For many people, a trip to Victoria begins and ends in Melbourne. But with such natural beauty on the city’s doorstep, failing to explore the rest of the state means you'll miss out on the most beautiful places to visit in Victoria.
Get ready to hit the road, breathe some fresh air and soak up a change of scenery because Victoria is officially reopening for day trips. There’s a lot to see and do, whether you’re looking to get some blood flowing on a hike or indulge in sugary treats at one of the state’s historic regional bakeries.
1. Bellarine Taste Trail
Wineries. Provedores. Farm gates. Remember those? Take your tastebuds on an adventure along the Bellarine Taste Trail. There are more than 50 local producers, so map your itinerary and enjoy.
2. Little Malop Street
Geelong’s cultural precinct mixes the grandeur of historical buildings with contemporary street art, new bars, exciting eats and laneways full of curiosities. You can either drive or take the Port Phillip Ferry.
3. Great Otway National Park
Vibrant greens, lush ferns and trickling creeks make Great Otway National Park the perfect place to forest bathe after months indoors. Make sure you stop by Hopetoun Falls, Beauchamp Falls and Triplet Falls.
4. Californian Redwoods
Driving down a dusty road through timber plantations, you’ll wonder if you’re lost, but the ethereal grove of towering Californian Redwoods – the tallest species of tree in the world – are impossible to miss.
5. Budj Bim
This long-dormant volcano, located in the state’s southwest, once spewed lava up to 50km. It’s rich in history and a great spot to learn about the cultural heritage of the Gunditjmara people.
6. 12 Apostles
There may only be eight left, but the 12 Apostles are a must-stop on every Great Ocean Road trip. Plan to get there late afternoon, so you can watch the sea spray glowing gold as the sunsets.
7. Mt Sturgeon
Mt Sturgeon is a challenging 7km hike towering over the town of Dunkeld, which takes about three hours. Once you’re done, order a Two-Hatted Dinner from the acclaimed Royal Mail Hotel to enjoy at home.
8. The Pinnacle
No visit to Grampians National Park is complete without a trek to the Pinnacle. The 9.6km walk starts at the Halls Gap Caravan Park and climbs steeply until you feel like you’re on top of the world.
9. Mackenzie Falls
Thundering waterfalls aren’t a prominent destination in the dry plains of Western Victoria, but MacKenzie Falls has a year-long cascade. You can walk down from the car park or follow the creek to Zumsteins.
Malleefowl are Victoria’s most intriguing birds. Native to Little Desert National Park, the species builds its nests out of large mounds of litter, which warm eggs as they compost. It’s very cool to see.
11. Silo Art Trail
This breathtaking collection of murals, painted on enormous grain silos, spreads 200km through Western Victoria. It’s one of the world’s most extensive outdoor galleries and can be viewed from the safety of your car.
12. Pink Salt Lakes
Murray Sunset National Park is home to a series of salt lakes that range in colour from deep pink to bright white, depending on the light. This new spot is located in the state’s remote northwest.
13. Chocolate Mill
It’s hard to go past handmade Belgian-style chocolates at the best of times. The Chocolate Mill, located 7km north of Daylesford, makes decadent treats in a unique building constructed from straw bales.
14. Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill is famous for school groups, but it’s just as magical to visit as an adult. When its doors re-open, take the family and step back in time to a world of raspberry drops and gold panning.
Ballarat’s newest upscale dining destination has just 16 seats, taking intimate dining to a new level. It’s raring to re-open and share its ever-changing tasting menu, designed by head chef Derek Boath.
Ballarat is Victoria’s third-largest city and has regular train arrivals from Melbourne. The city is famed for its proximity to the gold rush of the 1850s and is one of the few towns of this era to have continued growth after the miners moved on. Starting at the train station, Ballarat’s immense wealth is evident in its architecture.
Tours of the gold mining areas are popular, as is the trip to Sovereign Hill, a recreated mining town from the area’s boom time. Elsewhere, you can visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park or Ballarat Botanical Gardens to connect with nature.
The Ballarat Line has almost hourly departures from Southern Cross Station, with the journey from Melbourne taking just 90 minutes.
16. Trentham Falls
Take a raincoat to the base of Trentham Falls, so you can feel the mist on your face without getting soaked, then whet your appetite with Redbeard Bakery’s organic, wood-fired sourdough.
17. Chancery Lane
Food, fashion, ever-changing street art and a buzzing European feel. What’s not to love? Chancery Lane has awakened Central Bendigo, creating a cosmopolitan nook full of emerging trends.
18. Houseboat Trip
Once overnight trips are allowed, there will be no better way to ease out of isolation than a luxury winter houseboat trip along with the Murray. Take your friends and savour misty mornings on the river.
19. Cactus Country
This desert landscape, full of cactuses and succulents, is a photographer’s dream. Located in the state’s north, you can look forward to exploring this remarkable 12-acre garden and trying the cactus ice cream.
