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Victoria

​​Self-drive experiences from Victoria

​Civilised, picturesque and incredibly diverse in its landscapes and lifestyles, Victoria is small enough to get around in next to no time. Explore the Great Ocean Road, head for the green fields of the country, sample food and wine that compares with the world’s best and live life the way it’s meant to be.

Sandy beaches, snow-peaked mountains, zoos and aquariums, historic sites, bars and cafes, white-water rafting, spas, wildlife and wineries, or driving along Victoria’s breathtaking coast – everywhere you turn there’s always something special to see and do in Victoria.

Enjoy a bird’s eye view of vineyards and farmland from a hot-air balloon, pull on your walking boots and follow tracks and trails through the Grampians, or experience the vibrant nightlife, shopping and food and wine of Melbourne.

In Melbourne, come equipped with a giddy sense of adventure – you'll need it if you're to get anywhere near the heart of the city labyrinth. It's easy to lose yourself in Melbourne.

With a huge variety of landscapes, a welcoming capital city, and a decidedly mild climate, Victoria can’t fail to impress... in fact you’ll love every piece of it! Victoria Tourism Website

Major Driving Routes

Victoria's compact size means you can travel from high in the mountains to the coast to the city in a short space of time. Whether you drive a touring route, follow an itinerary or make your own way around, you'll be graced with breathtaking landscapes, historic towns to explore and local food and wine:

  • Great Alpine Road
    From the north-east of Victoria to the heart of Gippsland, you'll find local food and wine to sample and mountain vistas to marvel at
  • The Great Southern Touring Route
    See awesome coastal cliffs, towering rock stacks, rugged mountain ranges, famous surf beaches and underground gold mines
  • Capital & Country Touring Route
    Chart your course from Melbourne to Sydney via the nation's capital, Canberra while passing through some of Victoria's most attractive towns
  • Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive
    Take in the beauty of the coastline between Melbourne and Sydney. See national parks, wildlife, surf beaches and pristine lakes
  • Touring the Murray
    Follow one of the world's great rivers from the high country to desert country. Take the time to visit towns and sample local wine and produce

Wine & Food

Victoria boasts over 350 wineries in 22 distinct wine regions. Enjoy tastings at the cellar door and dine on local produce at winery restaurants. From the cool-climate varieties of the Yarra Valley to the big reds of Rutherglen, you won't have to travel far to taste fantastic wine in Victoria.

Around Melbourne
Melbourne's Surrounds are unique – five winegrowing regions within 90 minutes of the city. And where there's good wine there's always great food, markets and festivals.

Western Victoria
Head west to mountains, Goldfields and four distinctive wine regions. Follow the Great Ocean Road and the Great Grape Road tasting spectacular wines along the way.

North-west Victoria
With its Mediterranean climate tempered by the Murray River, north-west Victoria is home to vast orchards, citrus and olive groves, grain fields and of course, vineyards.

Central Victoria
Stretching from the bountiful Goulburn Valley, west to the opulent city of Bendigo, east to the magnificent High Country, and north to Echuca on the Murray.

North-east Victoria
Five individual regions – Rutherglen, Beechworth, Glenrowan, King Valley and Alpine Valleys – producing a diverse range of wines from old-style fortifieds to the newer Italian varietals.

South-east Victoria
Head east to Gippsland and three separate sub-regions with their own microclimates and wine styles. Discover over 100 individual vineyards and about 30 small, family-owned wineries.

Nature & Scenic

Experience the beauty and diversity of natural Victoria. Walk through tall trees, through manicured gardens or along wild coastlines, head out to the desert, take in the view from the top of a mountain, or observe Australian birds and animals in the wild.

The Twelve Apostles are spectacular rock stacks that rise up to 70 metres from the Southern Ocean. The 20 million year old formations are seen best from lookouts between Apollo Bay and Port Campbell.

Croajingolong National Park extends for 100 kilometres along the wilderness coast of Victoria's East Gippsland. It protects remote beaches, tall forests, heathland, rainforest, estuaries and granite peaks.

Grampians National Park is renowned for rugged mountain ranges and stunning wildflower displays, and the park is a popular destination . The 167,000-hectare park is home to abundant bird life and almost a third of Victoria's plant species.

Art & Culture

Victoria's public galleries house some of Australia’s most important colonial and contemporary works, while private galleries, both large and small, showcase the works of talented local artisans and craftspeople.

  • The National Gallery of Victoria now occupies two homes within the one magnificent arts precinct.
  • The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square exhibits pieces from the gallery's 20,000 Australian art works.
  • The revamped NGV International on St Kilda Road is a breathtaking four-level venue displaying collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American Art.

Take the Aboriginal Heritage walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens or visit the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre at the Melbourne Museum to discover more about the customs and rich heritage of the Aboriginal people in Melbourne and Victoria.

Beach & Coastal Encounters

Victoria has almost 2,000 kilometres of coastline, which stretches from the South Australian border to the New South Wales border in the north-east corner of Victoria and fronts the Southern Ocean, Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea.

