Category Archives: Tourism

How to get to Wilsons Promontory from Melbourne

Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory is a peninsula at the southernmost tip of of Victoria that is surrounded by water on three sides and extends into Bass Strait.

The Wilsons Promontory National Park covers around 50,000 hectares of this peninsula, consisting of stunning granite mountain peaks, beautiful beaches, lakes, forests and gullies.  It is home to a large population of wildlife including kangaroos, emus, echidnas, wombats and birdlife.

Within the national park is the small town of Tidal River which has a visitor centre, general store and cafe.

In order to get to Wilsons Promontory, there are a number of transport options available.

By car

One of the best ways of getting to Wilsons Promontory is to drive, so you have the flexibility of stopping at a number of interesting spots along the way.

The driving distance from Melbourne’s CBD to the Wilsons Promontory town of Tidal River is just over 220 kilometres.

Follow the Monash Freeway (M1) away from the city.  In order to get to the South Gippsland Highway, you can either take the South Gippsland Freeway (M420) exit, the Clyde Road (C407) exit, the Cardinia Road exit or the Koo Wee Rup Road (C422) exit.  All of those roads will eventually meet the South Gippsland Highway (M420) where you will need to turn left.  Follow the highway past the turn-off for Lang Lang until you reach the exit labelled Korumburra, Leongatha and Wilsons Promontory.  You will need to take this exit to remain on the South Gippsland Highway (A440), otherwise you will find yourself on the Bass Highway heading towards Phillip Island and Wonthaggi.

Stay on the South Gippsland Highway as you pass through the towns of Korumburra, Leongatha and Meeniyan.  On the outskirts of Meeniyan, turn right onto Meeniyan-Promontory Road (C444) and follow this to Fish Creek where you will need to make a right turn in order to stay on the Meeniyan-Promontory Road (C444).  This road passes through Yanakie, which is located 6 kilometres from the entrance to Wilsons Promontory National Park.  Once inside the park, it is a further 25 minutes drive to Tidal River.

The entire journey normally takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes if driving non-stop, although it is recommended to take at least a short break due to the duration of the trip.

Driving directions from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory

By public transport

The first step is to catch a bus to Fish Creek.  There is a V/Line bus service which runs between Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and Yarram, stopping at Fish Creek in front of the Fish Creek Hotel and BP service station.  This bus service runs 7 days a week, with extra services on weekdays.  See the V/Line bus timetable to Yarram via Fish Creek.

Once in Fish Creek, a taxi will be required for the final 55 kilometres of the journey to Tidal River as there are no public bus services to Wilsons Promontory.  South Gippsland Regional Taxis are based in Leongatha and cover the area to Wilsons Promontory.  Book a taxi in advance, to ensure you have connecting transport from Fish Creek, by phoning (03) 5662 4242.

Join a tour

A hassle free way of getting to Wilsons Promontory and exploring its many natural attractions is by joining a guided tour that departs from Melbourne.

Bunyip Tours offer a full day excursion to Wilsons Promontory.  You are picked up from Melbourne early in the morning and return in the evening.  Your tour guide will take you on a number of activities which highlight the beauty of the area.  Enjoy bush walking, bird watching, wildlife spotting and even swimming if the weather and time permits.  See beautiful beaches, huge granite rock formations, eucalyptus forests and warm temperate rainforests.

Wilsons Promontory day tour from Melbourne

 

For those who want to see more of the area, Bunyip Tours also offer a 2 day Wilsons Promontory excursion which is combined with a day at Phillip Island.  See stunning surf beaches, the Koala Conservation Centre, The Nobbies and of course the famous nightly penguin parade.  Overnight accommodation on the island is provided, then the next morning you are driven to Wilsons Promontory to explore the highlights of the park on foot by joining the regular day tour.

2 day Wilsons Promontory & Phillip Island tour

Coming from Melbourne Airport?

If you are coming to Melbourne by air, see our guide to transport between Melbourne Airport and the city centre.  Once in Melbourne’s city centre, choose from the above options to get to Wilsons Promontory.

Travel options from Adelaide to The Grampians

Grampians National Park
Grampians National Park

The Grampians is one of the most popular natural attractions in Victoria. Located between Adelaide and Melbourne, it consists of a vast national park that surrounds a series of rugged mountain ranges. Explore the many walking tracks including the Grampians Peak Trail, enjoy panoramic views from several lookouts, and visit beautiful lakes and waterfalls. You will be sure to encounter Australian wildlife, native wildflowers and discover ancient Aboriginal sites which are shrouded in mystery.

Right in the centre of the Grampians National Park is the tourist village of Halls Gap. This holiday town includes shops, restaurants and a large number of accommodation properties including caravan parks, apartments, chalets, cottages and motels.

