With its diverse culture and close proximity to some of Australia's best national parks, Melbourne makes a great destination for Muslims travellers. If this isn’t your first trip or you’re looking for something different, how about giving the touristy spots a miss because there’s definitely so much more to explore beyond the Great Ocean Road ?
Melbourne's winter season is from June through August, and it's a great time to visit! The exact dates vary depending on the year, but this period typically sees temperatures dip below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, with nights getting as low as 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) ?
The temperatures are mild, the skies are blue, and no matter what level of activity you're looking for — from laid-back relaxation to high-octane fun — Melbourne and its surrounds have something for everyone ?
We've put together an itinerary that will take you from Melbourne to some of the most amazing road trip spots and then back again, all in a week's time. All you’ve got to do is book those tickets and get ready for an adventure down under!
Day 0: Arriving in Melbourne ??
Welcome to Melbourne! If you are arriving after sundown, we highly recommend spending a night in the city, so that everyone can settle down and rest up before the road trip.
Renting a car in Melbourne is cheaper and easier than you think! Collect the vehicle from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport when you arrive and we recommend renting a car with Klook as you'll enjoy a 10% discount. The process is also super easy, and they offer a variety of vehicles to choose from.
#HHWT Tip: If you're travelling with kids, Klook's got you covered! You can easily add a car seat for your child when booking your vehicle online or through their mobile app, which will be included during pick-up.
Credit: Mamak Melbourne
Once you’ve collected the vehicle of your choice, check in at one of the comfortable hotels in Melbourne and have a bite at Queen Victoria Market or one of the many Muslim friendly restaurants in Melbourne ?
#HHWT Tip: Book your Melbourne activities and passes on Klook with ongoing discount – $30 off $150 min spend! Purchase the Melbourne City Pass for access to multiple attractions! It's a hassle-free way to see some of the best sights in Melbourne without having to wait in line or purchasing individual tickets for each attraction.
Day 1: Drive from Melbourne to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
It's time for your first stop: Lake Mountain Alpine Resort! The drive is approximately 165km and it should take you about 2-3 hours to get there from Melbourne City. Enjoy some family fun in the cold while building snowmen, tobogganing down the slopes, or taking a ski lesson – there are plenty of activities for everyone ? You can either spend the day here or book one of their beautiful rooms for an overnight stay.
This area also offers some great hiking trails around the area where you can spot natural wonders, including Evelyn Falls and Cumberland Falls. There are also scenic lookouts where you can get a photo of the beautiful mountain scenery. You may want to try one of their short hikes while you’re here to witness the greenery and views ?
Alternatively, you might consider staying in Bayswater or one of the towns nearer to the Yarra Glen area. Punthill Knox is a great accommodation option as most of their rooms can comfortably sleep a family of four and come equipped with a full-sized kitchen too! There are no halal-certified restaurants at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort so this is a great opportunity for a home cooked meal with the family. Stop by the newly-opened Meat Corner Fresh Halal Meat & Groceries to stock up on some halal meat and ingredients ?
Halal status: Only Halal Meat & Groceries sold.
Opening hours: 9am–6pm (Mon - Sat), Closed on Sundays
Address: 4/6 High St, Bayswater VIC 3153, Australia
Contact: +61 412 588 855
Day 2: Yarra Valley
Start the day with some hot chocolate in the Yarra Valley region! Escape the winter chill at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery and enjoy a creamy cup of hot chocolate at the Hot Chocolate Festival that’s taking place from 1st to 31st August this year.
Hot Chocolate fans, you wouldn’t want to miss the hands-on tasting sessions where you’ll have a chance to sample unique flavours in the newly-renovated café and choose from dozens of ingredients to handcraft three of your own hot chocolate spoons! It’s the perfect memento because all you have to do is simply pour in hot milk on it, to enjoy a decadent cup of Hot Chocolate once you’re back in your home country.
Halal status: The pure couverture chocolate uses only Muslim-friendly ingredients, and the staff has confirmed with us that they use vanilla bean and not vanilla extract. All ingredients are clearly stated on the packaging, including alcohol. We recommend you to ask the staff for further clarification and to dine at your own discretion.
Opening hours: Open daily; 9AM – 5PM (Closed on Christmas Day)
Address: 35 Old Healesville Rd, Yarra Glen, Victoria 3775
Contact: +61 03 9730 2777
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Afterwards, drive down to Healesville Sanctuary – the best place to witness rescued Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. For a unique experience, choose Klook’s General Entry and Koala Close-Up Encounter package which includes general admission to Healesville Sanctuary, a professional guide as well as tickets to get up close and personal with these fluffy marsupials ?
Healesville Sanctuary focuses on Australian animals so you’ll be able to spot koalas, kangaroos, emus, dingoes, wombats and many more! You can easily spend hours reconnecting with nature here by going on a short hike through the Australian bushland or pay a visit to their Australian Wildlife Health Centre that caters to animal welfare and local conservation.
