The past is always present in Victoria. Nearly everywhere you look, you'll discover evidence of the state's proud and fascinating history, from elegant Victorian-era buildings and Murray River paddle steamers to maritime museums and steam trains.
One of Victoria's favorite playgrounds, the High Country region offers families plenty of opportunities to get outdoors. Horse riding, mountain biking, rafting and rock climbing are popular in summer, while winter snowfalls bring skiing, tobogganing and snowball fights.
Get out there and show your kids all the wonders of the High Country. Pitch your tent and drink billy tea under the stars in a national park, enjoy diverse landscapes and great food on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, or climb aboard a toboggan and hurtle downhill one of Victoria's spectacular ski resorts. If that's too slow for the older kids, why not join them on a snowboarding, mountain biking or rafting expedition.
Choose from a range of accommodation, from self-catered lodges, luxury hotels and architect-designed chalets, to nearby towns located within a short drive of the snowfields. The airport at Mount Hotham brings Victoria’s highest alpine resort within 50 minutes' flying time of Melbourne.
Set sail for a day on Victoria's waterways, explore an underwater shipwreck, swim at a calm Murray River beach, or waterski around Gippsland Lakes.
Victoria and cast a line on the bay, a lonely beach, river or inlet, head out to sea or fly-fish for trout in a mountain stream or alpine lake.
Ballooning and Scenic Flights
Take to the skies and survey Victoria's landscape from a hot air balloon or scenic flight, or experience the thrill of skydiving or hang-gliding.
Pitch a tent and set up camp to sleep under canopies of stars in campsites with the comforts of home, or rough it in undiscovered, secluded spots.
Experience Victoria from the saddle and explore windswept beaches, snow-capped alps, rolling hills and eucalypt forests from a different perspective.
Head off the highways to tackle spectacular scenery and some of Australia's best four-wheel drive country, including rocky outcrops and sand dunes.
Strap on a helmet and get out of your comfort zone with adventures in rock climbing, caving, abseiling, or even jumping out of a plane.
Tour the Queen Victoria Market, find a bargain in Melbourne's factory outlets and warehouses or shop till you drop in designer arcades and laneways.
Food and Wine Tours
Taste your way around Melbourne's top foodie destinations and sample local fare from fine wines to locally produced delicacies at markets and stores.
Visit some of Melbourne's major sporting venues on a guided sports tour to see the MCG, watch tennis greats, or join a bus group to the Melbourne Cup.
Cruise down the Yarra on a Melbourne boating tour, set sail on Port Phillip Bay with a chartered yacht service, or ferry across to Williamstown.
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 crafts people.
The birthplace of Australian Modernism is at Heide Museum of Modern Art, located 15 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. It was here that artists Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker and others translated Australian Modernism. The permanent collection features many fine examples of their work.
The National Gallery of Victoria 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. NGV International on St Kilda Road is home to the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces and a breathtaking four-level venue displaying collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American Art.
Melbourne has one of the highest concentrations of commercial art galleries of any city in the world. If you’re new to the scene, get the lowdown by joining a Walk to Art walking tour. Guided by expert art consultants, these tours give you an exclusive peek into the galleries and artists’ studios that are tucked away in Melbourne’s hidden buildings and laneways.
If performance is more your thing, you’ve also come to the right place. Melbourne boasts several thriving performance spaces, including historic theaters such as Her Majesty’s, the Princess, the Regent and the Athenaeum.
The Melbourne Theater Company has produced close to 700 plays in its 50-year history, many featuring famed performers, and the Australian Ballet and Opera Australia perform seasons at the Arts Centre every year. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has been pleasing audiences since 1888, while the contemporary music scene thrives in clubs, pubs and other venues.
Victoria has almost 2000 kilometres of coastline, which stretches from the South Australian border to the New South Wales border in the north-east corner of Victoria and frontsthe Southern Ocean, Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea.
