Despite its small size, the State of Victoria is jam packed with diverse regions, each offering its own unique experience. You’ll most likely begin your journey in Melbourne, which acts as a gateway to the rest of state. While Sydney has long held all the glory, Melbourne is the young sister that has had time to grow into her own with a flourishing art scene, hip bars, shopping arcades, and an unbelievable amount of cool cafes.
There’s plenty to do for a few days in Melbourne. As an international city, taste palates won’t be disappointed from cheap good eats to high-end restaurants. In saying that, cheap is all relative; with a strong Australian dollar, not much is actually cheap compared to other major First World cities.
To the North of Melbourne is The High Country, also known as Kelly Country after Australia’s most notorious and controversial outlaw: Ned Kelly. From his childhood home in Beveridge to his final shootout in Glenrowan, you can discover the life the famous bushranger along the Ned Kelly trail and local characters who are all too eager to share their tale of the hero (or villain depending who you’re talking to). Heading West, you’ll discover Australia’s Gold Rush story and it’s boom and bust past.
At Bendigo’s Golden Dragon Museum, you can learn the plight of the Chinese immigrants through fascinating artefacts. The museum also houses Loong, the oldest imperial dragon and Sun Loong, the longest imperial dragon in the world. At 100m long, he takes to the streets along with incredible acrobatic dancing lions and thousands of firecrackers during the Easter Parade.
With stunning ocean scenery, including the eight limestone column stacks knows as the 12 Apostles, koalas over head, and hundreds of shipwreck stories, the Great Ocean Road is a must when leaving or returning to Melbourne.
When to Go:
Autumn is the most pleasant time to visit Victoria. Even in the Summer, it’s not unlikely to experience all four season in one afternoon. It’s always good to have a jacket near by in Melbourne or the Great Ocean Road. Weather outside of the coastal regions become extreme with areas getting snow in the Winter and the sun beating down in the summer.
What to wear:
The weather in Melbourne can change unexpectedly, so bring along a jacket. Also make sure to have a jacket along the Great Ocean Road and the breeze can make it a bit chilly. Bring a jacket for Melbourne, weather can change
International/domestic travel by air, sea, road (max. 100 words)
Melbourne is the most accessible gateway to the rest of Victoria. Trains and buses arrive from Sydney several times a day (http://www.countrylink.info/). Melbourne’s airport also services international and domestic flights. International tourists (except New Zealander’s) need to obtain a tourist visa before arrival. There are a number of tourist visas, but the easiest way is to apply online at http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/tourist/visa-options.htm.
The great thing about Victoria is that whole state is so diverse and so accessible with just a few hours drive! Melbourne is the main gateway with its major domestic and international airport. While traveling within Melbourne, hop on a Yarra Tram. The CBD Circle line circles Melbourne’s downtown business area and passes many of the major tourist attractions and it’s FREE, that’s right free, so there’s no reason to not take advantage! Taxis are relatively cheap, especially when sharing.
While there are trains taking you to the major cities outside of Melbourne, many of state’s treasures are only accessible by car. Driving along the Great Ocean Road is a must with the beautiful scenery changing from the vast beaches, to cliffs, to rainforests. Bring your motion sickness tablets if you’re prone to that sort of thing.
Victoria: 5.57 million
Must See's and Do's
Top Festivals and Events:
1. The Bendigo Easter Festival Gala Parade
2. Midsumma Festival
3. Melbourne International Comedy Festival
4. The Stawell Gift
5. Port Fairy Folk Festival.
6. Apollo Bay Music Festival
7. Melbourne’s Writer’s Festival
8. Melbourne Fringe Festival
9. Melbourne Cup
1. Old Melbourne Gaol
2. Ian Potter Centre
3. Bendigo’s Golden Dragon Museum
4. Drive along the Great Ocean Road and stop at the 12 Apostles & Loch Ard
5. Horseback riding in Kelly Country
6. Roadside koala viewings in Cape Otway
7. “Walkin Birrarung” with Koorie Heritage Trust
8. Barbeque with emus in Tower Hill
9. Viewing Aboriginal rock art in Gariwerd/ Grampians
10. Sovereign Hill in Ballarat
Don’t forget to pack:
1. Umbrella for Melbourne
2. Mosquito Repellent
4. Driving Map or GPS
6. Trousers and long sleeve shirts – to protect you from leeches if you’re in wet forest areas.
7. Empty Space in your suitcase – so you can pick up a few authentic aboriginal souvenirs
Eat, Drink, Shop & Sleep
Melbourne has a lively coffee culture with thousands of cafes and as an international city, taste palates won’t be disappointed from cheap good eats to high-end restaurants. In saying that, cheap is all relative; with a strong Australian dollar, not much is actually cheap here by international standards. For a night out, try sharing a few dishes at Cookie on Swanston Street, a buzzing Asian fusion restaurant with roof top bar. With a few glasses of the local Victorian Wine, you’ll soon forget the damage to your wallet. Instead of throwing down some shrimp, try kangaroo and emu burgers on the Barbie.
Aboriginal Souvenirs are great, but be sure to buy authentic items that directly support Aboriginal communities – try the Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne, Worn Gundidj at Tower Hill, or the Brambuk Centre in Gariwerd/Grampians.
The Globe Trekker Team stayed at the following Hotels:
Comfort Inn Country Plaza, Halls Gap (http://www.countryplazahallsgap.com.au/)
It’s not the newest establishment, but you’ll asking the name of the mattress brand after experiencing the best night’s sleep ever. I’ll save you the trouble, it’s Harvey Norman. There’s also a great restaurant with a Nepalese chef offering an unexpected authenticity to the momos.
$95 – $200/night (varies with season)
Great Ocean Eco Lodge (http://www.greatoceanecolodge.com/)
Established by the Conservation Ecology Centre, this Eco Lodge is about as peaceful as you can get. On the higher end of the price scale, the mobs of Kangaroos grazing at night, locally sourced meals, nature walks, chats with kind hearted owners Lizzie and Shayne will make it an unforgettable experience.
$350+ / night
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