Mountains, Valleys and a Pink Lake, Oh My! 6 of the Best Road Trips in Victoria

Black Spur Drive

From the Pink Lakes in the west, to the rainforests of the Tarra Valley in the east, Victoria is a dream destination for the scenic-lovers. And one of the best ways to experience its striking scenes is by taking a road trip.

Ahead, we round up some of the best, sharing the must-see sights within each. Tackle these road trips in a regular ol’ vehicle, or, to truly immerse yourself in them, opt for a campervan or motorhome. For privately-owned options among those, and therefore, often more affordable, look at Camplify.

The Great Ocean Road trip

Great Ocean Road Victoria
Image: Unsplash

Total distance: 645km

Recommended duration: from 3 – 7 days

Best time to visit: Summer and Spring

No ‘best road trips in Victoria’ list would be complete without a mention of the Great Ocean Road. Even considered by many to be one of the best road trips in the country, too, it’s home to the country’s most iconic rock formations (the Twelve Apostles), as well as forests and waterfalls.

Start in Torquay, taking a dip at the famous Bells Beach before visiting the Australian
National Surfing Museum. Then, drive just down the road in Lorne, where you can enjoy a five-minute walk to the Erskine Falls, a 30m cascade hidden amongst a fern gully.

Trace the coastline to Great Otway National Park, where you can navigate the Otway Fly Treetop Walk while suspended 25m high amongst the forest. Once your feet are back on the ground, continue to the Twelve Apostles, which stand 45m tall. Nearby is Loch Ard Gorge, the site of one of Australia’s most famous shipwrecks in 1878.

After passing through Port Campbell, you’ll come across more geological wonders such
as The Grotto, Bay of Martyrs, and the Bay of Islands. When you reach Warrnambool, be
sure to visit the recreated European settlement at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and
Village before returning home via country towns like Timboon and Colac, which are famous for their wines and cheese.

The Great Alpine Road Trip

Great Alpine Road Trip Victoria
Image: Getty Images

Total distance: 410km

Recommended days: 2 to 5 days

Best time to do the route: Autumn and Winter

The Great Alpine Road is arguably the best road trip in Victoria in winter. Shred the slopes of Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, hike or horse ride some world-class trails and enjoy delicious delicacies from country towns.

Begin your road trip in Bairnsdale, where you can see the impressive murals by Italian
artist Francesco Floreani in St Mary’s Catholic Church, which was built between 1913 and 1937. Follow the Tambo River on a scenic drive to the historic gold mining town of Omeo, where you can see the town’s original courthouse, post office, log gaol, and more at A.M. Pearson Historical Park.

Mount Hotham is one of Australia’s major ski resorts and one of the most popular in
Victoria, with 30km of ski runs that are best suited for beginner to intermediate skiers. Two hours’ drive away is Falls Creek, the largest ski resort in Victoria, with 49km of ski runs that are better suited for intermediate to advanced skiers.

If you’re visiting Alpine National Park in summer, you may want to walk the 800m track to Victoria’s tallest waterfall, the Dandongadale Falls (225m tall). A little further into the park, you can find Paradise Falls, which also has a nice picnic area. End your road trip in the town of Milawa, where you kick back and can feast on local wine, cheese, honey, meat, and mustards.

The Bellarine Taste Trail

Bellarine Taste Trail
Image: Getty Images

Total distance: 100km

Recommended days: 1 to 3 days

Best time to do the route: Summer and Spring

The Bellarine Peninsula Taste Trail might just be the best road trip in Victoria for food and wine lovers. Home to more than 50 of the state’s best eateries, farm gates, cafes,
breweries, and wineries, it’s a great place to spend a few days feasting on local delicacies. Empty your fridge at home so you can fill it with local produce and drink from the trip.

Your first stop is Drysdale, where you can visit the Tuckerberry Hill Berry Cafe and pick your own blueberries, strawberries, lemons, and figs. Next, head toward Portarlington and indulge in a tray of cooked mussels at the Little Mussel Cafe while overlooking Port Phillip Bay. Afterward, drop by Wildings Pantry Essentials in St Leonards and stock up on all-natural ingredients including spices, oils, glazes, and sweets.

Follow the coast to Queenscliff, where you can enjoy a cheese platter and wine tasting
whilst taking in the views over Swan Bay at Basils Farm. Nearby is the iconic 360Q
Restaurant, which overlooks Queenscliff Harbour and offers up awesome sticky beef ribs. Wash it all down with a visit to Queenscliff Brewhouse, where you can try over 200 craft beers, 400 regional wines and 400 whiskies, rums, and gins.

