With more than 100 parks and reserves throughout the state, Victoria might not be big, but it has a lot to offer! The sweeping coastline with its enticing beaches, to the national parks, lakes and mountains offering a range of both summer and winter options – including skiing, hiking and cycling; the Twelve Apostles, through to tall tree forests; the Murray River and the largest inland waterway in the Southern Hemisphere to the deserts filled with bright wildflowers, the landscapes of Victoria are stunning and offer an experience not to be missed.
The capital Melbourne is a bustling cosmopolitan city with an artistic heritage and with dramatic towers, art galleries, restaurants and charming river.
Daylesford is located in the Shire of Hepburn in Victoria and is a former gold mining town between Castlemaine and Creswick. It was founded in 1852 with the finding of alluvial gold. Take a walk through the town and you will find a charming character that remains from the mining period. If you come across Albert Street and Vincent Street you will find the centre of the town, dotted with history, including the post office which was built in 1867 and the town hall build in 1882. Also worth the visit are St Peter's Catholic Church and the elegant Classical Revival courthouse, both of which were built in 1863.
The area around the town is renowned for the natural spring mineral spas and with the mountains having been formed by volcanic activity around 5 million years ago, the region contains as many as 80% of the mineral springs in Victoria.
The “Mighty Murray River” is 2,520 kilometres in length, starting in the Australian Alps at Kosciusko National Park in New South Wales, traipsing through the gorgeous inland plains into Victoria and finishing when it hits the ocean at Lake Alexandrina in South Australia. The Murray region is home to some of the country’s most stunning and fascinating National Parks and reserves, particularly Mungo National Park and the Murray-Sunset National Park, as well as Barmah State Park and Forest – home to the giant river red gum, and Burrowa-Pine National Park which houses one of Australia’s largest monoliths. There are plenty of towns and villages, with much to see and do along the way.
Mildura is a town on the edge of the outback in the north west of Victoria. The Mildura region was transformed into a rich agricultural region in the 1800s and is a popular destination for tourists and a bustling city. Known as the centre of Victoria's Food Bowl , it is a major producer of citrus fruits, oranges in particular, and is also well known for its wineries. Mildura is an easy port for paddle steamers and cruisers to take to the Murray River.
Albury - Wodonga
Albury-Wodonga incorporates the twin cities of Albury and Wodonga and is a modern area with country charm. The Murray River flows between the two cities, coming face to face with rolling valleys and flourishing farmland. The area was once a busy trade route for paddle steamers and river lifestyle is very much alive here, with an abundance of water sport opportunities. Visit the Bonegilla Army Camp which was built during the Second World War and was the first Australian home to more than 200,000 post war migrants. Huon Hill will astound you with 360 degree views of Albury-Wodonga, Lake Hume and the snowfields.
Phillip Island is located just 90 minutes from Melbourne and is home to an abundant array of wildlife, alluring history and breathtaking coastal scenery. Observe the world’s smallest penguins waddle across the shore, awe at the beauty of breaching humpback whales and have close encounters with wild Koala’s all in one destination. Phillip Island is a haven for any nature lover. Activities include the penguin parade, tree top boardwalks at the Koala Conservation Centre, a catamaran ride to see the Humpback Whales is you’re there at the right time of year, visit to Nobbies Centre - the perfect place to observe Australian fur seals and taking a coastal walk at Cape Woolamai.
Geelong’s bayside waterfront precinct is a cultural paradise and with all the activities such as bay cruises, chopper flights, carousel rides, promenade walks and restaurant mastery you will need to plan a longer stay. Art connoisseurs will love the Geelong Gallery and its world of splendid 19th and 20th century paintings and decorative arts carefully curated, and the gallery of genuine Aboriginal art and craft is certainly a place not to miss. Enjoy a didgeridoo performance or be enthralled by Dreamtime stories at Narana Creations. The area is also renowned as one of Australia’s truly iconic wine regions.
The Bellarine Peninsula
Village life is alive and well on The Bellarine Peninsula where you will find yourself entering into a mini-cluster of seaside charm, relaxed ambience and little-known foodie delights in Portarlington, Ocean Grove, Queenscliff, Drysdale, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads. The best of the Bellarine’s gourmet experiences is within the Bellarine Taste Trail. And Queenscliff’s grand colonial hotels, streetscapes, antique shops and steam railway are loaded with charm.