In a direct straight line, the distance from Adelaide to Halls Gap is about 430 kilometres. There are several ways to get to The Grampians from Adelaide.

By car

The journey from Adelaide’s CBD to Halls Gap is around 500 kilometres.

Head south-east along the South Eastern Freeway (M1). This road becomes the Princes Highway (A1) after passing to the south of Murray Bridge and crossing the Murray River.  At Tailem Bend, which is almost 100 kilometres from Adelaide, continue driving straight and then this road becomes the Dukes Highway (A8). Follow the Dukes Highway for around 190 kilometres, passing through Keith and Bordertown, until reaching the state border between South Australia and Victoria. At this point advance your clocks by 30 minutes due to crossing a timezone.

Once into Victoria, the highway is called the Western Highway (A8). Follow the Western Highway through Kaniva, Nhill, Dimboola and Horsham.

The quickest way from Horsham is to follow the Western Highway (A8) for about 45 kilometres and turn right into Mt Drummond Road, left into Ledcourt Road, right into Greenhole Road, right into Fyans Creek Road and right into Grampians Road (C216) which then leads directly to Halls Gap.  While involving a number of turns through sealed local roads, it avoids crossing major mountain ranges into the national park.

Alternatively, for a more scenic route, turn right off the Western Highway about 15 kilometres out of Horsham onto Northern Grampians Road (C222).  From here, it will be a 57 kilometre to the centre of Halls Gap via Wartook and Zumsteins.  This road is also known as Mt Victoria Road once you get inside the Grampians National Park.  Before reaching Halls Gap, take a short detour to the famous MacKenzie Falls, Wartook Reservoir and the scenic Reed Lookout.

The entire journey will usually take around 5 hours and 15 minutes if you drive non-stop, however allow at least an extra 15 minutes if you choose the more scenic route via Wartook.  Given the length of this journey, it is recommended that you do not drive for more than 2 hours continuously without taking a break.

Driving directions from Adelaide to The Grampians

By public transport

Getting to Halls Gap from Adelaide using public transport requires the use of a train and a bus service.

Catch The Overland train from Adelaide’s railway station to Stawell in Victoria. This will take about 6 and a half hours.  Currently, this train only runs Monday and Friday, arriving at Stawell at 2:54pm. See the timetable for the Adelaide to Melbourne train.

From Stawell railway station to Halls Gap, there are two bus services.

The V/Line bus to Halls Gap operates Monday to Friday, however it departs from Stawell in the middle of the day, between 12:20 and 12:50, depending on the actual day.  Unless you are planning to stay overnight in Stawell (which you can, it’s a lovely town and there are a number of accommodation options in Stawell), then this bus service is not suitable.

In order to do the journey from Adelaide to Halls Gap in one day, you will need to catch Sandlant’s Halls Gap bus which departs weekdays at 7:15am and 3:55pm.  The only choice is to take the 3:55pm service, which means you will need to wait for an hour in Stawell after arriving by train.  Once on the bus, it will have you arriving in the Halls Gap town centre within about 20 minutes. See the timetable for the bus to Halls Gap.

By public transport and hire car

Having your own vehicle in the Grampians will make it a lot easier to get to the many attractions in the national park and surrounding areas, however the drive from Adelaide can be a long one.

Another option is to catch The Overland train from Adelaide to Horsham (see the timetable for the Adelaide to Melbourne train) and then hire a car in Horsham for the 55 to 70 minute drive to Halls Gap.

Car hire from Horsham

 

How to get to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne

Great Ocean RoadThe Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic coastal drives. It covers around 240 kilometres between Torquay in the east and the outskirts of Warrnambool in the west.

The journey along the Great Ocean Road passes through several coastal holiday towns and showcases the natural beauty of this part of Victoria including rugged coastlines and rock formations, the famous 12 Apostles, beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, mountain scenery and native flora and fauna.

If you are in Melbourne, there are several ways to reach the start of the Great Ocean Road at Torquay.

By car

Torquay, which marks the official start of the Great Ocean Road, is around 100 kilometres from Melbourne by road.

Head west along the West Gate Freeway (M1), across the West Gate Bridge, and then this road becomes the Princes Freeway (M1) as it skirts around Werribee and the large city of Geelong.

Take the Anglesea Road (C134) exit off the freeway and follow this road for around 14 kilometres until you reach the Great Ocean Road (B100). Turn left if you want to head into Torquay (5 kilometres away) or turn right to skip Torquay and head along the rest of the Great Ocean Road towards Anglesea.

