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Victoria: Taste, See and Unwind
The State of Victoria offers a mix of cosmopolitan activities and natural escapes. Start off your getaway in Melbourne and you will soon see why the city is considered Australia’s cultural capital. While in town, attend a concert or art exhibit and sample cuisine from virtually anywhere in the world.
A short drive from Melbourne, indulge some R&R at one of the Mornington Peninsula or Daylesford spas. Drive along the Great Ocean Road for panoramic seascapes and dramatic cliff formations. Do some wine tasting in the Yarra Valley. Hike in the Grampians or ski in the Victorian Alps.
Holiday rentals in Victoria are as diverse as the type of getaway you have planned. Choose from sleek condos overlooking Melbourne’s skyline, oceanfront cottages on one of the peninsulas or mountain retreats close to hiking trails.
Melbourne is the sort of city that unveils itself as you discover small cafes nestled in hidden laneways, stroll along the banks of the Yarra River or sample authentic gelato on Lygon Street.
While you’re in town, catch an internationally acclaimed musical at Her Majesty’s Theatre, a concert by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra or the latest exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria. To go behind the scenes, participate in a Theatres and Exhibition tour at the Arts Centre.
You can’t visit Melbourne without eating at some of the restaurants. The city is a foodie’s paradise. Stroll along Southbank and take your pick of glossy dining establishments facing the river and CBD. Walk through Chinatown to sample dishes from across Asia or head to Carlton for Italian cuisine.
Around Port Phillip Bay
The bayside city of Geelong enjoys a slower pace of life. While you are here, do as the locals and venture down to the port, where you can purchase freshly caught seafood. To stretch your legs and learn about Geelong’s history, stroll along the waterfront Bollard Sculpture Walk.
Take the ferry from the Bellarine Peninsula across to the Mornington Peninsula. This side of the bay consists primarily of upscale villages with numerous spas, including the famous Peninsula Hot Springs. There are beaches, trendy cafes and wineries slightly further inland.
Facing the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula is the family-friendly holiday destination of Phillip Island, home to the renowned Penguin Parade. In the evenings, watch Australia’s little blue penguins waddle onto shore after a day of fishing at sea.
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic routes in the world. It winds along the Victorian coast for 243 kilometres, starting at the surfing town of Torquay.
Travellers will experience plunging cliffs, dramatic seascapes and world-class beaches. One of the landmark sites is a series of majestic limestone rock formations rising out of the ocean, known as the 12 Apostles. Other iconic stops include Loch Ard Gorge, a naturally formed beach of historic significance, and Bells Beach, one of the country’s premier surfing destinations.
There are many tours - from day trips to week-long excursions - which will guide you along the Great Ocean Road.
Wine enthusiasts can organise trips to the Yarra Valley, where they will experience a fusion of art, fine wine and good food. Learn about producing wine from the families who have owned vineyards for years. There are many award winning wineries which proudly showcase their Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
Stop at a winery for lunch or a cheese tasting, discover Aboriginal art galleries or go for a scenic journey aboard Puffing Billy, an 100-year-old train, which will take you through the valley. Not far from the Yarra Valley are the Dandenong Ranges, fraught with trails for bushwalking.
There are endless getaway options in the Victorian countryside. Fishermen and watersport enthusiasts of all kinds tend to enjoy Gippsland, as this part of Victoria is traversed by numerous waterways leading to expansive, often deserted beaches.
If you would like a spa retreat, look into Daylesford, known for its natural mineral water. During your visit, don’t neglect the area’s boutique wineries and restaurants offering gourmet food whipped up from local ingredients.
For an alpine escapade, head to the Victorian Alps, where you can ski in the winter and hike in the summer. Meanwhile, the Grampians provide year-round hiking and bushwalking opportunities. Adventure seekers can also go rock climbing.
Getting around Victoria
There is a major international airport in Melbourne and there are several regional airports across the state. The easiest way to get around Victoria is to drive. However, the state has a comprehensive bus and train networking serving the bigger towns in most regions. The only downside to public transport is that you will likely have to depart from Melbourne no matter your destination, creating longer travel time.