Short breaks and weekend getaways from Melbourne

Short breaks from Melbourne are achieved with ease.

Take a quick break from Melbourne and be captivated by landscapes, experiences, and attractions that feel a world away from life in the capital.

There’s sparkling coastline; spectacular wine regions; incredible national parks, and so much more.

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…

Delightful destinations are within arm's reach of Melbourne. Pictured: Rosalind Park, Bendigo.

Credit: Bendigo Tourism

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 crammed with wild views, wildlife encounters, and wildflowers.

Budget tip: Picnic at Coogoorah Park and enjoy the wetlands. Great spot for a walk, too.

Book now: BIG4 Anglesea Holiday Park.

Breathe in that fresh sea air at Anglesea.

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 still ranks among Victoria's best experiences.

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

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

Budget tip: Explore the busts of Australian Prime Ministers within Ballarat Botanical Gardens; then wander around beautiful Lake Wendouree.

Book now: BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park or BIG4 Ballarat Windmill Holiday Park.

Sovereign Hill is easily among Ballarat's best attractions.

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. Or wander around Queenscliff Harbour.

Book now: BIG4 Beacon Resort or BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park.

Delicious produce, seafood, and wine are specialties of the Bellarine Peninsula.

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 Museum, housed in a striking art deco building.

Underrated attraction: Growing in popularity - and deservedly so - is The Mill, a vibrant precinct featuring food, coffee, craft beer, art, and more.

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

Book now: BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park.

Castlemaine Botanic Gardens are among many highlights in town.

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.

Book now: BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park.

The legendary Black Spur Drive is an eye-catching stretch of road.

Mornington Peninsula

The glorious Mornington Peninsula 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: A ride on the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola provides breathtaking views. Or enjoy photo ops galore 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: A stroll within Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve will drain only your phone or camera battery, and not your funds.

Book now: BIG4 Mornington Peninsula Holiday Park.

Mornington Peninsula's scenery is stunning.

Seymour

Set among classic Australian countryside at the base of the Tallarook Ranges, Seymour quickly evokes a feeling of ‘escaping it all’ despite Melbourne being within easy grasp. This historical town is within comfortable reach of many variable landscapes too, making it the perfect short-break destination.

Best outdoor attraction: The emotive Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk is must-visit material. Poignant and tasteful.

Best rainy-day attraction: The weather won’t be a factor at The Brewer’s Table, a cosy eatery with a seasonal menu emphasising local produce and beverages.

Underrated attraction: Avenel Maze. Hours of family entertainment on weekends and school holidays, and just a 15min drive away.

Budget tip: Picnic at a cluster of Seymour parks, such as riverside Goulburn Park. Or for sweeping views, try Australian Light Horse Memorial Park.

Book now: BIG4 Seymour Holiday Park.

See more classic Australian countryside at Seymour.

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

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: It's more underground than underrated but a tour of Central Deborah Gold Mine must be mentioned. Absolutely fascinating.

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

Book now: BIG4 Bendigo Ascot Holiday Park, BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park, or BIG4 Bendigo Park Lane Holiday Park.

History. Nature. Culture. Food and wine. Bendigo has it all.

Inverloch

Soak up the relaxing vibe and unwind with ease at Inverloch. This seaside spot occupies prime real estate in the Gippsland region, found 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: Head to Anderson Inlet for excellent swimming and kayaking ops.

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

Underrated attraction: The Screw Creek Townsend Bluff Estuary Walk showcases the area’s immense beauty.

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

Book now: BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park.

The Bunurong Coastal Drive includes a peek at the funky Eagles Nest rock formation.

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: Head to San Remo for the pelican feeding, held each midday.

Book now: BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park.

Free entertainment: The daily pelican feeding at San Remo.

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 prime visitor spots.

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

Book now: BIG4 Taggerty Holiday Park.

Cathedral Range State Park is ripe for exploration.

Traralgon

The busy city of Traralgon is spotted in the heart of the Latrobe Valley in the Gippsland region, ensuring it’s a versatile destination for a weekend getaway. Use this as a base for further regional exploration, or stay close to experience all that the Latrobe Valley’s largest city has to offer.

Best outdoor attraction: The 45min drive north to the delightful old gold town of Walhalla is full of riches.

Best rainy-day attraction: Visit the sprinkling of cellar doors around the city. Narkoojee is a solid pick and includes an excellent restaurant.

Underrated attraction: At risk of sounding biased, the Parky's Adventure Ropes Course at BIG4 Traralgon hits the spot for adventure lovers.

Budget tip: Exploring nearby Tarra Bulga National Park is essential. Towering trees, fantastic ferns, wonderful waterfalls, and much more.

Book now: BIG4 Traralgon Park Lane Holiday Park.

We might sound biased, but experience Parky's Adventure Ropes Course at BIG4 Traralgon and tell us it's not amazing.

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 foreshore-based Apollo Bay Community Market each Saturday has more stalls than a learner driver.

Book now: BIG4 Apollo Bay Pisces.

Apollo Bay and its surrounds explode with dramatic scenery, including epic coastal vistas.

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.

Book now: BIG4 Shepparton Park Lane Holiday Park.

The funky cows of the Moooving Art exhibition in Shepparton make for a colourful sight.

Wangaratta

Plant yourself in a town surrounded by a profusion of contrasting landscapes, which provides broad appeal. Although wider exploration of the High Country region 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: Walking trails abound in magnificent Warby-Ovens National Park.

Best rainy-day attraction: Step inside the grand Wangaratta Art Gallery. Or visit Malt Shed Brewery for tasty beers and tucker in spacious surrounds.

Underrated attraction: The ease of access to wine regions like Rutherglen and King Valley. Day trips sorted.

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

Book now: BIG4 Wangaratta North Cedars Holiday Park.

Adding to Wangaratta's extensive appeal is its proximity to prized wine regions.

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. Or look tree-wards with a wander on the nearby Kennett River Koala Walk.

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.

Book now: BIG4 Wye River Tourist Park.

Koalas can be reliably spotted in and around Wye River.

BIG4 in Melbourne

If you're after accommodation in the Victorian capital, check out these BIG4 parks in Melbourne.

There's plenty to do in Melbourne.

If you have a tip for anyone visiting these locations, or have any other feedback, please leave a comment below.

Isn't it time you had a short break? Book your next escape at one of the BIG4 parks below.

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1 comment on “Short breaks and weekend getaways from Melbourne”

  1. Adinda Shila

    3 August 2017 at 11:19 am

    A very educational holiday

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