Melbourne is a city with a mix of modern skyscrapers and Victorian-era architecture interspersed with large parks and gardens. The city is the capital and biggest city in Victoria and the second biggest city in the country. The city is considered the cultural capital of Australia as it has multitudes of cultural institutions including museums, galleries, and theatres. The city also has strong influences from Italy, Greece, and Asia with the result being a reputation for fine dining with a wide variety of European and Asian cuisine.
The Great Ocean Road is about 3 hours from Melbourne (by car). This scenic road stretches 243 km along the south-eastern coast. The most famous section is Port Campbell which provides access by foot to spectacular coastline features carved out of limestone and sandstone by the mighty Southern Ocean. Must see formations include Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, the Grotto, and the famous Twelve Apostles. Outside of Port Campbell are areas of the Great Ocean Road that run around steep coastal mountains and provide outstanding views of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. Looking inland you will find Great Otway National Park, which includes some of the last surviving temperate rainforests in the south of Australia. Visiting scenic waterfalls and koala spotting are popular activites with the park.
If you have the time and do not plan on visiting nearby Adelaide, you could head inland from the Great Ocean Road and viist Grampians National Park. This park is renown for its walks, wildlife, and flowers. The Grampians are the start of the Great Dividing Range, Australia's biggest range that extends all the way to Cape York in Northern Queensland. The Grampians are however not contigious with the main range and remain an isolated pocket of uplifted and eroded standstone mountains that rise abruptly from the surrounding plains. Besides the stunning landscape, this park is a great way to see native Australian fauna in the wild such as kangaroos, koalas, and parrots. This destination also gives you the added option of experiencing Ballarat on the way back to Melbourne rather than doubling back to get back to Melbourne. This city is Victoria's third largest and one of the most significant Victorian era towns of Australia. Ballarat is rich in history and consists of opulent historic buildings reminiscent of Paris.