Although we absolutely love the Bendigo region, sometimes it can be good to go out a little further and explore, or wind down and reconnect with the environment. Here are some close-ish destinations that make the perfect spot to do just that!

Halls Gap (2 hr 20min)

Located within the Grampians National Park, here you’ll find some of the most beautiful waterfalls, bushwalking tracks and lookouts in Victoria. This destination is one that the kids will love. Make sure you visit the Halls Gap Zoo, where you can see a huge range of native animals and feed the wallabies. Battle it out at mini golf and make sure you stop by at Coolas Ice Creamery (even if it’s cold, trust me).

Daylesford (1hr)

If you’re looking for a place to wind down, you can’t go past this beautiful township. There are a tonne of great restaurants you can dine at, including the winner of two hats in the Good Food Guide 2019, Lake House Restaurant. There are a few hidden gems to check out; see what you can find at the local op shops and the local market, and make sure you check out the vintage collectables store on the corner of Vincent St Central Springs Rd.

Yarra Valley (2hr 11 min)

Wineries, Healesville Sanctuary, Hot Air Ballooning and heaps more. The Yarra Valley is the perfect place to explore and indulge in some great wine, delicious food and fun activities. This spot is perfect for couples, solo travellers or families, as there is something for everyone. Plus, Puffing Billy is a rite of passage for all Victorian kids, right?

Bright (3 hr 15min)

Two national parks at the doorstep and plenty of walking and trails and fishing spots! Bright is the place to be if you’re looking to explore. This spot is a fair way from Bendigo, so a long weekend or school holidays is the perfect time to go and stay on for a little while. It’s the perfect excuse to turn your phone off and immerse yourself in the beautiful landscape – you’ll definitely leave this spot feeling refreshed and recharged.

Mornington Peninsula (3 hr)

Another long-ish drive, but well worth it. The Mornington Peninsula has a bit of everything. A highlight is the Peninsula Hot Springs – serene and revitalising, and especially great in winter; it’s so warm! Take the chance to wine and dine in some of the best restaurants and wineries Victoria has to offer. Stroll along endless surf beaches and breathe in the fresh sea air as you make your way through the relaxed seaside towns.

That’s our pick of the top close-ish destinations to explore. Let us know if you have any more suggestions!