Ninety Mile Beach
One of Gippsland's highlights, Ninety Mile Beach is one of the longest and most beautiful stretches of sand in the world offering a wealth of activities.
Witness the rugged splendour of the famous 12 Apostles, magnificent rock stacks that rise up from the Southern Ocean on Victoria’s dramatic coastline.
The Great Ocean Road
Drive one of the world's most iconic scenic touring routes, the Great Ocean Road, spanning 243 kilometres along the stunning coastline of Victoria.
See some of the highest coastal cliffs in Victoria overlooking the deep-blue waters of Bridgewater Bay and see the large breeding colony of fur seals.
BEACHES BY REGION
Relax in the summer sun on calm bay beaches across Melbourne from the popular swimming spots at St Kilda to the landmark bathing huts at Brighton.
Gippsland boasts some of the state's most beautiful beaches, perfect for all types of visitors be they families, anglers or surfers.
Great Ocean Road
Paddle, swim or surf in the crashing waves or take a relaxing stroll along the clean, golden sands of some of Australia's best beaches.
Discover sheltered bay beaches and wild surf beaches, blowholes, caves and unusual rock formations with a beach to suit every kind of visitor.
Crash into the waters on the peninsula's seemingly endless sandy bay inlets and rugged, wild surf beaches and feel a million miles from city life.
From colorful racing carnivals to Grand Slam tennis, there's always something exciting happening in Victoria. With food and wine events, jazz, and comedy shows, surfing tournaments, and flower and garden displays – Victoria celebrates with major festivals and special events throughout the year.
MELBOURNE most popular events are;
Vodafone Boxing Day Test
Australian Open Tennis
Festival of Sails Melbourne
Food and Wine Festival
Formula 1 Grand Prix
L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival
Flower and Garden Show
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Melbourne Writers Festival Australian
Football League Finals Series
Motorcycle Grand Prix
Explore Victoria with a self drive touring experience. Australia’s most compact mainland state, Victoria offers a magical journey through a range of exciting, enchanting and exquisitely different landscapes.
Melbourne, or Marvellous Melbourne to give it its full name, is the cultural and sporting hub of the nation. Proudly cosmopolitan this liveable and loveable city on Port Phillip Bay offers art galleries, major events, theatres, restaurants and a charming river, making it a natural starting and finishing point.
Take the journey of a lifetime along the Great Ocean Road with its rugged coastline, lush forests and overpowering sense of freedom – an unforgettable experience.
The road also links the major regional centres cum bustling visitor destinations of Geelong and Warrnambool.
The soaring mountains of the Grampians National Park have been the spiritual home of the Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years. Learn all about the ancient rock paintings of the Gariwerd people at Halls Gap, right in the heart of the national park.
Ballarat is a city built on the precious metal taken from the surrounding goldfields in the 1850s. There are also many modern treasures.
And if it’s a wilder time you’re after, native Australian wildlife abounds across the region - kangaroos, koalas, platypus, birds and wildflowers.
You're guaranteed menu envy at Victoria's eateries, where every dish sings thanks to innovative chefs using top produce to create a range of cuisines.
Victoria boasts over 850 wineries, of which 650 have cellar doors, in 21 distinct wine regions. Enjoy cellar door tastings and dine on local produce at winery restaurants. From the cool-climate varieties of the Yarra Valley to the big reds of Rutherglen, create your own Victorian wine experience.
Victoria's regions are renowned for their fresh, diverse and bountiful local produce. What's more, you can taste the best of each region in a variety of ways – from roadside stalls and shopfronts to market sellers, country pubs, food festivals, pick-your-own (PYO) farms, gourmet deli trails and winery restaurants pairing signature wines with high-quality fare.
With more than 30 independently-owned, craft breweries producing up to 15,000 litres of beer each week, a world of untapped flavour can be found around Victoria. This ever expanding band of boutique brewers is hand-crafting beer with surprising results.
