Have you exhausted your list of things to do in Melbourne? Or maybe you're looking to escape the crowds and see some lesser-known attractions? No matter your reason for exploring further, the best way to do it is with your own set of wheels. Pick up a car hire in Melbourne and hotfoot it out of the CBD to explore some attractions within easy reach of the city. Read on to get your trip to Melbourne off to a strong start.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 33 kilometres; Travel time by car: 30 minutes
Swap paved roads for grassy plains and experience your own African adventure at the Werribee Open Range Zoo – after all, what would a holiday be without an off-road Safari? This spacious sanctuary is home to an exciting diversity of animals but is famous for hosting some of the most iconic animals of the African savannah. Get up close and personal with gorillas before braving a foray into the Lion’s den. Want more wild experiences? Stay overnight and turn your day into a Slumber Safari for a truly unique glamping experience. You'll be glad you made time for this bucket list experience.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 115 kilometres; Travel time by car: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Step back in time as you explore Sovereign Hill, a landmark showcasing the reality of life in Ballarat during the gold rush era of the 1850s. Stop off at this outdoor museum to try your luck at panning for gold, before swapping to four wheels of a different kind and exploring the rest of Sovereign Hill in a horse-drawn carriage. Step back in time as you ride past shops and street performers and finish off your day at the spectacular night show, “Blood on the Southern Cross”.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 55 kilometres; Travel time by car: 45 minutes
So you’ve been on a safari and maybe even struck gold; it’s about time for a waterfront scenery change. Considered the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston is a popular seaside destination for Melbournians and the perfect place to escape the city on a day trip. Relax on Frankston beach and marvel at the largest annual exhibition of sand sculpting in the southern hemisphere. Alternatively, stroll along the boardwalk that clings to the waterfront as you take your pick from the cafés or find a spot in the sun for a BBQ. Whichever way you play it, a day in Frankston makes for a day of memories.
The beautiful house and gardens of Rippon Lea are a testament to the Victorian Italianate style. You could happily spend hours getting lost in the gardens that sweep across more than 14 acres, so make sure to bring a book or plan a picnic. The lake bridges, boat house, windmill and fernery sprawled amongst the grounds all add to the picturesque and romantic aesthetic, so it's no surprise that the grace and glamour of this estate attract many weddings. But if you're not planning imminent nuptials, never fear; there are plenty of food fairs, exhibitions, and classic slices of Melbourne history here that are well worth your time.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 65 kilometres; Travel time by car: 1 hour
Healesville Sanctuary is a bushland haven that is home to every iconic Australian animal you can name; pat a wombat, feed a kangaroo, and if you’re lucky, you may encounter a dingo on its daily walk. Keep your eyes on the sky as a variety of birds fly back and forth over your head at the outdoor arena bird show. Be sure to catch the platypus show as well for the best chance you’ll get to see these odd creatures up close and personal. Before you leave, be sure to drop in at the animal hospital for a behind-the-scenes look at the sanctuary. If you're lucky, there might even be some dingo pups waiting to be introduced to you.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 7 kilometres; Travel time by car: 15-20 minutes
Ok, it's not exactly off the beaten track, but a visit to St. Kilda is a must for any Melbourne adventurer. The famous beachside suburb has long been a favourite spot for locals escaping the city, boasting a laid-back beach vibe within a stone's throw of the bright city lights. Locals, international backpackers and people from all walks of life rub shoulders here in St, Kilda at some of Melbourne's most celebrated visitor attractions. Be sure not to miss a stroll down St. Kilda Beach, a drink in the historical Esplanade Hotel and a rollercoaster ride in the iconic Luna Park.
Ready to see the best of the rest in Melbourne? Pick up a cheap car hire at Melbourne Airport and see the sights on your own schedule.