Looking for colourful bursts of gold, reds and oranges? You’re in the right state. Discover the best places for autumn leaves in Victoria.
Autumn in Victoria is, in a word, glorious.
Due to the heavy presence of deciduous trees, the entire state seems to come alight in a wash of colour.
If you fancy taking a road trip in Victoria, here are some destinations you can plan a trip around. Pack a picnic, grab your camera, go for a walk and settle down to enjoy what truly is the loveliest season.
Here are the best places for autumn leaves in Victoria. Included are recommendations for eats and what else you can do in the area.
And just one last note: some of these places absolutely pack out with people when the colour is out on display. These are the destinations I recommend for a midweek getaway, rather than travelling on a weekend.
Where to find autumn leaves in Victoria
You don’t really have to travel far to catch a glimpse of vibrant foliage in Victoria.
Let’s discover the best places to find autumn leaves in Victoria.
When is the best time to see autumn leaves in Victoria?
Autumn in Australia is roughly March–May. Sometimes March can seem like an extension of summer and the warm temperatures can delay the advent of colour.
So your best bet for autumn leaves in Victoria is mid-late April and early May.
Visit in the last week of April or first week of May for an explosion of foliage.
If you can, try to avoid leaf chasing during the autumn school holidays, unless you love crowds.
A midweek trip in the last days of April or first few days of May will be ideal.
Mount Macedon is one of the most popular destinations for autumn leaves in Victoria, being only an hour from Melbourne.
The area puts on a display of colour so intense, that April is dedicated to a month-long Autumn Festival.
The Avenue of Honour is the biggest draw-card. A war memorial lined with Pin Oaks, the trees turn a lovely orange hue in autumn, attracting Instagrammers from far and wide.
You can drive down the road during ‘normal times’, but during peak leaf season, the road is closed and parking nearby costs $5.
This is definitely one of the regions I suggest avoiding during school holidays or on the weekends. Instead, go midweek to avoid the rush.
If you only have the weekend, then get there as early as possible for a prime park.
After taking in the leaves, grab lunch at the local pub, Mount Macedon Hotel, or Mount Macedon Winery. I highly recommend booking a table in advance.
Daylesford & Hepburn Springs
The regional towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are lovely to visit year round – but they really put on a show in autumn.
Both towns are awash in colour during this season.
Visit Lake Daylesford to see a truly gorgeous display. There are also plenty of deciduous trees in the towns themselves.
Tummy grumbling? The area is a gourmand’s paradise.
For something special, dine decadently at the Lake House.
In Hepburn, grab a bite to eat at Frank and Connie’s.
And warm up with a visit to one of the areas many spas. Hepburn Bathhouse is a longtime favourite.
Here’s what else you can get up to in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Clunes is a small town in central Victoria that packs several punches.
The town’s gold rush-era architecture is almost perfectly preserved. It’s so pretty, it’s been the setting for movies like Mad Max and television shows such as The Leftovers.
Autumn leaves aren’t the only reason to drop into Clunes this time of the year. Clunes is Victoria’s only ‘Book Town’, awarded such due to the high presence of booksellers in the area.
To celebrate, the town holds a Book Town Festival in late March/early April, where the streets are lined with books for sale, and author talks and workshops take place. It’s a bookworm’s paradise.
Walhalla is a small town tucked in the mountains of Gippsland. Once a thriving gold rush town, it’s now home to a handful of residents.
This doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself entertained in Walhalla. The best times to visit is in autumn and spring, due to the proliferation of autumn leaves and spring blossoms, respectively.
If you wish to stay in town, I recommend planning a trip in advance, as accommodation options are limited.
While there, you can take a ride on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, check out the old gold mines, go for lovely walks in nature and even jump on a ghost tour.
If you’re after autumn leaves in Victoria but are keen to avoid the crowds, I recommend heading to Heathcote. Specifically the Valley of Liquidambers, which glows orange in autumn.
Heathcote may also surprisingly be one of the best places to catch the Aurora Australis in Victoria.
