The sun is shining, the anticipation is building, and everyone is smiling… A delightful day of outdoor adventure lies before you… Family DAY TRIP time!!!
From soaring Redwood forests, rolling pink cliffs, Daintree-inspired rainforests and stunning unique gardens – this day-tripper’s trail sweeps around Melbourne and takes you deep into undiscovered natural gems.
Plus, tips to plan the perfect outdoor family day trip at the end of the blog!
Three Minute Read
1 - 2 Hours Out
Redwood Forest, East Warburton
Off the beaten track, soaring straight and endlessly tall - lies a perfect grid of Californian Redwood Trees. It’s a magical fairy-tale forest that cocoons you in a sea of red tree trunks and fallen pine leaves. No grass grows here.
Amongst the trees are mystical sculptured ‘nests’ woven from the smaller branches. It’s an epic forest, that invites your kids to run, hide, seek and find. Beyond the Redwood Forest, trails meander through the lush green rainforest and down to the creek.
The Redwood Forest was planted in 1930 and is now a National Trust Heritage site. Californian Redwoods are the tallest trees on the planet.
Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk, Toolangi
Beneath the shady Myrtle Beech and Sassafras trees, layers of lush ferns and misty moss light up this spectacular rainforest walk. This easy 1 km boardwalk trail takes you over tiny waterfalls, near crystal clear creeks and even up into the trees. THIS is Melbourne’s Daintree rainforest.
It’s the perfect walk on steamy hot days and a wonderful place to explore (also pram friendly). Nearby you can find the Toolangi sculpture trail loop and the Kalatha giant tree (one of the oldest in Australia). See trails
The trail starts from the Wirrawilla Carpark off Sylvia Creek Road in Toolangi.. The drive in is via gravel roads and can be a bit dusty.
Badger Weir, Healesville
Stand inside the heart of Australia’s TALLEST tree - the magestic Mountain Ash giants. These are the second tallest trees on the planet after the Californian Redwoods!
This family friendly 3km loop, takes you high up into the land of the Mountain Ash giants and deep down into rainforest and lyrebird country (some steep sections at the start). The sounds of the flowing creek and musical lyrebirds travel with you along this lovely trail. Look for fluorescent fungi, dripping moss, feathery ferns, boardwalks, wooden bridges, huge tree hollows and lyrebirds!
The trail starts and ends at the Badger Weir Picnic area, at the end of Badger Weir Road.
1 Hour 30 Minutes Out
Pink Cliffs Geological Reserve, Heathcote
Shaped from fine clay and discovered by gold miners in the late 1800’s, this national treasure is a mesmerising display of changing colours and curious shapes.
It’s a short 30-minute loop walk to the two viewing platforms (and back), and there are lots of rocks to scramble over on the way. You are not allowed to walk on the pink cliffs as they are very fragile and need to be protected.
The trail (and parking) is at the end of Pink Cliffs Road in Heathcote.
Trentham Falls, Trentham
32meters tall, 15meters wide and one single drop - this waterfall is Victoria’s highest single drop waterfall! The basalt columns, hidden caves and vibrant colours glow in the landscape. After heavy rains this waterfall appears like a solid curtain of glowing white.
It’s a short walk from the carpark down steps to the viewing platform. The track down to the base of the falls and swimming in the waterhole is now closed for safety reasons.
Located on Falls Road, just a short drive out of the lovely town of Trentham
Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges
This infamous rock climb is steep, heart pumping, eye-dropping and just plain fun. Hanging Rock juts out of the surrounding landscape, and the trail weaves over, under, and up close to HUG\E intriguing boulders - until you reach the pinnacle and an amazing view.
It’s a 1-hour return trip that is perfect for older kids (challenging for little ones). Picnic on top of the rock or hang out with the local Rosella birds at the tables near the carpark.
There’s a $10 parking fee to enter and a cafe down near the bottom, the reserve is open from 9:30am to 5pm, closed in extreme winds. Found on South Rock Road, Newham.
1 Hour 30 Minutes Out
Port Philip Heads National Park rockpools, Point Lonsdale
Below the lighthouse, facing the ocean; lies pristine white sand, beach caves, and a long rocky shoreline full of endless delight. Neptunes Necklace layer the rock platforms and the rockpools are deep enough to dive right into.
This National Park can rival tropical coral reefs – it’s brimming with colourful sponge gardens, coral outcrops and curious creatures.
Follow Point Lonsdale Road until you reach the lighthouse. and the Marine Sanctuary. The rockpools can be found all along the beach here at low tide. Always go at low tide and wear appropriate shoes, beware of putting your hands into rockpools.
1 - 2 Hours Out
Cranbourne Botanical Gardens, Cranbourne
It’s HUGE and full of amazing architectural native gardens, interactive areas for kids, picnic spots and hidden retreats - and that’s only in the middle of this 300 hectares gardens and bushland park!
In the centre of the gardens there is a dedicated play area for children called Rockpool - with water flowing steppingstones and areas to climb. You can also ask at the information desk for a free Nature Card for kids to make your visit even more fun!
The architectural gardens are surrounded by wild bushlands and long trail loops you will need your bike to get around.
Lots of parking available from Ballarto Road in Cranbourne. There are tours you can also book via their website.
Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary, Flinders
Carefully scramble over the long rocky ‘mushroom stalk’ until you reach the ‘head’ of Mushroom Reef. This ancient Basalt reef has oodles of crevices, cracks and loose rocks for sea creatures to snuggle down into out of sight.
This intertidal reef is THE most diverse in all of Victoria. It’s a multi-colour wonderland of waving sea forests, glittering shells, tiny fish, shore crabs, sea snails, weedy sea dragons and more.
Also check out the Flinders Blowhole nearby and Bushrangers Bay for amazing rockpools after a 3km walk. (This one is for older kids).
Always go at low tide and wear appropriate shoes, beware of putting your hands into rockpools.