We just told you about free things to do while on holiday in Melbourne. Well what about extending your Melbourne holiday to the outskirts and surrounds of Melbourne? We’ve got you covered with more free things to do around Melbourne to make for an amazingly economical holiday or maybe just a weekend getaway from one of the most expensive cities in the world. That’s right Melbourne is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of free or low cost things to do while visiting Australia’s financial centre and the finance capital of the Asia-Pacific region.
“Greater Melbourne Map 4 – May 2008” by Diliff – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Getting Around in Melbourne
Melbourne Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Melbourne Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
As you can see, hiring a car in Melbourne is easy and convenient because there are so many choices of Budget rental locations throughout greater Melbourne and surrounds. Whether you are staying within the city streets or heading off into the countryside or mountains, we have the right vehicle for you. Be sure to tell your Budget agent your travel plans so that they can set you up with the right vehicle to keep you safe and moving along throughout your holiday plans. Depending on where you are coming from or want to go, you can hire a car in Geelong or hire a car on Mornington Peninsula. You can also rent a car direct from the Melbourne Airport, which is very convenient if you are flying into Melbourne. Hurry and click through any of the links to get a quick and easy rate quote to reserve your car hire online. Read about some of the regional destinations in Victoria in and near Melbourne that we have already covered on the Budget Travel Tips Blog:
Scenic Drive: Sydney to Melbourne (Part One)
Scenic Drive Sydney to Melbourne (Part Two)
Top Whale Watching Spots in Australia (Part Two)
Free Things to do Around Melbourne
Some of the things we will cover in this blog post include whale watching along The Great Ocean Road, communing with nature in Wilsons Promontory National Park or the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, marvel at Erskine Falls, explore the Dandenong Ranges, relax on Mornington Peninsula, and explore the beauty of the Yarra Valley. You can achieve an amazing budget holiday near Melbourne whether you mix in a few of these low cost and no cost adventures or go completely frugal with free holiday sights.
Whale Watching at Logan’s Beach in Warrnambool
Southern Right Whales in Warrnambool Photo Credit: VisitWarrnambool.com
Lady Bay Lighthouse Photo Credit: VisitWarrnambool.com
Sweeping Lady Bay Photo Credit: VisitWarrnambool.com
Logan’s Beach in Warrnambool is one of the best places for whale watching. It is one of the stops on the Great Ocean Road, which begins in Geelong or sometimes in the city of Warrnambool. From June to September the majestic Southern Right Whales can be spotted right off the waters of Logan’s Beach. These waters are used by the female whales for birthing and nursing their young in the sheltered waters of Lady Bay and the warmer waters of Australia before returning back to the sub-Antarctic waters. There is a viewing platform on Logan’s Beach that is free and open all the time. You can be prepared by checking the VisitWarrnambool.com website or their Facebook page for daily whale sighting updates.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Tidal River View from Wilsons Promontory National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Waterloo Beach in Wilsons Promontory National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Wilsons Promontory is the southernmost point on mainland Australia. It is known to locals as “The Prom” and Wilsons Promontory National Park is a great place for camping, hiking, exploring the rainforest and the beaches and looking out for the wildlife. The national park is about 2 and ½ hours from Melbourne. You can camp at one of the wilderness retreats within the park that are eco-certified.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve Photo Credit VisitWarrnambool.com
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve Kangaroos Photo Credit: TowerHill.org.au
Spend the afternoon at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve and experience the raw nature and wildlife of the region. This area is a lush ancient volcanic crater where the birds, emus, koalas, kangaroos and more are all protected. Go on one of the many walks to explore the area, have a picnic at the BBQ facilities provided, and browse the shop for aboriginal arts and crafts. The Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is just west of Warrnambool and one of the most popular stops along the Great Ocean Road on the way to Port Fairy.
Erskine Falls Photo Credit: VisitMelbourne.com
Erskine Falls Photo Credit: LorneLink.com.au
Erskine Falls Photo Credit: LorneLink.com.au
Erskine Falls is yet another free stop along the Great Ocean Road. It is just outside the city of Lorne. You will see right away why this is such a popular stop for nature lovers. Erskine Falls features a dramatic drop of 30 metres into the fern-lined lush green valley of the Erskine River. There is a lookout over the falls which gives you a bird’s eye view of the largest drop in the region. While visiting, you can venture on the 7.5 km Erskine River Track which begins in Lorne and takes you past Straw Falls and Splitter Falls in addition to Erskine Falls.
Mount Dandenong Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Puffing Billy Train Photo Credit: PuffingBilly.com.au
Mount Dandenong Ranges Photo Credit: VisitMelbourne.com
Mount Dandenong, the Mount Dandenong Ranges and Mount Dandenong National Park are located about 35 km east of Melbourne. It is an excellent getaway from the big city for such a short trip. The mountains feature fern glades, towering forests, and quaint mountain villages. Experience the change of seasons here with vibrant colours in spring and snow in winter. You can find crafters, jewellery makers, and glass working selling their wares in the mountain side cities of Olinda, Belgrave and Sassafras. These storybook like villages are all linked by the fairy tale train. You can take a ride around the mountains in the famed Puffing Billy Railroad, go hiking in the mountain forests, and experience the best of a mountain holiday here in the Dandenongs.
The Yarra Valley Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride Photo Credit: VisitMelbourne.com
The Yarra Valley is the wine region surrounding the upper regions of the Yarra River. It is central to Victorian wine production. The beautiful rolling hills are also home to great food and restaurants. While in the Yarra Valley, you can visit the Healesville Sanctuary wildlife park, which is home to many different native Australian animals including birds, platypus, koalas, Tasmanian devils, lyrebirds, echidnas, and more. It takes less than an hour’s drive to get to the Yarra Valley, but it is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. Go camping or choose to stay in a bed and breakfast. Tour the Tarra Warra Museum of Art or just take in the beautiful scenery that can be considered a work of art in itself.