If you're looking at planning a big trip but it still seems like miles away, a weekend road trip might be the antidote to get you through a couple more months. Especially after lockdown.
Victoria has many great drives that start within an hour of the CBD, so wherever you've set up camp in Melbourne it's never too far away.
Gather your mates, assign someone playlist duty, and hit the road with the best scenic drives around Victoria.
Great Ocean Road
We couldn't make this list without the Great Ocean Road. This epic road trip makes us feel so lucky to live in Victoria. It doesn’t matter where you start The Great Ocean Rd. Hop in the car and follow B100 along the Shipwreck Coast.
This drive might take some time, solely because you’ll be stopping the car every 30 minutes to take the most Insta-worthy pics at the lookouts. Strap in. Pro tip: stop in Anglesea for a big box of JUMS, with extra gravy.
Distance from Melbourne: 1h 22mins (to Torquay).
See: Twelve Apostles, Apollo Bay, Great Otway National Park, Erskine Falls
Eat: JUMS (Anglesea), Bottle of Milk (Lorne), Apollo Bay Bakery (Apollo Bay)
The Macedon Ranges is one of those areas where you’re like, “This is why I live in Victoria”. Hop on the Calder Freeway from Melbourne and stretch your legs in Woodend. You’re going to see major mountain ranges, plenty of vineyards and heaps of cows.
Make this an overnight road trip during the Autumn months (the foliage up here is insane) and find a snug bed-and-breakfast to hibernate in. Bring your appetite, there’s a bunch of local eateries along the way. Fitness types, make sure you squeeze in a dawn hike at Hanging Rock.
Distance from Melbourne: 57mins (to Mt Macedon)
See: Hanging Rock, Mt Macedon Memorial Cross, Camel's Hump Lookout
Eat: Mt Macedon Trading Post (Macedon), Top Of The Range Tea Rooms (Macedon), Holgate Brewhouse (Woodend), The Milko (Woodend)
Great Alpine Road
If you’re looking for something to do during the Autumn months, go for a road trip along the Great Alpine Road.
Travel 110km from Omeo to Bright, or Bright to Omeo, and prepare for some stunning snow-capped mountain scenes (SNOW!). Hope you don’t get car sick! The road is full of twists and turns during the ascent to Mt Hotham. Be sure to stop at Kosciuszko Lookout.
Distance from Melbourne: 3h 39mins (to Bright)
See: Danny's Lookout, Razorback Trail, Dinner Plain, Bogong High Plains
Eat: Brown Brothers Winery (Milawa), Milawa Cheese Factory (Milawa), Bridge Rd Brewers (Beechworth)
Grand Ridge Road
The Grand Ridge Road is a 132km wind-in-your-hair drive along the ridge of Victoria's Strzelecki Ranges, between the Latrobe Valley and South Gippsland. Be warned: it’s a bumpy ride.
It may take about 5-6 hours, so pace yourself and make a stop at Wilson’s Prom along the way. You’ll see heaps of farms, beaches and wildlife. Just about the perfect Victorian road trip.
Distance from Melbourne: 1h 45mins (to Seaview)
See: Tarra Bulga National Park, Mount Tassie
Eat: Grand Ridge Brewery (Mirboo North), Tarra-Bulga Guest House (Balook), Lamezleighs Cafe & Bar (Mirboo North)
If you want a more delicious road trip experience, head to the Mornington Peninsula and take a drive through the winding roads around Red Hill and Shoreham.
We’re talking berry picking, wine tastings and hikes up Arthur’s Seat. There's tiny boutiques, homewares stores, breweries and scenic forest-covered switchbacks galore. Plus it's not too far from Melbourne, so you'll have plenty of time to cool off at Dromana, Pt Leo or Flinders.
Distance from Melbourne: 1h 10mins (to Red Hill)
See: Endeavour Fern Gulley, Arthur's Seat Lookout, Peninsula Galleries, Ashcombe Maze
Eat: Red Gum BBQ (Red Hill), Johnny Ripe (Main Ridge), Jetty Rd Brewery (Dromana), Zigis (Flinders), Red Hill Bakery (Balnarring), Tucks (Red Hill), Montalto Vineyard (Red Hill South)
The Black Spur
If you want something a little more close to home take a ride along Black Spur Drive. It runs for 30km from Marysville to the Yarra Valley (or vice versa).
You’ll be cruising through the Great Dividing Range, with plenty of stops for a picnic in Fernshaw, a hike through Mt Juliet or saying “hi” to koalas at Healesville.
Distance from Melbourne: 1h 4mins (to Healesville)
See: Marysville, Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley Railway, Bruno's Art & Sculpture Garden, lot and lots of ferns...
Eat: Innocent Bystander Winery (Healesville), Yarra Valley Chocolaterie (Yarra Glen), Alchemy Distillery (Healesville), Four Pillars Distillery (Healesville), Black Spur Inn (Narbethong)
You might have stumbled on this one accidentally when you got lost driving out of The Otways (happens to us pretty much every time). Turton's Track is a sealed and winding road that runs between Beech Forest in the west and Tanybryn in the east.
If you want to do a longer loop, head straight through the Otways and then switch back on the C155 out of Lavers Hill. This will take you past the Otway Fly, and on to Beech Forest. Turton's is a classic Otways track—tonnes of shady fern glades, giant messmate and stands of beech trees all over the place. Technically it's the last part of the rainforest loop, which runs out of Apollo Bay. Whatever you do—take a detour and check out the famous California Redwoods.
Distance from Melbourne: 2h 18mins (to Tanybryn)
See: California Redwoods, Otway Fly Treetop Walk, Old Beechy Rail Trail, Triplet Falls, Hopetoun Falls
Eat: Chris's Beacon Point Restaurant (Skenes Creek), Otway Nourished (Ferguson), Great Ocean Rd Brewhouse (Apollo Bay)
Looking for something more active but still scenic? Check out these 10 amazing walks near Melbourne.
Image credit: Visit Victoria