Beer falls into two categories – lager and ale. Craft brewers predominantly produce ales, ranging from red and brown to cloudy wheat styles, porters and stouts. The difference between commercially produced and artisan-style beer is the depth, complexity and variety of flavour that comes from finely weaving quality ingredients, and a general lack of preservatives and additives.
Leave the city behind and discover the natural wonders of Victoria. With 36 national parks covering two and half million hectares, there's no better way to recharge your batteries and reconnect with nature. Discover the wildlife in the Australian bush, hike through dense rainforests and misty waterfalls, or unwind on secluded beaches and spectacular cliff tops.
National Parks by Region:
GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Bay of Islands Coastal Park
Take in stunning views on a walk through the coastal heathland of the Bay of Islands Coastal Park, stretching from Peterborough almost to Warrnambool.
Great Otway National Park
The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay through to Princetown and up through the Otways hinterland towards Colac.
Lower Glenelg National Park
The Glenelg River is the central feature of the Lower Glenelg National Park.
Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary
Just past Apollo Bay, off the world famous Great Ocean Road, Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary protects 12ha of ocean waters.
Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park is world famous for its extraordinary collection of wave-sculpted rock formations and the Twelve Apostles.
Grampians National Park
Discover grand and rugged mountain ranges, spectacular wildflower displays, a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, and a wealth of Aboriginal rock art sites in the Grampians National Park.
Little Desert National Park
The range of soil types in Little Desert National Park causes marked differences in vegetation.
Alpine National Park
Alpine National Park is the largest national park in Victoria (over 646,000ha) and connects with national parks in New South Wales and the ACT to protect most of the Australian Alps.
Baw Baw National Park
Covering a substantial part of the Baw Baw Plateau and sections of the Thomson and Aberfeldy River valleys, Baw Baw National Park offers colorful wildflowers in early summer and open grassy plains with Snow Gum woodlands.
Mount Buffalo National Park
Mount Buffalo National Park has sheer cliffs, imposing granite tors, tumbling waterfalls, snow gums and stunning wildflowers.
Croajingolong National Park
Discover the wilderness coast any way you like. Swim at remote beaches, wander through towering rainforests, or explore the waterways by canoe.
Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park
The tranquil Gippsland Lakes are a system of coastal lagoons separated from the Tasman Sea by the coastal dunes of the Ninety Mile Beach.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of Victoria's most-loved places. At the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, it offers spectacular scenery.
Discover the diversity and beauty of regional Victoria. From world-class wineries to natural springs, the coastal villages of the peninsulas to alpine towns. Drive along one of the many scenic routes, pull on your walking boots and follow tracks and trails, or wander the shops and local produce markets.
Victoria's capital, Melbourne, sits on the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Known as a style setter, Melbourne is home to some of the best shopping and nightlife in Australia, a non-stop program of events and festivals, cutting-edge design, fashion and architecture, major art exhibitions and musical extravaganzas.
With a mighty ocean to the south and protected bays on either side, the Mornington Peninsula is home to wine, golf courses with ocean views, great beaches and Victoria’s most popular national park.
The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s wine capital. With more than 50 world-class wineries, dozens of fine restaurants and scores of boutique retreats, all less than an hour from Melbourne, an indulgent day trip or weekend away beckons all food and wine buffs. The temperate climate (warmer than Burgundy, cooler than Bordeaux) is ideal for chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and methode champenoise sparkling wine. Sample world-class wine at more than 40 cellar doors, including the stunning glass-walled tasting room at Domaine Chandon, which is one of only five Chandon wineries outside France.
Retreat into the natural beauty of the Dandenong Ranges. Visitors from across Australia and around the world marvel at this idyll less than an hour from Melbourne. Discover romantic hilltop villages, natural cathedrals of tall forests, gardens created with love and imagination, luxurious weekend hideaways, and stunning views of the city and beyond.
Phillip Island Nature Park is a favourite destination for lovers of nature. See Little Penguins, seals and koalas at close range. And every year, wildlife of a different kind is the focus when the island hosts international motorcycle races.
