If you're planning a family holiday and not everyone can agree whether to visit the exciting urban laneways, explore beautiful vineyards or relax on stunning beaches, Melbourne's South East Coast Touring Route could be the perfect compromise.
Spanning 301 kilometres, this journey will take you through all the sightseeing locations your heart could desire – from rolling hills to warm coastal waters, all your bases will be covered with this trip.
The best way to enjoy all this journey has to offer is to spread the trip over four days, according to Visit Melbourne.
Day one: Melbourne to Yarra Valley
In your Melbourne car hire you will leave the city's famous laneways and boutiques behind, heading to the Yarra Valley, where delicious wine, food and natural beauty awaits.
This is a short drive of around only an hour and you will be welcomed with beautiful views and opportunities galore – choose to visit a winery, or try some locally brewed cider. Alternatively, get close to nature with a trip to the Healesville Sanctuary or an encounter with local animals at the Yarra Valley or Dandenong Ranges.
The beautiful national and state park offers spellbinding views of fern glades, forests, rugged bushland and perfect blooms, not to mention iconic wildlife. Check out some of the towering trees, including mountain ash and tree ferns. Don't forget to keep an eye out for the dramatic waterfalls and serene lakes that form part of this beautiful scenery. You can stop at scenic lookouts on the way and take some spectacular photos.
Healesville Sanctuary will give you the chance to view native species up close. Make time to visit the animal hospital while you're there to experience all that a veterinary hospital has to offer – hear stories about animal rescue, rehabilitation and release that are sure to bring a smile to any animal lover's face.
Day two: Yarra Valley to Phillip Island
Leave the delicious Yarra Valley food and wine behind and jump in your car rental in Melbourne to head for Phillip Island.
On the way you'll pass through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, where you can see stunning fern glades, and keep an eye out for the range of interesting and unique artistic valleys that line the journey. The drive is around an hour-and-a-half long, but make sure you take the time to enjoy it.
Finally you will end up in Philip Island, where you will be treated to a beautiful array of creatures, white sandy beaches and stunning Australian bushlife.
Make sure you climb aboard a wildlife cruise at the Seal Rocks fur seal colony and see if you can spot any of these creatures out in the wild. Another great feature of Philip Island is its penguin colony. There are around 26,00 penguins on this island and they swim around 100km out to sea daily.
Day three: Phillip Island to Mornington Peninsula
Once you have left the beautiful shores of Phillip Island, you can head for the stunning paradise of Mornington Peninsula. You will pass through a spectacular number of sheltered seaside villages as well as sheltered beaches – and watch out for the iconic colourful bathing boxes.
It should take you around 30 minutes to travel the length of the peninsula, without stopping that is. However, there are plenty of wineries, farm gates and galleries to check out, or visit a day spa or golf course if you want a relaxing break.
Day four: Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne
The final leg will take you from the beautiful Peninsula to glorious Melbourne – make sure you have a dip in the hot springs before you take off! There are also eight of the top 50 golf courses in the country in this area, so you could have a relaxing game before you hit the road.
Once you reach Melbourne, relax with one of the delicious coffees the city is famous for.