Beat The Heat In Melbourne With A Country Town Day Trip
One of the smartest things to do when the heat gets too much (we're looking at you, Melbourne heatwaves) is skip town to higher ground - the further you get from the Earth's surface, the cooler the temperature is, which is why mountains can be freezing while sea level is absolutely baking.
Melbourne is surrounded by altitudes above our own, and the towns among them are some of the best places to drop a couple of degrees (sometimes up to 10 degrees cooler) and get some respite.
Crank the air conditioner and escape the city heat in any one of these fabulous spots:
A proper country town turned modern, you can (literally) chill out here in its fabulous wine stores, pubs, cafes, bookshops, bakeries, vineyards, and Black Anther or Chamber art galleries.
Splash about in the Woodend Swimming Pool if the urge strikes (you will have to check beforehand if it is open), or go strolling, 4WD, picnicking, or biking through the Wombat State Forest and its moss-covered wonderland.
This goldrush-era town is already a huge favourite among day-trippers, and the fact that it's significantly cooler than Melbourne in summer makes it an attractive spot on those 40C+ days.
Even better, this January 1-11, Splash'N'Bounce, a South Australian mobile inflatable water park, is headed to Ballarat Showgrounds - a great place to cool off! Another great spot for a dip is the locals' secret Rokewood Swimming Lagoon. A great setup with playgrounds and picnic areas, you do have to pay a small fee but it's definitely worth it.
If indoors in the aircon is your jam, head to the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Backspace Gallery, Ballarat Gold Museum, The Lost Ones Gallery, or any one of the fantastic eateries this mini-city provides.
Cool off in the shady Wombat State Forest, take a leisurely stroll around Lake Daylesford, or get lost in the many quirky shops and places to hang in picturesque Daylesford. While your city friends melt into the CBD sidewalks, you'll be heading out on a paddleboat, soaking up the healing waters of the nearby mineral springs, playing by the roaring sound of a spectacular waterfall, or maybe even picking up a few things from the Stony Creek Gallery.
A soothing drive through temperate rainforests will have you disembarking in pleasant Sassafras, near the top of the ridgeline of the Dandenong Ranges. A gorgeous spot popular with tourists gives you cafes aplenty, cool forest walking tracks, a village green for picnicking, the George Tindale Gardens for strolling through, tearooms for Devonshires, and boutiques and specialty shops aplenty - all at a temperature much more palatable than back in Melbourne!
Main image credit: Visit Macedon Ranges