Welcome to Victoria

people walking along Torquay beach with one of the local elders

Take a walk along Torquay beach with one of the local elders. Photo: Tourism Victoria

Welcome to Victoria, which is on the South East Coast of Australia. Victoria offers every experience possible, from the thriving trendy city with all the trimmings to an eclectic mix of wineries, mountains and snowfields, rugged coastlines, to goldfields, and rare wildlife. So let's dig a little deeper and find out just what Victoria has to offer.


a map of Victoria



Everything in Victoria is within easy reach so you never really have to travel far to get to the next big thing.

If you're basing yourself in Melbourne, you can experience most of Victoria as day trips. But, if you have time, aim to spend a few days in the different regions so you can really immerse yourself into all things Victoria.

GETTING AROUND MELBOURNE:  The city has a great public transport network including Melbourne’s iconic trams. Jump on the free City Circle Tram to get to know Melbourne.

Things to do in Melbourne

street artists at work in Melbourne's laneways

See street artists at work in Melbourne's laneways. Photo: Tourism Australia

MELBOURNE has incredible food, fashion, culture. There’s amazing cafes and restaurants dotted around the city and tucked away in Melbourne’s laneways. In between sniffing out great food and coffee, do a little retail therapy. That's right, Melbourne is Australia’s shopping capital and has everything from leading Australian and international designers to quirky upcoming labels. 

Melbourne also hosts many international music, film and comedy festivals, plus major sporting events such as the Australian Open Tennis, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, and the Melbourne Cup (that attracts the best racehorses from all over the world).

Getting there:  Get to Melbourne by plane, train, or driving. (Flights are relatively cheap and you have plenty of options.) 

Things to do in the Yarra Valley

hot air balloons flying over the De Bortoli Wine Estate in the Yarra Valley.

Go hot air ballooning over the De Bortoli Wine Estate in the Yarra Valley.
Photo: De Bortoli Wines

 

Getting there: The Yarra Valley is just outside the CBD and just over an hours’ drive east of Melbourne. You can catch public transport to the Yarra Valley if you don’t have your own wheels, or there are plenty of tours to the Yarra.

The Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s acclaimed wine regions with more than 70 wineries, so take your time exploring what the local grapes produce. Another popular way to explore the Yarra is to float high in the sky in a hot air balloon. Of course, you'll have to come back down so you can sample more vineyards.  In between wineries, there's many a cafe or restaurant to choose from serving up mouthwatering dishes.

Nearby is Healesville Sanctuary (a 19-minute drive from the Yarra Valley). This is home to more than 200 species of Australian animals, from koalas, kangaroos, platypus, wombats and emus. Healesville Sanctuary treats around 2000 sick and injured native animals every year, and focuses on protecting endangered Australian animals.

Meet the zookeepers and vet team who care for these beautiful creatures. Get a selfie with some of the local koalas, kangaroos, platypus, or even a python if you dare! There’s different animal shows and ranger tours, plus the parrots and birds of prey can’t help but show off their talents.

Things to do on the Great Ocean Road

a group of friends at one of the lookouts along the Great Ocean Road. They are getting a great view of the Twelve Apostles.

Stop off along the Great Ocean Road for unforgettable views of the Twelve Apostles. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: The start of the Great Ocean Road is a 90-minute drive South West from Melbourne. 

The Great Ocean Road takes you along Victoria’s stunning coastline. The Great Ocean Road is famous for the ‘Twelve Apostles’ – which are stunning limestone stacks that sit on the edge of the ocean. NOTE: There used to be 12 Apostles but years of wind and erosion has dwindled them down to 8 apostles.

The Great Ocean Road stretches 276 km and also happens to be the world’s biggest War Memorial. It was built by soldiers who returned from World War 1 (between the years 1919 to 1932). There are plaques along the road telling stories of these men who survived war and then built this road by hand.

Pack a camera and a jumper - the Great  Ocean Road is gorgeous but cold all year long.

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Dandenong Ranges & Puffing Billy Railway

a little girl standing on the step of the Puffing Billy steam train

Toot toot! All aboard the Puffing Billy steam train

Getting there: The Dandenong Ranges are an hour drive east (35km) from the city centre.

  • Go bushwalking or mountain bike riding through the Dandenong Ranges. These lush green mountains are filled with all kinds of outdoor adventures. From June to September, the Dandenong Ranges become a winter wonderland with 30 km of ski trails. These are Melbourne’s closest ski fields and are popular for tobogganing or cross country skiing at Lake Mountain or Mount Donna Buang.

  • Step aboard the Puffing Billy steam railway and travel through the magnificent Dandenong Ranges. Puffing Billy is a 100-year-old steam train, and is one of Victoria’s most loved attractions.

  • Go bushwalking or mountain bike riding mountain in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. One unmissable track is the 1000 Steps Walk. This 3km walk takes 1.5 hours and pays tribute to the soldiers who fought and died on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea (during World War II.)  Walk through tree ferns, past native wildlife and birdlife including Lyrebirds. When you reach the top, take the Lyrebird Track circuit.

  • Gardeners and flower lovers must visit the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens. This is a blast of colour all year round with endless rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and daffodils set over 104-acres.

  • Take a walk around the Alfred Nicholas Gardens and enjoy the waterfalls, water features, and ornamental lake. These stunning gardens were planted by the brothers who created Aspro painkillers -  Alfred and George Nicholas.  

  • Cloudhill Gardens has 20 very different gardens divided up by stone walls. There’s magnolias, Japanese weeping maples and rhododendrons, plus a fabulous restaurant serving up traditional Devonshire teas.

  • Visit some of the local fruit and berry orchards and pick your own buckets of peaches, cherries, strawberries and raspberries in the spring and summer months. Take the tasting path and see which farms where you can ‘self-serve’ your own fruit. U-Pick.

