Melbourne is a fantastic place to holiday – after you have explored the myriad city sights you can take your Melbourne 4WD hire and drive to any number of stunning regions to discover serene tranquil surroundings, bustling coastal villages, picture perfect scenery and a gourmet food and wine trail that rivals any in Australia.
We’ve done our research and recommend the following spots (however this list is not exhaustive)!
Great Ocean Road
You will immensely enjoy this iconic drive in your Melbourne 4wd hire. It will take you just under three hours to get to the Great Ocean Road region from Melbourne via the M1 or Princes Hwy. It starts at Torquay and stretches 250km through to Warrnambool. There are numerous coastal walks and trails to conquer here too if you love hiking.
Some of the highlights of this fantastic region include:
- The Twelve Apostles- these striking rock formations that majestically rise from the ocean are an iconic sight. You can see seven to the west from the lookout but to see those located in the east head to beach level via the Gibsons Steps car park. Dusk and dawn are the most spectacular viewing times.
- Gibsons Steps- a long set of stairs that allows visitors to descend from the cliff tops down to the beach. The scenery is well worth the walk.
- Loch Ard Gorge-memorials tell the fascinating history of this area that was named after a ship that ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island. Only two survived the wreck with one climbing out of the gorge to get help.
- London Arch- Formerly the London Bridge before some of the rock formation collapsed into the ocean. It is now a natural arch formation that is still a major tourist drawcard.
- The Grotto-marvel at the spectacular reflections in the water at the base of the cave. The ocean forms a perfect backdrop creating an amazing photo opportunity. There are several viewing platforms.
- The Arch- Not to be confused with the London Arch, this is another fabulous rock formation that is situated 6km west of Port Campbell. It is a huge limestone rock formation that can be viewed from a platform.
- Bay of Islands Coastal Park- This rock stack is not as well known as the 12 apostles but is definitely worth a visit. Soaring coastal cliffs framed by blue blue ocean and a grassland scattered with wildflowers (in spring).
- Triplet Falls-located within Otways National Park, these three cascading waterfalls are surrounded by lush green rainforest. There is a picnic area and you can enjoy a 2km 1hr loop walk.
- Koalas- One of the best places to see koalas in the wild is along the great ocean Rd at Kennett River. They can be found along Grey River Rd sleeping in the Eucalypts.
- Lorne –Apollo Bay Drive-spectacular stretch of scenic coastal road-plenty of Kodak moments.
- Teddys Lookout- Before you leave Lorne though head to the top of George St for a fantastic view over this stunning region. If you have the time take the walk and be sure to watch out for kangaroos if you are here at dusk.
- Bells Beach-known to surfers all over the world as one of the best surfing beaches. There’s a big surfing competition held her at Easter but you can check out the surfers and wave action anytime from vantage points all along the cliffs.
Hop into your Melbourne 4×4 hire and head out to Gippsland – a Mecca for 4WD enthusiasts. This tourist destination to the east of Melbourne is renowned for its top 4WD tracks and offers visitors everything from penguins and gourmet produce to wineries and stunning coastal scenery. Some of the must dos include:
- Phillip Island-wildlife is a big drawcard with visitors flocking to see the fairy penguins make their journey from the ocean to the shore every night. There are viewing stands and boardwalks from which you can enjoy the penguin parade. Enjoy an evening walk at the moonlit sanctuary where you will see animals that are now extinct on mainland Australia. You will also find fantastic beaches in this region too.
- Wilsons Promontory National Park- this unique stretch of coastal wilderness lies at the southernmost tip of the mainland. There are walking tracks to explore where you will find abundant wildlife in their natural habitat. Secluded beaches, caves, rivers, valleys and more.
- Gippsland Lakes-a series of beautiful picturesque coastal lagoons and dunes that are a definite must see. Boating and fishing are popular activities (with cruisers available for hire), while on land this area boasts plenty of unsealed roads and rocky 4WD tracks.
- Aberfeldy Track-this is undoubtedly one of Victoria’s best 4WD routes that startsaround 125km from Melbourne. Roads are rugged and unsealed while the bush and mountains views are superb. It’s classed as a medium to difficult grade
- Walhalla-originally a gold mining community, this small town is blessed with spectacular mountains and valleys that draws visitors from far and wide. If you’re up for a hike there’s the 2-day Great Walhalla Alpine Walk, ghost towns to explore and a tour through the Long Tunnel Goldmine.
