The Best Short Gateways from Melbourne

If you’re planning to visit Melbourne and if you have extra time on your hands, do make sure to check them out. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighborhood towns, whether you’re looking for a tour in a beautiful vineyard, a road trip or a national park to explore.

These short gateways are just what you need to escape that hustle and bustle of the CBD, so here’s are recommended list of Melbourne’s beautiful neighborhoods you need to explore.

1. Philip Island

Philip Island is an Australian island approximately 150 km south-east of Melbourne (2-hour drive), known for its colony of little penguins. This island is packed with coastal wildlife experiences and growing food and wine experience.

Make sure to catch the Penguin Parade at sunset where hundreds of little penguins waddle in from the sea on Summerland beach. Or go for a swim at one of the many recommended and patrolled beaches of Philip island and avoid rips – Cowes Foreshore, Smiths Beach and Cape Woolamai. These beaches are patrolled during summertime. Also, you can find a scenic stairway with a stunning scenery to go for a nice long walk because Philip island is full of those.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @phillipisland on Instagram or visit

2. Mornington Peninsula

Just an hour’s drive away from Melbourne’s CBD, Mornington Peninsula is a peninsula located south of Melbourne and is surrounded by Port Phillip to the West, the Western Port to the East and Bass Strait to the South.

With beaches, wineries, parks, gardens, spas and even hot water springs – Mornington Peninsula has got it all.  All these attractions are best discovered by car.

The Peninsula Hot Springs is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the mood for a good warm soak and to relax your way through the day! Or go for a walk down the Bushrangers Bay Trail at Cape Schanck. This coastal clifftop walk boasts picturesque vistas over Bass Strait. And not to mention the views overlooking Port Phillip Bay are nothing short of amazing so head to Arthurs seat for a splendid treat. A visit to the Enchanted Adventure Garden is something you shouldn’t miss either if you’ve got time as it is truly enchanting with a wonderful hedge maze to lose yourself in.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @officialmorningtonpeninsula on Instagram or visit

3. Great Ocean Road 

Considered as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road begins after a 90-minute ride from Melbourne’s City Centre. It spans 400 kilometers from the town of Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian Border. It’s about a 4-hour drive without stops but you will want to stop as there are many beautiful locations to check out along the way.

Make sure to stop at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie, as it is the ultimate spot for chocolates and creamy ice creams. You can even watch how chocolate is made through their glass windows. Make your way through to the 12 apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. If you base yourself at Port Campbell it would give you the opportunity of visiting these beauties at sunset or sunrise.

There are 5 working lighthouses operating across the Great Ocean Road and Cape Otway lighthouse is definitely worth a visit. Just 4 km away from the apostles is Loch Ard Gorge, which is one of the most instagrammed locations along the Great Ocean Road. It is also the perfect spot for a picnic. And if you feel like exploring more, head to Great Otway National Park where green forests meet the blue ocean and cascading waterfalls through ancient giants of the forests.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @visitgreatoceanroad on Instagram or

4. Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges 

Can you believe that Yarra Valley is less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD?

The rolling hills covered in vines and paddock, many walking trails, lavender and tulip farms (seasonal), renowned gardens and scenic winding roads of the Dandenong ranges will no doubt mesmerize you with their natural beauty.

Meander through Alfred Nicholas Gardens – a perfectly scenic heaven, with rock walls, a picturesque lake, a boathouse, vibrant flower gardens and plenty of areas for picnicking or take a relaxing walk through forests of towering mountain ash in the Dandenong ranges national park. Or why not board for a ride on Australia’s oldest steam railway which will take you through thick forests and lush green ferns. Stop for a drink or meal at SkyHigh Mount Dandenong for a splendid view of the CBD from the mountain tops.

Visit the cellar doors of classic Yarra valley wineries and try out their delicious wines. Try Yerring Station, one of Yarra valley’s oldest wineries. The other favorites include – Domaine Chandon, De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate, Seville Estate, Dominique Portet Winery. Finish off with a visit to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery for chocolate truffles, balls and blocks and many scoops of delicious ice cream. And make sure to pick some handmade cheese from the Yarra Valley Dairy.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @yarravalleydandenongranges on Instagram or

5. The Grampians Region

Whether you’re a wine taster, outdoor explorer or food finder, the Grampians has an adventure waiting for you. And in the heart of all of this is the Grampians National Park. The Grampians region is approximately 285km away from Melbourne’s CBD and is well worth a short trip.

