DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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Weekenders from Melbourne 

WITH NISSAN

With our partners at Nissan, we’re highlighting VIC locations that create the ideal weekend road trip from Melbourne.

Ballarat has some stunning sights. More below. Pictured: Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

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Swan Hill

In a sentence: With a sunny disposition and a rich heritage, this vibrant Murray River city offers the perfect weekend escape.

The drive: The 340km path heads northwest and soon trades suburbia for scenic country surrounds, snaking past several lakes nearing its end point.

Crammed with activities, the Pioneer Settlement is a leading Swan Hill attraction.

Top attractions in Swan Hill

  • Pioneer Settlement: Offers a tangible snapshot of an exciting past; boarding point for paddlesteamer rides.
  • Heartbeat Of The Murray Laser Spectacular: A thrilling after-dark experience retracing the Murray’s rich history.
  • Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery: Key focus on naïve art.
  • Riverside Park: Picnic and play amid beautiful surrounds.
  • The Giant Murray Cod: A selfie essential!
  • Swan Hill Wine Region: Cellar-door hopping at a handful of wineries.
  • Murray Downs Golf Course: Spectacular, championship-style layout.

What’s nearby: Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum is not to be missed, Nyah Vinifera Park is filled with visual treats, or head further afield to world-famous Lake Tyrrell.

Stay at: BIG4 Riverside Swan Hill or BIG4 Swan Hill.

Nyah Vinifera Park epitomises the area's immense beauty.

Halls Gap

In a sentence: The inviting small town enjoys one of the most scenic settings imaginable, backdropped by the imposing and ever-present peaks of Grampians National Park.

The drive: A 255km route in a northwest direction, passing prominent Goldfields locations and revealing the Grampians’ rugged beauty from afar to abrupt.

The Grampians' peaks create a stunning backdrop.

Top attractions in Halls Gap

  • Grampians National Park: Breathtaking scenery and a rich Indigenous past are the start of so, so many highlights.
  • Brambuk The National Park and Cultural Centre: An essential first stop before exploring the scenic surrounds.
  • Halls Gap Zoo: Billed as Victoria's largest regional zoo.
  • Grampians Adventure Golf: Even this is super scenic! Adjoining gallery showcases works of talented local artists.
  • Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co: Inviting microbrewery to quench a well-deserved thirst.

What’s nearby: Just a short drive away is Pomonal Estate, a delightful winery, microbrewery, and cidery all rolled into one.

Stay at: BIG4 NRMA Halls Gap Holiday Park.

There are visual highlights for miles in the national park.

Ballarat

In a sentence: This vibrant Goldfields city offers an effortless yet rewarding escape from Melbourne, mixing trendy dining options and first-rate modern attractions with visible signs of its heady gold-rush days.

The drive: It’s an easy 115km highway-dominated path that quickly trades city limits for pleasant countryside. There’s no need to stop – you’ll be at your destination in no time.

Sovereign Hill is among Ballarat's premier attractions. 

Top attractions in Ballarat

  • Sovereign Hill: Retrace those golden days in style.
  • Ballarat Botanical Gardens: Scenic, expansive, and neighbouring popular Lake Wendouree.
  • Ballarat Aviation Museum: So much to see.
  • Art Gallery of Ballarat: One of the country’s best.
  • Kryal Castle: Medieval magic.

What’s nearby: Venture further north to explore the gorgeous historical township of Clunes; its streetscape seems to have been forgotten by time.

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

Flying high: Ballarat Aviation Museum is sure to captivate.

Port Fairy

In a sentence: Dotted with heritage buildings, Port Fairy is an attractive seaside village with a pleasant ambience that allows visitors to unwind with ease.

The drive: There’s a choice between two direct inland paths of about 280km or a 370km route that encompasses the stunning scenery of the Great Ocean Road.

If heading inland via Colac, the town has pretty botanical gardens by the lake. If taking the scenic route, Great Otway National Park, the Twelve Apostles, and Loch Ard Gorge are among a litany of must-stop sites.

Take a casual stroll along Port Fairy's inviting wharf. 

Top attractions in Port Fairy

  • Griffiths Island: Nice walk to a lighthouse.
  • East Beach: Pretty strip of sand suited to swimming.
  • Pea Soup Beach: Popular with families.
  • The Wharf: Lovely location for an easy stroll.
  • Port Fairy Golf Links: Spectacular layout and views at an excellent price.

What’s nearby: Check out the many attractions of neighbouring Warrnambool, stopping halfway at the nature lover’s playground of Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.

Stay at: BIG4 Port Fairy Holiday Park.

Port Fairy's beaches have varied appeal.

Want more? All BIG4 parks in VIC are here.

For weekender ideas in other state capitals, head here.

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