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What to Explore in Victoria

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    Along Australia’s south-east coast, the garden state of Victoria is a wealth of beauty and alluring attractions all wrapped up in a small, 227,600 square kilometre package. 

    Victoria’s temperate weather enhances its lush forests, snow-capped mountainous ranges, rugged coastlines and pristine beaches – all of which offer a diverse range of exciting activities to visitors and locals alike. 

    For those hoping to get the best out of their visit to Victoria, it can be challenging to figure out where to start, so we have compiled a list of the best areas to visit.

    Places to Visit in Victoria: Quick Travel Tips

    • Rent a car, van or SUV. Let’s face it, Australia is big and vast – we don’t have much of a rail or bus network that connects everywhere. Renting a car is your best bet of getting around at your own pace and stumbling upon hidden gems.
    • Pay attention to the speed limit. To say it hurts getting a speeding fine in Australia is a vast understatement. It’s agonising. Torturous, even. It’ll throw you a couple hundred out of pocket and make your trip much less enjoyable.
    • Book a day trip on Klook. Not ready to brave it on the great Australian roads with a car? No problemo. Take day trips out of Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula with Klook.
    • Get the Entertainment Book. Australia is expensive. Save a ton on activities, dining, shopping and accommodation in Melbourne and regional Victoria by getting this handy money-saver.
    • Pack clothes suited for all seasons. Because the weather in Victoria is, basically, like Melbourne weather. This state is notorious for experiencing a “4 seasons in one day” climate.
    • Pick up a 4G SIM card. You’ll need data to navigate the roads. WiFi can be sketchy in country towns Victoria, so be prepared and grab yourself a reliable SIM provider with plenty of data.

    Melbourne

    The state of Victoria offers so much to those willing to explore it, but the true heart of Victoria is – of course – Melbourne. Despite the banter about the weather, the city of Melbourne and its surroundings is a thrilling destination to explore, offering so much to its visitors.

    Sports-lovers will be ecstatic at the number of sporting events, venues and museums on offer. Whether you’re into motor racing, tennis, cricket, aussie-rules, rugby league, soccer, horse racing or something else, Melbourne can immerse you in the history, glory and culture of your chosen sport.

    The city offers an eclectic mix of attractions, activities, and adventures for those who aren’t as interested in sports, with everything from ghost tours to shopping expeditions and food trails. The city’s hidden laneways, gorgeous parks and gardens, as well as beaches and riverside locations, make a day out something that even the most budget-conscious can enjoy. Regardless of your preferences, check out our range of Melbourne tours & activities, there’s something for everyone.

    Great Ocean Road

    This historic roadway is located along Victoria’s southern coastline and winds its way from Torquay through some of the state’s most popular tourist towns, such as Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, before ending in Allensford. The Great Ocean Road – which is dedicated to WWI soldiers killed in action – is 243 kilometres (151 mi) of the Australian National Heritage listed roadway that was hand-hewn by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932. It is now a popular tourist route, taking its travellers on a spectacular winding journey past several renowned landmarks. With eucalypt forests on one side and the pounding waves of the Surf and Shipwreck Coasts on the other, you’ll be amazed at the natural beauty of this road.

    Along the way, stop and visit Lorne, a quaint little seaside town full of friendly cafés, pubs and restaurants overlooking the ocean. Here, you can watch the surfers relishing the pristine beaches while you enjoy the village atmosphere.

    Apollo Bay likewise offers a seaside escape, but you can also drive through the Otway National Park to Cape Otway to visit Australia’s oldest lighthouse. From here, you can look out for Humpback and Southern Right Whales from winter to spring, while the ancient mountain lake of Lake Elizabeth offers the opportunity to see platypus in their natural habitat.

    The pinnacle of the Great Ocean Road for many visitors is found on the coast near Port Campbell. The stunning Twelve Apostles rock formation, Loch Ard Gorge and many other sandstone monoliths and coastal features are visible from the roadside lookouts and walkways. If you have time, a helicopter flight over the area is a great way to get a different perspective on the coast and see just how rugged the sea is.

