Short breaks and weekend getaways from Melbourne

Witness and interact with a wide assortment of native wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary. 

Melburnians are truly blessed. Not only do they reside in a city regularly voted the world’s most liveable but when the need for a short break arises it can be enjoyed with ease. Melbourne’s ideal positioning puts it within proximity to many alluring Victorian destinations, all perfectly suited to a weekend escape.

Take a quick break from Melbourne and be captivated by landscapes, experiences, and attractions that feel a world away from life in the capital. Listen to waves crashing while overlooking sparkling coastline; sip on first-rate vino in spectacular wine regions; reconnect with nature along a prized walking trail; or uncover hidden delights of a regional gallery or museum.

Sometimes a weekend away is all that’s needed to recharge the batteries, so we’ve highlighted several enticing Victorian destinations with BIG4 parks that you can visit on a short break from Melbourne. 

The perfect weekend getaway from Melbourne is just down the road…

 

BIG4 parks 1-1.5 hours from Melbourne (all times approximate)

Anglesea

If you crave a holiday without having to venture too far, head to Anglesea. This idyllic seaside town marks the start of the eastern end of the Great Ocean Road and oozes a relaxing, welcoming vibe that’s cherry ripe for a short break from Melbourne.

Best outdoor attraction: Anglesea Golf Club – the sight of dozens of kangaroos serves as a strong reminder that you’re on holidays.

Best rainy day attraction: Stock up on ample local produce at Anglesea Fruitz to help brighten the mood.

Underrated attraction: The walking track to Point Addis is loaded with wild views, wildlife encounters, and wildflowers.

Budget tip: Picnic at Coogoorah Park and enjoy the wetlands.

Stay at: BIG4 Anglesea Holiday Park.

History with a difference: Prime Ministers busts in Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Ballarat

This vibrant city was built on the riches of the famous gold rush and presents the perfect weekend escape from Melbourne owing to its broad appeal. Choose from a plethora of historical, cultural, natural, and family-friendly attractions.

Best outdoor attraction: Sovereign Hill; this living museum is still going strong after all these years.

Best rainy day attraction: The Art Gallery of Ballarat. It’s the best regional gallery in the country.

Underrated attraction: The Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum will enthral. Don’t forget to rug up, though.

Budget tip: Check out the collection of Prime Minister busts within the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Stay at: BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park or BIG4 Ballarat Windmill Holiday Park.

 

Bellarine Peninsula

The Bellarine Peninsula is dotted with enticing historical villages and offers an indulgent weekend away from Melbourne’s hustle and bustle. This is a renowned food and wine region, so expect delicious local produce and cool-climate wines while enjoying a succession of sparkling coastal vistas.

Best outdoor attraction: Book a table with views at the renowned Jack Rabbit vineyard restaurant.

Best rainy day attraction: Relive stories from the sea at Queenscliffe Maritime Museum.

Underrated attraction: Not completely off radar but Fort Queenscliff Museum is so compelling it really should receive more attention.

Budget tip: A stroll along Point Lonsdale Beach relaxes, reenergises, and rewards.

Stay at: BIG4 Beacon Resort or BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park.

The Black Spur Drive affords a wealth of gripping scenery.

Castlemaine

It doesn’t earn the same attention as its Goldfields region neighbours Bendigo and Ballarat, but therein lies much of Castlemaine’s appeal. Here is the perfect weekend escape from Melbourne: a destination with a relaxing pace, tangible signs of a rich history, and spotlight-dodging attractions.

Best outdoor attraction: Head back in time at Buda Historic Home & Garden.

Best rainy day attraction: Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, housed in a striking art deco building.

Underrated attraction: The Victorian Goldfields Railway. It links Castlemaine with another hidden gem: Maldon.

Budget tip: Wander through Castlemaine Botanic Gardens. Oh those elms.

Stay at: BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park.

