan River, BC
  • 2 Days in Vancouver
  • Easy Hikes in Vancouver

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10 Things to Do on Victoria Day Long Weekend 2024

by Taryn Eyton in Events , Town on May 1, 2024

People walk on a suspended walkway at the Cliffwalk at Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver

Cliffwalk at Capilano Suspension Bridge. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

For many Vancouverites, Victoria Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer. It’s a time to get excited about the warmer weather and get outside to visit gardens, hiking trails, seasonal events, and more. In 2024, the Victoria Day long weekend is from May 18 to 20. Here are 10 ideas to help you plan your weekend adventures.

Visit Stanley Park

day trips victoria

Couple cycling in Stanley Park. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Rishad Daroowala

Stanley Park is the green heart at Vancouver’s core. Spring is the start of seawall season, when locals and visitors alike take to bikes, rollerblades, and sneakers for a trip around the Stanley Park Seawall . Build some extra time into your day to explore the rest of the park. You can delve into the forested interior, learn about Indigenous culture and connect with nature. Our Stanley Park visitor guide has all the details.

Vancouver Comic Arts Festival – May 18 and 19

Visitors at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival

Photo: Vancouver Comic Arts Festival/Facebook

Head to the Roundhouse Community Centre on May 18 and 19 to enjoy the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival . This free two-day event celebrates comics and graphic novels. Visit the vendor fair and exhibition to see creators and artists from around the world. You can also attend readings, panels, and workshops.

Go on a Bike Ride

Biking on the seawall in Vancouver

Biking on the seawall at English Bay. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Cycle City Tours

With separated bike paths and designated bike lanes crisscrossing the city, Vancouver is a bike-friendly city. You can rent a bike from local shops, or book a guided bike tour . If you’re making a short trip, try the Mobi bike share program which has bikes at hundreds of docking stations around the city. Use our guide to Vancouver’s car-free bike paths to find ten scenic bike ride suggestions.

Shop at an Outdoor Market

Shoppers at the West End Farmers' Market in Vancouver.

West End Farmers’ Market. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Vision Event Photography Inc.

It’s outdoor market season in Vancouver. On Victoria Day long weekend you have lots of markets to choose from. Kick off the weekend at the Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver on Friday night.

On Saturday, shop for fresh veggies at the Trout Lake or Riley Park Farmers’ Markets. Or head to the West End Farmers’ Market to celebrate their first market of 2024. On Sunday you can visit the Kitsilano Farmer’s Market or the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market , which opens for the season on May 19.

If you’re looking for something unique, visit the Eastside Flea , open on both Saturday and Sunday. They have an eclectic mix of local vendors selling handmade, vintage, and artisanal goods. Or take the Skytrain south to the Richmond Night Market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to wander through stalls selling fashion, electronics, and delicious Asian street food.

Take a Hike

Hikers on the top of the Stawamus Chief near Vancouver

View from the top of The Stawamus Chief. Photo: Destination BC/Ben Girardi

While there is still snow in the mountains, spring hiking is in full swing closer to sea level. It’s a great time to follow trails to waterfalls, through the forest, or to lakes. Our list of the best spring hikes in Vancouver has lots of ideas to get you started. Read our tips for safe spring hiking before you go.

Fort Langley May Day Parade and Celebration – May 20

May Day parade in Fort Langley

Photo: Fort Langley May Day

The historic Fort Langley neighbourhood holds Vancouver’s largest Victoria Day celebration each year. The May Day event takes place on May 20th this year. This is the festival’s 102nd year and it includes a pancake breakfast at the Lions Hall in the morning, a parade starting at 11 am, and a community celebration at Fort Langley Community Park in the afternoon.

While you are in Fort Langley, take some time to browse the boutiques on Glover Road or visit Fort Langley National Historic Site . Take a stroll through the surrounding streets and see if you recognize any of the buildings. This area is a popular filming location and has been the backdrop to numerous TV shows and films, including over 20 Hallmark movies!

Go Whale Watching

A humpback whale breaches in the Salish Sea

Humpback whale. Photo: Sierra Hamilton/Eagle Wing Tours

May is a great time to go whale watching in Vancouver. You can spot humpback whales on their annual migration along with orcas, porpoises, seals, sea lions, eagles and lots more. Boats leave from both downtown Vancouver and Richmond. Our guide to whale watching in Vancouver has all the info you need to help you pick a tour.

