ITCHING to get out of the city? Hui Jun Ng has five fantastic road trip destinations that are close to the CBD and perfect for a weekend away.
The Yarra Valley
An hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is known for its extensive range of wineries.
Stop over at Fergusson Winery for a spit roast lunch, sample glasses of wine at Dominique Portet Winery or visit the stunning vineyard of Domaine Chandon. Head to Healesville for a scenic half hour train ride around the Yarra Valley.
How to get here on public transport: Catch the train from any Melbourne CBD station to Lilydale. Various bus companies run services between towns and villages in the region.
Approximately three-hours from Melbourne, Mt Buller is the most accessible ski resort in Victoria. The snowy mountains have more than 300 hectares of terrain for snowboarders and skiers of all levels.
Quality gear rentals and private lessons are available in case you’re a little rusty. With winter quickly slipping away, Mount Buller transforms into an outdoor paradise with walking tours and hiking tracks.
Great day spas are also located in the area like the Breathtaker Alpine Spa Retreat.
How to get here on public transport: It can be hard to get to Mount Buller when it’s not ski season, but V/Line runs daily coach transfers from Southern Cross Station.
There are so many things to do on this beautiful island including wildlife watching, water sports and golfing. They even have an award-winning chocolate factory open to public for tours with plenty of free samples! Now your childhood dream of visiting Willy Wonka can be true for just $15.
The highlight of Philip Island is its renowned Penguin Parade. Every year, tourists from all over the world flock to this sanctuary to witness wild penguins waddling back to shore at sunset. Photography at Penguin Parade is prohibited to protect the penguins. Tickets start at $22.
How to get here on public transport: V/Line coach to and from Melbourne stops at Grantville, Corinella, Bass, San Remo, Newhaven and Cowes daily.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. Its 243km-long route offers mesmerizing panoramic views of spectacular coastlines.
After a four-hour drive on Great Ocean Road, you’ll reach the amazing 20 million-year-old limestone cliffs known as the 12 Apostles.
If you are feeling adventurous, why not treat yourself to a ride on the 12 Apostles Helicopters and marvel at the magnificent view from above? Established in 2000, the safety record remains unrivalled and tickets are $145 for a 45-minute flight.
How to get here on public transport: Visiting the Great Ocean Road on public transport can be tricky, but the official tourism website has a coach and train solution for every day of the week.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park is a natural beauty that cannot be replaced. Hills and mountains, deserted beaches, vast oceans and abundant wildlife remain untouched, offering city dwellers an escape to tranquillity.
My top spot is Squeaky Beach with its sand as white as snow and as soft as powder – it literally squeaks as you walk on it!
There are a bunch of different eco-friendly trails at Wilsons if you feel like exploring the park on foot. Camping and backpackers lodging are abundant and affordable.
Be prepared to drive more than three hours from Melbourne to get to this secluded gem though.
How to get here on public transport: Currently there is no direct public transport between Melbourne and Wilsons Prom. Prom Coast Backpackers in Foster – about 60km north of Tidal River at the heart of the park – usually organise transfers for between $15 and $20. You can get to Foster from Melbourne’s CBD on a daily V/Line coach service.