    Phillip Island

    Phillip Island is situated about 140 kilometres (87 mi) south-southeast of Melbourne. This 26 kilometre (16 mi) long, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) wide island is widely known for its motorsport – hosting the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix; however, the island is most visited for its Little Penguins!

    The Phillip Island Penguin Parade allows visitors to observe the daily march of the fascinating Little Penguins (also known as Fairy Penguins) from their daily activities in the ocean to their night-time nests. The Little Penguins delight visitors of all ages and often give observers a good chuckle with their playful antics.

    The penguins aren’t the only impish residents, though – Seal Rocks is home to over 16,000 gorgeous fur seals, which can be seen playing on the rocks and in the water, sunning themselves and generally doing what seals do best – being absolutely adorable!

    Phillip Island is also a bounty for those who love water activities, particularly scuba diving and snorkelling, with underwater environments housing a wondrous array of fish and other sea life.

    Mornington Peninsula

    mornington-peninsula

    Easily accessible from Melbourne CBD, the Mornington Peninsula is located to the southeast of the capital and is flanked by Port Phillip, Western Port and the Bass Strait. This popular tourist destination is packed with beautiful natural attractions, such as sweeping beaches, rocky outcrops, undulating hills and mangrove wetlands.

    Food and wine connoisseurs will be thrilled to hear that the Peninsula offers a number of cellar doors and fine restaurants, boasting some of the region’s best fare.

    The Peninsula also offers something for the kids in the form of giant hedge mazes and water-based activities; however, it’s the coastline that really draws the crowds. Locations such as Point Nepean and Cape Schanck offer absolutely stunning views and great walking tracks. The quaint seaside towns are welcoming and interesting, with homely towns such as Rye offering a friendly base to explore from, right alongside swankier areas, such as Portsea and Sorrento. The town of Fingal even has its own hot springs – what more could you ask for?

    Wilsons Promontory National Park

    Deemed one of the most beautiful places in Victoria, it’s safe to say that you haven’t experienced the magnificence of Aussie beaches until you’ve been to Wilsons Promontory. Located in the Gippsland region, roughly 2.5 hours from Melbourne, the national park is a natural marvel that you need to feast your eyes on.

    Prepare to be astounded by gorgeous trails and hikes, spotless white sandy beaches, unique Australian wildlife, and views to die for literally.

    Camp under the stars, skip along the ‘Prom’s iconic Squeaky Beach, or conquer the summit at Mount Oberon – it’s a haven for hikers, family adventurers, and photographers alike. Get out of the city, slow down a few paces, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the outdoors.

    • Watch the sunset from Mount Oberon. One of the most scenic places in Victoria, the hiking trail to the summit is a booty-busting and leg-demolishing exercise that’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears.
    • Explore Squeaky Beach, Whisky Bay & Norman Beach. Sink your feet into bright white sand and turquoise water at these glorious beaches found within the national park.
    • Go on a wilderness cruise. Jump onboard one of Wilsons Promontory Cruises amphibious boats and experience the breathtaking granite coastline from the serenity of the water. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins, whales and seabirds. Unless you’re a keen camper – no accommodation can be found within Wilsons Promontory, as the National Park aims to protect its pristine beaches, rainforests and wildlife.
    • Stay inside an Eco Tent. Not quite glamping, not quite camping – this unique experience sits somewhere in between. Powered by solar and fitted with an ensuite bathroom, kitchen and deck BBQ, this is the perfect place to stay for semi-nature lovers.
    • Spend a night inside a cottage at a lighthouse. Visitors can get a taste of the lighthouse keeper lifestyle by staying in one of the three gorgeous cottages right next to the lighthouse.

    Inverloch

    One of the best summer family holiday destinations in Victoria, the laid-back coastal town of Inverloch is the perfect retreat for beach lovers, families and water-sport junkies. 

    Tucked safely inside Andersons Inlet, the beach and waters are protected by Venus Bay peninsula, making it an ideal spot for little swimmers and beginner surfers. 

    But, the town is not all about the beach life – wander inland, and you’ll be greeted with serene boardwalks and nature trails that take you through the marshlands and stunning viewing platforms of Anderson Inlet.