Driving a vehicle is one of the best ways to see the Great Ocean Road. You can stop at various towns you pass through, view the many lookouts on the side of the road, and take a few popular detours along the way, such as the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the Otway Fly tree top walk and a number of waterfalls.

It is quite common to break the journey along the Great Ocean Road into several days, so as to get the most out of this scenic driving adventure. You can stay overnight at popular locations including Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell.

Driving directions from Melbourne to the start of the Great Ocean Road

 

If you don’t have your own car, consider hiring a vehicle to get the most out of your Great Ocean Road visit.

Car hire - search for the best rates

 

By public transport

Getting to the Great Ocean Road by public transport involves a train journey followed by a bus trip.

Catch a V/Line train from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Geelong. This journey will take approximately one hour. See the train timetable to Geelong.

From Geelong Station, there are a number of bus services you can catch, depending on exactly where on the Great Ocean Road you want to travel to.  From Geelong to Torquay, it will take approximately 40 minutes.

  • McHarry’s No.50 bus – Geelong to Torquay and Jan Juc
  • McHarry’s No.51 bus – Geelong to Torquay and Jan Juc
  • McHarry’s Apollo Bay bus – Geelong to Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay
  • V/Line Warrnambool bus – Geelong to Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Wye River, Apollo Bay, Lavers Hill, Port Campbell and Warrnambool.

Join a tour

A number of guided tours of the Great Ocean Road depart from Melbourne. Sit back and relax and you are driven to the start of the Great Ocean Road and then along this scenic iconic route, stopping off at a number of popular attractions along the way.

The entire trip from Melbourne and back, usually going as far as the  12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge or Port Campbell, can be covered over one long day.

As well as day tours to the Great Ocean Road, a number of organised activities are available, including surf lessons, sky diving, kayaking, snorkelling and scenic helicopter flights.

Great Ocean Road tours & activities

Coming from Melbourne Airport?

If you are coming to Melbourne by air, see our guide to transport between Melbourne Airport and the city centre.  Once in Melbourne’s city centre, choose from the above options to get to the Great Ocean Road.

How to get to The Grampians from Melbourne

Grampians National Park
The Pinnacle Lookout

The Grampians is one of Victoria’s most popular natural attractions. Located north-west of Melbourne, it encompasses a huge national park which surrounds a series of mountain ranges. Visitors can explore many walking tracks including the Grampians Peak Trail, enjoy panoramic views from lookouts, and visit several lakes and waterfalls. It is a great place to encounter Australian wildlife, native wildflowers and discover historic Aboriginal sites.

At the heart of The Grampians is the tourist village of Halls Gap. Visitors will find shopping facilities, restaurants and a large concentration of accommodation options including caravan parks, holiday units, cottages and motels.

The distance, in a direct straight line, from Melbourne to Halls Gap is about 230 kilometres. There are a number of ways to get to The Grampians from Melbourne.

By car

The journey from Melbourne’s CBD to Halls Gap is just over 250 kilometres.

Head west along the West Gate Freeway (M1), across the West Gate Bridge, and take the Western Ring Road (M80) exit which is about 6 kilometres after the bridge. After travelling on the Western Ring Road for 4 kilometres, take the Western Freeway (M8) exit. Keep following this freeway which will skirt around Bacchus Marsh and the city of Ballarat. The Western Freeway will become the Western Highway (A8), and the first town you will pass through the centre of will be Beaufort. Drive a further 44 kilometres until you reach the larger town of Ararat. Turn off the highway and onto Ararat – Halls Gap Road (C222), following this road to a T-junction just on the northern outskirts of Halls Gap. Turn left into Grampians Road (C216) and after a few short minutes, you will arrive within the centre of Halls Gap.

The entire journey will usually take around 2 hours and 45 minutes if you drive continuously. However it is recommended that you do not drive for more than 2 hours straight without taking a break.

Driving directions from Melbourne to The Grampians

By public transport

Getting to Halls Gap from Melbourne using public transport requires the use of both train and bus services, however there are a couple of main options. Which one you choose may depend on how the timetables fit in with your personal travel plans.

Option 1 – one train journey and two bus journeys

Catch a V/Line train from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station to Ballarat Station. This will take about 90 minutes, however some peak express services will complete the journey in a quicker time.

Once in Ballarat, switch to a V/Line bus which goes to Ararat and Stawell. This section of the journey will take about 90 minutes.

From Stawell, catch the Halls Gap bus which will have you arrive in the Halls Gap town centre within about 35 minutes.

See the V/Line timetable which covers this entire travel option.

Option 2 – one train journey and one bus journey

Catch a V/Line train from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station to Ararat Station. This will take between 2 hours and 10 minutes and 2 hours and 30 minutes depending on the time of day. See the timetable for the train to Ararat.

