All four destinations below are within 30 minutes drive of the airport. Each gives a taste of the city’s contrasting charms – from coastal relaxation to the buzz of shopping meccas; from top sporting attractions and historic sites. Just don’t get so carried away that you end up missing your plane.
Here are four easy driving self-tours to enjoy near the heart of the city:
Less than 13km south of Tullamarine is Essendon, perhaps Melbourne’s most desirable residential suburb. It features wide, leafy streets and well-preserved period homes. Known to sports fans for its Australian Rules football club, the Essendon football team is one of the most successful in Australia. For visitors it’s a charming place to stroll, especially Aberfeldie Park, on the Maribyrnong River.
If you love to shop, don’t miss DFO Essendon. The Direct Factory Outlets shopping centre has more than 100 discounted stores offering savings of up to 70 per cent on well-known clothing and homewares brands.
St Kilda is a 30-minute drive south of Melbourne Airport and is awash with attractions, restaurants and coastal scenery. Burn some energy before your flight by touring the foreshore on hired rollerblades or bikes, or take to St Kilda beach for a refreshing swim. If retail therapy is more your style, there’s plenty of shopping at the many one-off boutiques and markets in the area. Fans of gourmet cakes and tarts should make a beeline for the Acland Street bakeries and cafes.
At the heart of St Kilda is Melbourne’s iconic Luna Park, an amusement park fixture for all ages since 1912. St Kilda is also home to the cherished community garden, Veg Out. Each are in easy walking distance from the main retail and dining strips. Open to the public during the day, it’s worth a visit to Veg Out for its quirky garden art and friendly locals.
Calder Park Raceway
For fans of motor racing, a visit to Calder Park Raceway, just 15 minutes from Tullamarine, will get your adrenalin pumping.
Calder Park’s complex includes a drag strip, road circuit, and the famous Thunderdome, a high-speed banked oval. The complex regularly holds Drag Racing, Hot Laps, Open Car Racing Practice and Off Street Drag Racing. Several times a year, the park hosts major concerts featuring performers from around the globe.
Check the Calder Park website for events and special offers.
Very near to Calder Park, but offering a somewhat more sedate experience, is Overnewton Castle, an historic home set in beautiful gardens that is a popular location for weddings and other celebrations.
The house was built by Scotsman William Taylor in 1849, to create a miniature Scottish Baronial Castle. Overnewton’s rough textured masonry, steeped pitched roofs and turrets will make you feel you’ve stumbled into the glens of Scotland.
To celebrate the Castle’s 165th birthday, the owners are hosting historical tours on the first Sunday of each month during 2014. Overnewton Castle is at 51 Overnewton Road, Keilor.
If you are after a great deal on a rental car whilst in Melbourne, then we can help you. We have a new model fleet of vehicles to choose from, as well as being located inside the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport as well as an office in the central business district of Melbourne.