I'm a freelance writer who enjoys travel & culture.Enjoy more writings from me by visiting my blog at www.wandersoftheworld.net
Published July 9th 2011
Melbourne is a city that is blessed to be surrounded by so many beautiful attractions. Take advantage of your surroundings; escape the hustle and bustle of the city life and treat yourself to a weekend getaway. Whether it be a simple day trip to some mind blowing location or a three day tour filled with adventure and excitement, the tours that I have listed come as highly regarded amongst visitors – both international and interstate alike – and are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
Great Ocean Road
Stretching and winding over 250km from Torquay to Warnambool, the Great Ocean Road is the ultimate destination to visit in Melbourne. Packed with everything from surf beaches to stunning rock formations, the Great Ocean Road offers an exciting and impressionable mix for weekend getaway. The Twelve Apostles is main attraction of the Great Ocean Road, and although these tall and mighty rock formations have been reduced to six, they still evidently leave a lasting impression on the thousands of tourist that come to here.
Most companies will stop over at surf havens such as Torquay and Bells Beach, home to the Rip Curl Pro. At these beaches, you will be able to feel the sand between your toes and small that sea salt air. The isolated and sanctuary-like Loch Ard, renowned for its stories of shipwreck, is another stop that companies like to stop over and is personally one of my favorite locations along the Great Ocean Road.
Located two hours south of Melbourne, Phillip Island is world renowned for two things: motorcycles and penguins. During that one week when the MotoGP is in town, the island transforms itself into a hot bed of rev heads. However on other days throughout the year, thousands of tourists continue to visit the island to witness the famed Penguin Parade. Every evening, those cute little penguins invade the shores of Phillip Island to find their burrows on the dunes. No matter which seats you take, you'll certainly be able to see the penguins up close when you walk along the boardwalks to the viewing platform.
Apart from the Penguins Parade, Churchill Island, Seal Rock and the Koala Conservation Centre are other nature parks that most tour companies take you. Churchill Island is an old working farm that houses some friendly wallabies and kangaroos. Seal Rock is home to Australia's largest colony of fur seals. You won't be able to actually go on the rock, but there are fantastic the views of coastal scenery. The Koala Conservation Centre allows you to see koalas lazily resting about high on their tree tops. You may also have the chance to actually hold a koala in your arms if you're lucky.
With over 80 wineries located around its lush green hills, Yarra Valley is the perfect getaway treat for the weekend. Only just about an hour drive away from Melbourne, visit Victoria's oldest wine region and sample wines from highly acclaimed wineries such as Rochford Wineries, Coldstream Hills, Coldstream Hills and Yerring Station. Due to the area's naturally cool environment, the grapes at the Yarra Valley are able to produce high quality wines; so be sure to try a glass of chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wine.
Just before you enter the Yarra Valley, a popular destination that tour companies often stop at is the world-renowned wildlife park, Healesville Sanctuary. Here, you'll see native Australian animals, from koalas and emus to kangaroos and other animals, roam freely about in their natural habitat. The real highlight of Healesville Sactuary however, is the 'Birds of Prey' show, which sees predator birds fly, swoop and even attack their prey.
The Dandenong Ranges are another attraction that is nearby the vicinity of the Yarra Valley. Although the scenary from the top of Mt Dandenong - the area's highest peak - are themselves epically stunning, the most popular attraction in the Dandenong Ranges is that old steam train named Puffing Billy. Australia's oldest operating steam train slowly trains through some beautiful rainforest sceneries on its original 24km railway track and is sure to leave a last impression on you. If you're small enough, you may still be able to dangle your arms and legs out of the train windows.
This is a tour for the show that needs no explanation – Neighbours. Whether you're a fan of the show or simply wanting to meet a few local celebrities, the Official Neighbours Tour is one that should not be missed. Set your foot on the famed Ramsey St, meet one of the stars of the show and reminisce about the time when Charlene and Scott got married.
There are two tour packages available on the Official Neighbours Tour:
The Official Neighbours Tour A – $50
This takes you to the location of Ramsey St, in the heart of Eastern Melbourne suburbs. You also get the chance to meet and greet one of the stars of the show, and receive an autography.
The Ultimate Neighbours Tour B – $68
For just $18 more, not only will you visit Ramsey St, but you will also visit the Global Television Studios where they film the show. Here you will be able to see in person the exterior sets from the TV show, such as Carpenter Mechanics, Charlie's Bar, and Harold's Store.