Think alpine mountain ranges, pristine beaches, gold-mining villages, quaint fishing towns and a plethora of historic wineries, and you have the key characteristics of Victoria, Australia. Being the smallest of Australia’s mainland states certainly does not limit Victoria to what it offers.
Home to 5.3 million people, most inhabit the trendy, ever-evolving city of Melbourne leaving the rest of the state and countryside with pristine bush, wild coastlines and uncomplicated horizons. To explore Victoria on an Australia tour, you’d most likely begin in Melbourne and head out to the coast where a majority of its main attractions are centred, just a day or less drive from the city.
Victoria’s seemingly wealthy appeal and charm are largely down to its gold legacy. The state whizzed to life in 1834 with its first European settlement; a city now home to over 200 19th-century bluestone buildings. Shortly after, in 1851, gold was discovered, which meant the state’s population boomed almost overnight. Following the discovery, prosperity spread throughout the state and wealth was demonstrated through its mansions, hotels and stately homes built with gold money.
Today, Victoria is known for its adrenaline-pumping sporting events, the Great Ocean Road coastal drive and of course, its sensational food and wine. At the heart of this status is the food-loving, culture-packed, sports-mad capital city of Melbourne which could keep any traveller busy for days on end.
If you can tear yourself away from Melbourne, you’ll find the beautiful Mornington Peninsula a short drive away, known for its tasty bites and homegrown wines. Just west of the city, you’ll find incredible mountain landscapes and one of the world’s most iconic coastal drives. Head to the coast, and you’ll be in the company of National Trust bluestone buildings, historic walking trails and abundant wildlife in the charming town of Port Fairy.
Whichever direction you travel in, Victoria will deliver and intrigue. This travel guide to Australia’s food and culture hub will reveal to you all there is to know when planning to visit Victoria;
- The Best Time to Visit Melbourne and the Rest of Victoria
- Unique Experiences & Best Places to See in Victoria
- How to Get Around Victoria, Australia
- Where to Stay in Victoria, Australia
- Where to Eat in Victoria, Australia’s Food & Wine Capital
- A Breakdown of the Cost of a Tour of Victoria
- Festivals & Special Events in Victoria
- Regions Tours in Victoria
- Ready to Plan Your Tour to Victoria, Australia?
The Best Time to Visit Melbourne and the Rest of Victoria
Despite its size compared to the rest of Australia’s states, Victoria still has quite a varied climate. The best time to visit Victoria largely depends on what you expect to do and see.
On the coast, the ocean breeze warms up the winters and keeps the summers fresh whereas, in the north, the climate is semi-arid and dry. Generally, in Victoria, the summers are hot and the winters cool. If you’re looking to explore the key sights, the best time to visit is in the late summer (from February to early March). During this time, the weather is warm, around 28 degrees celsius, but there are fewer crowds because the school holidays, which are through December and January, have ended.
If it’s wildlife you’re after, then hang around ’till September to spot the short-tailed shearwater birds. From May to September, you’ll also be able to spot the southern right whales who come to these warm coastal waters to give birth before returning to Antarctica.
If you’re looking to tick off the Great Ocean Road on a day trip from Melbourne, then it is best to avoid the peak summer months (December and January) when the weather is brutally hot, and cars and coaches block up the roads.
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Unique Experiences & Best Places to See in Victoria
You’ll be all out of excuses not to do a Victoria tour and full of reasons why you should after reading this list;
Tick off the Best Things to do in Melbourne
Sports-mad, cosmopolitan and gastronomical are all perfect ways to describe the unmistakably cool city of Melbourne. Whether you’re strolling down one of its 230-plus laneways in search of fine dining restaurants, hipster bars or incredible street art or partaking in the coffee culture in a local cafe, Melbourne’s reputation for quality shines through.
Explore the city that’s described as the most European city in Australia like a local on this 2-day Melbourne tour.
The Grampians National Park
Rising from the remarkably flat Victorian countryside that surrounds it, the rocky outcrops and sandstone monoliths that form the Grampians are undoubtedly spectacular.
With activities ranging from rock climbing and abseiling to bushwalking and hiking to stunning lookouts, the Grampians are custom-made for the adventurous traveller. Add in the Grampians luxury accommodation on offer, and you have yourself a dream destination. Don’t forget to check out the wealth of Aboriginal rock art or the impressive Aboriginal Cultural Centre when you go!
The perfect addition to a Melbourne trip, Gippsland stretches southeast of Melbourne and is home to numerous attractions – the Ninety-Mile Beach, the Gippsland Lakes, national parks, untouched wilderness and more.
If you’re a fan of dazzling mountain streams, boating, fishing or hiking, then the beautiful lands of Gippsland are the perfect place for you.
Explore the historic towns that Victoria owes much of its present-day wealth, grand buildings and reputation for quality to in the Goldfields.
Dating from 1851 to the 1860s, the towns of Kyneton, Castlemaine and Maldon boast grand public buildings, mansions, art galleries and fine dining eateries that will keep you busy for days. While here, you can learn of the precious gold that catapulted Victoria into wealth.
