There is a plethora of tour companies running trips from Melbourne. With options for the backpacker budget right up to luxury experiences, it’s easy to organize day-trips to Phillip Island, the Yarra Valley, the Mornington Peninsula, the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road, as well as overnight (or longer) tours further afield.

Autopia Tours autopiatours.com.au. Long-established outfit running popular day-trips by minibus along the Great Ocean Rd, to Phillip Island and the Grampians, plus a combined tour to the Great Ocean Rd and the Grampians, including dorm accommodation and most meals. It also offers one-way tours between Melbourne and Sydney via Wilsons Prom, Snowy Mountains and Canberra; prices include meals and accommodation.

Bunyip Tours bunyiptours.com. Nature-focused tours with lots of bushwalking, mainly to Wilson’s Prom. For the longer trips, you need to be reasonably fit and able to carry a pack with your own tent and supplies. The 1- and 2-day tours can be combined with the Phillip Island Penguin Parade on the way back to Melbourne.Very small groups.

Echidna Walkabout echidnawalkabout.com.au. Long-running upmarket ecotour operator, with very small groups and enthusiastic, extremely knowledgeable guides, focusing on native wildlife. The Savannah Walkabout day-tour goes to Serendip Sanctuary and the You Yangs, southwest of Melbourne, while longer trips head along the Great Ocean Rd and to remoter parts of East Gippsland, and include bushwalks; accommodation is in B&Bs or very comfortable camps.

Go West gowest.com.au. This family-run tour company offers day-trips, primarily aimed at the backpacker market, on a 21-seater minibus travelling the Great Ocean Rd and to Phillip Island; tours are very good value, entertaining and informative.

Groovy Grape groovygrape.com.au. One-way tour specialist offering regular trips between Melbourne and Adelaide via the Great Ocean Rd and the Grampians. Max 20 people.

Melbourne’s Best Tours melbournetours.com.au. More conventional half-day and full-day tours in a small (21-seater) luxury coach to various destinations including Mornington Peninsula wineries, Ballarat and Sovereign Hill.

Oz Experience ozexperience.com. One-way trips from Melbourne to Sydney, with an emphasis on hands-on activities such as surfing, hiking, mountain biking.

Phillip Island Penguin Tours penguinislandtour.com.au. As the name suggests, it focuses solely on day-trips to see penguins and does it well with good minibuses equipped with DVD players.

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