From towering rainforests, ski resorts and endless golden bays, to craggy ocean cliffs, rolling green hills and red sandy deserts – discover the diversity and beauty of Victoria's regions.
Many people travel within Victoria for its natural attractions, history, local food and wine, or to participate in the major sporting, fashion and cultural events.
Food and wine lovers know the state for its superb fresh produce extensive wineries, gourmet food producers and award-winning restaurants. For an overwhelming choice of ?ne food, take a scenic drive through the Yarra Valley near Melbourne or around the Milawa Gourmet Region in the King Valley and sample delicious cheeses, mustards and honey. From Melbourne's array of superb restaurants to the citrus fruits of Mildura and the fresh seafood at Lakes Entrance, Victoria is a food lover's paradise.
Victoria also serves up lashings of history. In its earliest days, this was a state besotted with gold. By the mid-19th century, tens of thousands of prospectors had travelled to Victoria's goldsfields with their picks and prospecting pans. Now, these towns have become lively modern cities, balancing stunning period architecture with art galleries, cosmopolitan cafés and luxury retreats.
At Phillip Island Nature Park, visitors can meet koalas and watch the Little Penguins as they waddle out of the ocean at sunset. Try Logans Beach near Warrnambool to see Southern Right Whales as they return to the waters to calve. Moving inland, Daylesford is the spa capital of Victoria, where visitors can sample the rejuvenating mineral waters.
Elsewhere, natural wonders like the rugged Grampians provide archetypal Victorian bushland: ancient yet beautiful. The Great Ocean Road, with its scenic coastline, is another unforgettable icon of regional Victoria. The majestic Murray River, with its breathtaking sunsets, stretches across the top of the state, while the Great Alpine Road offers endless views of snow-tipped mountains, fields of wildflwers and rustic country towns, before arriving at the spectacular Gippsland Lakes, Australia's largest inland lake system.
Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, is set around the shores of Victoria's Port Phillip Bay and boasts a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, with chic boutiques, buzzing cafés and bars, immaculate gardens and festivals and popular sporting events. The city sits on the Yarra River, about five kilometres from the bay.
One glance at a map and it's obvious Melbourne is a planned city: a tidy, balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of restraint lies a restless creative energy. Discover the work of talented local artists, architects and designers in stylish fashion boutiques, buzzing laneway cafés, hidden galleries and trendy bars.
Melbourne is a city of style and sophistication, with an inviting cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is a melting pot of cultures reflected in its microcosm of restaurants, cafés, bistros and bars. Melbourne's dining offers a dizzying spread of great cuisines, serving meals from the substantial and classic to the truly exotic.
From locally designed originals to the best of international fashion brands you'll be spoilt for choice in Melbourne's shopping precincts. Explore the inner city shopping centres and the city's myriad of arcades and laneways.
The CBD is made up of many precincts – enclaves with their own distinct flavour and charm. Some are just a lane or two, while others cover a suburb or a busy CBD street. Spend time experiencing the richness of Melbourne’s different cultures from the Greek Quarter around Lonsdale Street, Italian in Lygon street, Vietnamese in Victoria Street to the Chinese culture in Chinatown and the upmarket Paris End of Collins Street.
YARRA VALLEY & DANDENONG RANGES
Sit back and allow the experts to introduce you to the famous food and wine of the Yarra Valley region. Join a luxury food and wine tour or customise your route in consultation with your guide to take in some of Victoria’s best cellar doors, produce, and fine dining.
If you prefer to go it alone, there are several self-drive touring routes in the region, including the Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail. Discover and sample the best produce and wine in the Yarra Valley at farm gates, roadside stalls, wineries, and gourmet outlets. You can even take to the skies and arrive at a winery in a hot air balloon.
Healesville is famous for its internationally-renowned wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 200 species of Australian native animals. Surrounded by scenic countryside, the town is an important food and wine centre and host to the annual Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival. Year-round, visit local vineyards to sample local wines and talk to their makers at cellar doors.
Yarra Glen is an agricultural and dairy town in the heart of the Yarra Valley wine and food region and is an ideal base for enjoying cellar door tastings and sampling local produce. A short distance from Melbourne, Yarra Glen is a popular weekend getaway with a host of indulgent activities and attractions.
For over 100 years the Dandenong Ranges have been an idyllic retreat for Melburnians wanting to take the mountain air and escape the bustle of city life. Today visitors flock to the romantic hilltop villages for luxury hideaways, beautiful gardens, and magnificent tall forests and views.