Enjoy Spring Flowers

Laburnum Walk at VanDusen Garden

Laburnum Walk. Photo: Destination Vancouver/VanDusen Botancial Garden

Victoria Day weekend coincides with peak spring bloom in Vancouver, so it’s the perfect time to visit a garden. VanDusen Botanical Garden explodes with colour at this time of year. Walk the paths through the rhododendrons and rose garden. Don’t miss the spectacular laburnum walk. As a bonus for vintage car buffs, the Vancouver All British Field Meet Classic Car Show takes place at the garden on May 18.

Other gorgeous gardens in Vancouver include the Quarry Gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park, UBC Botanical Garden , Nitobe Memorial Garden , and the Rose Garden at Stanley Park. You can see several gardens in one day on our self-guided garden bike tour .

Take a Car-Free Day Trip

A woman looks at Howe Sound from the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the Sea to Sky Gondola. Photo: Destination BC/@entre2escales

Get out of town for the day this long weekend. It’s easy to explore the forests, mountains, beaches, and islands outside Vancouver without a car thanks to public transit, shuttle buses, and ferries. Our guide to car-free day trips has six scenic options.

Bicycle Film Festival – May 18

Promo poster for the Bicycle Film Festival

Photo: Bicycle Film Festival

Vancouver is a bike-friendly city, so come celebrate life on two wheels at the Bicycle Film Festival . Presented by HUB Cycling, the Bicycle Film Festival includes two back-to-back programs of short films at the Rio Theatre on May 18. The early show highlights bike adventures while the late show focuses on urban cycling.

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Quick facts.

IMPORTANT:  Please visit our ID and Requirements page to review required documents for entry into Canada.

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  • Travel car-free! Arrive in the heart of downtown Victoria or downtown Seattle

Have more time? SAVE on your Victoria Clipper ferry when booking our Seattle to Victoria Overnight Package or Victoria to Seattle Overnight Package !


You must enter promo code  WEEKDAY  in the “Promo or affiliate code” field when you begin your booking to receive this discount.

Please visit our ID and Requirements section to review required documents for entry into Canada.

day trips victoria

Prices listed are minimum prices per adult.

• This is a limited time offer and can only be applied to bookings and travel between May 6, 2024 and July 2, 2024. • This offer does not apply to travel booked before May 6, 2024, nor does it apply to new bookings that replicate canceled bookings for the same time period. • Pricing based on 7-day advance purchase. • The offer only applies to Monday-Thursday sailings. Blackout dates apply: May 27, June 19. • FRS Clipper reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time. • Offer good while supplies last. • Offer limited to one booking per customer and account. • Offer may not be combined with other offers. • The promotional code applies only to qualifying fares. • This promotional discount does not apply to fees and taxes. • Any applicable fuel surcharges, port and security fees are not included in the fare • Offer is non-transferrable and may not be resold. • If you violate any of the offer terms, the offer will be invalid.

"A great way to travel between the harbours of these two cities!"

- Peytonsage, Barrie, CA TripAdvisor

"I loved the speed, comfort and convenience of how to get to Victoria. It drops you within walking distance of great hotels and all the Inner Harbour activities."

- Doug M., Seattle, WA TripAdvisor

"Easiest way to get to Victoria!"

- Anne G. TripAdvisor

Similar Experiences

day trips victoria

Seattle to Victoria Overnight

Travel from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria on our sleek, high-speed Victoria Clipper ferry and explore British Columbia's capital city!

day trips victoria

Day Trip from Seattle to Victoria, BC

Hop aboard our sleek, high-speed Victoria Clipper catamaran to skip the traffic and arrive in the heart of the vibrant city of Victoria a little less than three hours later!

day trips victoria

Save on the Only Wildlife and Whale Watching Tour Leaving from Seattle

Save 20% on Wildlife and Whale Watching Tours sailing between May 10th and October 13th, 2024 when you book with promo code WILDLIFE2024 .

Trip Experience

Terms & conditions.

Choose an Option to Begin Planning Your Trip

For guests traveling internationally, please review our ID and Requirements carefully before booking travel.

  • Includes one-way or round trip travel via the Clipper ferry.
  • Routes available between Seattle and Victoria
  • Includes travel to any of our destinations with activities or hotel stay or both.
  • Enjoy the convenience of booking the entire trip all at once.

Need help planning your trip? Call our Clipper Pacific Northwest travel experts at 800-888-2535 between 9am-6pm PDT (Mon-Fri), 9am-3pm PDT (Sat-Sun).

Plan Your Trip

Children's ages

Clipper defines a child as 11 years and younger, but hotels and tours may have different child ages. Please enter the ages for all children 18 and under. Infants under 1 (<1) are free on the Clipper, but are not provided a seat.

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day trips victoria

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