20. Pedal To Produce
Ease back into the good life with a gentle cycle through Rutherglen, taking in the historic towns and lush countryside while sampling fresh local honey, gourmet cheese, house-made preserves and local wine.
21. Beechworth Bakery
Every country town prides itself on having the best bakery, but for Beechworth, it’s actually true. This gorgeous bakery takes pies and pasties to the next level, with a balcony and live music on Sundays.
22. Mount Buffalo National Park
Just a few months ago, fire crews battled to save tourist infrastructure around Mount Buffalo. It’s time for visitors to return, so buy some local brews, pick up some local olives, and marvel at the regeneration.
23. Murray To Mountains Rail Trail
Explore the heart of the High Country on Victoria’s best rail trail on a bicycle. The 100km track rolls past green farms and pretty valleys, with gourmet producers, cellar doors and craft brewers aplenty.
24. Prosecco Trail
Twenty years ago,planted the first prosecco vines in the King Valley. These days, you can enjoy a sensational Italian-themed food and wine experience through the area on Prosecco Road.
25. Skiing And Snowboarding
Parts of Victoria’s high country are currently experiencing waist-deep snow, and resorts are optimistic they’ll be able to open soon for a bumper season. Check their websites for the latest updates.
26. Support Mallacoota
Catastrophic bushfires have had a profound impact on the beachside paradise of Mallacoota this year, but it’s officially open for business. Enjoy the unspoilt sand, epic surf breaks and great coffee.
27. Explore Orbost
Orbost is the perfect spot to break up the drive along the scenic route between Sydney and Melbourne. It’s an adventure hub with an abundance of 4WD, mountain biking and hiking tracks.
28. Buchan Caves
It’s been about 400 million years since an underground river carved the spectacular caves at Buchan in Gippsland. Tours will resume when the government gives the green light, so add them to your itinerary.
29. Great Alpine Road
Everyone has heard of the Great Ocean Road, but what about its alpine counterpart? The 339km stretch from Wangaratta to Metung has views galore, winding its way from the mountains to the coast.
It’s not often you get to take away a meal made by an ex-Vue de Monde chef, but it’s currently possible at Sardine in Gippsland. This hatted restaurant is progressive and wholly unpretentious.
31. Gippsland Lakes
Raymond Island, which is only accessible by boat, is home to Victoria’s largest koala population. That’s just one reason to hire a boat and explore the calm waters of the gorgeous Gippsland Lakes.
32. Dargo Hotel
Built in 1898, this historic pub sits at the Alpine National Park and Mitchell River National Park entry point. It’s looking forward to serving plenty of post-iso pints once restrictions ease.
33. Lake Mountain
Just 120km from Melbourne, Lake Mountain is an excellent spot for the kids to see snow for the first time. Sign your family up for an unforgettable day of tobogganing and snow play when the gates re-open.
34. Kinglake National Park
The Running Creek Track is an easy 14.3km hike just north of Melbourne. It’s beginner-friendly, with great countryside views, and you can stop at the pretty Masons Falls for a picnic lunch.
35. Wilsons Promontory
If you haven’t already visited mainland Australia’s southernmost point, now’s the time to plan a trip. Pristine beaches, rugged wilderness and teeming wildlife, make it the ultimate change of scenery.
36. Visit Meeniyan
Meeniyan is a town of just 771 people on the way to Wilsons Promontory, but good music, good food, boutique shops and progressive art mean it’s the perfect place to pause on the way to Gippsland.
37. Penguin Parade
Two hours from Melbourne’s CBD,is a day trip dream. Visit the beach, explore the shops and take your kids to see the incredibly cute Penguin Parade when tickets are back on sale.
38. Mornington Peninsula
Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula has five hatted restaurants, all located on wineries just 15 minutes from each other. It’s a dream post-COVID foodie destination.
39. Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens
This incredible hedge maze was planted 40 years ago and is now three metres tall. It’s fun for the whole family, and you can search for the cheeky gnomes hiding in the gardens when gates re-open.
Winter is on its way, and there’s no better place to soak it in than the moody Dandenongs. Warm the cockles of your heart with Devonshire tea from one of the excellent tearooms in Sassafras.
41. Puffing Billy
This beautifully preserved steam train, which runs from Belgrave to Gembrook, is an icon. The day it whistles through the rainforest again will mark a very positive turning point for 2020.
42. Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
The ‘1000 Steps’ in Dandenong Ranges National Park nods to the Kokoda Track’s arduous Golden Staircase. It’s the ultimate way to get the blood flowing again after weeks on the couch.
43. Explore Warrandyte
Warrandyte started as a goldmining area and is now best known for its talented local artists. Escape the city and explore the galleries, studios and craft shops before enjoying a short bushwalk.
