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Escape with V/Line: Five Day Trips that are Unbelievably Cheap and Fun

Home > Melbourne > Cheap | Day Trips | Escape the City | Family | Lists
by Geoff Edlund (subscribe)
Always on the hunt for creative, fun, and interesting places, events, and experiences.
Published May 24th 2023
Choose your own adventure this Weekend
It's hard to believe, and really amazing, but you can take a trip across Victoria that is less than $10 return, from Melbourne, by train, and, wait for it ... this (or any) weekend! And to make it even more exciting, I promise you there will be no annoying layovers or interchanges. You'll get to explore a tourist hot spot at the end of the line and leave plenty of time to experience your fabulous destination (after a relatively short and relaxing train journey)

How to Get The Sweet Deal

Just the low low price of $6.70 on a weekend for a return trip! For those on a suitable concession, you get the same deal for only $3.35 - You can purchase online with further information here:
VLine Train Times and Tickets (and of course, "prices and services subject to change")

These train times are for a Saturday, but you can also do the same trip on any Sunday. Pack some snacks, a thermos, and get ready to travel in style.


Depart: leaves Southern Cross at 9.05am (arrives 12.22pm)

Why: more than three and a half hours in Echuca, including lunch in the historic village watching the paddle steamers drift by.

Return: leaves Echuca at 3.58pm (arrives in Melbourne at 7.24pm)

Echuca is a delightful destination for a day trip with a plethora of activities and sights. The Port of Echuca sits on the Murray with beautifully restored historic buildings, paddle steamers and sculptures. Check out the Visitor Centre for a pile of brochures and maps to help you navigate and get the most out of your day.

There is also a range of affordable cafes and takeaway places near the river precinct. Feel like a beer, then why not, you're not driving - have your pick of the pubs here.

Echuca Murray Paddlesteamer Day Trip
Watch the paddle steamers drift by at the Port of Echuca - credits: Dashers, Wikipedia


Depart: leaves Southern Cross at 9.16am (arrives 11.53am)

Why: more than four hours in Shepparton, and lunch by the majestic Goulburn River

Return: leaves Shepparton at 4.09pm (arrives in Melbourne at 6.37pm)

This vibrant regional city has plenty to offer with the Shepparton Art Museum and gallery showcasing contemporary art and paintings. There's also an outstanding Motor Museum for the car enthusiast to the south of Shepparton.

See how many cows you and the kids can spot, with the Moooving Art project - a unique outdoor display of brightly painted cows across most of Shepparton.

If you're after a tranquil walk, then try Victoria Lake - a perfect picnic venue with scenic gardens and bird life.

Shepparton Relax Day Trip Mooo Sculpture Park
Get Mooving, and check out Shepparton - Credits: Biatch, Wikipedia


Depart: leaves Southern Cross at 7.54am (arrives 11.39am)

Why: more than five hours in Bairnsdale, plus Lunch at the Bairnsdale Botanic Gardens by the Mitchell River.

Return: leaves Albury at 4.53pm (arrives in Melbourne at 8.44pm)

How's that for a train journey - you just crossed half the State. Welcome to Bairnsdale. The helpful staff at the Visitor Centre will get you oriented, and arrange entry to the Historical Museum, and the East Gippsland Art Gallery.

If you are up for some more activity then try the Rail Trail, and the Mitchell River Walk loop for some serenity and nature.

Bairnsdale Train Trip Day Country
The main street of scenic Bairnsdale, Credits: fir0002 Wikimedia Commons


Depart: leaves Southern Cross at 6.55am (arrives 10.42am)

Why: almost seven hours in Warrnambool

Lunch on the Warrnambool Pier starting at the ocean

Return: leaves Warrnambool at 5.32pm (arrives Melbourne at 9.09pm)

Begin with Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, an impressive museum full of interactive exhibits, alleys, and entertainment, and then make your way throught the picturesque trails at Lake Pertrobe (amazing adventure playground included).

Back in town, you'll find the Warrnambool Art Gallery displaying a huge collection of Australian Art and creativity. The town is centred around Liebig and Koroit Street and the many shops, cafes and pubs nearby. The Warrnambool Botanic Gardens are another 20 minutes to the North and very worth a stroll if there's still time left before the train home.

Warrnambool Beach Coast Day Trip
Warrnambool Harbour - relax by the water, Credits: Wikipedia, wongm


Depart: leaves Southern Cross at 8.14am (arrives 10.42am)

Why: about four and half hours in Ararat with morning tea at Alexandra Gardens Lake.

Return: leaves Ararat at 4.13pm (arrives Melbourne at 6.48pm)

Ararat is a goldfields beauty of a town framed by a mountain backdrop, and grand buildings at every turn.

A block or two off the main street sit the Alexandra Gardens and Lake, and the spooky J Ward Complex that served as a psychiatric hospital and now broods over the town.

There are some real art and cultural gems in Ararat that most people haven't been to. Try the Langi Morgala Museum and explore the intricately organised collections of memorabilia and machinery. The Textile Art Museum Australia is also fascinating with creative and versatile designs on display.

If you want a challenge, walk to the One Tree Hill Lookout
The spectacular hill from One Tree Hill Lookout near Ararat, credits: Walking Melbourne, Wikipedia

Every point of the compass is a delight with so much to see this weekend. Pick a destination and pre-book a ticket here: VLine Train Times and Tickets

Train VLine Melbourne Victoria Cheap Day Trip
Five amazing Victorian destinations to choose from.

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Why? To see most of Victoria for under $10
Cost: Under $10
Your Comment
What a brilliant idea Geoff, to make these day trips to see these wonderful towns in our state.
by Gayle Beveridge-Marien (score: 4|10580) 8 days ago
Arrive Bairnsdale but leave from Albury?
by helen152 (score: 1|16) 8 days ago
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