Once you arrive in Ararat, catch the Warrnambool bus and get off 50 minutes later at Halls Gap.  See the timetable for the bus to Halls Gap.

Join a tour

Take the easy option when heading to The Grampians and join one of the several guided day tours that depart from Melbourne. You won’t have to worry about how to get there or finding your way around when you arrive.  You will also have an experienced guide that will be able to transport you directly to the many attractions of The Grampians, with some interesting stops along the way.

Day tours of The Grampians can include guided walks to waterfalls, lakes and scenic lookouts. Experience close encounters with native wildlife, discover a rich variety of plant life and learn about the history and Aboriginal culture of the area.

Small group Grampians day tour from Melbourne

 

Full day Grampians tour from Melbourne

Coming from Melbourne Airport?

If you are coming to Melbourne by air, see our guide to transport between Melbourne Airport and the city centre.  Once in Melbourne’s city centre, choose from the above options to get to The Grampians.

The 12 Days of Christmas in Victoria

With Christmas just around the corner, here is our version of the timeless carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas“.

On the 12th day of Christmas, Victoria gave to me…

…12 famous apostles

12 Apostles
12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

The 12 Apostles are Victoria’s most famous coastal attraction consisting of towering limestone stacks near Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road. However, they are the 12 Apostles in name only.  Just 8 remain standing today due to relentless wind and ocean erosion over the years.

…11 public holidays

Horse racing
Racing at the Melbourne Cup

There are 11 days of celebration in Victoria that are declared non-working days. Unique to Victoria is a public holiday to mark the running of Australia’s richest horse race, the Melbourne Cup, which is held on the first Tuesday of November. Due to the good weather that time of year, some people also take the Monday off work (sometimes illegitimately!) and turn the Melbourne Cup holiday into a mega 4 day long weekend.

…10 winter snowfields

Snowfields
Mt Buller snowfields

Victoria has 10 designated snowfields, all located in the east and north-east. They include large commercial resorts such as Falls Creek, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Mount Baw Baw. For sightseeing snow and tobogganing that is very close to Melbourne, head to Mount Donna Buang, just over 90 kilometres east of Melbourne via Warburton.

…9 big things

Murray cod
The giant Murray cod at Swan Hill

Australia is home to many novelty structures that are vastly over-sized monuments to something of local significance. 9 of Victoria’s most iconic big things include a cigar, earthworm, koala, fish, a statute of Ned Kelly, pheasant, potatoes with forks, wine bottle and wool bales.

…8 diverse islands

A number of Victoria’s islands are uninhabited or inaccessible, however there are 8 islands which the general public are permitted access to and can reach fairly easily. The most visited is Phillip Island – within easy reach of Melbourne and internationally recognised for its penguin parade and grand prix. Also in Western Port is the heritage farm of Churchill Island and French Island with its significant koala population. Raymond Island, accessible by car ferry from Paynesville, is renowned for its native wildlife, while Griffiths Island at Port Fairy is linked by a pedestrian causeway to the mainland and is home to a large colony of mutton birds. Snake Island is Victoria’s largest sand island, located off the coast of Port Welshpool, noted for great fishing on its beaches. Gabo Island, located off the coast of Mallacoota, is home to large colonies of sea birds and features a pink granite lighthouse. And the final island is Swan Island, located off the coast of Queenscliff. Visitors are welcome to play at the local golf course which boasts being an all weather course given it resides on an island made up of drifting sand.

…7 historic paddlesteamers

Emmylou paddlesteamer
P.S. Emmylou, Port of Echuca

Echuca, once Australia’s busiest inland port, is home to 7 paddlesteamers that operate from the historic Port of Echuca precinct on the Murray River. Enjoy a short day cruise, a dining experience, special occasion or overnight cruise on one of the paddlesteamers Adelaide, Alexander Arbuthnot, Canberra, Emmylou, Hero, Pevensey or Pride Of The Murray. The paddlsteamer Adelaide is the oldest wooden-hull paddlesteamer that is still operating anywhere in the world.

…6 wine zones

Wineries
Montalto Vineyard, Red Hill

Victorians love their wine, and the state is divided up into 6 flourishing cool and warm climate wine zones. There are hundreds of wineries ranging from boutique family-owned establishments to large scale operations that export world-wide. Many wineries provide a complete destination experience with their own cellar doors, sales of local produce, restaurants and beautiful gardens.

…5 enthralling zoos

Lion
Lion, Melbourne Zoo

Zoos Victoria manages 3 zoos in Melbourne and its surroundings – Melbourne Zoo,  Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. There are two other zoos in Victoria which are well worth visiting. The Halls Gap Zoo, located in the scenic Grampians between Halls Gap and Pomonal, is home to over 160 species of animals, with a strong emphasis on native fauna. The Mansfield Zoo, located within picturesque parkland to the south of Mansfield, with particular emphasis on allowing visitors to feed many of the animals.

