Victoria Travel Guide
Occupying the southeastern corner of the Australian continent, the state of Victoria is home to mountains, dramatic coastal scenery, and this nation’s most culturally significant city. From enjoying flat whites in between street art viewing sessions in Melbourne to drinking in the massiveness of the 12 Apostles, Victoria is a state that belongs on any traveller’s list during a trip to Australia.
Start your time in Victoria by paying your respects to Australia’s war dead at the Shrine of Remembrance. Featuring an eternal flame out front and a Roman Revivalist facade, it is a building befitting of their sacrifice. Within, you’ll find plaques which detail how things were during the First World War, and there is a shaft designed to allow a beam of light to shine down at 11:00 am every November 11th.
Located in the Kings Domain next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, its surroundings make it a tremendously powerful place to be. Photographers will have more than this building to snap, as the upper balcony affords outstanding shots of the park and the downtown core.
Have an appetite for exceptional visual art? Satisfy it at the National Gallery of Victoria. Opened in 1861, it is the oldest art museum in Australia – over the generations, it has amassed an impressive collection of Australian, Asian, and European art across a variety of historical periods.
Works from masters such as Picasso, Peter Paul Reubens, Claude Monet, Anthony Van Dyck, and others stand out among their lesser-known contemporaries, making this attraction a must-see for culture hounds.
Ready to leave Melbourne behind? Head out to Ballarat to check out Sovereign Hill. An open-air living history museum dedicated to the heady days of the gold rush in the state of Victoria, the buildings and the streets here will evoke a frontier town feel that will feel familiar to those well-acquainted with the history of the American West.
Visitors will be able to ask those in period costumes questions about their daily lives, witness them practice the art of candle making, or participate in a round of gold panning, making this attraction a great place to bring the family.
Looking for an eclectic attraction which pays tribute to Australia’s love of brew? Stop by The Great Aussie Beer Shed during your travels in Victoria. Situated in the interior town of Echuca, this encyclopedic collection of 17,000 beer cans isn’t the only thing worth seeing here.
There are also pieces of antique farm equipment and a prize wheel fundraiser for the local children’s hospital, giving you plenty of ways to occupy yourself during a break from your wanders through the state of Victoria.
While there are many cultural highlights worth discovering in Victoria, there is no denying the Great Ocean Road is this state’s star attraction. There are many scenic diversions along this 243-kilometre long highway, but if you are tight on time, head straight for the 12 Apostles. A series of sea stacks imposing in size, it is a natural wonder which competes alongside Uluru for visits.
The Great Ocean Road also passes through Great Otway National Park, which counts scores of waterfalls, virgin stands of temperate rainforest, and the Cape Otway Light Station among its chief assets. Surfers will also love the abundance of surf breaks along this scenic drive – in particular, don’t miss Bells Beach.
Want to get in touch with nature, but don’t want to stray too far from Melbourne? Spend time exploring Wilsons Promontory National Park instead. Little more than an hour’s drive from the big city, you’ll find a peninsula rife with granite mountains, wildlife that includes wombats and kangaroos, and plenty of wild, untouched beaches.
With plenty of great walks suited to day trippers and overnight trekkers alike, this is a great place to go to get your fill of the outdoors if seeing the Great Ocean Road isn’t possible.
Fans of mountains will want to head inland to check out the Dandenong Ranges. While they are an older, worn down set of peaks, its ferns, dense forest, and the area’s proximity to the wine rich Yarra Valley makes this place a wonderful spot to base yourself during a holiday in Victoria.
Given the short drive from Melbourne, it is also possible to visit the tea rooms and art galleries as a day trip – however, be warned: the scenery and slow pace of life here will only make you want to stay longer.
Little known fact: you can get up close and personal with penguins during a holiday in Victoria. A colony of little penguins (yes, that’s what they’re called) can be viewed at a conservation park on Phillip Island.
Located within an easy drive on Melbourne, it is a great way to come into contact with a well-loved species in their natural habitat. If you are an avid photographer, though, be aware that absolutely NO photography is allowed when the birds come back from a day out on the water. This is to avoid spooking them – anyone caught violating this rule will end up having their equipment confiscated.