We love Melbourne for its events, culture and sport. We know many others do too. But it’s not just the city centre that brims with things to see and do. There are actually so many amazing adventures you can have that are within a day’s trip from Melbourne. Parks, beaches, cafes and famous attractions are found in towns scattered all through coastal Victoria. If you find city life in Melbourne is not for you, it’s time to start exploring! So where are the best places to go? We’ve created the ideal a weekend ‘stay-cation’ getaway itinerary to inspire you.
Start by driving down the Mornington Peninsula
This is a favourite spot for many locals in Eastern Melbourne. A weekend of good weather will usually have locals driving down to the east coast of Port Phillip Bay – the bay in which Melbourne is located. The region, known as Mornington Peninsula is approximately an hour drive from the city, and is home to some of the best beaches and towns including Dromana, Rosebud, and Rye. The beaches are perfect for walking, swimming and soaking up sun. The beautiful towns are home to great seaside cafes, fish and chip shops, and boutiques. The perfect slow living escape from Melbourne!
Begin your journey in the town of Dromana. Have a walk around and soak up the seaside vibe. If you like shopping, check out one of our favourite boutique stores – Loft. We discovered Loft on a weekend trip, and every time we visit we simply cannot drive past it. Stop into little boutiques just like this along the way and experience more of each town.
When you’re satisfied with the towns, keep driving towards a big hill known as Arthur’s Seat. Ascend up the big hill via a winding road, and you’ll find plenty of lookouts and some the most amazing views of the peninsula. On our trip, we stopped for a prepacked picnic lunch here to enjoy the views. You should too!
A cool little attraction is found on Arthur’s Seat known as the Enchanted Adventure Garden. Visit the garden and you’ll find the most well-maintained gardens, as well as mazes, slides, puzzles and other fun family activites. We highly recommend this if travelling with young children, but it’s also lots of fun for big kids! Even if you decide this isn’t for you, the drive up there is still very nice, and you won’t be disappointed.
Head towards Phillip Island after lunch
Pressing on further south, head 1.5 hours south-east to Phillip Island (don’t worry, there’s a bridge!) where you can stop at Panny’s Chocolate Factory – The Amazing World of Chocolate. The chocolate factory was founded by Panny – a chocolatier with a passion for confectionery. See how chocolate is made, make your own flavours, and test different varieties. There are also plenty of record-breaking attractions, including the world’s largest chocolate waterfall, a 1 tonne chocolate block, and a sculpture of Michelangelo’s David – made entirely of milk chocolate.
Tonight, head to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, where at dusk you might be lucky enough to see hundreds of Little Penguins come in from the ocean and waddle back to their burrows. This is one of the state’s premier nature attractions, so ensure you get tickets and get a seat on the beach! Hang around long enough, and the not-so-shy penguins might even come up to say hi.
As darkness falls, drive ten minutes into Cowes – the island’s biggest town – to eat dinner. There are plenty of places to choose from. Pizza takeaways, japanese and chinese restaurants and Pino’s – an italian specialty restaurant. But since you’re on an island surrounded by sea, why not order a seafood feast, or fish and chips on the beach?
The night draws to a close, and you have a few options from here. If you’re after some after dinner drinks, or perhaps a night out, the Phillip Island Hotel is the place to go! Otherwise, we have the perfect place for you to stay:
Stay in a fully-furnished tent near Pyramid Rock for the perfect glamping experience! We found this tent through Airbnb, and had an amazing stay even in the cold weather. For a full review of this, check out our Glamping – Camping for the Glamorous post. But for now, all we can say is try it out!
You can find Loft’s website here