Darby's Destinations Luxury Travel - Italy

Traveling Australia's Melbourne Coast

Take a road trip west or spend the day east exploring islands and national parks

May 10, 2024

Melbourne is a cultural hub with a reputation for being one of the most livable cities in the world. As the capital of Australia’s state of Victoria, Melbourne you’re also never far from your next glass of exquisite wine. To top it all off, the city is the jumping-off point for the Great Ocean Road, a 150-mile stretch of scenic highway that culminates in Allansford. 

Great Ocean Road

Torquay sits 60 miles southwest of Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) and marks the official start of the Great Ocean Road. This is a typical Aussie surf town with Bells Beach attracting a local and international crowd – there’s even a museum dedicated to the sport’s history. 

Leaving Torquay behind, the highway hugs the cliffside and passes the small towns of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Lorne is where you have the option to venture inland to the waterfalls in Otway Forest Park. Otherwise, you can continue onward to Great Otway National Park where wild koalas dwell. 

Make sure you arrive hungry at Apollo Bay where the Fishermen's Co-Op serves the freshest shellfish in the state, if not the country. This will see you through to the Twelve Apostles. Seeing these limestone formations rising out of the sea is the pinnacle of the Great Ocean Road.

From here, you can turn back to Melbourne or complete the Great Ocean Road near Port Fairy. A longer road trip will take you over the border into South Australia’s Wine Country.

Photo by Wee Ping Khoo on Unsplash

East of Melbourne

Phillip Island is another highlight on the Melbourne coast. Spend a day exploring the pristine Red Rocks Beach and grabbing a bottle of wine from the cellar door at the Phillip Island Winery. Encountering native animals at the wildlife park and reserve is a favorite among families while no day-tripper should skip observing the sunset “penguin parade” in Summerland Bay. 

Wilsons Promontory National Park, the southernmost tip of Australia, is a three-hour drive from Melbourne. The mountains and bushlands provide a safe habitat for kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and emus. Visit Squeaky Beach to find out how it earned its name and culminate your outing at the Mount Oberon summit for a jaw-dropping perspective of the southern Australian coastline. 

Ninety Mile Beach is another part of the Melbourne coast accessible as a day trip from the CBD. This natural and unspoiled beach offers hiking, water activities, and whale watching. Pay attention to the shipwrecks scattered along the shoreline. 


The luxury hotels of Melbourne are the perfect place to recuperate after your Australian adventure. The city straddles both banks of the Yarra River and is divided into such distinct neighborhoods as the CBD with its chic shopping arcades and glossy high-rises. Head to Carlton for the Melbourne Museum and venture to Southbank for theater and concert halls. 

Round off your stay in Melbourne and Victoria with a meal at Vue du Monde where modern Australian gastronomy is served 55 floors above the city.

Contact Darby at Darby’s Destinations when you are ready to book your trip to Melbourne. Up next, we will look at traveling the Queensland coast and the Whitsunday Islands.

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?