Visit Phillip Island

a little girl smiling at the little penguins at Phillip Island Nature Park

What's not to love about the little penguins at Phillip Island Nature Park?

Getting there: Phillip Island is 90 minutes drive south from Melbourne. 

If you’re a penguin, seal, koala or bird, Phillip Island is pure heaven. If you’re a human, it’s just as amazing because you get to see these little guys in their own environment.

Phillip Island has a colony of 16,000 pairs of little penguins (also known as fairy penguins), over 300 bird species including pelicans, and hundreds of koalas.  It is also home to Australia’s largest fur seal colony – around 250,000 plus their 6,000 pups that are born each year. 
 

 a colony of little penguins waddling down the beach at Phillip Island Nature Park

Is there anything cuter than a colony of little penguins. Photo: Phillip Island Nature Park

The highlight of Phillip Island is the Penguin Parade where you get to watch the little Penguins waddle from the sea to their nests at dusk. Other great things to do on Phillip Island include:

  • the Nobbies Centre where you can do a virtual tour of the Antarctic, virtually pat a penguin or stroke a seal. 

  • the Koala Conservation Centre where hundreds of these furry friends can be seen dozing in the eucalyptus trees. 

  • a boat ride to Seal Rocks to see thousands of fur seals splashing around in the waves. 

  • gorgeous beaches where humans also swim, splash and play on the sand; or explore Churchill Island. 

Visit Wilsons Promontory National Park

A sea dragon at Wilsons Prom Marine park on the Mornington Peninsula

Swim past the sea dragons at Wilsons Prom Marine park.
Photo: Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism

 

Getting there: Head South to Wilsons Promontory National Park. Wilsons Promontory is 3-hour drive southeast from Melbourne. It’s at the very bottom of Victoria.

Wilsons Promontory National Park (also called Wilsons Prom) has remote coastal bushland trails, secluded beaches, the impressive granite cliffs of Mount Bishop or Mount Oberon, and wombats, kangaroos and emus.

Snorkel or dive at Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park. Swim past brightly coloured fish, corals, sea-dragons and Eastern Blue Groper in this underwater paradise. On land, there’s colonies of fur seals, little penguins and birds to entertain you. If you’re feeling energetic, take the 19km hike to the historic Wilsons Promontory Light House. You’ll need 6 hours each way for this walk.

Mornington Peninsula

The beach huts and people enjoying the water at one of the seaside towns on the Mornington Peninsula.

Fall in love with the seaside town of Mornington Peninsula.
Photo: Tourism Australia

 

Getting there: South East from Melbourne you'll discover the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island. The Mornington Peninsula is just an hours’ drive south-east from Melbourne.

The Mornington Peninsula is a collection of gorgeous seaside villages. When you tire of the beaches, there’s galleries, boutique shopping, and some of the world’s best natural springs and bathing experiences. In fact, there’s around 30 natural mineral spring pools, cave pools underground saunas for you to relax and rejuvenate.

Head to the Mornington’s hinterland and sample boutique wines from over 50 cellar doors, fresh farm-gate produce, artisan food delicacies, and award-winning restaurants. 

Visit Ballarat

a horse and carriage ride at the old gold mining town of Ballarat

Visit the old gold mining town of Ballarat. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: Ballarat is 1 hour and 40 minutes drive west from Melbourne.

Head to the historic town of Ballarat which is famous for its gold rush boom of the mid 1800’s. Step back in time and experience life in this gold rush town of Sovereign Hill where and everyone is in costume and character, you can go ‘panning for gold’, and you can take an underground mine adventure.

Visit Daylesford

Many people soaking in the hot springs of Daylesford.

Soak in the hot springs of Daylesford. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: Head West to Daylesford. Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges are 90 minutes drive from Melbourne.

Head to Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges for some rest and relaxation. Daylesford is renowned for its mineral waters and health and wellness spas. Nearby is the Macedon Ranges which was made famous by the book and movie mystery “Picnic at Hanging Rock’. 

Visit High Country & the Murray

a woman and her horses in the High Country.

Go horse riding in the High Country. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: Head North from Melbourne to the High Country and the Murray. The High Country is 2.5 hours drive North from Melbourne.

High Country has national parks, mountains, lakes, vineyards and boutique wineries, and gourmet food trails and restaurants.

During winter, the High Country transformed into the ski resorts of Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. In warmer months, these mountains are the playground for bushwalking, horse riding, cycling, scenic driving and fishing.

Take a paddle steamer up to Murray or hire your own houseboat and explore this long winding river. Stop off along the way and splash around on the river beaches.

You’ll also be able to indulge in some of the most delicious locally grown and foods and wines. This is also the place to find music, food and wine festivals.

 

 

Visit the Grampians

a waterfall in the Grampians

Breathe in the fresh mountain air in the Grampians. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: The Grampians is 3 hours west from Melbourne.

Head to the Grampians where you’ll find sandstone mountains and national parks, spectacular Aboriginal rock art, and over 1,000 wildflower species. If you love adventure, you’ve just hit the jackpot. Go hiking, rock climbing, fishing, canoeing, and wildlife watching.

Walks include:

  • the Piccaninny walk (2.4 km return – 1-1.5 hours) 

  • The Pyrenees walk (1 km return - 45 minutes). This walk takes you past waterfalls, cascades and blue gum forests.

  • The more energetic might want to do the Wonderland walk (9.6 km circuit, and takes between 4-5 hours). 

Visit some of the Aboriginal rock art sites and take an interpreted guided walk. There are four sites are in the Grampians national park (Billimina, Gulgurn Manj, Manja, and Ngamadjidj) and Bunjil’s is in Black Range Reserve near Stawell.

Choose Your Destination

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