Victoria is a beautiful state in the Australian mainland with plenty to offer. Its capital city, Melbourne, doubles as Australia’s capital of cool. It’s known for its signature coffee and hip vibe. However, there is much more to explore in Victoria outside of the capital city!
Surrounding Melbourne, you’ll find fantastic tourist destinations known for their beautiful natural sceneries, a plethora of activities, and Aussie wildlife. If you are visiting Victoria, don’t miss these top five things to do in the state.
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The Top 5 Things to Do in Victoria
Whether you like outdoor activities or city living, you will find something to do in Victoria.
If it is your first time in Victoria, these top places to visit will make you want to come back time and time again.
Drive the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a 243 kilometer stretch from the tiny coastal town of Torquay to Allansford. It is hailed as one of the best road trips in the world and one of nature’s most marvelous creations.
Located about an hour’s drive from Melbourne City, this iconic roadway is known for its incredible beaches, waterfalls, old-growth rainforest and Aussie animals.
The most popular attraction along the Great Ocean Road is without a doubt, the legendary Twelve Apostles. Not many are left of these iconic rock pillars, but that gives you all the more reason to plan a trip before the sea washes them away forever.
Driving this stretch gives you the opportunity to enjoy multiple Great Ocean Road waterfalls. Erskine Falls, Phantom Falls, and Hopetoun Falls are some of the most well known. They are great places to stretch your legs or pose for a photo with a beautiful background.
If you like surfing or sunbathing Torquay, Apollo Bay, and Lorne all have excellent beaches and towns which are well equipped for holidaymakers.
In Torquay, Bells Beach is famous for its swells which surfers from across the world come to experience. In fact, during Easter holidays, professional surfers converge on Bells Beach for the RipCurl Pro.
If maritime history and whale watching is more up your alley, Warrnambool or Port Fairy are excellent places to stop on your road trip of the Great Ocean Road. Whereas if you like hiking, drop driving all together and embark on the Great Ocean Walk. This 5-day trek hugs the famous coastline.
No visit to Victoria is complete without a visit to Melbourne. It epitomizes Australian city life and does coffee really, really well. In fact, it beat Rome and Vienna for the best coffee in the world in a 2017 Booking.com survey!
Melbourne has a blend of friendly locals, world-class restaurants, and captivating museums. The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of the most popular historical landmarks to visit in the city. It was an operational jail until the 1920s and provides a stark reminder of Australia’s convict past.
Another great landmark to visit the Shrine of Remembrance. You can find it in the midst of the Royal Botanic Gardens which are a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.
Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Victoria, with its more than seventy thousand works of art. However, that’s just the beginning of galleries in Melbourne. There are over 100 in the city. For an extensive Aboriginal art collection, head to the City Gallery.
Melbourne continues to appease culture vultures with its plethora of theatres. You can find everything from musical, comedy, and cabaret performances from both local and international artists at venues across the city.
However, if you love a live music performance, then head to Bird’s Basement Jazz Club during the evening hours for an exceptional performance that’s in reach.
The famous Queen Victoria Market provides ample space and a wide range of products for shoppers looking to brush shoulders with locals.
Another market is the Southern Melbourne market where you can buy seasonal produce and artisan foodstuffs. On weekends, you can take a free tram ride from the city center to Fitzroy’s Rose St. Artists’ Market for handmade pieces from emerging Australian designers.
Go Wine Tasting in the Yarra Valley
Yarra Valley is situated 25 kilometers east of Melbourne and is the oldest wine-producing region in Victoria State. However, you’ll need your own wheels to go wine tasting in the Yarra Valley. You can arrange a tour or rent a car from Melbourne City but there is very limited public transport available. The journey takes less than an hour from the CBD by car.
Once in Yarra Valley, you have several options of wineries to visit, with the four main ones being the Balgownie Estate, Domaine Chandon, Steels Gate Winery, and Yering Farm. Those who love the French-style sparkling wine should head to Dominique Portet Winery for the Fontaine Rosé experience.
For a private wine tasting with cheese plates, Yering station is a good option. However, to experience something really different and to support local businesses, why not get off the beaten path and visit one of the smaller family-owned wineries in the Yarra Valley?
Sometimes you’ll see hot air balloons floating through the sky in the Yarra Valley. These elevated experiences are great for special occasions. They typically take place at sunrise or sunset and offer incredible aerial views of the Yarra Valley and it’s an interesting combination of vineyards and classic fauna and flora.
After a long day traveling across the Yarra Valley tasting different wine varieties, you should head to Piaf Day Spa for a luxurious pampering session to relax. Pick one or more pampering packages that include body exfoliation, unique heated stone massages, among other customized services.
Explore Phillip Island
Phillip Island is found on the south coast of Victoria. It is rugged, wild, and known for its beautiful beaches and interesting wildlife. Melbourne holidaymakers head there in droves in the summer… but for good reason! It has something to offer even the pickiest travelers.
Phillip Island is located approximately two hours’ drive from Melbourne City. When visiting the island, be sure to stopover at San Remo. The last mainland town provides visitors the chance to spot pelican birds in their natural habitat. The morning hour is the best time to have a glimpse of these beautiful birds as they get fed.
The Penguin Parade is by far the most popular tourist attraction of the island. Each evening you can watch these adorable little birds, scamper, and parade across Summerland Beach as they come home from a day at sea. You’ll have to buy a ticket from the visitor center for this sunset activity but watching these little birds in their natural habitat waddle through the coastal sand is a once in a lifetime experience for many.
Beyond pelicans and penguins, you can also spot sleepy koalas, seals, wallabies, echidnas, and possums in excess on Phillip Island. There is a large colony of seals living just off of the coast of Phillip Island which you can take a boat to go and see.
Hikers may encounter wildlife alongside one of the island’s many walking tracks. The Cape Woolamai loop has incredible coastline views. So does the Summerland lookout track located at Nobbies Center. However, for something a little different, moto lovers will enjoy the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. They put on many events and activities throughout the year.
Visit Mount Buller
Mount Buller is an all-season mountain destination with the largest lift network in Victoria. At an altitude of 1804 meters above sea level, it provides an excellent space for multiple activities. However, the mountain is most well known as a place to hit the slopes in the winter months. The mountain has runs for skiers and boarders of all abilities.
The Mount Buller village has everything you may need for a weekend away in the snow. They have ski and snowboard rentals and lessons available, and a plethora of restaurants and accommodation options.
Tobogganing is available at two points in Mount Buller. There is one at Celia’s Kiosk next to the car park. The other is found at Alpine Central within the village. Here, children can enjoy the experience of speeding down the toboggan without worrying about how to learn to ski or snowboard.
In the summer months, the mountain transforms into a mountain biking destination. Mout Bullers even organizes the Victorian Downhill State Series Race for downhill mountain biking. It attracts hundreds of bike enthusiasts each year.
Hikers are also welcome in the summer months and there are trails available for all levels of fitness. However, those looking to make multi-day treks must bear in mind that camping is prohibited on the mountain.
Those looking to connect with nature can make arrangements at the nearby Toombullup School Site Campground, which is located 2 kilometers away. Other camping sites close to Mount Buller include Stringybark Creek Campground, Fords Bridge, and Jones CampGround.
Whether you are visiting Victoria for the first time or returning, you’ll agree there is a lot to do in Australia’s second-most populous state! So to get the most out of your visit and to experience the state like a true local, don’t miss these top things to do in Victoria Australia.
About the Author
Henry is part of the Great Ocean Road Collective, a website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia with travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration, or are looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.