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Victoria (Australia)

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Travel Guide Oceania Australia Victoria

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Introduction

Melbourne skyline

Melbourne skyline

© All Rights Reserved Sander

Victoria is small by Australian standards, but it makes up for its size deficiency with a heavily urbanised population who celebrate their food, sport and drink with typical Australian passion. Roughly 70% of Victorians live in Melbourne, the capital city and Australia's second largest city.

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Regions

The state can be organised into the following tourism regions.

  • Melbourne
  • The Macedon Ranges and Daylesford are the place to go for mineral springs, great food and some beautiful bush.
  • Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges lie to the east of Melbourne. Great for wine and some beautiful mountain air.
  • Mornington Peninsula is Melbourne's beach escape. Just to the south-east of the city are some nice bay side beaches and relaxed seaside towns.
  • Phillip Island is the place to go to see penguins.
  • Great Ocean Road is one of the best coastal drives in the world, with the highlight of the Twelve Apostles at the heart of it.
  • The Goldfields have some great historic gold rush towns.
  • The Grampians are a mountain range in the west of the state. Great for rock climbing and some fantastic walks.
  • Victoria's High Country was the setting for the famous movie Man from Snowy River. In winter, you can go skiing in the Victorian Alps.
  • Gippsland is an important food producing part of the state, but also boasts some great beaches.
  • The Murray river lies on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. Enjoy some fishing, golf or travel down the river on a houseboat.

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Cities

Melbourne

Melbourne is the cosmopolitan heart of Victoria, home to the majority of its population and the big events to match. Whether you're a sport fanatic, a keen shopper, a food and wine connoisseur, or a pub crawler, Melbourne has the attractions, shops and culinary appeal to draw you into its stylish charm.

Other Cities

Other smaller cities and towns in Victoria include Ararat, Beechworth, Benalla, Bright, Castlemaine, Daylesford, Halls Gap, Hamilton, Healesville, Horsham, Lakes Entrance, Lorne, Marysville, Meredith, Morwell, Myrtleford, Portland, Queenscliff, Sale, Sassafras, Swan Hill, Sorrento, Traralgon and Wangaratta.

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Geography

Victoria is located in Australia's south-east, sharing borders with the state of South Australia in the west, New South Wales in the north and the island state of Tasmania in the south. Victoria in fact even shares a small land border with Tasmania on Boundary Islet. [2]

Victoria's landscape varies across the state. Australia's Great Dividing Range stretches across the north of the state and ends in the Grampians in far western Victoria. It is at its highest at Mount Bogong, in the Alpine National Park, reaching almost 2,000 metres. In the east, the primarily rural region of Gippsland is wet and temperate, which has made it an ideal place for much of the state's agriculture. It is also home to the state's major coal power stations and numerous tourist highlights, including Wilsons Promontory, the Gippsland Lakes and Phillip Island. In the state's west and north, there are extensive semi-arid plains with some minor hills scattered throughout.

The total land area of Victoria is 227,416 km², making it Australia's second smallest state, only larger than Tasmania.

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Sights and Activities

Victoria is a diverse region, located in Australia's south-eastern corner. While Melbourne is a modern city, the rest of Victoria features a remarkable variety of landscapes, from the alpine highlands along the northern border, to the serene beauty of untouched wilderness areas such as Wilsons Promontory and the striking harshness of the southern coast line along the Great Ocean Road.

Yarra Valley

If you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, make sure you visit some of the great wineries in this region to the north-east of Melbourne. Read more about the Yarra Valley

Dandenong Ranges

Approximately 40 kilometres east of Melbourne lies the Dandenong Ranges, 500m high hills that are richly covered with eucalyptus and lush fern forests.

Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most popular road trips - and with very good reason. The dramatic cliff edge drive is enthralling, even before you make it to the 12 Apostles. Read more about the Great Ocean Road

Phillip Island

Phillip Island is about 1.5 hours outside Melbourne and hosts some very diverse attractions: the Penguin Parade, some of Australia's best surf beaches and the Australian MotoGP. Read more about Phillip Island

Grampians

The Grampians are a mountain range in western Victoria and home to one of the state's most popular national parks. Read more about the Grampians

Mornington Peninsula

Only an hour from Melbourne the Mornington Peninsula offers spectacular coast, wineries world-renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, 18 golf courses, hundreds of surf beaches, hot springs and anything that is synonymous with relaxation. The Mornington Peninsula is where beaches meet vineyards.

