Victoria may be one of Australia’s smallest States, but it is seriously big when it comes to offering diverse vacation experiences.
Picturesque coastal scenery follows the twists and turns of the spectacular Great Ocean Road. Vine-lined rolling hills cover the famed Yarra Valley with numerous cellar doors. Ancient, rugged sandstone mountain ranges provide stunning sunsets and outdoor experiences in the Grampians National Park.
The perfect visit to Victoria includes a few days in its capital city Melbourne before venturing beyond to get a real taste of what this State offers.
Discover the distinct fortes and flavors of Melbourne. Often described as cosmopolitan, the city has a large migrant population that continually influence the architecture and food. Stroll through Chinatown for some authentic cuisine; discover Richmond’s numerous Vietnamese stores, Carlton’s Italian restaurants, the Spanish influences in Fitzroy and the Lebanese eateries in Brunswick.
A rich coffee and café culture dominates Melbourne and visitors should really take the time to explore the many different flavors and creations throughout the city. Find numerous cafes in the many laneways and alleys that lay hiding behind the main streets of Melbourne. Back roads feature restaurants, stores and galleries in converted warehouses and secret underground locations that create a unique secret world in the heart of the city. Stroll through the historic Queen Victoria Markets with the rows and rows of fresh produce and delicious delicatessens as well as arts and crafts.
An hour from the city center you’ll find the Yarra Valley, home to more than 80 wineries producing some of Australia’s best pinot noir, sparkling and other cool-climate wines. Beer and cider are also produced with many local craft brewers welcoming visitors to their micro-breweries to taste their beers and ciders. Add some food to the mix and you have a gourmet’s perfect day out. The area is known for its fresh produce including freshwater salmon, trout and caviar as well as organic fruit and vegetables as well as handmade cheese and preserves. Take a day trip out to the Yarra Valley or spend a few days following the many trails that take in the best stops in the region.
Take a stunning road trip along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Follow the rugged and windswept coastline past world-class beaches, through tiny fishing villages and towering rainforests before you reach the craggy limestone stacks that rise out of the thundering seas. Take your time on the journey and explore the iconic surf spot of Bells Beach, take a hike through the Otway Rainforest to see thundering waterfalls and sparkling gorges and meet some friendly wildlife including kangaroos and koalas at Tower Hill State Game Reserve.
From the Twelve Apostles you can travel north into the State’s center and discover the spectacular Grampians National Park. Made up of a series of rugged sandstone mountain ranges and wildlife rich forests, the Grampians are one of Victoria’s most popular vacation destinations. Explore the extensive hiking trails throughout the park taking you to cascading waterfalls, wildflower displays and panoramic views from lookouts. The area has a rich Indigenous history with a number of important rock art sites throughout the park that you can discover. See first-hand the Aboriginal people’s long association with this area through the paintings on show in a number of shelters.
For a unique wildlife experience head over to Phillip Island to watch the local fairy penguins take their nightly walk. See hundreds of tiny penguins scurry up Summerland Beach at dusk towards their burrows in the sand after a long day at sea. Choose from a number of vantage points including the main tiered seating or upgrade to the Penguins Plus Viewing Platform for a more personalized experience with rangers on hand to answer your questions, or splash out for the Penguin Sky Box for an exclusive, elevated viewing tower for five. More wildlife opportunities are offered across the Island including seeing Australia’s largest fur sea colony and the many koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre
Whatever vacation experience you are looking for, chances are Victoria will fit the program.
For more information, check out Down Under Answers.
Editor’s note: Down Under Answers is a sponsor of Budget Your Trip.
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.