Take it up a notch and head to the open-air museum of Sovereign Hill which brings to life Australia’s 1850s gold rushes through skilled craftsmen demonstrations, costumed characters and more. The most exciting part? There’s real gold to be panned and it’s finders keepers!
Great Ocean Road, Melbourne
Spanning 285 kilometres, the Great Ocean Road is Australia’s famous coastal route which begins in Torquay and extends all the way west in Warrnambool. Along the way, you’ll witness the majestic 12 Apostles, one of Melbourne’s and Victoria’s top sights. Don’t get disheartened if you can only count eight as in fact, four of the 12 apostles have disappeared over time due to corrosion but it is still an impressive sight.
You can go whale watching, discover the treasures of Port Fairy and hike a section of the Great Ocean Walk, if you’re feeling active. A simple day trip from Melbourne, you can tick off this bucket list experience on a trip like this 3-day Great Ocean Road drive!
Known as the place that Melbournians go at the weekend, the Mornington Peninsula winds itself around the southeastern side of Port Phillip Bay. The area boasts ocean views, sheltered sandy coves, quaint seaside villages and above all, acclaimed wineries, fine dining restaurants and luxury spas.
Stay in luxury accommodation, stroll through pristine vineyards and enjoy farm-to-fork restaurants on this 3-day Mornington Peninsula tour.
Murray River, Victoria
Affectionately referred to as ‘Australia’s Mississippi’, Murray River is the longest river in the country. Despite being much smaller than the actual Mississippi, Australia’s lack of inland waterways means Murray River tops the list. Flowing through arid plans, Murray River makes its way to the Southern Ocean through a series of riverside towns.
Hire a houseboat, cruise along the river in a canoe and visit one of the region’s renowned wineries. To make the most of Murray River, head to the oasis town of Mildura on your Victoria tour.
Phillip Island, Melbourne
Take a 90-minute drive from the city, and you’ll find yourself in penguin paradise! Phillip Island rewards visitors with the chance to see a plethora of Australia’s wildlife set in beautiful landscapes, from Koalas to cute little penguins.
The short distance that it is from Melbourne, Phillip Island is also a petrol head’s dream with a MotoGP circuit and international car racing events taking place often.
The High Country
A year-round playground, the High Country of Victoria boasts some of the best skiing and snowboarding come winter, and wonderful horse-riding, trekking, wine tasting and mountain biking opportunities come summer, or the ‘green season’ as it’s often known.
This alpine region of Victoria features dramatic mountain scenery, stunning views and grand buildings left behind by the Gold Rush of the 1800s.
Stretching out to the Bass Strait, Wilsons Promontory is an isolated yet accessible national park boasting sheer natural beauty, some of the best hiking in Victoria and an abundance of bush-camping spots.
When heading to ‘The Prom’, all you’ll need is a pair of good hiking boots, a map and some fuel. With over 130 kilometres of coastline, more than 80 kilometres of tracking tracks and sublime beaches all packed with wildlife, Wilsons Promontory is perfect for an adventure tour in Victoria.
How to Get Around Victoria, Australia
Getting to and around Victoria is no bother. Trains, trams, buses, bicycles, cars, campervans and boats are all at your service.
Getting Around Melbourne
When in the city, you absolutely tick off the experience of riding a tram. Trams and trains are the easiest way to get around and to get to all the fun things to do in Melbourne.
When arriving, you’ll most likely fly into the central hub of Melbourne which receives international flights as well as flights from all over the country. From the airport, you can jump on a shuttle bus to get into the city. All of Victoria’s top attractions are a short journey from Melbourne, and there are several ways to travel.
Getting Around Victoria
Victoria boasts a network of well-maintained roads connecting the major cities and towns as well as the more remote locations. You’ll easily be able to reach your next destination by car, motorbike or even bicycle! Scheduled buses run from Melbourne to destinations across the state.
Hiring a car or driving yourself is one of the easiest ways to explore Victoria, giving you freedom and flexibility in your itinerary.
Private Tour of Victoria
If the thought of hopping in a hire car and driving yourself is a little bit daunting then don’t worry, there are other options!
Just like on this 6-day Melbourne and Victoria tour, you can explore the state with a driver and a private car which gives you all the freedom of travelling by car without the hassle of driving yourself or worrying about maps!
Where to Stay in Victoria, Australia
Holding a strong reputation for elegant and luxury accommodation, Victoria manages to balance this out with a number of great camping, glamping and caravanning opportunities. With several rural havens, classy city hotels and backpacker options aplenty, you’ll always find something to suit your taste in Victoria.
Hotels in Melbourne
Being the cool city that it is, many of the top hotels have set up shop in Melbourne so you’ll find a number of the biggest hotel chains as well as a wide selection of boutique hotels spread throughout Melbourne.
You can stay right in the heart of Melbourne and experience the city like a local on this 2-day Melbourne tour.
Camping in Victoria
Whether it’s a lodge in the Victorian Alps, beachside camping on the coast or a glamping pod in the wilderness of one of the many national parks, there is a wide array of ‘camping’ options to suit everyone in Victoria.