Whilst not traditionally thought of for scuba diving, Port Phillip Bay is actually one of the world's best locations for wreck scuba diving, home to over 600 wrecks. One of the most popular departure points for scuba diving in Victoria is Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula.

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National Parks

Full article: National Parks in Victoria

Victoria is spoiled to have some of the most amazing, unspoiled parkland in the world, preserved by Parks Victoria. Including a diverse range of eco-systems, the National Park network in Victoria spans more than 3.9 Million hectares. Parks Victoria manage approximately 16% of the land and waterways within Victoria and encompass caves, marine parks, gorges, mountains, aboriginal heritage sites, coastal reserves, light houses and gold-digging sites. [3]

Some of the best known National Parks in Victoria include:

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Events and Festivals

Victoria, but particularly Melbourne, is home to a never ending stream of events and festivals. No matter what day you find you find yourself in Melbourne, you can be sure that there is at least one event or festival on. Check out the Melbourne Festival website for an up-to-date listing.

  • Outdoor Music Festivals. Throughout the year, but particularly during January and the Summer season, Victoria comes alive with many outdoor music festivals and concerts.
  • The Melbourne International Comedy Festival features comedians from around the world and runs for several weeks each year. It is widely considered one of the top 3 comedy festivals in the world, along with the comedy festivals in Montreal and Edinburgh.
  • The Spring Racing Carnival is held during spring (October/November), culminating in The Melbourne Cup, which takes place on the first Tuesday in November. It is a public holiday in Melbourne.

For a listing of events in Australia by month, including more events & festivals in Victoria check out Events and Festivals in Australia

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Weather

Victoria, apart from Tasmania, has the biggest differences between the winter months of June to August and summer months of December to February. It can be very hot during summer, even in the south, with temperatures hitting 40 °C or more on some days. In winter, especially the south has cool and rainy conditions, but this certainly is the best time for skiing in the mountains of the High Country

Late-winter and spring have the highest rainfall in most of the state with generally much drier conditions during summer and autumn. The Otway Ranges and Eastern Highlands are the wettest parts of the state averaging over 1800 mm per year. The Mallee region in northwest Victoria is the driest averaging under 300 mm of rainfall per year.

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Getting There

By Plane

Melbourne Airport (MEL) is the most likely point of entry for visitors arriving by air. Avalon Airport (AVV) has also emerged as a significant airport in the last few years and is a likely point of arrival for visitors arriving on domestic budget airline Jetstar. Avalon is in fact closer to Geelong than Melbourne, so depending on your destination in Victoria it may not be as convenient as Melbourne International Airport.

Air Asia now services Melbourne from Kuala Lumpur as well, offering low cost flights.

By Train

Train services run from Adelaide to Melbourne and from Sydney to Melbourne. The Overland links Adelaide with Melbourne 3 times a week in both directions. XPT links Melbourne with Sydney.

By Bus

Bus services run between major towns throughout Australia. The dominant operator is Greyhound.

By Car

From Sydney:
Drivers from Sydney generally have to make a choice between the more straightforward Hume Highway (approximately 10 hours to Melbourne) or the much more scenic coastal route, which could easily double the travel time.

From Adelaide:
Drivers from Adelaide are faced with a similar choice between the direct Western Highway (approximately 8 hours to Melbourne) or the winding stunning coastal route along the Great Ocean Road, which begs several days of sightseeing.

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Getting Around

Victoria's road network is adequate and will get you to most major attractions.

By Train

There are also a number of train routes that run from Melbourne to rural points across Victoria. These are operated by V/Line. Within Melbourne itself, it is fairly easy to get around by tram within the inner city.

The Overland stops in several towns en route between Melbourne and Adelaide, including Geelong North Shore, Ararat and Horsham.

CountryLink/XPT has a few stops north of Melbourne en route to Sydney as well.

By Car

There are plenty of companies you could choose to hire a car from, including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.

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Sleep

References

  1. 1 (June 2006 est.) Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. 2 Geoscience Australia
  3. 3 http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Quick Facts

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Capital
Melbourne
Population
5,091,666 [1]
Area
237,629 km²
Time zone
UTC+10 (+11 DST)

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This is version 63. Last edited at 19:27 on Jul 20, 13 by Utrecht. 53 articles link to this page.

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