…4 mineral springs

Mineral spring
Sulphur spring, Mineral Springs Reserve

Victoria’s Macedon Ranges are home to Australia’s largest concentration of natural mineral springs, and one of the best places to see this is at Hepburn Springs. Head to the Mineral Springs Reserve where you will find the iconic Hepburn Bathhouse health complex, parkland and bush tracks. There are 4 mineral springs within the park that you can sample and fill up at – Locarno, Soda, Sulphur and Wyuna.

…3 gold mines

Gold mine
Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo

Victoria’s gold rush period of the 1850s has left the state with a lasting legacy of history, wealth and prosperity. Get a taste for what life was like for miners in those days, as they toiled for riches without the equipment and technology of today, by visiting 3 of Victoria’s gold mines that are open for public underground tours. Descend 61 metres below the surface and walk in the foot steps of past miners at Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo. Visit Sovereign Hill at Ballarat and take a fully guided tour in a mine tram for a unique themed underground experience. Or head to the quaint village of Walhalla, where time has stood still, and take a guided tour of the original workings of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine.

…2 folklore legends

Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly statue, Glenrowan

There are 2 Australian folklore legends which Victoria is synonymous with. The Man from Snowy River, portrayed in Banjo Paterson’s poem, was written in 1890 and is believed to have been inspired by Corryong stockman Jack Riley. Ned Kelly, the infamous, daring and charismatic bushranger, who spent years defying the law, was eventually captured in the small town of Glenrowan where a large monument dedicated to him stands there today.

…and 1 award-winning city

Melbourne
Tram at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Melbourne was named by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the world’s most liveable city in 2014, scoring very well in areas of health, education, safety, stability and infrastructure. Visit Melbourne today and experience its multicultural heritage, great shopping, abundance of parks and iconic sporting events.

How to get to Phillip Island from Melbourne

Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island
Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island

Phillip Island is one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations. It is well-known for its famous penguin parade, large fur seal colony,  native wildlife, exciting racing at the island’s Grand Prix circuit, its scenic coastline, quaint fishing villages, beautiful beaches, outdoor dining, and so much more.

The island’s reasonably close proximity to Melbourne makes it a popular choice for visitors, be it a day trip or longer stay.

As the crow flies, Phillip Island is only 75 kilometres from Melbourne.  There are a number of ways to get there.

By car

Phillip Island map
Driving from Melbourne to Phillip Island

Phillip Island is linked to the Victorian mainland by a bridge at San Remo. The distance to drive from the heart of Melbourne to the bridge is just over 120 kilometres.

Head south-east along the Monash Freeway (M1), taking either the South Gippsland Freeway (M420), Clyde Road (C407) or Koo Wee Rup Road (C422) exit.  Follow the M420 and B420 signs as you travel along the South Gippsland Highway, Bass Highway and Phillip Island Road.

The journey time is usually around 90 minutes.

Note that there is no car ferry to Phillip Island, so if you wish to bring your vehicle onto the island, you must use the bridge at San Remo.

Driving directions from Melbourne to Phillip Island

By bus

A number of V/Line bus services run between Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and several towns on Phillip Island including Newhaven, Cape Woolamai, Surf Beach, Sunderland Bay and Cowes.  The journey from Melbourne requires a change of bus at Koo Wee Rup and takes around 2 hours to get to the bridge and a further 20 to 25 minutes to Cowes.

Refer to the V/Line timetable for Melbourne to Cowes.

By train and bus

Another option is to catch a suburban train service to Dandenong. From there, catch a V/Line bus that travels direct to Phillip Island. The train journey to Dandenong takes between 40 to 50 minutes, depending from which station in Melbourne’s city centre is used. The bus journey from Dandenong to the Phillip Island bridge takes around one hour and 45 minutes, and a further 20 to 25 minutes to Cowes.

Refer to timetable for Melbourne to Cowes which also includes details of the train service to Dandenong.

By train and ferry

Passenger ferry service from Stony Point to Cowes
Passenger ferry service from Stony Point to Cowes

For something a little different, you can catch a suburban train from Melbourne to Frankston (1 hour), then switch onto a diesel service which runs from Frankston to Stony Point (35 minutes).

From Stony Point Jetty, board the Inter Island Ferries passenger catamaran which docks at the Cowes Jetty.  The boat trip takes around 45 minutes, usually with a stop at French Island.