DAYLESFORD & THE MACEDOM RANGES
Take a trip to Daylesford and live happily ever after. Just a stone's throw from Melbourne, stay in boutique accommodation, sample the mineral waters, explore antique shops and galleries, go boating on the lake, or relax with a glass of wine and enjoy fine dining. When will your fairytale start?
As you drive along the Mornington Peninsula you could be forgiven for thinking that you have left Australia behind. Rolling hills of olive groves and vineyards meet accommodation with sea views, and local produce is served in romantic restaurants and sold at bustling markets. All an hour from Melbourne.
Phillip Island is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. Experience Australian wildlife in its natural habitat with penguins, seals, koalas and birds. Take to the track on the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit or see it from the skies on a helicopter tour.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD
The Great Ocean Road region hugs the contours of Victoria's rugged south west coast and offers visitors one of Australia's greatest and most spectacular coastal drives.
Start your journey in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula and discover beautiful beaches, great eateries, a fascinating heritage and an enormous range of recreational opportunities from fishing and golfing to diving and surfing. Take in the colourful and lively ambience of bayside Geelong, Victoria's second largest city, or visit quaint Queenscliff and discover the town's rich maritime history, excellent restaurants and heritage hotels.
Along the coast, seaside resort towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay are the perfect base for a seaside escape. They offer stunning beaches and water sports as well as some of Australia's best rainforest scenery in the nearby Otway Ranges.
One of the most visited stretches of the road is Port Campbell. Buffeted by wild seas and fierce winds, the coastline around Port Campbell has been sculpted over millions of years to form a series of striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean. Known as the Twelve Apostles, they are one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Victoria.
The Great Ocean Road region also has a rich maritime past. Historic towns such as Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland allow you to enjoy seafaring village life, with their fishing wharves, beautifully preserved colonial buildings and maritime museums recounting the stories of ships that have foundered off the rugged shipwreck coast.
The Grampians offers an abundance of winter holiday accommodation and adventure activities. The superb national and state parks provide a diverse array of native wildlife, picturesque walking tracks and breathtaking scenic attractions.
The discovery of gold in Victoria's central region over 150 years ago has left a rich and lasting legacy in almost every town in the Goldfields. Tour the impressive Victorian streetscapes of Bendigo and Ballarat with their grand hotels and public buildings or explore the quaint shopfronts and miners' cottages in townships such as Maldon, Castlemaine and Dunolly.
Learn about gold rush history at one of the region's historic attractions. Sovereign Hill, The Eureka Centre and the Central Deborah Gold Mine all offer a fascinating insight into life above and below the ground during the 1850s and 1860s. Set on a former gold mining site, Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum recreating the gold rush era in fascinating detail. Take time to speak to the storekeepers and miners or pan for gold.
Take a break from exploring the goldfields at a stylish local cafe or restaurant. Local restaurants make the most of the fine local produce of the region, and you can also sample the local wines, olives, apples and more, direct from the farm gate or cellar door.
The region also boasts outstanding galleries and gardens. Relax and unwind in one of the elegant parklands and historic botanic gardens or see superb collections of local and European painting at two of Australia's finest regional galleries - the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery and Bendigo Art Gallery.
Visit the famous Gippsland Lakes, the inspiring scenery of Gippsland's high country, the lush fern gullies of the Tarra Bulga National Park, Mt Baw Baw's beautiful wildflowers, spectacular limestone caves near Buchan and magnificent river views at Little River Gorge. With its finest and freshest produce, Gippsland is also the perfect destination for food and wine lovers.
Head to the Murray region to enjoy the great climate, historic towns, superb food and wine and endless opportunities for outdoor activities along one of the world's great rivers.
The Murray River is one of the longest navigable rivers in the world, stretching 2,700 kilometres from the mountains of the Great Dividing Range in north-eastern Victoria to journey's end near Adelaide in South Australia.
The township of Echuca-Moama offers a unique insight into the region's rich riverboat history. It is home to the largest paddle steamer fleet in Australia and has an authentic working port where you can see riverboats being restored. Many are still working and run short cruises down the Murray. Alternatively, hire a houseboat and explore the river at your own pace.
Navigate the river, stopping along the way to experience the restaurants, wineries and golf courses that line its banks.
Mildura is known for its fresh local produce, an array of award winning wineries and superb culinary offerings served up at popular restaurants like Stefano's. It is also a good base for exploring the Australian outback and the World Heritage listed Mungo National Park with its spectacular sculpted sandhills and ancient Aboriginal history.
While Echuca-Moama, Mildura and Albury Wodonga are among the most popular destinations on the Murray, there are many other towns worth visiting while you travel throughout the region.