Mental Health Week is a good time to reflect on how to make ourselves happier and healthier. Rest and relaxation are key to feeling great and performing well in life and at work. If you work hard, it’s likely that you should consider taking a day off to rest and recharge - a Mental Health Day. Escape the city! There are plenty of places to visit within a couple of hours. Here are amge+’s picks for fun Spring day trips around Melbourne:
Perched high above Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges, Olinda is just over an hour away, making it perfect for a daytrip. Explore the town’s unique shops including Touchstone Craft Gallery, Creswick Wool, and Smits & Bits. Take a stroll through the National Rhododendron Gardens or for a more vigorous exploration of nature, try the Olinda Valley Walking Circuit. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to stop in at Olinda Café or the beautiful Cloudehill Gardens to enjoy a meal among lush gardens, blossoming flowers, and towering trees.
The Yarra Valley is one of the world's premier wine growing regions. Tour some of the large wineries at Rochford Wines, Yering Station or Domaine Chandon, or if boutique wineries are more your style, then try amge+ favourites Coombe Farm and Soumah. then sample cuisine made from local produce at Bella Verdere. For a more restorative and relaxing experience, head to the Natskin Day Spa at Balgownie Estate for a massage, facial treatment, and other pampering. Visit one of Yarra Valley’s many art exhibitions and studios, and for something different you could take a class at the Healseville Glassblowing Studio.
Located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, this former gold mining town is known as the heart of spa country. Relax in the mineral water baths at the Daylesford Day Spa before teeing off at the Hepburn Springs Golf Club. Dine at Sault Restaurant for a lakeside view of lavender fields, or sample some Japanese fusion at Kazuki’s. Craft beer lovers should be sure to stop by Holgate Brewhouse and the Tooborac Hotel & Brewery.
This town is named for the mountain that stretches 1,001 metres above it. Enjoy 30km of walking tracks in and around Macedon Regional Park. Many of the trails will lead you to the Memorial Cross, established to remember those who died in World War I. From here you can take in breathtaking views of Melbourne city, the Dandenong Ranges and the You Yangs near Geelong. Head back into town to check out Stephen Ryan’s Rare Plant Nursery, one of Australia's most unique nursery. Browse the best of the town’s local art at The Gallery at Mt Macedon, where you’ll find exhibitions celebrating the changing seasons of the region.
Just an hour on Melbourne’s highways will take you to Mornington Peninsula, where you’ll find plenty of surf and sun. Catch some waves at Portsea Ocean Beach or go for a swim at the more tranquil Rosebud Beach. The Mornington Peninsula, and specifically Red Hill, is now becoming an increasingly and deservedly popular as a wine region. Make sure you visit nearby Shoreham or Flinders while you’re there, two beautiful and peaceful beachside towns on Western Port Bay. At many of the beaches on the peninsula, you can try your hand at hang gliding, skiffle boarding, or boating. Get lost in the mazes at Enchanted Adventure Garden or Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens.
Drive along the Great Ocean Road to the Bellarine Peninsula for historic seaside villages and breathtaking natural beauty, like, for example Queenscliff. In Geelong, you can walk the promenade or enjoy the art-deco swimming enclosure at Eastern Beach. Other Geelong favorites include the Botanic Gardens and National Wool Museum. The Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary will let you connect with nature - literally. Guests can touch koalas and get up close and personal with kangaroos. If you’re curious about maritime history, visit the lighthouse at Point Lonsdale. Adventurous types can take a ghost tour, or visit Adventure Park for go-karts, mini golf, archery, and much more.
At the official start of the Great Ocean Road is Torquay, birthplace of the iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. Though prime season for surfing is summer, you can still stroll the sandy beaches of Bells Beach and Jan Juc. You can also visit the Surf World Museum and go shopping at Surf City Plaza. Snorkelling around the Point Danger Marine Sanctuary is a great way to the diversity of the area's underwater inhabitants, or you can take in the view from above with Australian Skydive. Visit the picturesque Ocean Grove and to tour some vineyards or take a hike through the nature reserve.
These are simply a selection of places to go within a short drive from central Melbourne. What are some of your favourites that we haven’t mentioned?