The Victorian coastline is always changing, due to weather, wind, waves, and tides. The landscape ranges from sand dunes, wetlands and heath land, to forests and woodland, sheer cliffs, rocky shores and sandy beaches.

National, state and coastal parks protect much of the coastline, with more than 20 marine parks and sanctuaries protecting the waters up to 5.5 kilometres offshore.

  • Great Ocean Road: The Great Ocean Road has some of Australias best beaches. Discover kilometres of clean, golden sand and crashing waves all along the coast.
  • 90 Mile Beach: One of Gippsland's highlights, the Ninety Mile Beach is one of the longest and most beautiful stretches of sand in the world offering a wealth of beach activities.
  • Mornington Peninsula: Mornington Peninsula spoils you for choice with calm sandy beaches that extend from Frankston near Melbourne along the length of the Peninsula.

Wildlife Experiences

Victoria’s fascinating native wildlife includes kangaroos, koalas, wombats, platypus, echidnas and lovable Little Penguins, which parade nightly along the beach. You can find any number of these creatures by visiting one of the following attractions:

  • Ballarat Wildlife Park
    Located only 1½ hours from Melbourne you can experience close contact with koalas, wombats, kangaroos and even crocodiles. Ballarat Wildlife and Reptile Park houses a rich collection of Australian wildlife in 16 hectares of natural bushland. York Street, Ballarat Open daily 9am – 5.30pm
  • Healesville Sanctuary
    Located only one hour from Melbourne, Healesville Sanctuary is one of Australia’s premier wildlife parks with more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles, beautifully displayed in their natural habitats. Badger Creek Road, Healesville Open daily 9am – 5pm
  • Melbourne Zoo
    Located five minutes from the city you can view more than 350 animals in brilliant botanical settings. Wander through an African and Asian Rainforest displaying gorillas, pygmy hippopotamuses, mandrills, tigers and otters. There is also an extensive collection of Australian animals to see including koalas, kangaroos, wombats, platypus, penguins and seals. Other highlights include the Butterfly House and an authentic Japanese Garden. Elliott Avenue, Parkville Open daily 9am – 5pm
  • Werribee Open Range Zoo
    An Out of Africa adventure just 30 minutes out of Melbourne! Head out on a guided safari tour through wild grassy plains and sweeping river terraces rich with rhino, giraffe, antelope, zebra and hippo. Walk a fascinating trail to discover cheetah and monkeys at play then come face to face with Lions on the Edge.K Road, Werribee.Open daily 9am – 5pm

Quick Facts

Category

Details

Population: 

3.7 million

Climate:Despite its small size, the Victorian climate varies across the state. The north has much drier and warmer weather than the south. Australia's seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. The climate can be characterised as warm to hot in summer (December to February), mild in autumn (March to May), cold and damp in winter (June to August), and cool in spring (September to November).
Cultural Mix:More than one in four Victorians was born overseas. In order, the top 10 other countries of birth for Victorians are: United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, New Zealand, Germany, China, Netherlands, India, and Malta.
Famous For:
  • Food
    Great food is essential in Melbourne. Like dressing well, Melburnians are wired to eat well.
    Melbourne’s European and Asian migrants transformed the bland Anglo-Saxon table into a feast of flavours.
  • Sport
    In Melbourne, football and cricket have been joined since birth by their shared home – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This one place is both the sacred site of football in winter and a magnet to cricket addicts in summer.
  • Melbourne boasts no less than 101 football ovals and cricket pitches in inner Melbourne alone. And in greater Melbourne there are more footy ovals and cricket pitches (over 2150) than there are churches or schools.               
    The youngest jockey to win the Melbourne Cup was a 13-year old Aborigine, Peter St Albans, riding Briseis in 1876.
    The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861. The winner, Archer, took a prize of 170 pounds and a gold watch. Today, the total prize pool is around $4 million, $2 million for first place.
  • Festivals
    Melbourne loves a party, preferably an arty party and preferably with a parade.
    Each year the city celebrates Moomba in March, the Melbourne Fashion Festival also in March, Comedy Festival in April, the Melbourne International Film Festival in July, the Age Melbourne Writer’s Festival in August, the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September, the Melbourne Festival in October and the Melbourne Cup in November.
    It’s a measure of the continuing increases in the city’s population size, mix and sophistication that Melbourne can support so much festival activity.
Did you know...
  • The key to Melbourne’s liveability lies in two major design elements. First, the garden wedges. Great chunks of green break into the metropolis, Second is the glorious width of the main streets – 99 feet wide.
  • Although Vegemite is no longer Australian owned, it is still only made in Melbourne.
Transport:Victoria's network of first-class roads, connecting the state’s cities and towns as well as interstate locations, means it is easy to reach your destination by car, motorbike or bicycle. Various train and bus companies connect Melbourne with intrastate and interstate destinations, while scheduled flights service regional centres. Find out the best ways to get to Victoria's regions.

Getting around Melbourne is easy thanks to an excellent train and tram system, a good taxi service and an easy-to-navigate gridlike city map.

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