  • Northern Grampians – The Grampians Northern Region is a great place for outdoor adventure and offers some of the most iconic natural attractions from the Pinnacle, To Boroka Lookout and the famous Reed Lookout and the balconies.
  • Southern Grampians – Visit the Greater Hamilton region and experience the heartbeat of a thriving farming district – Victoria’s first area of pastoral settlement. The vibrant art scene, retail shopping, delicious food, wine and stylish accommodation will keep you highly satisfied.

The ultimate way to combine the great outdoors with life’s pleasures, including chef-hatted food and the region’s most sought after sourdough, is to base yourself in Dunkeld.

  • Eastern Grampians – Explore the best of the East with Ararat’s sweeping landscapes and natural beauty from the scenic Mount Cole, Mount Langi Ghiran State Park, Ararat Hills Region Park and the world-renowned Grampians National Park. With great lakes and waterways to explore, outdoor explorers will be right at home.

If food and wine are more your style, there’s no shortage of fine restaurants and award-winning wineries to keep you satisfied.

  • Western Grampians – The Grampians National Park is located 30km south-west of Horsham and boasts ancient aboriginal rock arts sites and the breathtaking Mt Zero (Mura Mura) and Hollow Mountain. You can meander your way through to the MacKenzie Falls, Victoria’s largest waterfall which flows throughout the year.

In a space this magical, you can easily find your niche and plan your adventure and discover the Grampians in your own way!

For more information and inspiration checkout: @visitgrampians on Instagram or

6. Victoria’s High Country

Taste your way through the high country’s welcoming villages all year round, whether you’re interested in Alpine skiing in the Winter or getting your adrenalin pumping over the Summer.

Located north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, Victoria’s high-country features national parks, Victoria’s highest mountains, lakes, snow resorts, vineyards and rich history including the discovery of gold.

  • Wineries, locally produced cheese and small goods are a key feature of the towns in Rutherglen, Wangaratta and Milawa areas.
  • Holiday towns along the Ovens river, including Bright and Myrtleford offer a heavenly setting surrounded by picturesque mountains, lush green forests and winding rivers, with their streets lined with trees that are transformed into the vibrant colors of red, yellow and orange during the Autumn season.
  • High country is home to most of Victoria’s major snow and ski resorts which include Falls Creek, Mount Buller, Mount Buffalo and Mount Hotham. During all other seasons these areas become great locations for bushwalking, cycling and scenic driving.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @seehighcountry / @walkhighcountry on Instagram or

7. Gippsland

Known as the land of the little wonders, located in eastern Victoria extending from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to the borders of NSW. You can explore and discover pristine beaches, lakes, mountains, winter snow, forests, lush vineyards and gourmet villages – Gippsland has got it all.

  • West Gippsland – A land of rolling hills, happy cows, alpine adventure and warm village feels.
  • South Gippsland – From the lush hills of the hinterland to the dreamy coastline, this region offers gourmet eats and pinot from dirt worth tasting.
  • Central Gippsland – If you love a sunburnt country and a land of sweeping plains, high country surroundings, lush rainforests and untouched beaches, then this is for you.
  • East Gippsland – If you love charming waterfront villages to superb beaches and alpine bliss, then this region is for you.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @visitgippsland on Instagram or

8. Mildura

Located in the far north-western corner of Victoria, Mildura is a 6-hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD. It is a vibrant regional city with contrast, from the Murray river to the outback.

Mildura is a popular tourist destination and a bustling city in an area well noted for its warm and stable weather. It features wide, tree-lined streets and is surrounded by a great number of wineries and fruit growing farms.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @visitmildura on Instagram or

9. Bendigo

Love history, arts, great food and wine? Then Bendigo is the destination for you! Located near the geographical centre of the state of Victoria and approximately 150 kilometres north west of Melbourne’s CBD, discover Australia’s first and only UNESCO city of Gastronomy set against its rich history, grand architecture and magnificent gardens.

Make sure to take a walk or ride on Bendigo’s talking tram and explore the city’s heritage architecture or gear up in overalls, a miner’s hat and lamp and head into underground tunnels in search of gold on a tour of the Central Deborah mine. If not, get behind the wheel at Australia’s oldest working pottery, Bendigo Pottery, or admire the delightful conservatory, cascade waterfall and open-air fernery of Rosalind Park.

If you’re more into the whole wine and dine scene, then you may enjoy the paddock-to-plate philosophy with a meal to remember at Masons of Bendigo or just take time out to visit some of the 80 local wineries in the renowned Bendigo and Heathcote wine regions. Dine with a view of the vines, sample local varietals at cellar doors, and learn why the area is famous for its magnificent shiraz.

For more information and inspiration checkout: @explorebendigo on Instagram or

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