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1. Yarra Valley & Healesville Sanctuary
Just 90km north-east of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is a world-renowned cool-climate wine region, home to countless quality wineries, as well as several breweries and cideries, delicious local produce, boutique accommodation, and a vibrant arts scene.
Healesville Sanctuary, in the heart of the Yarra Valley, is a bushland haven for native Australian wildlife and offers visitors the opportunity to see these animals up close and personal in a unique natural environment or close encounter experiences.
2. Werribee Open Range Zoo
Head back across the city to the west to find Werribee Open Range Zoo, run (like Healesville Sanctuary) by Zoos Victoria, 35km south-west of the city. Here, you can experience an African adventure close to home with the African-themed zoo’s iconic driving safari, walking trails and open savannahs.
3. Puffing Billy Railway
Take a journey on Puffing Billy - Australia’s premier preserved steam railway - through the lush green heart of the Dandenong Ranges, just an hour east of Melbourne. Step back in time as you travel through leafy green rainforests and spectacular hills from Belgrave to Gembrook on this century-old railway.
4. Mornington Peninsula Beaches & Point Nepean
Just an hour south-east of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula feels like a whole world away. Surrounded by the spectacular beaches of Port Phillip Bay, Westernport Bay and Bass Strait, ‘The Peninsula’, as it’s colloquially known, is the perfect location for seaside escapes from the city. But there’s more to The Peninsula than beaches, with an array of high-quality accommodation, a growing wine region, craft breweries, amazing local food producers and a plethora of bustling little towns to explore.
5. MCG Tour & National Sports Museum
No trip to Melbourne would be complete without a trip to the hallowed ground of the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Richmond and the below-ground National Sports Museum. Sport is basically religion in Melbourne and this is the Holy Grail - home of the AFL Grand Final and the iconic Boxing Day Cricket Test, plus countless other sporting events and stadium concerts. A guided tour of the MCG will take you into the inner sanctum of the famous Long Room, the Library, the players’ change rooms, and even on to the grass itself! Once your tour is over, head down to the National Sports Museum which celebrates Australia’s rich sporting history with an exciting array of interactive exhibits.
6. Laneways & Cafes
Melbourne may be best known for its coffee, but its iconic and eclectic laneways would have to be a close second, so why not combine the two and take yourself on a walking tour of the CBD’s best laneways and cafes? The coffee may be a subjective thing, but you’re guaranteed to find some of the city’s best, not to mention some amazing street artwork, in the laneways like AC/DC Lane, Hosier Lane, Chinatown, Hardware Lane, Block Arcade, and Degraves Street.
7. Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road
If you’ve got a day to spare and the weather is great (or even if it isn’t), pack up the motorhome and head south-west of the city to the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road. This could easily be a multi-day trip but you can also get a great taste of the area in a day trip to the surf coast towns of Anglesea and Torquay, plus Aireys Inlet and Lorne if you have time to venture a little further. These coastal hotspots are magnets for surfers and beach lovers.
8. Eureka Skydeck
Some travellers make a point of avoiding a city’s most popular ‘tourist attractions’ but the views from the Eureka Skydeck are not to be missed. Sitting 297m above sea level, this gold-plated skyscraper offers unparalleled views of the entire Melbourne cityscape and beyond and is the highest public viewing platform in the southern hemisphere. It’s exceptionally beautiful at night and, if you’re in the mood for some excitement, take a trip out on the Edge - a glass cube suspended out from the tower and over the city below.
9. St Kilda Beach And Pier
There are few parts of the city more iconically Melbourne than St Kilda, just 6km from the city centre. From the giant smiling mouth of Luna Park and the hustle, bustle and cake shops of Acland Street, to the long, scenic St Kilda pier and adjacent beach, St Kilda is a seaside playground practically within the city centre.
10. Eat in Lygon Street
If authentic pizza and pasta is what you’re after, you can’t go past a stroll down Lygon Street in Carlton for a taste of Melbourne’s Italian precinct and the genesis of the city’s cafe culture. Home to the famous Brunetti patisserie plus dozens of Italian eateries, Little Italy is as popular with the locals as it is with the tourists - and that’s saying something!