Ballarat is the gateway to the Goldfields region and is a city filled with colonial architecture along broad, tree-lined streets Experience the hustle and bustle of life on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s and pan for real gold, ride in horse-drawn carriages, or travel underground on a tour of the Red Hill Mine. Ballarat is also home to the country’s oldest and largest regional gallery, which has an exciting program of temporary exhibitions. Ballarat Wildlife Park is home to an abundance of Australian wildlife within 16 hectares of natural bushland. Take a walk through the Ballarat Botanic Gardens, visit Kryal Castle, Australia’s only medieval adventure park, or take time out and explore the vineyards around Ballarat which are famous for subtly-fragrant pinot noir, chardonnay and elegant sparkling wines.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a popular holiday destination, particular for the infamous Twelve Apostles which rise majestically from the Southern Ocean. Visit at sunrise and sunset to experience the ever changing colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun. You can drive along the road, or take a walk along the length of it. The Shipwreck Coast, the bustling seaside city of Warrnambool and the village of Port Fairy all offer rich experiences, while the stacks that tower from the ocean in the Bay of Islands create a haunting natural landscape. Warrnambool is known as Victoria’s Southern Right Whale nursery and you can take a step back in time and visit Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. You will also want to visit Griffiths Island and Port Fairy.
When in Victoria, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit the five best known wine regions - Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Sunbury and Macedon Ranges. Just a short drive from Melbourne, you can experience a range of different blends unique to the climate, from chardonnay, to shiraz and pinot noir varieties. While in the wine regions, be sure to take time out to visit the cellar doors, as well as tasting local produce – fresh meats, cheeses and gourmet foods. See the coastline and volcanic plains, to lush valleys and hinterland. The wine regions of Victoria have something to offer everyone.
Hepburn Regional Park
Hepburn Regional Park includes the well known Mount Franklin Reserve, as well as Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, Sailors Falls and Central Springs Reserve. There are walking trails to explore these areas, including the Tipperary Walking Track which is around 16 kilometres long and takes around 5 hours. You can either start the walk at Lake Daylesford or the Central Springs Reserve and the walk will take you along Wombat Creek to Twin Bridges, crossing the Midland Highway and following the path of Sailor’s Creek to Tipperary Springs. Continue on to Bryces Flat, Breakneck Gorge, The Blowhole, Liberty and Golden Springs, further to Jackson’s Lookout to experience stunning views of the region and finally finishing at the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.
Mungo National Park
The Mungo National Park is a significant Indigenous site, with evidence of life dating back almost 40,000 years. It is World Heritage Listed and of great significance to the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi and Southern Paakantyi people. You can drive the entire 70 kilometre loop through the park, take a tour, or visit one of the many picnic sites. Most of the drive is unpaved, but its drivable in all kinds of vehicle in dry weather. Home to 17 ancient dry lakes, the central feature of is Lake Mungo, which is the second largest of the lakes. It was at Lake Mungo that the remains of Mungo Man – the oldest human remains ever discovered in Australia, and Mungo Lady – the oldest known human to have been cremated, were both discovered. There is a visitor information centre where you can grab yourself a map, and an old woolshed, as well as the Walls of China, a 30 kilometre long dune formation.
Murray-Sunset National Park
The Murray-Sunset National Park is the second largest national park in Victoria and has four designated wilderness zones. Popular for 4WDing, bushwalking and camping, the park is one of the few remaining semi-arid regions in the entire world and is best known for its gorgeous Pink Lakes, which change colour throughout the year from a glistening white to deep pink. The colour change is caused when a red pigment is secreted from the algae and is best seen early morning or late afternoon. The park is also where you will find Victoria's largest flower, the Murray Lily, and the rarest bird in Australia, the Black-Eared Miner. The park is littered with billabongs, grasslands, dunes and saltbrush flats.
DON'T MISS MALBOURNE
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Hot Air Balloon ride over the city
Shrine of Remembrance
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
A ride on the City Circle tram
Old Melbourne Gaol
Eureka Skydeck 88
Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Queen Victoria Market