Daylesford & The Macedon Ranges
Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges are centres of natural beauty and indulgence. Step out of your busy life and visit the home of spa retreats, boutique accommodation and fine dining.
Geelong & The Bellarine Peninsula
A short drive west from Melbourne reveals historic mansions, rolling greenery, historic fishing towns and the brilliant beaches of the spectacular Surf Coast.
Great Ocean Road
Travel the Great Ocean Road and beyond for one of the world's most scenic coastal drives, and see the 12 Apostles, iconic surf breaks and waterfalls.
Unearth the riches of today's Goldfields in impressive art galleries, specialty shops, fascinating museums, boutique wineries and esteemed eateries.
Inhale the air up there in the Grampians and be dazzled by the diverse natural attractions and their Aboriginal stories, plus stunning sparkling wine.
From Bright, the Great Alpine Road ascends to the alpine resort of Mount Hotham. The landscape changes from alpine ash to snow gum forest and heathland as you climb.
From Omeo, the service center for the local cattle, sheep and timber industries, the Great Alpine Road continues south towards Bairnsdale – East Gippsland’s only city. Originally settled as an inland port, Bairnsdale sits on the banks of the Mitchell River and leads into the Gippsland Lakes. The town is now a major gateway to Victoria’s east. Visit St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, the interior of which was painted in the 1930s by Francesco Floreani; attend an annual musical and sporting event; or explore the Mitchell River silt jetties that extend 8 kilometres into nearby Lake King. At Bairnsdale the Great Alpine Road touring route ends, and your exploration of Gippsland and its spectacular lakes begins.
Unwind along the mighty Murray River and enjoy the region's balmy weather, renowned slow food, wine, golf courses, sandy beaches and red gum forests.
Across Victoria, innovative chefs are utilizing the freshest local produce to create an array of groundbreaking local and international dishes. You can taste the best of regional Victoria's fresh, diverse and bountiful local produce at many fine dining establishments.
Melbourne's awash with high quality cafes and restaurants, so you're always guaranteed to get a satisfying meal. Sometimes, however, you want more than just a quick bite and when it's an entire dining experience you're after, Melbourne's your city. World-class chefs, innovative cuisines, perfectly-matched wines and quirky venues characterize fine dining in Melbourne.
From restaurants awarded hats in The Age Good Food Guide, to those featured on Australian Gourmet Traveller's top 100 Australian restaurants list, with a smattering of old faves and new kids on the block, try the selection below and discover Melbourne's best restaurants.
Journey to the literal fire at the heart of MoVida and sample the Spanish love of cooking over coals, or a la plancha. Bring your mates for a banquet.
P M 24
Remember Philippe Mouchel's take home rotisserie chickens for a lazy weeknight dinner, but don't miss the chance to dine in on the modern French fare.
Cross your fingers that Sarti chef Riccardo Momesso's been hunting before your visit, and feast on the beast prepared with Italian-influenced flair.
Modelled on the street kitchens of South-East Asia, Teage Ezard's hip restaurant is less rustic authenticity and more opulent interpretation.
Taxi Dining Room
Experience the contemporary fusion of Japanese and Australian cuisine at one of Melbourne's most awarded fine-dining restaurants.
Acquaint yourself with Melbourne's suave, impeccably presented Italian, where Italian classics are reinvented and embellished by a stellar wine list.
Assembling the menu for Melbourne's favourite date restaurant, MoVida chef Frank Camorra scoured Spain for the finest bite-size comestibles.
The Press Club
Masterchef George Calombaris had the recipe for success when he launched his first venture, The Press Club, in the Herald and Weekly Times building.
Chef Teage Ezard combines the East and the West with verve and creativity, making this exciting menu a must-try experience for the visiting gourmet.
Vue de Monde
Your bucket list is not complete without a reference to dining at Vue de Monde at least once, because for once the hype is well and truly worth it.