- Baw Baw Plateau- located within the Baw Baw National Park, popular spot for camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horse riding and of course stunning alpine scenery.
- Strzelecki Ranges- actually part of the great diving range and a must do for Melbourne 4WD rentals. Situated in the west Gippsland region, you can drive the Strzelecki Trail for spectacular rainforest and city views over Latrobe. Be sure to stop at the famous suspension bridge for a photo op.
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
An excellent place to visit in your Melbourne camper hire. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne and is home to the famous ‘Black Spur’ scenic drive. The Yarra Valley is home to spectacular rolling hills and is a renowned wine region. The Dandenongs boast thick lush rainforest terrain and one of the best ways to view this fabulous countryside is on the Puffing Billy Steam train.
Some of the things you should try to see on your visit include:
- Healesville Sanctuary-Tassie devils, koalas, kangaroos, wombats and more. Get up close and personal with the animals and be sure to see the ‘Spirits of the Sky’ bird show. There are picnic areas and BBQs so you can make a day of it.
- Warburton Rail Trail- at 40km you might like to hire a bike to tackle this trail. There are plenty of cafes and scenic stops along the way to enjoy. Beautiful forest scenery. La La Falls is a much shorter walk from Warburton at 3km that offers lovely rainforest landscape and a small waterfall at the end.
- Steavonson Falls- located in Marysville, this waterfall is the biggest in Victoria. Stunning at night when the floodlights come on.
- Fresh Produce- one of the best things to do in the Yarra Valley is hit the local markets for delicious fresh produce. Try the local Sunday markets, the farmers markets and the food, wine and craft markets.
- Wineries- the scenery in this region rivals the wines for supremacy. Wander from rustic tin sheds through to modern boutique wineries soaking up the casual ambiance.
- Puffing Billy- this famous historical steam train is an adventure for visitors of all ages. Travel the mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, Train runs daily and tickets can be pre booked, Look out for special events like food and wine trips as well as jazz journeys.
- 4WD tracks-For some excellent 4WD tracks in this region try the Murrindindi and Tolangi State forests as well as Bunyip and Lerderderg State Parks
The sandstone mountain ranges in this region are simply stunning and in spring they are complemented by the beauty of the wildflowers. Mount William is the highest peak and there are a collection of nature trails and waterfalls to discover. For some kitschy fun, don’t forget to take a happy snap at the Giant Koala located on the Western Highway between Stawell and Horsham.
Top things to see and do include:
- Activities-there’s a mixture of activities here to suit all tastes. Try an Indigenous cultural tour, go abseiling, canoeing, wildlife tour, horse riding or go fishing. There are a number of art galleries too around the region in Horsham, Hamilton and Ararat. You can also visit a Lavender farm, an olive farm or one of the many wineries in the area
- Walking Trails-Discover nature on a walking trail. There’s trails in the northern and southern areas of the Grampians as well as in Wartook Valley and Wonderland
- Waterfalls- there are heaps of great waterfalls here- head to Golten Gorge in the north, Beehive Falls, Silverband, Mackenzie Falls, Broken Falls and Mackenzie River
- 4WD trails-take your Melbourne 4wd hire off the beaten track onto Grampians drive. Fabulous mountain ranges, soaring rock formations, cascading waterfalls and Aboriginal rock art are just some of the fabulous things you can expect to see. The drive is 286km and is classed as medium in dry conditions. Some of the shorter trails include: Halls Gap to Buandik, Buandik to Dunkeld and Dunkeld to Halls Gap.
Camping and Accommodation in Melbourne
You can take your Melbourne 4wd hire or your Melbourne camper hire on your Melbourne and surrounds road trip as there is a wealth of camping and non camping accommodation options. There is no free camping however, along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay through to Lorne, but there are plenty of caravan parks and some of the National Parks have a few ‘free’ camping spots but you will need to be self sufficient. And for the non camper who likes their creature comforts away from home, there are plenty of motels and charming guest houses to choose from.
To get started on your Melbourne and surrounds driving holiday, contact Melbourne 4WD hire today for a free quote, to make a booking or advice on what to see and do.