By car and ferry

Driving from Melbourne to Stony Point
Driving from Melbourne to Stony Point

If you have a vehicle but don’t want to drive all the way around the eastern side of Western Port to the Phillip Island bridge at San Remo, you can instead drive to Stony Point and catch a passenger ferry from there.

Head south-east along the Monash Freeway (M1), take the South Gippsland Freeway (M420) exit and continue along that road which becomes the Western Port Highway (M780/A780) and ends up at Hastings.  Alternatively, take the EastLink (M3) exit off the Monash Freeway, then the Peninsula Link (M11) exit and follow that freeway to the Frankston-Flinders Road (C777) exit which takes you to Hastings.

Once in Hastings, follow the Frankston-Flinders Road (C777) to Bittern where there is a turn-off to Stony Point Road (C786) which ends up at the Stony Point railway station and jetty.

There is a public car park in the vicinity of the railway station and jetty. Alternatively, secure parking is available for a nominal daily fee at the Stony Point Caravan Park.

From Stony Point Jetty, board the Inter Island Ferries passenger catamaran which docks at the Cowes Jetty.  The boat trip takes around 45 minutes, usually with a stop at French Island.

By air

Phillip Island Helicopters
Phillip Island Helicopters

Did you know that Phillip Island has its own airfield?  So you can get to the island by air!

Fronting Phillip Island Road at Newhaven are Phillip Island Helicopters who not only conduct scenic flights, but also offer charter services.  In just 30 minutes, you can be flown from suitable landing locations in Melbourne, such as Essendon Airport or Moorabbin Airport, directly to Phillip Island. Avoid the traffic and save time! See  www.phillipislandhelicopters.com.au for further details.

Join a tour

Take the hassle out of getting to Phillip Island and finding your way around by joining one of the many guided day tours that departs from Melbourne.

Day tours include a range of activities such as a visit to the famous Penguin Parade and eco-tours that explore the island’s diverse flora and fauna. Tours may also include visits to Churchill Island, the Koala Conservation Centre, The Nobbies and the island’s beautiful coastline and beaches.

Phillip Island tours from Melbourne

 

Coming from Melbourne Airport?

If you are coming to Melbourne by air, see our guide to transport between Melbourne Airport and the city centre.  Once in Melbourne’s city centre, choose from the above options to get to Phillip Island.

Queensland Vs. Victoria for shopping hours

As highlighted in our post from last year, Queensland Vs. Victoria for Summer Holidays in the Sun, visitors enjoy several hours of extra daylight in the evening when choosing to holiday in Victoria during summer rather than in Queensland.

Extra daylight is not the only thing visitors to Victoria enjoy more of. Queensland has some of Australia’s most restricted trading hours. This means that when in Queensland, you do have to plan your holiday around shopping hours. In Victoria, you are set free from those restrictions.

Pelican Waters Shopping Village
Shopping in Queensland – restricted trading hours apply.

To illustrate the differences, let us consider the trading hours for the Woolworths chain of supermarkets in various locations across Queensland and Victoria.

First, let’s look at the major population centres in Queensland.

Area of Queensland Day Opening hours
  • Brisbane suburbs
  • Gold Coast (*)
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Major regional cities
Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm
Saturday 8am to 5 or 5:30pm
Sunday 9am to 6pm
(*) Extended trading hours apply to a small number of highly popular tourist areas along the Gold Coast which permits some supermarkets to open later on weekends.

 

Once you start going to smaller cities and towns in Queensland, both along the coast and inland, you will struggle to even find a supermarket open on a Sunday.

Area of Queensland Day Opening hours
  • Bowen
  • Charters Towers
  • Dalby
  • Roma
  • Mt Isa
  • Warwick
Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm
Saturday 8am to 5pm
Sunday closed

 

In Victoria, Woolworths trading hours are much simpler and longer than those in Queensland, particularly on weekends.  This is of great benefit for those who are enjoying a weekend getaway and are trying to fit as much into their schedule as possible.  Importantly, these longer trading hours not only apply just to Melbourne’s suburbs and regional cities, but also to smaller country towns throughout Victoria.

Trading hours in Victoria
Monday to Friday 6-7am to 10-midnight
Saturday 6-7am to 10-midnight
Sunday 6-7am to 10-midnight

 

Woolworths
A Woolworths supermaket in Victoria, open 7 days a week and long hours, for the convenience of locals and visitors.

Visiting Queensland on a Saturday? Chances are major supermarkets only open after breakfast and close before dinner time.  Needing to shop on a Sunday? Good luck in finding a major supermarket that is actually open in smaller regional areas of Queensland.

Visiting Victoria?  Enjoy our unrestricted trading hours and shop virtually whenever you want, every day of the week.

