As much as we love hitting up the latest Flinders Lane opening or dropping by the southside’s new, trendy yoga studio, sometimes we just gotta get outa town, know what I mean, Listers? Nothing beats a day spent trekking around the hills in the Dandenong Ranges, or relaxing in countryside style at a Daylesford day spa. Looking for your next day-long getaway? Read on for our six favourite out-of-town escapes that you can get to and from in a day.
#1: High Tea AND Tree Climbing In The Dandenongs
So, you like to mix it up a bit? Take a day trip to the Dandenong Ranges and not only will you find the 1000 Steps, but there’s a tonne of other hidden gems that are list-worthy only a stone’s throw from Melbourne. Enjoy one of the best traditional high tea spreads in the state at Cafe de Beaumarchais in Sassafras, then work it off/try not to vom it all up as you take to the treetops at Trees Adventure in Belgrave. Oh, AND there’s an epic Argentinian restaurant called The Independent in the vicinity too. Want to know where? Check out our Dandenongs day-trip verdict.
Hint: Visit Dandenong Ranges has heaps of tips on what to do in the Dandenongs. Hit them up and get planning your trip, pronto.
#2: Chill Out In The Hot Springs At Rye
If you haven’t been to Peninsula Hot Springs in Rye, oh boy, are you in for a pamper-fest! The hot springs is comprised of several pools with various properties, including a hilltop lookout pool and a steam sauna and plunge pool for those brave enough to face an ice-cold challenge. You’ll also find relaxation massages, salt and mud scrubs, and hot stone treatments here too. Set off early and stop in at Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove near Red Hill for lunch, then spa until you’re heart’s content—the hot springs stay open until 10pm!
#3: Try Something That Isn’t Wine In The Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley is about soooo much more than wine, people. There are heaps of amazing local producers making everything from small-batch beers to boozy marmalades hidden in them there hills. Escape the city’s rat race and head to Four Pillars Gin Distillery, a Victorian gin producer that’s making waves around the world (more specifically, at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition), then follow it up with an epic lunch at Napoleone Brewery & Cider House, and finally, the best pork roast you’ll have all season at Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co. Love animals? Healesville Sanctuary is up that way too, where you can get up close and personal with some of Australia’s native creatures. Cute factor: 1 million.
#4: Grab Some Mates & Make For Mornington
If your crowd aren’t the active sort, then a full-blown foodie’s tour of the Mornington Peninsula is a great way to escape the city and discover the best the surrounding area has to offer. Wine Compass, our go-to for day trips and wine tours in Mornington, has just launched a private tour series, where you can opt for tastings that include everything from cider to chocolate, vodka to cheese and, of course, wine. What beats a day of stunning scenery, mouth-watering food and awesome company?!
#5: Go Mountain Biking & Microbrewing In Forrest
Located in the heart of the Otways, Forrest is, unsurprisingly, a small town on the edge of a forest that is home to some amazing wildlife as well as some killer mountain biking trails. You can either drive out with your own bike or hire a bike there but, either way, you’re going to want to finish your day on the trails with a pint of something cold and tasty at Forrest Brewing Company. These guys not only make some of the tastiest craft beer in Victoria, they also serve BEER-FED PORK (that means the pigs are fed grain from the brewing process, not that they’re forced to swig beers), which makes for some of the best bangers and mash we’ve ever tasted.
#6: Find Art, Botanical Gardens & Pure Decadence In Daylesford
Ah, Daylesford. If you’re accustomed to the finer things in life, or want to pretend you are for a day, Daylesford is a paradise of delicious food, super-luxe pamper experiences, and incredible art. Fine dining restaurant Sault is perfect for culinary indulgence, while the Hepburn Bath House’s spa treatments really turn the luxury up to eleven (there’s a reason it was nominated for a ‘world’s best’ award). If it’s art you’re after, The Convent is not only a gallery but is a work of architectural art itself. Round up your most refined friends and get planning!
If all of these day trips sound a little too adventurous, it’s time to get yourself to one of our Fave 5 Cosy Melbourne Pubs with Fireplaces. Not into booze? Check out our top cosy Melbourne cafes instead.
Image credit: Trees Adventure – Michelle Jarni for The Urban List