What makes for the ultimate backdrop in a selfie? It’s none other than Mother Nature’s stunning wonders, of course. Some can be found a stone’s throw away from Melbourne, one of Australia’s most frequented cities. Get your passports and smartphones at the ready because you’ll want to drop by these seven picture-perfect sites.
1. The Twelve Apostles
Image: Christopher Johnson
There’s no road trip like a road trip along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Among the gorgeous sights you’ll pass by are the Twelve Apostles limestone monoliths, situated near the Port Campbell National Park. In spite of its name, there are only eight rock stacks left. Slowly eroding away and collapsing due to strong waves, the columns unfortunately come with an expiry date. So, make haste and snap a shot while they’re still beautiful and upright.
2. Cleft Island
There are a number of things that Mother Nature can astound you with – this outcrop is one of them. Known also as Skull Rock, Cleft Island is a small offshore granite island southeast of Melbourne that is supposedly untouched – few have crossed its threshold – due to the sheer difficulty of accessing it. At 130m wide, 60m deep, and 60m tall, it is one massive cavern. You’d most likely have to view it from a distance in a boat (unless you are able to procure a helicopter to land inside), and immortalise the moment with a picture with this magnificent feat of nature.
3. Mornington Peninsula
That’s enough of rocks and stones. Take a dip in the natural hot springs of Mornington Peninsula, where you also get the best views of endless pasture. Situated at Peninsula Hot Springs, this little piece of heaven on earth is the epitome of serenity and relaxation, and might we add, one of the coolest spots to snap a selfie! On top of that, Mornington Peninsula also offers a cornucopia of vineyards – imagine the greenery, the rows of grape vines, and the glow of the afternoon sun. There’s no better way to see and be around such vast verdure in the city.
4. Australian Alps
If you’re the active, sporty type who is not afraid to break a sweat, you’ll love a visit to the Australian Alps. The highest mountain range in Australia, it offers ample walking tracks, bike trails, and ski slopes. Between December 1 and April 30, you can even journey on horseback through the alpines. Work your way to the top of the peaks for that breath-taking, life-changing bird’s eye view of the landscape, setting the scene for the ultimate selfie that will instil much wanderlust and kindle major travel envy among friends on social media.
5. Yarra State Forest
Another spot that makes for a great lookout is the Seven Acre Rock in the Yarra State Forest. A 90-minute drive away from Melbourne, it calls for some rock climbing to reach the summit. As challenging as that may sound, the payoff nonetheless is worth the physical (and mental) exertion. From the Seven Acre Rock, one can also make out the nearby Bunyip State Park, Western Port Bay and Port Phillip Bay.
6. Philip Island
Phillip Island, one of Australia’s iconic National Surfing Reserves, is home to various picturesque sites such as Cape Woolamai, Forrest Caves, Bass Coast and Ventnor. From pristine beaches to mysterious sea caves, there’s much to explore here. If you’re lucky, or intrepid enough, you could befriend the wallabies, koalas, cattle, peacocks, and dingoes on this island for some unbeatable animal selfies. But of course, best to take them from a distance. Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade is a must-visit if you want to get up-close and personal with a rookery of cuddly penguins.
7. Hanging Rock
Image: Fernando de Sousa
Located a little less than an hour away from Melbourne Airport, the Hanging Rock is a mamelon made of multiple rock columns. More than a hiking site, it is a popular venue for outdoor concerts, having played host to Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, and The Eagles. It also inspired Joan Lindsay’s 1967 mystery novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, a tale about the peculiar disappearance of a group of female students and a teacher on Valentine’s Day in 1900, while they were picnicking at the rocky spot. It was later adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Peter Weir. While there, be sure to pop by the Hanging Rock Discovery Centre and the Picnic Cafe as well.
These destinations are easily accessible from Melbourne, and we recommend PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport as a launching pad for your adventure (hire cars onsite).