When it comes to planning holidays, we often first look to far flung corners of the earth, or at minimum faraway places in Australia.
But what many Victorians don’t realise is there are some stunning wild places to visit within a few hours drive – which is perfect to visit for a 2-3 day weekend.
Otway National Park near the Great Ocean Road – Rainforest, Waterfalls & Craft Beer
The beautiful rainforest of the Otway National Park is a great choice all year, it’s a good spot to escape the heat in summer or rug up and enjoy the misty, surreal landscapes in winter.
While there are loads of walks to do and Mountain Bikers heaven, it’s also the perfect region for those who like a bit of everything. You can start the morning visiting the now insta famous Redwoods, wander the path to a waterfall, stop for lunch at a craft brewery and stand amongst the tree tops at the Otway Fly in the afternoon.
The Otways also boasts one of my ALL TIME favourite tourists drive, a stunning windy road through towering ancient Mountain Ash forests and giant tree ferns.
Wilsons Promontory National Park in Gippsland – Wildlife & Walks
Arguably one of the most naturally beautiful places in Victoria, Wilsons Promontory National Park has walks to cater for everyone, from wheelchair accessible boardwalks to multi day wilderness area hikes. It has stunning beaches, mountain views and rainforests walks – a little bit of everything all in one National Park!
You can stay in the park cabins or camp and easily spend a full weekend bushwalking, spotting wildlife and watching sunrises and sunsets. Alternatively, you can stay in a nearby Holiday House or 1 hour 15 drive away in Inverloch, a great option if you love a morning beach walk and to head out for dinner in the evening.
For an extra special experience, you can book a boat tour to see the unique coastline and islands surrounding the National Park including a visit to an Australian Fur Seal colony!
Echuca on the Murray River – Birds, Sunsets, Paddle Steamers & Redgums
Affectionally dubbed the Mighty Murray, this area of Victoria holds a special place in the heart of many Victorians. It has many much loved tourists towns, including Echuca, a fun country town where life revolves around the river. Visit the tourist district to learn about the history of the river port, wander the shops and eat Icecream. You can also book paddle steamer tours and cruise along the river past huge river redgums, with the option to include a winery visit for tasting and lunch.
If you would rather get outdoors all weekend you can explore Barmah National Park by 4wd, bring your bike to ride the many tracks near the Murray River, throw your wake boat in the water or bring the kayaks. You can also try stand up paddle boarding and in summer splash around at many secret river beaches.
Find somewhere to stay in Echuca on Booking.com
Bright in the Victorian High Country – Bikes, Breweries & Wine
Another favourite destination of Victorians, Bright is a fun, tree filled town at the foothills of the Victorian High country. The town itself is a nice flat valley, perfect for beginner bike riders to get back on the bike and explore flat trails and ride to wineries.
Surrounded by hills Bright is also an extremely popular Mountain Bike town and therefore a hub for restaurants and breweries which means it’s a great destination for couples, families and groups who may have mixed fitness levels or interests. You don’t need to own or buy a bike to try your hand at a leisurely ride or extended winery crawl as there are plenty of options to hire a bike. There are also nearby National Parks to explore for those keen to bushwalk.
Bright is also a very dog friendly destination, with dogs so welcome at the Brewery they even have their own doggo instagram account! (currently inactive since covid started, unfortunately)
These are four of the many amazing options for a weekend away in Victoria which support the local tourism industry and allow you to escape real life to somewhere special for the weekend.