Tastefully decorated to create an authentic, old world bodega atmosphere, San Telmo is famous for its imported 2.5-metre parilla (charcoal grill). I
Il Bacaro's the kind of the place that could have opened last week or ten years ago, which it did, and it's served exceptional Italian food since.
Traverse the laneways for this jewel in the bluestone. Now prepare for rustic modern European food, an award-winning wine list and great service.
Invent a special occasion to get yourself to Flower Drum and dig into the novel Cantonese fare that garnered two more hats in The Age Good Food Guide.
Watch the chefs behind the bar as they artfully slice up tasty morsels, while roaming waiters pour imported Japanese beers or cool, dry sakes.
Use your elbows to gain the advantage over friends when you tuck into the aromatic Thai sharing plates that have become a Melbourne dining staple.
Scramble for an adjective to describe Melbourne's stalwart wine bar and you'll end up settling on 'European', before you settle on one more glass.
Filling a niche for top-shelf Middle Eastern dining in the city, chef Shane Delia has set up Maha with George Calombaris of The Press Club.
Start salivating as one of Australia's best chefs makes his first foray into Melbourne on the site of a disused post office in a hotel driveway.
Owner and executive chef Guy Grossi has created an atmosphere and a menu that is quintessentially Italian but unafraid to be innovative.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN - THE GRAND SLAM OF ASIA/PACIFIC
Summer in Australia is tennis. Balmy nights, world-class tennis players, colorful fans, live entertainment at Grand Slam® Oval and all the tennis action live on the big screen at Garden Square. For two weeks in January, Melbourne Park has it all.
Witness the drama unfold as the world's greatest athletes dominate the courts at Melbourne Park and test each other's skill, determination, courage and endurance. More than mere sporting heroes, the likes of Rafa, Roger, Novak, Andy, Maria, Victoria, Caroline and Serena are global superstars, all striving to claim the first Grand Slam® title of the tennis season. Every year the Australian Open gets bigger, better, more intense and more breathtaking as these stunning athletes leave nothing to chance in their quest for the ultimate prize.
Fly the flag for Victoria, a sports mad state that holds its own on the national sporting stakes, with sporting representatives topping the tables of both domestic and international competitions.
Aussie Rules in Victoria
Grab your chance to take in a game of Australian Rules football, whether it's local sides going at it in the country leagues or the spectacle of a sold-out MCG blockbuster match. You can even see AFL games at Kardinia Park in Geelong. The rules may baffle you, but the parochialism and passion of the crowds are infectious.
Cricket, Tennis and Hockey
Spend summer Saturdays taking classic catches at regional cricket grounds. The Victorian Bushrangers have a well-stocked trophy collection, and the Australian team rolls into town for the Boxing Day test match, one-day internationals and Twenty 20 carnivals.
Round Ball Reigns
Soccer, Rugby, Basketball and Netball
Melbourne Victory was an early powerhouse of the national A-League soccer competition, with cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart also capturing the public's imagination at both Etihad and AAMI stadiums.
Melbourne Storm entered the National Rugby League with a bang. Victorians have put their support behind the Melbourne Rebels in the international Super Rugby (union) competition.
Melbourne Tigers give basketball fans something to cheer about year in, year out from their home at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
Melbourne Vixens take on their netballing rivals from both sides of the Tasman in the ANZ Championship.
Revving Up and Cheering Trackside
Motor and Horse Racing
Keep the motors running after the Australian Formula 1™ Grand Prix has left town, and race along for road racing, drag racing and speedway at Calder Park, Avalon Raceway and Sandown International Motor Raceway. Make sure you're at Phillip Island when the V8 Supercar Championship, Superbike World Championship and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix roar into town.
Keep the fancy frocks and headwear out after Melbourne's heady Spring Racing Carnival, and head off to the country races. Ballarat, Moe and Hanging Rock are all highlights, with race meets taking place year-round.