Experience the history and heritage of Victoria’s Gold Rush era

Melbourne and the state of Victoria boomed in the 1850s after an influx of people from around the world entered the region to try their hand at winning big in the gold rush. In fact, in 1852 more immigrants leaving Britain purchased tickets to Melbourne than to any other destination around the world. While the capital and its surrounds have changed dramatically since then, there are still remnants of the era existing in the state that visitors can explore. If you want to visit Victoria to experience sites of the gold rush past, then read on for some of the top tourist attractions on offer.

 

Arrive in Melbourne by ship

spirit of tasmania
Spirit of Tasmania – a trip to remember

You can start your journey like so many goldminers did in the 1850s – by ship. However, unlike the gold rush prospectors of the past who battled appalling conditions, scurvy and other diseases on the journey, today’s tourists can instead visit Victoria on the Spirit of Tasmania, a stylish and comfortable cruise liner operating twice daily between Tasmania and Victoria. You can put your car on board in Tasmania and then enjoy a pleasant journey across the Tasman to Melbourne. Once there you have your vehicle on hand to tour around the best historical sites in and near Melbourne.

 

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill – it’s pure gold!

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Victoria is Sovereign Hill, an outdoor museum in Ballarat that tells the story of the region during the gold rush. Visitors to Sovereign Hill can enjoy feeling like they have stepped back in time on Main Street, where costumed actors parade up and down, or try their luck panning for gold. Children will love visiting the on-site theatre to watch a show or watching steam-driven machinery in action, as well as the multi-million dollar sound and light show that is presented at night. Adults are sure to enjoy the fully-guided gold mine tour, a horse-drawn coach tour of the town, or getting a glimpse of the many gold nuggets in the museum. Family tickets are available for around $117.

 

Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum – explore life in Victoria

Located in inner-city Carlton, the Melbourne Museum provides an affordable day out for families. With tickets just $10 for adults and free for children, parents don’t need to spend a lot to take their family to this museum for an exploration of life in Victoria over the ages. The museum covers a wide array of subjects in its eight galleries, from the state’s culture and history to its natural environment. The Melbourne Story exhibition features over 1200 objects from Museum Victoria’s vast collection, including a Cobb & Co Coach and a gold mining model from 1858.

 

The Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol
Old Melbourne Gaol – a crime & justice experience

Built in the mid-1800s, the Old Melbourne Gaol housed criminals, petty offenders, the mentally ill and the homeless during the peak Gold Rush period. At the oldest prison in Melbourne families can explore the three levels of the gaol and see Ned Kelly’s death mask; take a tour of the cells and visit the Police City Watch House; take part in a trial recreation at the old Magistrate’s Court; or take an evening tour of the facilities…if they dare! Family passes cost around $55 for the day.

 

Melbourne Walks

Goldrush cottage
Visit Melbourne’s oldest residence on a Melbourne Walks tour

Melbourne Walks is a company that operates walking tours throughout Melbourne. For tourists who would like to learn some more about the Gold Rush period, they can embark on a cottage tour of the city’s oldest residence and its surrounds. The gold rush cottage is owned by George and Lola Russell and was built in 1850. Tours cost around $70 per person, last for approximately 2 and a half hours and include morning or afternoon tea.

6 must see attractions for kids in Melbourne

Melbourne is a magic city for a fun and family friendly holiday. It’s easy to get around, there are loads to see and do and the kids will be delighted by the novelty of travelling around on the vintage trams. There’s also lots of budget accommodation and fantastic cheap eats, so a holiday in Melbourne needn’t break the family budget.

Here are six must see attractions in Melbourne and surrounds that all the family will enjoy.

 

1. Watch the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island

Penguin Parade
The nightly penguin parade at Phillip Island

Take a waddle on the wild side at the famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, a 90 minute drive from Melbourne. Every evening at sunset thousands of little penguins (the world’s smallest and cutest) cross the beach and settle into their burrows for the night. A family ticket for two adults and two children costs from $56.50. While at Phillip Island, be sure to stop by the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Heritage Farm.

Phillip Island tours from Melbourne

 

2. Visit Melbourne Museum

Phar Lap
Phar Lap – Australia’s wonder horse

Located in Carlton, the award-winning Melbourne Museum explores the nature, culture and history of Victoria. Highlights include a complete skeleton of a blue whale, the famous race horse Phar Lap, a living rainforest, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and an IMAX theatre. Entry is around $10 for adults, while children up to 16 years of age are free.

 

3. Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol
Old Melbourne Gaol – a crime & justice experience

Located in Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD, the Old Melbourne Gaol precinct includes Melbourne’s oldest gaol, the historic Magistrate’s Court and former Police City Watch House. A day tour ticket for two adults and two children costs around $55, or thrill children over 12 by taking The Hangman’s tour or an evening ghost tour by candlelight.