 

Healesville

Spotted within the prized Yarra Valley wine region, Healesville is a bustling, picturesque town bursting with appeal. Its main street reveals a cluster of speciality shops and superb dining options, while prized wineries and first-rate attractions are only a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Best outdoor attraction: Healesville Sanctuary. Don’t miss the Spirits of the Sky bird show (twice daily).

Best rainy day attraction: Head to TarraWarra Museum of Art, then grab an inside table at popular restaurant Innocent Bystander.

Underrated attraction: Hedgend Maze. Much more than just life-size puzzles.

Budget tip: Travel the nearby Black Spur Drive for a jaw-dropping journey past towering trees and glorious ferns.

Stay at: BIG4 Yarra Valley Holiday Park.

 

Geelong

Victoria’s second-biggest city is ideal for a weekend getaway from Melbourne. Reached with ease from the capital, Geelong balances the vibrancy of a big city with old-world charm. In fact, heritage abounds through a whopping collection of National Trust-listed buildings that are scattered throughout.

Best outdoor attraction: Wander along the waterfront on a sunny day and enjoy art, gardens, great views, fresh air, and tasty food.

Best rainy day attraction: The National Wool Museum. There’s more to see than you might think.

Underrated attraction: Uncover gripping yarns at the Old Geelong Gaol and Museum.

Budget tip: Take the cheapest world tour ever at Geelong Botanical Gardens.

Stay at: Geelong Riverview Tourist Park.

 

Mornington Peninsula (Dromana)

This glorious region has been a popular holiday hotspot for years, and it’s easy to see why it makes the perfect weekend escape from Melbourne. First-rate beaches, wineries, golf courses, and art galleries combine with alluring nature-based experiences and plenty of family fun.

Best outdoor attraction: Photo ops galore are on offer at McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery.

Best rainy day attraction: Go gallery hopping. Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery is a fine starting point.

Underrated attraction: The history-rich Fort Nepean walk within Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Budget tip: Walk to the top of Arthurs Seat for the best peninsula views.

Stay at: Kangerong Holiday Park.

BIG4 parks 1.5-2 hours from Melbourne CBD (all times approximate)

Bendigo Art Gallery is regarded as one of the finest regional galleries in the country.

Bendigo

From the moment you enter Bendigo you can feel the heartbeat of the past still pounding away. Like Ballarat, this thriving city was founded on the glint of gold and its many historical buildings and leading attractions pay homage to this bustling period. Throw in beautiful surrounds and easy access to wineries, and Bendigo has plenty to offer on a short escape from Melbourne.

Best outdoor attraction: Lake Weeroona. The place to be when the sun is shining.

Best rainy day attraction: You could easily chew up hours gazing at Bendigo Art Gallery’s first-class collection.

Underrated attraction: Soldiers Memorial Museum Bendigo. So much to see for the cost of a small latte.

Budget tip: Picnic in beautiful Rosalind Park, and while you’re at it climb the lookout tower for superb city views.

Stay at: BIG4 Bendigo Ascot Holiday Park, BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park, or BIG4 Bendigo Park Lane Holiday Park.

 

Inverloch

Soak up the relaxing vibe and unwind with ease at Inverloch. This seaside spot occupies prime real estate, spotted at the mouth of Anderson Inlet in Venus Bay. With the simplest of access to water-based leisure, it is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway from Melbourne.

Best outdoor attraction: The Screw Creek Nature Walk leads to a lookout where you can take in the area’s immense beauty.

Best rainy day attraction: The Inverloch Shell Museum features an almighty collection.

Underrated attraction: Dinosaur Dreaming. Kids will be captivated by this fossil site.

Budget tip: The Bunurong Coastal Drive is dominated by astounding scenery.

Stay at: BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park.

 

Phillip Island (Newhaven)

So much is jammed into Phillip Island’s surrounds that it’s easy to forget its diminutive size. This popular playground for weekends away from Melbourne offers a feast of appeal: dramatic coastline, prized surf beaches, thrilling wildlife encounters, fast-paced action, and plenty to keep the palate pleased.

Best outdoor attraction: While it’s hyped, the Penguin Parade is worth it.

