4WD Destinations

Melbourne 4WD Hire Destinations

Self-Drive Recreational 4WD Hire | Off-Road 4×4 Rental | Bush Camper Hire Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles, Gippsland, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Snowy Mountains and the Yarra Valley

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While Melbourne may be Australia’s second largest city, it regular places first when it comes to being awesome.

Turns out, “Marvellous Melbourne” as it’s been known for ages, is everyone’s favourite city. Literally. It was named the world’s most liveable city a record seven years straight according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index, only bumped to number two in 2018. Still, Melbourne scored a tremendous 98.4 out of 100, boasting a low crime rate, excellent infrastructure and the wide availability of modern music.

Much of what makes Melbourne a great place to live is also a boon for visitors, as the city draws some of the country’s biggest exhibitions, most coveted events, and is home to world-renowned restaurants.

Located on Australia’s southern coast, Melbourne got its start when gold was found in the surrounding hills in the 1850s and the boomtown quickly became the world’s richest and fastest-growing city. Much of its history is still evident through its Victorian and Edwardian architecture as well as institutions like the venerable National Gallery of Victoria, Australia’s first major art gallery.

Start exploring the capital of Victoria at its heart, the Central Business District. Its grid-like layout, bounded by Flinders, Latrobe, Spring, and Spencer streets, is easily walkable and thanks to cheap liquor licenses, is lined with funky bars and trendy restaurants. A campaign in the 1990s to revitalise the downtown by adding residential units amongst its office buildings means that the CBD is lively and feisty any time of day or night.

The most “European” of any Australian city, first-time visitors to Melbourne might need to do a double-take amongst the gorgeous heritage buildings, including the stately Parliament House where free public tours are offered throughout the day when Parliament is not sitting, the Old Treasury Building with its original gold vaults and rare historic documents (free admission), and a pair of beautiful cathedrals. St Paul’s Cathedral recently celebrated its 127th anniversary and is the seat of the Anglican Primate of Australia while the Neo-Gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral is Australia’s largest and tallest church building. Entrance to both are free.

The gold rush of the mid-19th century brought Chinese settlers, and their legacy is found in Melbourne’s modern-day Chinatown situated on Little Bourke Street between Swanston and Exhibition streets. This colourful neighbourhood is also home to some amazing ethnic eateries, part of a multi-cultural community of Italians, Greeks, and Indians who arrived after WWII and Vietnamese who came after the Vietnam War. It’s said that Melbourne’s Greek population is the largest of any other city outside of Athens!

Once you’re done feasting on exotic dishes from around the world, it’s time to walk off the calories. Thankfully, “The Garden City” is all about being active and outdoors with vast parklands and superb city beaches. Stroll through the 40ha Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in the River District where you can walk up Guilfoyle’s Volcano for sweeping city views or check out the collection numbering more than 1.5 million dried plant, algae and fungi specimens from around the world in the National Herbarium. If walking is your passion, the 21km-long Merri Creek Trail takes you through Melbourne’s northern suburbs, past lakes, gardens, parklands and quaint urban settings.

If you’ve loaded your Melbourne 4WD Hire with the kids, there are tons of child-friendly attractions throughout the city, starting with the Melbourne Zoo. Free for kids under 16 on weekends, public and school holidays, there are role-playing experiences where kids can try their hand at being a zoo keeper, veterinarian or researcher while learning through crafts, music, and animal encounters. Kids will also love the interactive Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria where they can get their hands dirty in the Kitchen Garden, the Bamboo Forest, and the Plant Tunnel, all while learning about conservation and the environment.

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne is the start of the Great Ocean Road, 400 km of some of the best coastal driving anywhere in the world. Originally built after WWI as a way to memorialise fallen soldiers, the Great Ocean Road is filled with attractions one after the other between its windswept beaches and towering rainforests.

From Melbourne, strike out southwest to Torquay where the Great Ocean Road begins. Right away, you’ll hit Bells Beach, the site of big waves and major surfing competitions including the Ripcurl Bells Pro in March. If you’d rather watch than do, pull off at the clifftop parking lot and watch the locals ride the swells. There’s also reef at both ends for some good beach fishing, especially at low tide. Enthusiasts will also want to drop into the Australian National Surfing Museum for some vintage memorabilia and a very cool display of surfboards through the ages.

About half an hour’s drive west is the Split Point Lighthouse. Known as the “White Queen”, this 34m-high lighthouse was first illuminated in 1891. Still functioning today, access is provided through daily tours, finishing with spectacular 360-degree coastal views from the top. Nearby Aireys Inlet also has an estuary walk and a discovery trail along with a skate park and picnic area.

Continuing towards Cape Otway is scenic 3km-long Apollo Bay in the foothills of the Otways. The area around this small village has tons to keep the whole family occupied. Kids will enjoy the calm waters to splash around in, seeing platypus in the wild, and riding horses along the beach. Older kids will love swimming out to the Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary where colorful soft corals and a wide range of marine life awaits. Apollo Bay also has several scenic lookout points, including the Cape Otway Lightstation, mainland Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse, as well as Marriners Lookout with views of the beach and town below. There are multiple caravan parks and campsites between Torquay and Apollo Bay where you can quickly set up your Melbourne 4WD Bush Camper just minutes from idyllic beach or river settings. Apollo Bay is also the start of the over 100km-long Great Ocean Walk which ends at the iconic Twelve Apostles.

