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The Best Off-the-beaten-path Day Trips from Melbourne

Australia’s cosmopolitan hub of Melbourne certainly has many famous attractions both within its city boundaries and within a 100km radius. Yet truth be told, there is still much more one could discover if only one took some time to visit its more secluded, unknown or unusual destinations. It matters not if this is the first time you’ll be visiting Melbourne, or the 100th, we can assure you that finding fun and interesting places to visit will be as easy as ‘hire a rental car and off you go!’

Here are just a few ideas of new places to discover on your next, unforgettable, Melbourne holiday.

Pink Lakes

There are a few pink lakes scattered about the planet, that’s true, yet if you ask many locals in Melbourne you may be surprised to discover that not even they know that their city is home to not one, not two but three of the amazing natural phenomenon.

Melbourne’s salt and freshwater pink lakes are found within the boundaries of Westgate Park and only visible, in this amazing glow-in-the-dark colour, during the summer months. In fact, the lakes are normally a not so unusual blue at any other time of the year. The truly mind-blowing sight can be visited by heading to Port Melbourne and heading down Todd Road. Do be warned however, the excess sulphur gases which gift the lakes their gorgeous colour do come complemented by a not-so-gorgeous smell!

Metal Dragons

Melbourne is certainly home to a few weird and wonderful art collections yet even the most avid strange-art lovers don’t know that on a side road on the way to Geelong, stand two humongous dragons made out entirely of scrap metal. Although the insanely detailed dragons are created by a private scrap metal company, they do stand guard atop huge containers at the front gate of their property on Dohertys Road (in Laverton North) so you’ll be able to make a short detour on your travels and see them without a problem.

Daylesford

About an hour and a half north-west of Melbourne is where you’ll find Daylesford, a historic thermal pool hub which has remained blissfully authentic over the last few decades. This is the epitome health and wellness destination for Melbournites in the know, and the one off-the-beaten path town you should definitely visit if you’re coming in winter.

Daylesford is brimming with fantastic spa retreats and hotels, all offering a wide range of treatments as well as accommodation options should you wish to come up for a few days. All of them of course, offer the chance to bathe and soak in the thermal mineral springs for which this entire area is so renowned. Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is arguably the most revered address in town and one of the oldest of its kind in Australia. Spend a whole day here and you can pamper yourself to within an inch of your life! Book a facial and massage in between bath soaks, enjoy a leisurely lunch at the in-house cafe and end you visit by spending a few divine minutes in the highly therapeutic Aroma Steam Room.

Castlemaine

If you continue a further 40kms northwest of Melbourne, you’ll come by Castlemaine, a very historic, former gold-rush town now hub of some seriously creative activity. Not only is the architecture in this charming little town absolutely splendid, but the amount of both artistic and historical museums here is second to none. You can visit old miner’s gravestones scattered in the gardens adjoining the town or, if you prefer something a little less sombre, you can pay a visit to the Castlemaine Contemporary Art Space or check out the schedule of shows at the century-old Theatre Royal before you even plan your visit. If you are truly impressed with the architecture here, as we think you will be, do continue for a further hour until you reach Bendigo, where the styles and designs of the old town centre ought to knock your socks off entirely.