Best rainy day attraction: Who cares about rain when you’re at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory? Much more than just the chance to sample tasty treats.

Underrated attraction: Churchill Island Heritage Farm. A true hidden delight.

Budget tip: Make the most of the impressive beaches.

Stay at: BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park.

The Phillip Island coastline is spectacular at any time of year.

Taggerty

Nothing indicates that you’re on an Australian holiday better than being in a tranquil bush setting, which is exactly what you’ll experience at Taggerty. Immerse yourself in the perfect environment for escaping the stresses of daily life.

Best outdoor attraction: Exploring Cathedral Range State Park on one of many walking trails.

Best rainy day attraction: The cellar-door experience at nearby Buxton Ridge winery is an ideal distraction from the elements.

Underrated attraction: The location – Taggerty is within easy reach of some prime visitor spots.

Budget tip: Mountain biking in these parts is spectacular. And free!

Stay at: BIG4 Taggerty Holiday Park.

 

BIG4 parks 2-2.5 hours from Melbourne CBD (all times approximate)

Apollo Bay

A crowd-pulling fixture along the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay is another leading seaside town that proves instantly gripping for holidaymakers. There’s no wonder it’s so popular for weekend escapes from Melbourne.

Best outdoor attraction: Bring the camera and admire incredible scenery from Marriners Lookout.

Best rainy day attraction: Fascinating shipwreck stories abound at Apollo Bay museum.

Underrated attraction: Karmic Goat Soapworks. Yes, you read correctly.

Budget tip: The Apollo Bay Community Market each Saturday has more stalls than a learner driver.

Stay at: BIG4 Apollo Bay Pisces.

 

Shepparton

With its positioning on the Goulburn River and in the heart of a rich produce-growing and agricultural area, Shepparton presents a feeling far removed from busy city life. Unwind in pleasant surrounds and take advantage of easy exploration of superb visitor attractions.

Best outdoor attraction: KidsTown adventure playground. So much fun, all for the cost of a gold coin.

Best rainy day attraction: Shepparton Art Museum. The Australian ceramics collection is immense.

Underrated attraction: The Moooving Art exhibition. At the very least it makes for a funky (or ‘cheesy’) photo op.

Budget tip: Pack the picnic basket and chill at Victoria Park Lake.

Stay at: BIG4 Shepparton Park Lane Holiday Park.

The funky coloured cows of the Moooving Art exhibition in Shepparton.

Wangaratta

Plant yourself in a town surrounded by a profusion of contrasting landscapes, which provides broad appeal. Although wider exploration is encouraged, Wangaratta makes a great base for a weekend escape from Melbourne owing to its many historical and natural attractions, interwoven with a buzzing events calendar.

Best outdoor attraction: Choose from abundant walking trails in magnificent Warby-Ovens National Park.

Best rainy day attraction: Wangaratta Art Gallery. You can’t miss this grand building.

Underrated attraction: The ease of access to wine regions. Day trips sorted.

Budget tip: Plant your feet along a trio of designated CBD walks.

Stay at: BIG4 Wangaratta North Cedars Holiday Park.

 

Wye River

This small town might not be the most recognisable destination along the famous Great Ocean Road but it still provides a ton of appeal. The coastal location provides the easiest of access to the treasure-packed surrounds of Great Otway National Park.

Best outdoor attraction: Have the camera handy to capture glittering views at Point Sturt.

Best rainy day attraction: Enjoy tasty treats in cosy surrounds at Wye General café, bakery, and restaurant.

Underrated attraction: The Wye River Heritage Walk is crammed with points of interest.

Budget tip: Explore magnificent scenery within Great Otway National Park, including nearby Sheoak Falls.

Stay at: BIG4 Wye River Tourist Park.

Parks in Melbourne

Just minutes from the CBD, Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens is a tranquil spot to spend a relaxing arvo.

If you want the feeling of being on holiday without travelling far from your front door, check out the range of BIG4 parks in Melbourne.

Find & book your holiday accommodation with BIG4

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