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How much of your own backyard have you explored? With cheap flights and package deals regularly popping up in front of us, often the first thing we consider for our next getaway is grabbing our passport and heading overseas.
Given the bumpy start to the year with the devastating bushfires and the global pandemic, now is the perfect time to plan your Victorian escape and ‘Holiday Here This Year’.
Aside from keeping your hard-earned dollars in Australia, you’ll be supporting local communities and businesses – especially some of those drastically affected by the bushfires too. Staying local gives you the opportunity to discover what lies just beyond your back doorstep and enjoy everything this beautiful country has to offer.
Opting to travel on a private basis allows you the freedom to plan your escape to best suit you – you’ll have a luxurious vehicle with great viewing, and a designated driver (great for wine lovers) who’ll be your own personal guide to explore all the places and attractions of interest to you. They’ll share with you their up to date relevant knowledge, and of course provide some great company.
With thousands of kilometres of the beautiful state of Victoria to explore, travel further than you have before. Regions such as Gippsland, the Grampians, Echuca and the Murray River, Mildura, and the High Country are at least a few hours’ drive from Melbourne, so are best visited for a couple of days (or longer!) while you enjoy the fresh country air. There’s no reason why you can’t take a few trips or extended weekends away, so pack your bags and let’s go! Our expert reservations team is on hand to answer your questions and help design the perfect short break.
Want to know some insightful tips about Victoria’s amazing regions? Read on!
Located about 2.5 hours from Melbourne, Echuca sits on the Victorian border with New South Wales and is well known for its historic paddle steamers coasting along the mighty Murray River. What was once used as a transportation network for supplies is now a drawcard for visitors to this country town, offering short cruises and extended dining voyages.
Take the scenic route to and from Echuca and make some stops along the way at places such as Mitchelton Wines, the town of Bendigo and even Cactus Country!
There are water sports aplenty in Echuca with boating, water-skiing, fishing, and swimming easily accessible, and keeping in theme you can overnight on a houseboat or on a luxury paddle steamer.
Ah, the Grampians – the perfect place for nature, wildlife, and hiking. A serene bush setting and abundant trails; pack some snacks and water and you can be gone for hours.
If you need a challenge, then conquer the rock walls with a morning of abseiling and rock climbing.
At dusk you are likely to spot hundreds of kangaroos near the town of Halls Gap, and hopefully some emus too.
If you plan to visit over a public holiday long weekend it’s best to book your accommodation, including campgrounds, well in advance. Being approximately 3 hours from Melbourne means that many visitors choose to overnight in this peaceful region and make the most of their getaway.
It’s not all about hiking and waterfalls though. Some fantastic vineyard cellar doors and local produce growers are a short drive away where you’ll be able to sample and purchase some goodies during your travels. Venture a little further north to the Victorian Pyrenees and you’ll encounter a whole other region of natural beauty and remarkable wine – one that not many others know about.
Silo Art Trail
Stretching over 200 kilometres a little north of the Grampians, the Silo Art Tail is a collection of murals painted on 30+ metre high grain silos illustrated by a variety of artists. The journey from the first to last silo takes approximately 2 hours, so if you are visiting from Melbourne, plan to stay overnight part way in one of the small towns on the silo route. Otherwise this is a fabulous day trip from the Grampians.
Read about the individual stories, artists, and their work here.
Not too far from the final silo on the trail is Lake Tyrrell, Victoria’s largest salt lake. However, it is often dry in summer and doesn’t have more than 5 centimetres of water in winter. If you visit at the right time of the day, between July and October, you may be able to capture some stunning reflective photos. It’s also on the way to Mildura from Melbourne so if you’re visiting The Mallee on your next adventure be sure to make a stop.
Victoria’s High Country is one of the ultimate getaway destinations given its generous offerings; wineries, breweries, produce, boutique shopping, cycling and mountain biking, hiking and some of the most picturesque scenery. Just under 3 hours from Melbourne there are multiple towns and areas to explore and spend time – and you could easily stay a few days, or more, here.
Check out our blog and tour page for info and inspo.
Gippsland is a road tripper’s delight, and a huge pocket of Victoria to travel around. Unfortunately, it was one of the areas of Australia that was devastated by bushfires earlier this year, however do not let that deter you – it’s brimming with positivity and all the fun things you could ask for.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is around 3 hours from Melbourne and visited by campers, hikers, and surfers alike. It stretches along the southern-most tip of mainland Australia and its spectacular coastline and views keep outdoor-lovers happy for hours (and sometimes days!). Trek to Mount Oberon Summit, make some noise as you walk along aptly named Squeaky Beach, or tackle the sand dunes of Big Drift. Take a boat cruise in the Prom’s surrounding waters and keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, and if it’s the right time of year, whales. You’ll journey past monstrous rock formations including Skull Rock as well as inlets and islands. Make a stop at a secluded beach for a stroll and a refreshing swim.
Holiday makers regularly flock further through the region to East Gippsland towns such as Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota, about 4 and 6 hours from Melbourne, respectively. You can easily fill your days swimming, hiking, kayaking, cycling, boating, fishing, golfing, and indulging in fresh local seafood or dining at a waterside café.
National Parks in this section of the state are vast, with impressive scenery and plenty to encounter. Parks such as Tarra Bulga and Croajingolong can be trekked, paddled, picnicked and caved.
As this region starts to reopen to visitors, it’s well worth a trip to support local businesses and discover some of the most untouched parts of Victoria.
Mildura and Wentworth
One of the furthest towns from Melbourne, almost 6 hours away, is Mildura. It lies downstream along the Murray River from Echuca, almost at the South Australian border, and is an established grape and orange farming region. Picnic spots line the town’s riverbanks, houseboats docked by the shoreline accommodate visitors to this rural city, and kayakers, boaters, and water skiers navigate the nation’s most famous river. Mildura also takes pride in its impressive gastronomic scene, including The Province by Matt De Angelo, as well as the two chef-hatted restaurant, Stefano’s.
Half an hour across the border into New South Wales is the town of Wentworth, where two major rivers, the Murray and Darling, meet. Like Mildura and Echuca, it was bustling with paddle steamers back in the early 1900s, but you can still see them today and jump on board a short cruise.
A little over an hour from here is the UNESCO Word Heritage listed Mungo National Park, with its dry lakes, archaeological remains, and sand dunes that have been formed by erosion. Tour through by vehicle, or if you’re feeling energetic cruise along the cycling tail throughout the park. Night-owls can enjoy the park on a sunset or even a full-moon tour!
Spend a few days in the sparse north western part of the state, bursting with outdoor activities, water sports and relaxing time with family and friends.
These are only a few of many places in Victoria to add to your ever-growing travel bucket list. So, the next time you think of taking a holiday or a short escape, stay local, discover and support more of Victoria and Australia than you ever have before.