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Overview

Family touring route

Around the bay and in the trees

Gather the kids together and hit the road for an epic five-day family adventure, and never be more than an hour or two from the city. 

Frolic in the sun on Geelong's pristine waterfront and explore the beaches and bays of the Bellarine Peninsula. Pick berries straight from the farm or fly through the trees on zip-lines down on the Mornington Peninsula. And that's just the beginning...

Phillip Island awaits with its little penguins, cuddly koalas and fur seals, not to mention all the sugar and spice of the amazing chocolate factory. Ride an historic steam train through the fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges, hit the ski slopes of Lake Mountain during the wintertime, and visit Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley for a wildlife encounter you'll never forget.

So what are you waiting for? Pack up the car and get out into Victoria's adventure playground.

Destinations

Day one

Family touring route

Geelong and the Bellarine

Begin your family adventure in Geelong, Victoria's second largest city, which is located just an hour's drive west of Melbourne. Spend the morning exploring the many seafront attractions at Eastern Beach. Ride the historic carousel and ferris wheel, take a dip in the lagoon, or just have fun with the kids on the green lawns and playground.  

Next stop is the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre where you can hear stories of the Dreamtime, delve into the region's Indigenous culture, and even learn how to throw a boomerang. Follow it up by heading to the beach at Ocean Grove for a surf lesson with Go Ride A Wave.

After your busy morning it's time to relax and unwind. And the gorgeous seaside towns of the Bellarine are the perfect spot for a slow wander. Discover the lighthouse at Point Lonsdale and stroll along the river before enjoying afternoon tea with views of the ocean at Barwon Heads. Keep exploring and watch the boats come and go in Queenscliff Harbour.

Put your feet up and prepare for day two at the highly awarded BIG4 Beacon Resort in Queenscliff, complete with indoor heated pool, inflatable trampoline and indoor fun room.

Highlights

Day two

Family touring route

Bellarine Peninsula to Mornington Peninsula

Start the day by catching a ride with Searoad Ferries from Queenscliff to Sorrento, and keep an eye out for dolphins and seals during the 40-minute crossing.

Climb aboard the Arthurs Seat Eagle and fly over the state forest to the highest point on the peninsula, taking in sweeping views across the bay while you go. Once at the top, skip across to the Enchanted Adventure Garden for a fun-filled morning with the kids. Fly high on the network of aerial obstacles and zip lines, get lost in hedge mazes, and race downhill on the tube slides.

Leave time for a slow lunch at Green Olive at Red Hill. Afterwards, take a walk around the kitchen garden, explore the olive grove and vineyard (say hi to the maremma sheep dog guarding the chickens), and jump to your heart's content on the trampoline. And if you're visiting during the summer months, try your hand at picking your own fruit at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm or at one of the many cherry orchards.

Round out the afternoon with some time at the beautiful bay beaches of the Mornington Peninsula, from Mount Martha and Rye to Sorrento and Portsea. The beaches are calm, clean, and home to the iconic, colourful beach boxes.

Stay overnight at Brooklands of Mornington where you can wander the three acres of landscaped gardens or take a short stroll down to the Mornington foreshore.

Make the most of this opportunity to see nocturnal wildlife in their element at the nearby Moonlit Sanctuary. Sign up for an evening lantern lit walk through the grounds and witness native wildlife when they are at their most playful.

Highlights

Day three

Family touring route

Mornington Peninsula to Phillip Island

If you didn't take the evening tour of Moonlit Sanctuary the night before, it's well worth dropping in to this award-winning attraction en route to feed the wallabies and kangaroos and see the other native wildlife.

Travel up the Mornington Peninsula and journey around Western Port Bay to Phillip Island, a popular family holiday destination and home to some of Victoria's iconic wildlife experiences.

Begin with a visit to Churchill Island Heritage Farm and get an insight into how life was like for the early settlers. Next stop is to the nearby Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, where you can take a tour to learn how their chocolate is created and do some creating yourself.

Cut across the island and spark your imagination at A Maze'N Things, a family fun park full of mental tests and games for all ages. Across the road you'll find the Koala Conservation Centre, with boardwalks into the treetops to ensure great interaction with these cuddly locals.

Enjoy an afternoon at sea with Wildlife Coast Cruises or the Wild Ocean Ecoboat and cruise out to Seal Rocks to see the 30,000 strong colony of Australian fur seals.

Cast a line at the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, and then travel out to Summerlands Beach for the Penguin Parade at sunset. Sign up for the Penguins Plus upgrade to enjoy the ranger commentary and the chance to see the penguins from the underground viewing area, at eye height.

Rest and rejuvenate with a quiet night in the 4-star Phillip Island Apartments in Cowes.

Highlights

Day four

Family touring route

Phillip Island to Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

Make your way across to the Nobbies Centre to experience the Antarctic Journey exhibit, where you'll come face to face with orcas and seals (or at least 3D virtual reality versions of them).

Then it's goodbye to Phillip Island and on towards the green hills and fern gullies of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. But be sure to make time for a visit to Maru Koala & Wildlife Park on the way, where you can enjoy a close encounter with a koala and feed the local kangaroos.

Hit the highway and then arrive in the scenic Dandenong Ranges. Take a ride on the Puffing Billy heritage railway, feed the native birds at Grants Reserve, or visit any of the beautiful national parks.

Get your fill of fresh cherries by picking your own at Cherryhill Orchards while a visit to Rayners Orchard is a must, where you can pick peaches, nectarines, feijoas and guavas straight off the trees. And if you're travelling in September or October, check out the colourful fields of tulips at the ever-popular Tesselaar Tulip Festival.

Follow up the fresh fruit bonanza with a dose of sumptuous desserts. Head north to the green fields of the Yarra Valley, stopping at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery in Yarra Glen. Taste test a dizzying array of delectable treats, sample the choccamochachino at the cafe, and let the children run and play in the expansive lawns and gardens.

Come nightfall, relish a night in the luxury surrounds of Balgownie Estate, located in the heart of the Yarra Valley's wine country.

Highlights

Day five

Family touring route

Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

Kick off your day with a Chum Creek horse-riding lesson and learn the basics from experienced riding instructors. The horses are friendly so bring the kids along and you can all learn together. Be sure to wear pants and covered shoes.

If you're travelling during the wintertime, head just 40 minutes out of the valley to Lake Mountain and take the opportunity to indulge in snow play at this family-friendly ski resort.

Leave plenty of time for your visit to Healesville Sanctuary, home to iconic wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and emus. Take in some of the educational and inspiring shows on offer, such as Spirits of the Sky (dedicated to Australia's birdlife) and Tales from Platypus Creek. Get up close to local wildlife with a Magic Moment encounter and see the amazing work done by the staff and volunteers at the Wildlife Hospital. While you're in the area, stop into the nearby Hedgend Maze for some kid-crazy fun. Explore the maze, play a bit of mini-golf and check out the giant eye-spy mural.

The local wineries have plenty for the kids too. Stop into Meletos for lunch to sample the valley's best pizza or try Oakridge Wines, which offers everything from giant chess, pick-up sticks, dominoes and massive building blocks to an outdoor bocce court. All tuckered out? Head back into Melbourne, which is just 45 minutes away.

Highlights