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An aerial shot of the twelve apostles along the Great Ocean Road
Photograph: Roberto Seba

Five top family-friendly road trips around Victoria

Take a break from the city with these brilliant road trips for you and the brood

By Time Out in association with Lexus
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Looking for a great experience out of Melbourne for you and your kids? Victoria is spoiled for great destinations filled with activities for the whole family, from hedge mazes to medieval castles, trampoline parks to penguin parades. If you’re headed out in the comfort of the Lexus RX – a luxury SUV that comes in five- or seven-seat variants, plus ample boot space and advanced safety technology – the journey will be just as much fun as the destination. Buckle up, and let's hit the road.

Great family-friendly road trips from Melbourne

Phillip Island
Photograph: Supplied

Phillip Island

Known for its colony of little penguins, Phillip Island is packed with coastal wildlife experiences, cultural events and a growing food and wine scene. It's a beautiful island with something for the whole family, just 90 minutes from Melbourne. Nothing beats the Penguin Parade – every day at sunset, hundreds of little penguins waddle in from the sea on Summerland Beach. Heading back home after the parade you can drive confidently with the help of Lexus RX’s advanced safety technology systems, which includes the inbuilt Road Sign Assist which helps to alert you to changes in the speed limit throughout your journey.

Apollo Bay
Photograph: Mark Watson

Apollo Bay

While Apollo Bay is one of the most beautiful places to stop along the Great Ocean Road, it does take almost three hours to get there. So be prepared! Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto* are compatible with the Lexus RX so you can seamlessly connect your phone while driving to keep the kids entertained. Play your favourite sing-a-long tracks as you make your way to the towering Californian redwoods in the Beech Forest or wander down towards Beauchamp Falls. Head to Cape Otway, the southernmost tip of Victoria’s western coast, and veer towards the Cape Otway Lightstation. Point your noggin up to the sky through the Lexus RX’s panoramic moonroof (available on selected grades) to spy koala bums in the trees.

*Requires compatible device, USB connection, mobile data, network reception & GPS signal. Mobile usage at user's cost. Apps subject to change. For details see lexus.com.au/connectivity. CarPlay® is a trademark of Apple, Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android Auto™ is a trademark of Google LLC.
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Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

With beaches, wineries, parks, gardens and spas, Mornington Peninsula boasts an embarrassment of getaway riches. Take the 90-minute drive down the coast to the Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, where you’ll find Australia’s oldest hedge maze, which stands at over three metres tall. The sprawling garden beds are even peppered with hidden gnomes for little ones to find. You can also get face to face with cute, native and endangered animals at the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park – there's even a dingo to meet face to face. You’ll be able to navigate stress-free between destinations on the peninsula using the Lexus RX touchscreen display, which uses intuitive controls and an innovative 12.3-inch touchscreen interface so you can input your destinations quickly and easily*.

*Coverage varies based on vehicle location.
High Country
Photograph: Visit Victoria

High Country

Head to the hills via the Hume for a stellar road trip among the impossibly scenic towns of Bright and Beechworth and mountain ski resorts like Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller. While this region is known for getting blanketed in snow come winter, in summer there’s a bounty of outdoor activities that will suit the whole family. Head to Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm and get the kids casting for rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon, which you can cook and eat at this scenic venue. You can also run, walk or bike the slopes of Mount Buller with a generous selection of trails suited to different levels of ability. If you’re travelling with the Lexus RX, your gear will fit in (or on) the vehicle thanks to its long wheelbase and roomy interior. Got little tackers to entertain? Follow Mount Buller’s fairytale-like Gnome Roam towards the Gnome House, where some of the local gnomes like to hang out. On the off chance you’re feeling like you’ve had enough of the outdoors, check out the Buller Air Zone, the resort’s very own indoor trampoline park.

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Ballarat
Photograph: Roberto Seba

Ballarat

Set aside a whole day to explore the bountiful region of Ballarat – and as the vast majority of its landmarks are outdoors, it’s perfect for a balmy summer’s day. After all these years, Kryal Castle still brings the fun with its collection of roving knights, wizards, mazes and all sorts of magical fun. We’d also suggest a trip to the historical living museum that is Sovereign Hill. You’ll meet characters in 1860s costume and see them milling around the shops, blacksmiths, theatre and saloon. You can buy old paraphernalia, make your own candles, pan for gold, take a trip down a mineshaft or purchase the site’s legendary boiled lollies – raspberry drops. Trying to rally the troops at the end of the day with your hands full? The Lexus RX features a rear door kick sensor, which means you can open the boot just by swiping your foot under the rear bumper (you can even keep your keys in your pocket while you access the car doors). 

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