Hit the highways and discover a wildlife and adventure lover's playground, just over an hour from Melbourne.
From Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges to Phillip Island and the stunning beaches along the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas, these extraordinary regions offer an endless array of indulgent adventure activities.
At a glance
Go Beyond Melbourne:
Head for Healesville Sanctuary, just 1.5 hours from Melbourne. Spend the morning interacting with Australia’s iconic animals, and some lesser known beauties. Stimulate the mind at Hedgend Maze, offering a creative environment through fun-filled activities to suit all ages. Enjoy lunch at Rochford Winery before heading out on a winery tour with a difference – on a Segway! Catch a great day out at Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm for first-time fishers or experienced anglers. In the evening, sip a glass of red wine on the deck at Yering Gorge Cottages while the resident mob of kangaroos (including one rare white one) graze on the lawn.
Rise early for a dawn hot air balloon flight, watch the Valley spring to life as the sun comes up, and finish with a champagne breakfast. Freshen up and head south to Phillip Island via The Dandenong Ranges for a short journey aboard Puffing Billy Steam Railway. On Phillip Island, visit the Nobbies Centre and experience the interactive Antarctic Journey, then get up close to some cuddly locals at the Koala Conservation Centre. In the afternoon, head out on the Wild Oceans Ecoboat to see the 30,000 Australian Fur Seals that inhabit Seal Rocks, before the crème de la crème of wildlife experiences at the sunset Penguin Parade.
Start the morning with an early walk on one of Phillip Island’s beautiful beaches or, for a more challenging morning activity, take a spectacular helicopter flight across Phillip Island. The views are amazing! Then it’s off around Western Port Bay to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. En route, visit Moonlit Sanctuary to meet endangered species, feed kangaroos and wallabies, pet koalas and enjoy close encounters with many animals. Experience farm life at Green Olive at Red Hill or try a radical high ropes adventure at The Enchanted Adventure Garden. Soak any aching legs at the Peninsula Hot Springs.
Start the day with a trip out to Port Phillip Bay with Moonraker Dolphin Swims. Search wild pods of bottlenose dolphins and visit the resident seals at Chinaman’s Hut. In the afternoon, hire snorkelling gear from Bayplay to view the Weedy Sea Dragons near the piers or hire a Stand Up Paddle Board. Those wanting to stay dry, traipse the Mornington Peninsula Walk or hire a bike to explore Point Nepean National Park, right at the tip of the Peninsula. At the end of the day, take a ferry across the bay with Searoad Ferries, running every hour until 6pm (7pm in summer) for the 40-minute crossing to Queenscliff.
Encounter Australia’s magnificent native animals in the wildlife-rich regions of south-eastern Australia with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours. Experience and learn about the unique indigenous culture at Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre. For the adventurous, take a surf lesson with Go Ride A Wave at one of Victoria’s iconic surf beaches. Enjoy lunch at Jack Rabbit Vineyard before heading back to the city James Bond-style with a Microflite helicopter transfer. Those driving back to the city can stop at the Werribee Open Range Zoo for a guided safari tour across the unique open range savannah.