Get us in your inbox

Search
Mount Buffalo National Park
Photograph: Rob Blackburn

The best national parks to visit in Victoria

Hit the road and explore some of Victoria's best-looking national parks

Rebecca Russo
Adena Maier
Written by
Rebecca Russo
Contributor
Adena Maier
Advertising

Itching to get off the grid for an out-of-town adventure? Hop in the car and head out to these stunning national parks in Victoria. If you can only swing a day trip, we've rounded up a few options that are just an hour or two from the CBD – and if you're after a full-on road trip, we've also included options up to seven hours away. Pack your bags, curate a playlist and hit the road in search of Victoria's most beautiful natural landscapes. 

Explore more of the state with these scenic Victorian drives or stretch your legs with the best day hikes near Melbourne.

Victoria's best national parks

  • Things to do
  • Grampians

Three hours from Melbourne

People bang on about the Grampians for good reason: it’s positively glorious. Populated by high sandstone peaks, gorgeous wildflowers and the epic Pinnacle walk, it’s the perfect place to shirtfront some nature. Known to the traditional owners of this land as Gariwerd, the area is also known for having one of the biggest collections of Indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.

  • Travel

Three hours from Melbourne

Get a date to bring you to the Prom. No, not that prom. Wilsons Promontory is mainland Australia’s southernmost point which just so happens to lay claim to a rugged national park ripe with beaches, greenery and friendly wildlife. Whether you’re up for an overnight hike to Sealers Cove, a day hike up Mount Oberon or just a chill one at the well-equipped campsite at Tidal River, the Prom is a true stunner every Melburnian needs to see.

Advertising
  • Travel

Three hours from Melbourne

Visiting this national park is a no-brainer if you’re driving the Great Ocean Road, especially if you like waterfalls. The park stretches from Torquay towards Princetown, and up towards Colac, and is one of the best places in Victoria to embrace a cool temperate rainforest. Head out on one of the many coastal walking trails and you’ll discover lush forests, quiet sandy beaches and more than one koala poking its head through the gum trees.

  • Travel

Four hours from Melbourne

Welcome to Victoria’s High Country. Mount Buffalo gets covered in a cool blanket of snow for half of the year, meaning you’re welcome to cross-country ski (or toboggan) your way across 14km of marked ski trails. In the warmer months, you’re in for over 90km of walking tracks. If you’re thinking about camping, make a beeline for the snow gum woodlands that surround Lake Catani.

Advertising
Little Desert National Park
  • Travel
  • Pearcedale

Four hours from Melbourne

Fang it down the Western Highway towards the South Australian border and enjoy the profound quiet at Little Desert National Park. The landscape is quite arid, but there are plenty of self-guided nature walks, ranging from 30 minutes to three days long, if you’re up for some bushbashing. The best time to visit is in spring when the wildflowers are blooming and the temperatures are calm.

Yarra Ranges National Park
  • Travel

Two hours from Melbourne

Yes, it’s possible to have a Yarra Ranges experience without the crowds – you just need to know where to look. We suggest having a picnic at the lakeside Alfred Nicholas Gardens, biking along the historic O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail and driving the scenic Black Spur Drive between Healesville and Narbethong, where tall trees and lush mountain ferns decorate every winding turn.

Advertising
  • Attractions

Four hours from Melbourne

Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is in southwestern Victoria, about an hour’s drive inland from Port Fairy. In 2019, Budj Bim was formally recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the first world heritage property in Australia to be recognised solely for its Indigenous heritage. The site was recognised for its sophisticated aquaculture system devised by the Gunditjmara people 6,600 years ago. With dams, weirs and stone channels hundreds of metres long, the Budj Bim waterways enabled the Gunditjmara to catch eels throughout the year. The UNESCO World Heritage site also features the remains of 300 basalt stone houses, which showcase a former Gunditjmara permanent settlement. 

Advertising
  • Travel

Seven hours from Melbourne

Looking to get off grid? Pack your car with camping gear and head towards the far-eastern coastline of Victoria and Croajingolong National Park, found just below the border with New South Wales. It’s here you’ll find secluded coastal camping spots that are perfect for boating and fishing fans. Those who like beach walks and native animal spotting will also fare well, as there’s plenty of eucalypt forest and heathland to get lost in.

Kinglake National Park
  • Travel

1.5 hours from Melbourne

Kinglake National Park is the closest national park on the list and sits on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range, a stretch of mountains and valleys more commonly known as the Australian Alps. It’s a popular spot for mountain bikers, campers, picnickers and those in search of dramatic views across the Yarra Valley, the You Yangs and even the Melbourne skyline. Be sure to check out Masons Falls and explore the fern forests and gullies that surround it.

Recommended

    More on getaways

      You may also like
      You may also like
      Advertising

      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!