44. Yarra Valley
There’s nothing quite like drinking a crisp apple cider while gazing at the orchard from which it came. The Yarra Valley is home to hearty food, fruity Chardonnays and warm hospitality all year round.
Australia is full of amazing wine-producing areas, and Victoria’s claim to the throne comes in the Yarra Valley.
Just an hour to the east of Melbourne CBD, the Yarra Valley is an excellent option for a quiet weekend away. The wines are the apparent drawcard, but early morning hot air balloon rides, specialty chocolatiers and the Healesville Sanctuary where you can get up close and personal with native animals.
45. Hosier Lane
There are plenty of fun day trips to be had in Melbourne. Start at Hosier Lane and wander through the city’s streets, taking in the ever-changing canvas of urban street art (with a side of people-watching).
46. Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens actually operates across two sites in Melbourne – one in the city and one in Cranbourne. Each has an entirely different look and feel from the other, so why not visit both?
Sometimes, the most excellent satisfaction comes from the simplest things. Lune, in Fitzroy, is the brainchild of former F1 aerodynamicist Kate Reid and creates arguably the best croissants outside France.
48. Cycle Melbourne
Swap public transport for a two-wheeled adventure and cycle along the shore from St Kilda to Black Rock. The route takes in gorgeous views of the bay and passes the Brighton Bathing Boxes.
49. Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is open for business, and it’s the perfect place to unleash your inner foodie, with a bustling fresh food market and plenty of gourmet produce.
Queen Victoria Market, the iconic landmark of Melbourne, Australia, was publicly opened on March 20, 1878. This marketplace has been serving the residents of the city for over 140 years. It has undergone numerous changes and of late, been included in the National Heritage List. It’s one of the most prominent places to visit in Melbourne, the capital of Australia and the country’s most significant fresh product market.
Queen Victoria Market popularly called Queen Vic or Vic Market is a major attraction in the heart of Melbourne and stretches across two city blocks. A pulsating and lively marketplace where you can let loose your shopping spree at more than 600 small stores selling everything from fresh vegetables, fruits, local, imported epicure food, souvenirs, and garments.
The market remains open for five days in a week, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Queen Victoria Market operates seasonally, especially on Wednesday nights. The timings being 5 pm to 10 pm when you can hang around mid-week with your family and friends to savour mouth-watering street food, beverages, as well as live entertainment.
The marketplace has taken many green initiatives so that shoppers can buy stuff keeping the environment and sustainability in mind. Vic Market implemented a countrywide ban on the usage of plastic bags and straws in May 2019. The shoppers have an array of choices to shop conveniently sans the use of plastic bags. These include hiring a trolley from Market Espresso, filling a cardboard box right from Pick-A-Box spots on I Shed and Queen Street, or purchasing a recyclable bag from Vic Market itself.
50. Yarra Bend Park
Located just 4km northeast of the CBD, Yarra Bend Park is the largest area of natural bushland left in Melbourne. It has plenty of trails to walk or cycle, as well as stunning sunset views over the city.
The park is home to many species of birds, bats and other mammals, reptiles (tiger snakes and blue-tongued lizards are common), insects and fish (esp. carp and eels) also regularly found are rainbow lorikeets, red-rumped parrots and yellow-tailed black cockatoos, water rats and brush-tail and ringtail possums.
Yarra Bend Park is also home to a colony of federally and state listed vulnerable grey-headed flying foxes. The settlement took up residence in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1986 but was relocated to the more natural setting of Yarra Bend Park in 2003. The population is nomadic and migratory and varies in size from 3000 (winter) to 30,000 (summer). The protected bats pollinate and disperse the seeds of native trees. The colony roosts in native hardwoods and can easily be seen from the lookout at Bellbird Picnic Reserve. The evening flyout is a fascinating wildlife event.
In April 2020, local Victorian MP Tim Smith made a public call for the bat colony to be "moved away" because "people and bats don't mix" following the coronavirus outbreak in Australia. The scientific basis for this claim remains unclear. In response, one of Australia's leading bat experts described calls for the colony to be relocated or culled as "ridiculous".
- Arcades & Laneways. Many of Melbourne's gritty laneways double as canvases for street artists and are flush with paste-ups, stencil art and installations. ...
- Beaches. ...
- Country Towns. ...
- Live Music. ...
- Markets. ...
- Craft Breweries. ...
- Museums & Galleries. ...
Victoria is the smallest mainland state in Australia at 227,038 square kilometres. The only state smaller is the island of Tasmania. Is is only quarter the size of the next biggest state New South Wales, and incredibly only 9% the size of the largest state, Western Australia.
The most liveable places in Australia have been revealed and a small country town in Victoria has come out on top. An area free of gridlock traffic with affordable housing and good job prospects are aspects of the best places to live, according to the Life In Australia report by Ipsos.