Before heading home, grab a sourdough croissant for breakfast at the Ket Baker, located in a rustic shed amongst gum trees in Wallington. Next door is Wattle Grove Honey, where you can buy pure and raw Australian honey locally sourced from beehives.

The Black Spur Drive

Black Spur Drive Victoria
Image: Unsplash

Total distance: 60km

Recommended days: 1 to 2 days

Best time to do the route: Winter or Autumn

The Black Spur Drive takes you deep into the forests of the Yarra Ranges and Yarra Valley. At only 27km long, it’s a short and sweet getaway into nature.

Start in the town of Healesville, where you can visit the Healesville Sanctuary to discover native animals in their natural habitats and learn all about their breeding programs and preservation. You should also spend some time at the Maroondah Reservoir Park, which hosts scenic gardens and a waterfront walking trail. Follow the twists and turns of the Black Spur Drive as it passes through the looming forest.

Stop at the Fernshaw Picnic Ground for a packed lunch and take in the incredible views as you find yourself surrounded by deep valleys and towering mountains. Next, visit Steavenson Falls (84m tall), where an easy 700m walk leads you to one of Victoria’s tallest waterfalls.

Afterward, visit the Cambarville Historical Settlement, where you can learn about the area’s gold and logging history and see the largest tree in the state, the Big Tree, which is 85m tall and 400 years old.

The Pink Lakes and Grampians Road Trip

Bendigo Victoria
Image: Getty Images

Total distance: 1,250km

Recommended days: 5 to 7 days

Best time to do the route: Winter or Autumn

The Pink Lakes lets you venture into the outback, visiting historic towns along the way before Murray-Sunset National Park and Little Desert National Park.

Your first stop is the gold rush city of Bendigo, where you can learn about the area’s history by dressing up as a miner and descending into the depths of the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Back on the surface, ride the Vintage Talking Tram to see the city’s key landmarks or party at the bar on the Shake, Rattle and Roll Tram.

Carry on to Murray-Sunset National Park, famous for its Pink Lakes and historic salt harvesting industry. Take the loop walks around Lake Becking (1.4km) and Lake Hardy (1.7km), both of which turn deep pink after winter and spring rains. The lakes are best viewed early or late in the day, particularly when it is cloudy.

From one lake to another, head south to Dimboola. Just outside of town, you’ll find Pink
Lake, which is similarly at its most striking after the rains during the cooler months. Nearby is Little Desert National Park, where you can explore a diverse landscape of rolling dunes and mallee heathland by car or by foot.

On the return leg of your road trip, be sure to detour via the Grampians National Park and drive the Grampians Way — a 333km journey that in itself is considered one of the best road trips in Victoria. Along the way, admire the majestic Mackenzie Falls near Halls Gap, take in the view from The Mirranatwa Gap and see the ancient rock art at Billimina Shelter and Manja Shelter.

Finish up in Ballarat, another historic gold mining town with a lot to offer. Visit Sovereign Hill and experience what it was like to live in the 1850s goldfields before panning for gold in the creek. Then relax and unwind by Lake Wendouree in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Gippsland and Tarra Valley

Gippsland Victoria
Image: Unsplash

Total distance: 500km

Recommended days: 3 to 5 days

Best time to do the route: Summer and Spring

Travel through the ancient forest of the Tarra Valley on this road trip to Gippsland — an
area home to more than 100 wineries, 14 national parks, sweeping stretches of
golden beaches, and the largest inland lakes system in the Southern Hemisphere.

Your first stop should be Wilsons Promontory, a wildlife-rich seascape that forms part of Victoria’s largest marine national park. Take a 2.5-hour eco-cruise around the offshore islands, home to colonies of fur seals, dolphins, whales, and white-bellied sea eagles. End the day by climbing Mount Oberon and taking in the panoramic views.

Detour inland through the Tarra Valley in the Tarra Bulga National Park and the Strzelecki Ranges. Take a short loop walk through this ancient rainforest, crossing the famous Corrigan Suspension Bridge and listening to the calls of the Lyrebird. And don’t miss the Cyathea Falls, which cascade 10 metres into the creek below.

Back on the coast, it’s time to visit one of the longest stretches of sand in the world —
Ninety Mile Beach (151km). Then continue to the Gippsland Lakes, Australia’s largest inland waterways and a great place to spend a few days relaxing on the water. Be sure to take the free ferry to Raymond Island, home to Victoria’s largest koala population.

Related: 6 Distilleries in Victoria Worth a Day Trip From Melbourne

Related: Take the Plunge and Seek Out Victoria’s Secret Waterfalls

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