It’s been several months since my 3 month journey around Australia by completely overland means, but I still havn’t even finished writing about half of it! I experienced so much, and in so little time.
People often ask me, what was my favourite part of the trip? It’s really difficult to answer that question. Australia is a pretty big country, and each state/ territory has it’s own unique identity and culture. So when asked that question, I usually break down my highlights by state.
Victoria is a tiny state, but it really packs a punch in the tourism industry. It has everything from rural bush highlights, to epic coastal road trips, to one of Australia’s artiest and culturally vibrant cities. Most people will not be able to leave Australia with out a trip to Victoria’s capital of Melbourne, but there is much more to discover than just the city.
Great Ocean Road Trip
The Great Ocean Road is by far my number 1 highlight in Victoria. This 2 – 3 day road trip travels between Melbourne and Adelaide, along a rugged coast line. Characterized by hidden beaches, crashing surf, charming small towns, and an abundance of wildlife, this is not one of those road trips where you blast some of your favourite tunes and space out during the drive. This is the type of road trip where you are too busy pulling over, jumping out of the car for photo opportunities, and just staring mouth agape at the scenery.
We spent three days driving the Great Ocean Road, and had more highlights than I can fit in just this paragraph – better that you check out my post dedicated to some of the highlights on this spectacular drive. Be aware that this is a very popular route, so when planning your trip you may also want to check out my Great Ocean Road tips to help you prepare.
If hiking is more of your thing, you can also hike the Great Ocean Road for a completely different perspective on the region. I havn’t done this yet, but check out this post from Natasha of World Wandering Kiwi.
Phillip Island is located less than a two hours drive from Melbourne and is a popular day trip and weekend destination for travellers and locals alike. The main attraction of the island is by far the little blue penguins. Tourists flock for the daily “pengiun parade” where the little blue penguins walk up from the water to their nests. Tickets are about $20 per adult. Many day tours are available from Melbourne for those without their own transport.
We decided not to visit Phillip Island since I saw little blue and yellow eyes penguins in New Zealand on the Otago peninsula – but many travellers have told me that this was one of their highlights.
Mildura is probably not on your tourist radar unless you are planning to do the 88 days of farm work necessary to extend your working holiday visa in Australia. Mildura is home to many fruit growers, and a great place for backpackers looking for seasonal work. But for those of us too lazy for manual labour, Mildura is also home to a great little, and relatively unknown, wine region.
Mildura is famous for it’s Chardonnay, and there are several vineyards with cellar doors located just a few minutes drive from the town centre. We were really impressed with the quality of the whites and even some of the rose’s (and I am normally very skeptical of rose) that are produced in the region.
You can read more about the wine of Mildura, and other lesser known wine regions here.
Ah, yes. We couldn’t finish off this list without talking about Melbourne. Cosmopolitan Melbourne is known for it’s vibrant art scene, and quirky cultural offerings. Famous for street art and hidden lane way bars – Melbourne is the type of place where you can stay for years and still be discovering new hidden treasures.
For those interested to dig deeper into Melbourne’s art scene, there are art walk tours that take you throughout the city and visit several artists studios. Or you can just wander the streets and check out the street art instead.
Those wanting to do a bit of quick sightseeing, there is also a free bus which circulates among many of the main attractions, and for those wanting a little bit of adventure, you can also kayak on the Yarra river.
Of course, Melbourne is just as fun to hang out in, eat good food, drink good coffee, and check out some local bands at the pub.
Despite being Australia’s smallest mainland state, Victoria sure does manage to pack in a lot for tourists. It doesn’t matter if you are into city life, fine wine, or cuddly animals – you can find it in Victoria.