#HHWT Tip: Allow at least 3 hours for your visit and put waterproof shoes or gumboots on the kids as it can get muddy, especially during winter.
Credit: Halal Eats Dandenong
For lunch, take a drive to the Dandenong area where you can have an authentic taste of Pakistani dishes at Halal Eats & Cafe. Depending on how hungry you are, you can either warm up with a cup of hot coffee and muffin or go big with one of their meat platters. They even have mini pizzas for the little ones! ?
Halal status: Halal-certified, and no prior reservation is required.
Opening hours: 10am–7pm (Tues - Sun), Closed on Mondays
Address: 229 Thomas St, Dandenong VIC 3175, Australia
Contact: +61 405 202 986
Once your tummies are full, head over to Puffing Billy Railway, a great heritage steam train ride through gorgeous countryside and even a train themed playground for the little ones at Gembrook station. You should also consider staying overnight and start the next morning with your first Hot Air Balloon Flight and witness Yarra Valley's breathtaking views from above ?
#HHWT Tip: Book your Hot Air Balloon Flight with Klook to enjoy 10% off your purchase with free digital photos of your in-flight hot air balloon experience!
Day 3: Mornington Peninsula
On day three, you'll be departing Yarra Valley and heading south to the Mornington Peninsula. The peninsula is a great place to visit in the winter, especially if you’re planning to visit the Peninsula Hot Springs! Be surrounded by nature, as you enjoy the mineral-rich waters of the springs, followed by a mud bath to enjoy the smooth and cleansing benefits of natural clay.
For a once in a lifetime experience, swim with the dolphins and seals in their natural habitat! It’s an exciting 3-hour sightseeing cruise, and you’ll get to witness the rich marine life of the Mornington Peninsula: worth it!
End your day by hopping on the Arthurs Seat Eagle – a 314m high cable car ride with a panoramic view. The location itself houses the Enchanted Garden, where you can find hedge mazes, tube slides or just run around the beautifully well-maintained garden.
This whole area is a great place for kids and families to spend time together as there’s a wide range of activities that are appropriate for kids of all ages. For the younger ones, there's a play structure with slides and a sandbox. If your kids are older (and if they like to climb), there are two zip lines and a rock wall at the park that are great for adventurous ones. There's also a small petting zoo, where you can visit.
After a whole day out, head over to D’Penyetz & D’Cendol Melbourne, a halal eatery located at Lygon Street. Come and try their signature ayam penyet, a stewed chicken dish with rice and compliment your meal with a bowl of ice cendol — a traditional sweet dessert made with pandan leaves and coconut milk ?
Halal status: Only halal-certified ingredients are used. No alcohol is served.
Opening hours: 11:30am–9:30pm (Daily)
Address: 112 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
Contact: +61 396 398 777
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For the night, you might want to consider finding accommodation just outside of Melbourne, such as Great Ocean Road Resort in Anglesea, for your family to spend the night before starting your journey along Great Ocean Road the next day. This way, you'll get a great night's sleep in a beautiful location, and then you won't have to rush your little ones through breakfast or make your way back from Mornington into Melbourne in the morning. It's a win-win!
Day 4: Great Otway National Park (via Great Ocean Road)
The drive from Melbourne to Great Otway National Park is one of the best ways to enjoy the state's ocean views and gorgeous beaches. Albeit touristy, the Great Ocean Road is a must-do, especially if you are travelling in the winter months. The weather is not too hot, and it's sunny most of the day.
#HHWT Tip: We recommend going via the Great Ocean Road coastal route when you’re coming from Melbourne so that you can stop at the roadside viewing points without having to cross the road. When returning to Melbourne, take the inland route via the M1 instead. It's faster and more direct, so you'll get there sooner ?
Credit: Yep P.
Along the way, refuel for lunch at this gem in Apollo Bay with outstanding coffee and service. Fusion Space Restaurant located within Blue Ocean Motel serves a variety of dishes, so whether you’re craving Fish & Chips or French toast like the one pictured above, they have it all ?
Halal status: The chicken used in their dishes is certified halal. There are also grilled seafood or vegetarian options available. However, do take note that some dishes contain bacon. Please dine at your discretion.
Opening hours: 8:30am–5pm (Daily)
Address: 60 Murray St, Colac VIC 3250, Australia
Contact: +61 352 313 601
Once you hit Great Otway National Park, don’t miss out on the Otway Fly Treetop Walk where you can face the fantastic view from above or venture around to spot a myriad of waterfalls like the Hopetoun Falls, Triplet Falls and Little Aire Falls. There is also a spiral tower, zipline course as well as a complimentary shuttle service from the visitor centre to the treetop walk itself.
In the afternoon, explore Maits Rest Rainforest Walk and where you’ll feel like you’re transported from cape to canopy. It is an easy 800m walk with pathways for you to follow, and there’s a high chance that at the end of the first loop, you would be tempted to take one more round ?
