Victoria is a state of incredible diversity, both culturally and physically.
From the “World’s Most Liveable City”, Melbourne swanked with chic cafes rivalling its European counterparts, to the slow and peaceful country towns alongside the grand Murray River, to the chilled beachside towns in the state’s south-west.
Spread across this state, Australia’s second most populated are sporting events, hiking trails, ski seasons and fantastic surf.
Not only is Melbourne full of happenings and great nightlife, but the good times are throughout the state.
Let’s start with Melbourne, as the state’s capital it is the commercial hub of Victoria but also the heart of the state.
From an extensive range of international attractions like the Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Australian Open spread throughout the year there will be no shortage of top-line events whenever you make your trip down south.
As for food, Melbourne is a foodies haven from Hardware Lane to Degraves Street, and there are many great cafes and restaurants to dine out without breaking the bank.
The nightlife in Melbourne rivals anything in Australia. From modern bars in the CBD to great Aussie Pubs in Richmond and clubs in St Kilda and South Yarra a long night of fun, drinking and dancing with your friends awaits.
The great thing about Melbourne is if you use it as the base to your travels, you are only a short drive from several locations.
A few hours’ drive to the east will land you on Phillip Island in time for the Penguin Parade.
Every night the penguins come out from the sea and camp out on the island’s sand. It is a truly memorable experience that goes hand in hand with any trip to Phillip Island.
Just across from Phillip Island is the Mornington Peninsula and also the trendy coastal towns of Portsea and Sorrento.
Featuring relaxing beaches, great restaurants and pubs (no trip to Portsea would be complete without a drink at the Portsea Pub) a drive down the coast won’t disappoint
Likewise, a similar journey will lead you down to Victoria’s incredible south-west coast and the memorable Great Ocean Road home to an array of surf beaches.
The Ocean Road hugs the scenic coastline as it makes its way through popular holiday towns like Lorne and Apollo Bay.
Lorne, in particular, provides an excellent seaside atmosphere from its relaxing morning swims to afternoons at the many cafes before great bars become the place to be at night.
Lorne’s population swarms in the summertime and is a trendy destination for New Year’s Eve.
Not too much further down the road is Port Cambell, the home of the 12 Apostles.
Erosion to the striking headlands over many centuries has left a row of limestone stacks along the coastline.
With an incredible view and other natural wonders nearby like the Loch Ard Gorge, a trip down the shoreline along the stunning Great Ocean Road is a must for all backpackers heading to the Victorian coasts.
The southwest of the state also features some of Victoria’s best beaches, especially the world-class Bells Beach. While many discount Victoria’s beaches because of the supposed cooler climate, Victoria averages double the number of days above 30 degrees Celsius when compared to the famed Sydney Beaches.
Other fantastic beach options exist in Torquay and also the chilled out beach towns of Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.
If hiking is your thing, then grab your boots because Victoria has some of the best hiking in Australia.
From the Grampians to the Great Dividing Range, there are days of walking tracks, lakes to water ski on and mountains on which to tear up some powder in winter.
Great hikes include those along the incredible Cross Cut Saw down to Mount Speculation and Razor Viking, perfect for those beautiful sunsets.
Lake Eildon plays home to excellent water skiing, while the ski resorts of Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek are the places to go in the winter to work on those parallel turns and feature nightlife that will make your trip up the mountain more than just about skiing.
The Yarra Valley wine region just south of the High Country offers picturesque landscapes with lush fields of wine grapes and cider apple trees all with green rolling hills in the background. Oh and I forgot to mention the quality of the produce, I was too busy taking in the fantastic scenery, but yes if you are wondering the quality is top-notch.
The Yarra Valley is terrific for a day out; just an easy drive from the city and you will be sitting back with a drink outside taking in the surroundings in no time.
Up towards the Murray River, an area defined by its farmlands and country charm is a great place to get in touch with your inner rancher and enjoy the quiet pace of towns like Echuca and Mildura.
From these locations, you can make the most of Australia’s longest river, a stretch of water that separates Victoria from New South Wales.
The river is excellent for kayaking, water skiing and even just a casual fish. An opportunity to get a houseboat on the river for a few days is a must.
So from the bright lights of the city to coastal paradises and natural wonders, Victoria offers an expanse of opportunity and places to explore regardless of what you enjoy.
Whether it’s a nice bottle of wine in the Yarra Valley, catching a clean break at Bells Beach or hiking up Mt Buller that catches your fancy, Victoria won’t struggle to capture your imagination.