You don’t have to look far for autumn leaves in Bendigo.
The town centre is awash in a golden glow, with the colour looking particularly picturesque against the backdrop of the city’s historic buildings.
Take the tram through town to take in the colour, then head to Chancery Lane for a bite to eat.
Or for something special, pull up a chair at renowned restaurant Masons of Bendigo.
For more, check out my guide to Bendigo.
The town of Warburton is an easy day trip from Melbourne and well worth visiting for its autumn colours.
There’s plenty to do once you’re there. Fuel up at Silva Coffee Roasters then hike to La La Falls.
After you’re done taking in the autumn leaves, cruise on to the nearby California Redwood Forest, to stand among the tall trees.
Alternatively, make your way to town by bike, along the Lilydale to Warburton rail trail.
Despite being three hours from Melbourne, Bright is incredibly popular to visit for its display of colourful autumn leaves.
The town puts on a ten day celebration of the season, known as the Bright Autumn Festival.
So, this is another region I’d recommend avoiding on weekends, opting instead for a midweek visit.
Laze the afternoon away by the Ovens River with delicious pub grub and a glass of craft beer from Bright Brewery.
Beechworth is worth visiting any time of the year, but if you’re chasing autumn leaves in Victoria, then time your visit with this season.
The town centre is where you’ll find the best display of colour and there’s plenty else to get up to once you’re there.
Drop into Billson’s Brewery for a tasting, lunch in their beer garden or to tour the historic distillery. There’s also a soda bar in town itself, serving up everything from, well, sodas, to milkshakes and spiders. Yummo.
For a spot of nature, head out to Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park for day hikes, or to check out the cascading Woolshed Falls.
The Dandenong Ranges contain many parks and gardens that put on a lovely show this time of the year.
Head to Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden for pops of autumn colour among the rock walls, around the lake and by the boathouse.
Nearby George Tindale Memorial Gardens also put on a spectacular show.
For a bite to eat, drop into the towns of Olinda or Sassafras. I also really like Olinda Tea House. They do a very good high tea.
Discover other things to do in the Dandenong Ranges.
The Yarra Valley in general is gorgeous in autumn. Deciduous trees line the streets of Healesville; it’s well worth stopping in to take a stroll and check out the local flavours.
Animal enthusiast? See native Australian animals at Healesville Sanctuary. You can even book special animal encounters, where you can get up close to and feed the sanctuary’s inhabitants.
Here’s a guide to the Yarra Valley and surrounds.
Castlemaine is another town centre worth flocking to for autumn hues.
For something special, head to Wild Food and Wine for a menu focused on local produce.
Chasing dramatic scenes of autumn leaves in Victoria? Head to Ballarat.
Ballarat’s Avenue of Honor is the first of its kind in Australia. Stretching 22 kilometres, it’s lined with over 3,700 trees, which burst into flames of colour during autumn. The Arch of Victory adds a particularly dramatic element to the scene.
The Botanic Gardens are also very nice, really anytime of the year.
For more, check out my guide to the regional city of Ballarat.
Like Melbourne, Geelong has some lovely displays in its town centre (especially near the Art Gallery).
Little Malop Street in particular is worth heading to, for leaves and a great range of eateries.
For a cheeky tipple, check out Geelong Cellar Door.
Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
If you want to see autumn leaves in Victoria but can’t leave the city, simply head to the Royal Botanic Gardens to see a marvellous display of foliage.
Another hot tip – head to the Shrine of Remembrance and climb to the top floor, for a lovely view of the city with its autumn colours.
If you’re staying in Victoria for awhile, here’s a guide to the best things to do in Melbourne in winter.
Chasing autumn leaves in Victoria
As you can see, there are plenty of destinations with bright and beautiful autumn leaves in Victoria.
Grab your camera, get out and make the best of this wonderful season.
For more natural wonders, check out this quick guide to Victoria’s pink lakes.
What’s your favourite place for autumn leaves in Victoria?