 

 

 

4. Travel on the Spirit of Tasmania

Spirit of Tasmania
Spirit of Tasmania – a trip to remember

Take the kids ‘overseas’ on a side trip to Tasmania cruising across Bass Strait with the Spirit of Tasmania. Choose from day or night sailings between Melbourne and Devonport and enjoy a range of facilities on board including dining and bars, a playroom, games arcade and cinema. Adult day tickets start from around $79 and children $5. Take your car along with you from around $89.

 

5. Eureka Sky Deck 88

Eureka Skydeck
Eureka Skydeck

Located atop the Eureka Tower in Southbank, the Eureka Sky Deck 88 offers awe-inspiring 360 degree views from the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. For a real thrill seeker experience try The Edge, a glass cube that projects three metres out from the building. Family tickets for two adults and two children cost around $42. The Edge experience is extra.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Fairy Park

Fairy Park
Fairy Park – tales, myths and legends

A one-hour drive from Melbourne, Fairy Park at Anakie is a wonderland for the whole family. Kids can become a knight, a princess, a hero or a villain for the day and enter a world dedicated to storytelling, fairy tales, myths and legends. Tickets are from around $16 per adult and $8 per child, children under three years free.

 

 

These six must-see attractions are just the beginning of the many family-friendly activities on offer in Melbourne. So take the family to Melbourne for a fun-packed holiday of a lifetime.

Off the beaten path in Melbourne & Victoria

Melbourne and Victoria offer a wondrous number of destinations ripe for exploration and enjoyment. While the city of Melbourne holds many different popular attractions, research the possibilities of going off the beaten path. Journey through the countryside and visit unique locations and experience once-in-a lifetime adventures.

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Great Ocean Road
The 12 Apostles rock formation on the stunning Great Ocean Road

Considered one of the most scenic areas in southern Australia, the Great Ocean Road lies south-west of Melbourne along the coast. Driving on the road, visitors see an array of unusual rock formations jutting out of the shoreline or out of the water. One of those not be missed are the famous Twelve Apostles – although due to wave erosion, there are only 8 of these limestone stacks left standing. The area has sandy beaches and camp sites where holiday makers enjoy canoeing and kayaking or just exploring and photographing the landscape. Venture to the Great Otway National Park and hike through gorges while witnessing cascading waterfalls and encounter a series of caves. The park also serves as home to a myriad of wildlife including kangaroos and koalas.

Great Ocean Road tours & activities

HANGING ROCK

Hanging Rock
The view from Morgan’s Lookout near the summit of Hanging Rock

The Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve lies in the middle of the Macedon Ranges, east of Woodend. This unique rock formation rises 718 meters above sea level and features a massive boulder suspended between other massive structures. A pathway leads into the expansive cavern beneath the hanging rock. The location remains a favourite destination for climbing and gaining a bird’s eye view over the landscape. The park also has a forest, creek and picnic grounds along with an interpretation centre and cafe. While hiking around the park, guests often see eagles, koalas and kookaburras along with possums and wallabies. The local Hanging Rock Winery welcomes visitors to sample a number of locally produced wines while enjoying the view of the Macedon Ranges and lush green rolling hills.

HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY

Koala
A koala at the Healesville Sanctuary

Unlike conventional zoos, the Healesville Sanctuary strives to defeat species extinction through a number of breeding programs. Set in a rural bush setting on the outskirts of Healesville, the sanctuary features animals native to Australia that range from cassowaries to Tasmanian Devils. The park offers various live demonstrations and feedings throughout the day to the delight of guests. Watch the abilities of the birds of prey or cuddle a koala. The facility hospital also provides an opportunity for viewing the newest park residents.

TRAVELLING THROUGH VICTORIA

Rather than flying to Melbourne or another location in Victoria, staying in a hotel and relying on public transport or tours for seeing the sights, consider creating a holiday while driving a campervan. Having a personal vehicle provides greater freedom to leisurely come and go wherever desired. Enjoy the great outdoors and spectacular scenery while staying in and exploring the many national parks around the area. Save money and calories while indulging in a home-made BBQ in the fireplaces provided at the camp sites. Caravanning also offers privacy. Sleep in without awakening from the noise created by other hotel guests. Conversely, when staying in rural locations, families or groups of friends need not worry about disturbing other guests. Take a road adventure in a caravan and make lasting memories.

Campervan hire is a great way to explore Melbourne and Victoria. When thinking of campervan hire in Melbourne and Victoria, also take into consideration the state has quality camping parks with convenient facilities where people can rent a space for the night.

Campervan
Create the ideal holiday experience in Victoria by hiring a campervan