    • Explore the rugged coastlines at Eagles Nest. One of Victoria’s most beautiful hidden places, this gem is located between Inverloch and Cape Patterson. Soak in the views from the lookout or climb down to the secluded beach for a swim or surf.
    • Take kids on a Dinosaur Discovery tour. Embark on a pre-historic adventure to The Caves and unravel plant and dinosaur fossils on this geological landscape
    • Taste wine, beer and local produce at Dirty Three Wines. Spend a lazy afternoon enjoying local wines and delicious food inside this small industrial estate.
    • Relax in a Beach Shack with a private outdoor cinema. Retreat into a 1960s inspired beach shack with a designer flare. Chill out by the fireplace or enjoy lying on bean bags while watching a movie on the big screen outside.
    • Spend the night inside a glamping tent. Set on scenic farmlands with gorgeous ocean views – enjoy luxury bell tents with private bespoke bathrooms while you switch off from the world.

    Mount Dandenong

    Country, bush, coast – Victoria’s got them all. But, if the mountains are callin’ – we’ve got a set of those, too. And, you better heed that call.

    Take a trip out to the Dandenong Ranges, a mere one hour drive from the city – it’s a short trip from Melbourne that makes for a perfect ‘quickie’ retreat from the fast-paced city life. Explore eclectic mountainside villages, wander through forest-scape, discover magical falls and stunning viewpoints.

    • Ride the Puffing Billy Steam Train. Travel through lush forest land, fern gullies and farmlands of the Dandenong Ranges on board Victoria’s most famous train.
    • Soak in panoramic views at Sky High. Drive up to Victoria’s highest natural viewing point – stop at the bistro for a feed or roam the hedge maze and secret gardens.
    • Visit the charming towns of Olinda and Sassafrass. Stop for tea, coffee or lunch in one of these laid-back mountain towns.
    • Take a stroll inside William Ricketts Sanctuary. A free outdoor exhibition that winds through nature paths dotted with beautiful sculptures.
    • Spend the night inside a medieval-style cottage. Be awed by the Tudor-inspired lodging experience surrounded by rainforest views, walking tracks and picnic areas.
    • Sleep inside a converted 1966 vintage caravan. Experience a stay inside a lovingly restored train complete with a hot tub, free WiFi and a private patio with a BBQ.
    • Frolic inside a wooden barnhouse. This cosy country-style home is surrounded by breathtaking views and boasts a double spa in the living room, a gas log fire and a private balcony with a BBQ.

    Yarra Valley & The Dandenong Ranges

    The Dandenong Ranges are located approximately 35 kilometres (21.7 mi) east of Melbourne, while the Yarra Valley is a little further along, about 90 kilometres (56 mi) northeast of the CBD. Both areas are breathtaking, and both are easily accessible on a day trip from the state’s capital.

    With the Yarra River at its heart, the Yarra Valley is a world-renowned cool climate wine-producing region that offers its visitors a tempting array of wining and dining options. The many cellar doors dotting the verdant, rolling landscape offer either daylight opening hours or overnight accommodation for those who genuinely want to indulge.

    The Dandenong Ranges are a boon for nature lovers, photographers and those with a keen eye for natural beauty. Rolling, steep hills dip into seasoned gullies, with both covered in thick, ancient temperate rainforest. Mt Dandenong – the centrepiece – offers views of Greater Melbourne in the distance, with stands of tall Mountain Ash trees crowded by dense ferny undergrowth below.

    Your day here can be spent bushwalking, picnicking and wildlife spotting. Alternatively, head to Healesville Sanctuary for guaranteed wildlife encounters. 

    The Grampians

    Regardless of whether they have visited this wonderful region or not, almost all Australians have at least heard of Victoria’s Grampians! Located 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of Melbourne, this 413,210 acre (167,219 ha) Heritage Listed National Park is renowned for its striking natural beauty, impressive sandstone ranges and wealth of Indigenous rock art sites. The beauty of this area is difficult to express in words, but imagine – if you can – a succession of contrasting flat-topped sandstone mountains jutting majestically from the lush, thick emerald forest below.

