It may be the smallest state in mainland Australia, but Victoria certainly packs a wallop when it comes to things to do and see. From a foodie binge in the country’s second-largest city to hiking multi-day trails in the Grampians or sipping wine in the upper headwaters of the Yarra Valley, there’s something for everyone in this southeastern state.
Victoria is home to Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne, so wherever you’re coming from, it’s pretty easy to get to. You’ll most likely be flying into Melbourne Airport since it’s one of the two largest in the country (the second being Sydney) and is serviced by around 30 international airlines and a host of domestic operators.
Melbourne Airport is roughly 25 minutes from the city by car, taxi or the 24-hour Skybus shuttle.
Best Times To Visit
When you take your trip to Victoria really depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for.
Summer is, of course, peak season and runs between December and March. Many of Victoria’s attractions will be in full swing, with the Great Ocean Road at its busiest, the beaches thronging with revelers, and some of the country’s most famous events taking place – such as the Australian Open Tennis.
However, if you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). The city is slightly cooler and the hiking trails are either in full bloom or glowing golden.
Things to see and do
With so many options, you’ll never be left wondering about what to do in Victoria, but here are some of the highlights that will make your trip unforgettable.
Melbourne is likely to be your first stop in Victoria; it’s also one of the state’s biggest attractions with an eclectic mix of cultures and boasts the prestigious title of “The World’s Most Livable City” according to The Economist. If you like food then Melbourne is a must-see; offering a range of coffees, wines, sweets, and dishes that would make any gastronome blush.
Beyond the fine fare, there are plenty of things to do in Melbourne, with the city being considered the sports hub of the country; if swinging bats isn’t your thing then there are plenty of opportunities to shop, enjoy cultural events, or simply soak in the architecture.
Great Ocean Road & the Twelve Apostles
Ever dreamed of cruising down the open road, an ocean breeze whipping through your hair as the sun beats down? If so, the street you were sailing down was probably the Great Ocean Road. It’s an Australian National Heritage listed road that stretches 243km (151mi) between the cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by soldiers returning from WWI in remembrance of the fallen, it is the largest war memorial in the world.
While you may not have time to drive the entire leg, you can take a trip along part of it to check out the 12 Apostles – a dozen towering rock stacks rising straight out of the ocean. If you time it right, the Australian sunrise and sunset throw these monoliths into brilliant relief.
Grampians National Park
Australia is famed for its wildlife, and where better to see it than in one of the most spectacular national parks in the country? The Grampians National Park hosts hundreds of species of birds as well as dozens of mammals, reptiles, and fish. Some of the park’s more photogenic inhabitants include koalas, kangaroos, emus, and wallabies. If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the Grampians’ smaller creatures such as sugar gliders, nocturnal possums and the spiny echidna that wander the park in warmer months.
Designated as an area of natural beauty, there are a whole range of spectacular walks, with everything from a gentle 2km romp to the newly-opened multi-day Grampians Peaks Trail. If you’re looking for something in between, there are half-day trails such as the 9.6km (6mi) Wonderland Loop Hike, which will lead you to all of the park’s highlights including Pinnacle Lookout.
If you fancy striking off from the mainland, Phillip Island is just 75 kilometres from Melbourne and offers pristine beaches, amazing wildlife (including a famous penguin colony), and plenty of activities, such as the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. You can get there by car via the bridge at San Remo or on a guided tour.
This stunning area of Victoria refers to the upper regions of the Yarra River and is home to a thriving wine industry, making it the perfect place to enjoy a glass of Australian bubbly. Beyond the drinks on offer, the area also has beautiful walking trails and plenty of wildlife in its numerous parks.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Known locally as ‘The Prom’, this 50,500-hectare park gives you the chance to stroll down beaches, wander through rainforests, and spot some of the region’s most famous animals including kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and emus. Stare out across the water and you might see whales, dolphins, orcas, sea lions, seals and penguins. There are plenty of trails to choose from, ranging from a couple of kilometers to full-day and all the way up to multi-day overnight trips.
From good food to fine wines, cute marsupials to breathtaking natural beauty, and all of the possible weathers in between – Victoria not only has it all, but has it in spades!