After all that adventure, we recommend checking in at Cape Otway Lightstation for the night. It’s a beautiful bed & breakfast located right at the edge of the Cape Otway, with unreal coast views that will make it hard for you to leave. There are few restaurants around the area, but the lodges have a full-sized kitchen, so you can quickly whip up all of your home-cooked meals for the family ?
#HHWT Tip: We recommend that you purchase take-away food or buy groceries on your way over, as shops in Australia close pretty early.
Day 5: Grampians National Park (via Bay of Islands)
The following day, continue your self-drive adventure on the coastal route to Grampians National Park via Warrnambool, as you will pass the Bay of Islands Coastal Park and Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform. Compared to the 12 Apostles, there are rarely any tourists at the Bay of Islands!
#HHWT Tip: Get on the road as early in the morning as possible. It's less crowded, less windy and gives you enough time to stop at all highlights along this iconic road before heading into Great Otway National Park.
Credit: Simone C.
Once you arrive in Warrnambool, stop for lunch at one of their many halal kebab stalls or if you do visit on a Sunday, stop by the Warrnambool Undercover Sunday Market for some great bargains and fresh produce! There’s honestly so much that this little town has to offer – explore the Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground, rent a boat at Lake Pertobe, take a walk along Stingray Bay Boardwalk pier or even go on a short hike to Tower Hill, where you can find Australia’s extinct volcano ?
#HHWT Tip: It can be hard to find a petrol station in rural areas, so it's important to always stop and refuel when you come across one. You never want to be stuck on the side of the road with an empty tank!
After Warrnambool, it’s time to drive to one of the most beautiful parks in Victoria – The Grampians National Park! You can either book a day trip with a guided hiking tour or spend a few days here exploring the area at your own pace. It has a variety of landscapes, including tall rock formations, deep gorges and lush forests. The Balconies is a great lookout spot with an easy-to-walk path. The Grampians is also home to Mackenzie Falls, a gorgeous waterfall with a rock formation. Most of the area is covered with proper walking trails for everyone to hike on, so all you need is covered footwear, and you’re good to go!
There are many places to stay within the area, and some self-sufficient travellers will choose to camp at one of the campsites in this large park. In contrast, others may prefer accommodation that provides meals and other amenities. For families with young children, book a cottage at the Grampians Pioneer Cottages for unique yet comfortable accommodation for the night.
Day 6: Ballarat, Sovereign Hill & Kryal Castle
It’s the second last day of this self-drive road trip, and what better way to end it off than by going back in time to learn the history of it all at Sovereign Hill and Kryal Castle. They are located in Ballarat, a city rich with gold rush history, and the two attractions are located right next to each other, so it's easy to visit both in a day.
Sovereign Hill is a gold rush town that brings history to life. This 1850-styled attraction is filled with many places to explore and thematic reenactments by characters. Tours are available for adults and children, where you can learn about life in Ballarat during this period. The guides are knowledgeable and tell stories that will keep everyone entertained. Once a year, experience Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill, where you get to experience Christmas in July with faux snow and watch the whole area transform into a winter wonderland ❄️
Credit: The Food Squad
If you have been craving fresh Fish & Chips then you’re in for a treat. The Food Squad in Ballarat is a local favourite run by a Muslim brother and serves fish and chips, burgers, pizza and other dishes made only with halal-certified meat and ingredients.
Halal status: Muslim-owned. Only Halal ingredients are used.
Opening hours: 12pm – 10pm (Daily)
Address: 514 Skipton St, Redan VIC 3350, Australia
Contact: +61 353 320 799
After lunch, head over to Kryal Castle where the grounds are dotted with free activities perfect for a day out with the kids. Expect to see jesters, knights, wizards, potion masters, and so many more intriguing characters running around. There’s a playground, an outdoor amphitheatre, and plenty of walking trails to explore. You can even stay inside a castle suite if you’d like!
Day 7: Organ Pipes National Park & Depart Melbourne
Ballarat and Melbourne Airport is just an hour’s drive away, so before taking the last flight out of Melbourne, you may make a quick stop at the Organ Pipes National Park for one last nature experience before returning the rental car.
This beautiful area is filled with tall sandstone rock formations formed by cooling and cracking volcanic lava. It's a great place for hiking and camping, as well as bird-watching or just enjoying nature at its finest. After that final hike, head back to Melbourne City, where there are tons of halal food options for you to choose from ?
If you have time before your flight and are looking for something fun to do in Melbourne City as a family, check out the Legoland Discovery Center. This is the first Legoland Discovery Centre in Australia, and the theme park features over 2 million Lego bricks! The little ones (and even the adults, too!) will have a great time playing and learning with unique LEGO experiences to fire up their imaginations.
There's more to this beautiful city's nature than initially meets the eye, with scenery and adventure just waiting to be discovered. Victoria is a beautiful region, and it has a lot to offer. So, it's not surprising that you may spend even more time there than originally planned! ?
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Melbourne? Check out Klook's deals for more recommendations on what to do and where to stay, as well as a promo code to save an additional $30 off your Victoria adventure ?
This article is brought to you by Klook.