For off-road enthusiasts, the 103,000ha Great Otway National Park is an excellent place to steer your Melbourne 4WD Hire off the sealed roads and into lush green hinterland. In fact, the area has more than 50 4WD tracks that range from easy to challenging, but are rewarded with quiet solitude and gorgeous scenery, including enchanted waterfalls and thick forests. If you plan on heading back to Melbourne, you can actually drive along the 112km route back towards Anglesea, with additional side tracks to explore.

The Otways are also home to a host of adrenaline-inducing adventures, including the Tree Top Walk 30m off the ground and zip lining across the forest canopy at the Otway Fly. The trails through the park make it Australia’s top mountain biking destination where riders can make their way through dense fern gullies and towering eucalyptus forests.

Another can’t-miss sight on the Great Ocean Road are the magnificent Twelve Apostles. Some 10 million years in the making, these 45m-high rock stacks (actually eight and not 12) rising up from the Southern Ocean are spectacular as they change colours from dark orange to sandy yellow with the sun.

Just a few minutes from the Twelve Apostles is another scenic bay known as the Loch Ard Gorge, named after a clipper ship that sank on nearby Mutton Bird Island in 1878. The two rock pillars of the gorge are named after the lone two survivors and help calm the waters of the gorge interior, making it a spectacular spot for photos. There are four walks around Loch And Gorge, including one leading to the nearby shipwreck cemetery.

From here, it’s just another hour or so to the scenic hilltop town of Warrnambool. While you can continue along the coast another two hours to Cape Nelson, many people consider “the Bool” the end of the Great Ocean Road. Fortunately, there’s a lot to keep the whole family occupied. The Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village retells the stories of hundreds of ships claimed by the Shipwreck Coast through fascinating exhibits as well as sound and light show while the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve set inside a dormant volcano showcases some of Australia’s most beloved wildlife species like emus, koalas, kangaroos, and echidnas in their natural habitat.

For 4WD fans, the area around Greater Melbourne has a good number of places to literally get off the beaten path.

Just an hour north of Melbourne is 14,250ha Lerderderg State Park with lots of unsealed roads especially in the northern and eastern sections through peppermint gum forests and exciting water crossings. Some of the more popular tracks include O’Briens Road with beautiful gorge views and Lerderderg Track straight through the park north-south from Blackwood to Bacchus Marsh. Navigating your way through the post-rain boggy mud and fast-flowing creek crossings is all part of the fun. The park has a number of bushwalking tracks and your fully-equipped Melbourne 4WD Hire Bush Camper will feel right at home at the basic Lerderderg Campground as well as bush camping in the Conservation Zone.

An hour east of Melbourne is the Yarra Valley and Dendenong Ranges. The scenic country around the Yarra Valley is known for its world-class wineries producing excellent quality Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Shiraz. Other points of interest in the high country include the 84m-high Steavenson Falls, one of the state’s highest, and the Healesville Sanctuary, renowned for its comprehensive collection of Australian animal species. However, you can also put your Melbourne 4WD Hire through its paces along some of the easy to medium off-road tracks in the area, especially around the Warburton Valley and in the Yarra State Forest featuring mud and clay, sharp rocks, and steep ascents and descents.

Further east, towards the border with New South Wales, lies the Gippsland region known for its gorgeous coastline, photogenic rivers and lakes, and verdant forests. It’s also great 4WD touring country, including Baw Baw National Park highlighted by downhill skiing on Mount Baw Baw and the 180km-long Aberfeldy Track in Alpine National Park which follows the route taken by horse and carts during gold rush times. Rugged driving conditions are rewarded with sweeping mountaintop views and pristine alpine environments.

Heading northwest from Melbourne, the rugged beauty of Grampians National Park also beckons off-roaders. An excellent network of beginner-friendly 4WD tracks makes exploring Australia’s third-largest park a joy, driving through the sandstone mountain ranges, past cascading waterfalls, dense forests and gorgeous spring wildflower displays. The area is also known for its rich Aboriginal rock art sites.

With so many family-friendly attractions as well as diverse terrain ranging from glittering coastline to majestic rainforest to alpine country throughout its many national parks, Victoria is a gem to discover with your Melbourne 4WD Hire.

Melbourne 4WD Hire is part of Australian 4WD Hire, a nationwide network of premium rental agencies strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous 4WD destinations and hotspots as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia, ensuring you’re never far from a pick-up point.

Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for our meticulously maintained vehicles and top-tier customer service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy your self-drive adventure in comfort and safety. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the broad range of amazing sights Australia has to offer, with the flexibility and freedom to discover the outdoors at your own pace. For your Melbourne 4WD Hire adventure, please contact us at 1300 360 339 or +617 5527 6191. Or email us at sales@australian4wdhire.com.au or visit us at www.australian4wdhire.com.au

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