Don't think that you have to venture into the inland depths of Victoria or along the oceanfront to experience great driving routes in the state. There are some excellent scenic tours just outside of the bustling city of Melbourne, such as the drive along the Maroondah Highway through vineyards and forests to Lake Eildon - one of Victoria's largest artificial lakes. The one-way direct trip is around 140 kilometres, however a bit longer if a few detours are made, but definitely a great day trip drive!
Lilydale is the main gateway to the historic Yarra Valley wine region, located on the eastern edge of Melbourne's metropolitan area. There's plenty of shops to stock up at, or pay a visit to the Lillydale Lake which is surrounded by parkland.
Lilydale is situated at the junction of three highways. The Melba Highway heads north to the scenic Yarra Valley town of Yarra Glen, the Warburton Highway heads east through Seville and Warburton, while for this journey stick to the Maroondah Highway which heads north-east to Healesville.
Located near the Yarra River, around 60 kilometres from Melbourne, Healesville is centrally located in the Yarra Ranges, renowned for its vast collection of vineyards, wineries and fruit farms.
Healesville is a nature-lovers paradise and a romantic destination to take some time out on your drive. Go wild with a visit to the world-famous Healesville Sanctuary, get lost in the Hedgend Maze or visit the Big Bouquet flower farm and alpaca stud.
A true scenic attraction, travel through Black Spur between Healesville and Narbethong via the Maroondah Highway. Winding its way up the Great Dividing Range through the Yarra Ranges National Park, you will be able to smell the Australian bush throughout the drive thanks to the thick forest that lines the road which is suitable for all vehicles. Along the way, stop at the Fernshaw or Dom Dom Picnic Ground for a peaceful lunch.
A well worth detour off the Maroondah Highway is to the scenic town of Marysville. It will add less than 20 kilometres to the overall journey and you will be rewarded with a visit to a charming village which has been a popular holiday retreat for Victorians since the late 1800s. Nearby attractions include the Steavenson Falls and the Lake Mountain alpine resort.
North of Marysville on the Maroondah Highway is the small town of Buxton, situated on the Steavenson River. There's a hotel, general store, and parkland on the banks of the river. Pay a visit to the Buxton Trout & Salmon Farm where you can hook a trout or salmon in a picturesque bush setting.
The drive northwards along the Maroondah Highway passes beside the Cathedral Range State Park. Look eastwards to the striking ridge of sharp rock which forms Mount Cathedral and rises to a height of 814 metres.
Further information about Cathedral Range State Park.
Just north of Cathedral Range is the small community of Taggerty which is situated on the banks of the Acheron River. From here, the most direct route to Lake Eildon is via the 12 kilometre "short cut" Taggerty-Thornton Road. Alternatively, continue along the Maroondah Highway to Alexandra which will add 20 kilometres to your total journey.
Located near the Goulburn River, Alexandra is a historical town that features a collection of pubs that were frequented by gold diggers in the 1850s when gold was discovered in the area. A tramway museum will suit enthusiasts and you can take a train ride in a steam engine from yesteryear.
The small town of Thornton is located on the Goulburn Valley Highway, midway between Alexandra and Eildon. As Thornton is close to both the Goulburn and Rubicon Rivers, it makes a great spot to stop and relax by the water, do a spot of fishing, or just cool off with a swim.
The Goulburn Valley Highway ends at the township of Eildon, situated on the southern shoreline of Lake Eildon at its dam wall which spans the Goulburn River.
For water enthusiasts, there are marinas and boat ramps in the vicinity, while for keen bushwalkers, the surrounding Lake Eildon National Park provides some interesting treks.