WITHIN THREE HOURS DRIVE of Melbourne are many 1800s boom towns, where gold and timber brought long forgotten riches. Many have been revitalised as holiday destinations, with wineries, good food, galleries, and fresh country air. Castlemaine, Wedderburn, Ballarat, Bendigo, Wooden, Daylesford- take your pick (and shovel?).
A good number of state and national parks make for great short getaways.