    While the Grampians are accessible by people of all abilities, the region is a must-see for those who love participating in an active adventure. There are quite a number of half-day, full-day and even overnight hiking options in the region, which offer a number of route options, allowing you to see different features – all equally stunning and fascinating.

    On these hikes, you’ll also be delighted by the large numbers of native plant and animal species that can be spotted along the way, including kangaroos, wallabies, emus, echidnas and blooms of colourful wildflowers. Some of the standout areas within the Grampians National park include Halls Gap, MacKenzie Falls and Boroka Lookout.

    Healesville

    healesville

    For a splendid one day trip in Melbourne that’s guaranteed to please kids and grown-ups alike, there’s no place quite like Healesville. A haven for food and wine lovers, the region is enveloped by awe-inspiring scenery, iconic Australian wildlife, artistic inspiration, and award-winning wineries and restaurants.

    It’s also, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in Victoria with kids where little ones are given the opportunity to encounter rescued wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary or run wild at one of the many outdoor picnic grounds with playgrounds.

    • Encounter Aussie wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary. One of Victoria’s top places of interest is where you can meet rescued wombats, kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils, koalas, and more native animals. 
    • Have a picnic at Maroondah Reservoir Park. Pack a picnic and chill inside the considerable park space, or climb up to the dam wall for a gorgeous vista of Healesville from above.
    • Pop into some of the region’s finest wineries. Soak in views of rolling green hills and indulge in some of the state’s most delectable cuisine and wines.
    • Stay inside a glamping pod at a holiday park. Sleep inside an eco glamping pod with an ensuite bathroom and enjoy roaming the great outdoors.
    • Romantic vacay at a tiny house on the edge of a hill. Be awed by this adorable country-style cottage nestled on rolling green hills.
    • Experience living inside a luxury warehouse. Enjoy one of the most unique weekend trips from Melbourne by staying in a warehouse-style shed.

    Warburton

    Lovers of the outdoors, rejoice. Warburton is one of the most adorable country towns in Victoria you’ll come across and fall instantly in love with. 

    Located in the upper reaches of the Yarra River, the area is surrounded by lush, green mountains and age-old trees that soar into the skies. Take the opportunity to see some of the state’s most picturesque countryside via bicycle, 4WDing or on foot. 

    • Experience snow in winter on top of Mount Donna Buang. Drive up the windy road to the summit and experience snow play toboggan runs in the cold months.
    • Stroll through the majestic Redwood Forest. Pack a picnic and explore this magical forest lined with towering Californian Redwood trees.
    • Visit the Warburton Rainforest Gallery. Float along with enormous mountain ash and myrtle trees and be mesmerised by the beauty of this forest.
    • Spend the night inside an American-style eco barn. Prepare to be blown away by this collection of hand-built barn-style rooms tucked away in the Yarra State Forest.
    • Sleep inside an off-grid mudbrick house. Built with reclaimed timbers and handmade mudbricks, this rustic cottage is the perfect way to switch off.
    • Retreat into a Gaudi-inspire art house. Let your creative muse loose inside this artsy space and find inspiration for your next project.

    Victoria is famous for the Great Ocean Road, a stretch of road that takes in some of the most stunning coastline, national parks, enchanting towns and unspoilt areas that you will experience anywhere in the world.

    Best Places To Visit In Victoria
    1. The Great Ocean Road. ...
    2. Murray River. ...
    3. Melbourne. ...
    4. The Grampians. ...
    5. Mornington Peninsula. ...
    6. Yarra Valley. ...
    7. Wilsons Promontory. ...
    8. Mount Hotham.
     Free Things to Do in Victoria, BC
    • Take in the view at Inner harbour.
    • Admire ancient totems at Thunderbird Park.
    • Explore Market Square.
    • Picnic at Beacon Hill Park.
    • Discover Victoria's Chinatown.
    • Hike through Mount Douglas Park.
    • Browse Victoria's Antique Row.
    • Tour the Parliament Buildings.
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