The autumn season is a great time to get out and about in Melbourne. Although many of us call this great city home, I’m sure few of us really know how many great outdoor spots there are so close to us. The autumn months bring with them a relaxing cool weather perfect for outdoor activities as you won’t be too hot or too cold! So don’t be an [April] fool, March on down to these fabulous locations and you May find something special (see what I did there?).
Within an hour drive away from Monash Clayton, Cape Schanck is the perfect place to enjoy a little bit of everything. Throughout history, the coastline has been an important location, especially for Indigenous Australians who gathered shellfish amongst other foods for many thousands of years. The beauty and importance of Cape Schanck has not been forgotten today, as while it is a popular spot for tourist activity, most of the natural sights and beaches remain unspoiled by human interaction. Nestled into the southern-most point of the Mornington Peninsula, its uniqueness perhaps lies in its duality in terrain. While some areas of the Cape are covered in continuous sandy beaches, the board walk towards Pebble Beach provides adventurers with the rocky ruggedness of this coastal area, featuring stunning views such as Pulpit Rock, Elephant Rock and Castle Rock. The Cape Schanck Lighthouse built in 1859 is also a popular tourist destination with spectacular coastal views. There are also arrays of scenic walks to explore, with ample chance of greeting a kangaroo or an albatross. From monstrous sand dunes near its coastline beaches to uninhabited rock pools, Cape Schanck offers travellers the chance for a true adventure.
Peninsula Hot Springs:
As the weather begins to cool, it’s only natural to want to feel warm again! Well, you can do naturally at Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal, Mornington Peninsula. Hot springs like this occur due to the fact that centre of the Earth’s temperature is equivalent to the surface temperature of the sun and just like the sun, heat radiates outwards, and warms up any water sources with which it comes into contact. The pools and baths at this award winning location contain these natural thermal mineral waters and provide ultimate relaxation. This hot springs experience will set you back $35-$40 for Bath House bathing, or $55-$60 for the pricier Spa Dreaming Centre option. Keep in mind though concession prices are available. Depending on the day and time you go you may have to book online first so be sure to check the website for details.
Far away in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range lies a spectacular waterfall tucked away from human activity. Formed 5 million years ago, Trentham Falls is the longest single drop fall in Victoria. It is located one and a half hours away from Clayton, towards the north west area of the city. The cooler months are a great time to visit waterfalls as the water supply is abundant, creating a wonderful flow, compared to the summer trickle. The steep cliffs block out the sweltering sun for a relaxing, cool shelter. The viewing point for the waterfall is about 100 metres from the parking destination, and despite multiple signs saying ‘NO ACCESS’ beyond this point, many people still continue down the cliffs to the base of the waterfall for a soothing swim.
No fairies have been spotted at Fairy Cove (yet), but the beauty of this isolated, serene seashore is enough to be wondered by. Hidden in the vast region of Wilsons Promontory lies a beach so secret that google maps doesn’t even register its existence. The trek to Fairy Cove includes a drive to the Darby River where there will be parking, and then about an hour’s walk on the Tongue Point Track to get to Fairy Cove.
Lake Eildon National Park:
This national park is the furthest location on this list, as you will need two and a half hours to reach your destination. However, to make up for the distance, Lake Eildon provides us with a plethora of things to do at this versatile location. You can hire a houseboat and float across the dam, or decide take a swim or even water ski if you’re lucky enough to have one. If fishing is your thing, get there early. And I mean early, like 6am early. If you’re in the mood for a naturistic walk with wondrous sights, attempt the Blowhard Summit walking trail, which should roughly take another 2.5 hours. Once you reach the summit you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of Mount Buller in the distance.
Half Moon Bay:
Half Moon Bay, a crescentic-shaped beach only 30 minutes from Monash is located in the suburb of Black Rock. Being only 350 meters long and protected from harsh sea waters, Half Moon Bay is a safe place to explore. This sandy sea shore is the perfect place for tanning, relaxing, fishing, swimming and surfing. The bay is surrounded by impressive cliffs, where divers are often spotted taking a plunge into the blue sea. If the scenery looks familiar to you, it may be due to the fact that the beach was often shot in everyone’s favourite 90’s children’s show Round the Twist. The beach’s charm was also featured in the blockbuster “Mad Max”.
If you feel like doing something that does not include water then why not try fruit picking? Take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies available at farms and paddocks close to Melbourne. Many find this activity relaxing and satisfying, and, of course, you get to eat what you collect. Although make sure you search each fruit picking farm the day before you venture out to ensure that the fruits are still in season.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm – Strawberries (Nov-May) 244 Shands Rd, Main Ridge.
Paynes Orchads – Apples (March – May) 372 Bacchus Marsh Rd
Blue Hills Berries – Strawberries (Nov-May) 27 Parker Rd, Silvan Victoria