Bed & Breakfasts in Victoria
Victoria does a lot of things well, but if there’s one thing that particularly shines through, it’s the well-deserved reputation for excellent bed and breakfasts. The Drift House is a particular unique luxury bed and breakfast, which you can enjoy on this 3-day Port Fairy trip.
Where to Eat in Victoria, Australia’s Food & Wine Capital
With a capital well known for being one of the world’s greatest food cities and farm-to-work restaurants excelling in the countryside, eating and drinking your way through Victoria should be an essential element of your Australia tour.
An extraordinary array of cuisines spread themselves throughout relaxing fine dining restaurants, hipster cafes and exceptional wineries in Victoria. Beyond the tapestry of cuisine showcases in Melbourne, a few hours out of the city and you’ll discover that the riches of the food scene here is in no way limited to the capital.
Eating & Drinking in Melbourne
Oh, the fun to be had dining in Melbourne is never-ending. Think rooftop hangouts, moody bars, an abundance of Asian fusion restaurants and laneways hiding discovery after discovery; the Melbourne food scene is world-class and the quality, sky-high.
With such an array of options, choosing where to have dinner can be overwhelming in Melbourne. That’s why the best thing to do is help your culinary desires be materialised by entrusting the help of one of our Local Designers like on this 2-day Melbourne trip.
Regional Restaurants & Wineries Beyond Melbourne
Melbourne’s revered food scene is primarily led by the areas that surround it, their produce and their reputation for delivering the finest ingredients and wines. With the highest concentration of cellar doors over any other state in Australia and 21 wine regions to its name, Victoria is the perfect place to be immersed in nature, enjoy fresh produce and wash it all down with fine wine.
Wineries range from big names to smaller boutique winemakers such as the ones found on the Yarra Valley tour or this Mornington Peninsula tour. You’ll find scenic riverside eateries scattered along the banks in the picturesque Murray River region and charm personified in the little coastal town of Port Fairy.
Breweries & Distilleries in Victoria
While Victoria is known for its full-bodied reds and cool, crisp whites, the state also plays host to a collection of gin and whisky distilleries and beer producers. Gin lovers will want to flock to Yarra Valley, the home of the country’s favourite gin tipple, Four Pillars Gin. Those with a penchant for beer and cider will feel at home on a journey along the Mornington Peninsula trail.
Fresh Local Produce & Farm-to-Fork Experiences in Victoria
Knowing where your food has come from, been grown and raised, and the fact it has only travelled a few miles, not hundreds of miles, can transform your whole dining experience. Many establishments and regions in Victoria take it back to the good old days in which food was sourced locally and sustainably with a minimal footprint.
In Victoria, you can find an abundance of cellar doors, family-owned wineries and fine dining restaurants from the Bellarine Peninsula to the Grampians leading the farm-to-fork movement.
A Breakdown of the Cost of a Tour of Victoria
There are several different variables of a trip which can affect the cost. These include and are not limited to;
- The length of your trip
- The season or month you travel in
- Accommodation type
- How many places in Victoria you visit
- How many tours/activities you do
- The mode of transport you use
Taking all of these aspects into account, planning the perfect Australia trip and making sure it still meets your budget can be both overwhelming and a little frustrating.
However, with Designer Journeys, this headache is removed from the equation.
How? Our Local Designers in Australia specialise in designing trips to suit you. Simply specify your budget, trip duration, activity preferences and your preferred way to travel, and Designer Journeys will connect you with an experienced local. They will make planning your Victoria trip, or your trip to anywhere else in Australia or the world, easy!
As an example of a tailor-made trip and what it may cost, this 6-day Victoria tour from Melbourne costs AU$1,878 per person and includes:
- Five nights accommodation in a 4-star hotel
- Nine activities ranging from a Great Ocean Road day trip to private city tours
- Six breakfasts
- Airport transfer and private transfers on tours
- Entrance fees to many attractions
Adding a local guide, upgrading the class of accommodation or adding meals at restaurants can transform your trip into a more luxurious experience. In the same way, changing the type of hotel, how you travel and how many places you visit can make a trip more budget-friendly.
Festivals & Special Events in Victoria
Three hundred and sixty-five days a year, there’s always something to see and do in Victoria. Here’s a taste of the many festivals and special events hosted by the state of Victoria;
Grampians Grape Escape – April/May
The state’s longest-running food and wine festival, the Grampians Grape Escape takes place in April or May every year. Hosting over 100 artisans showcasing their produce through live cooking demonstrations, musical performances, stalls and other entertainment, this is a highlight on Victoria’s food and wine calendar.
Australian International Airshow – November 2021
Celebrating 100 years of the Australian Royal Air Force, this event gathers an assortment of combat aircraft to strut their stuff at one of the world’s most famous aviation events. Perfect for any family Australia tour, you’ll spend the day watching jet fighters and strike bombers flying through the sky above you.
Wild Harvest Seafood Festival – April
Victoria’s far east is known for its varied abundance of fresh seafood, and the Wild Harvest Seafood Festival in Mallacoota celebrates this produce with markets live music, boat cruises and fishing lessons!
Australian Open – January 2021
In the midst of the Australian summer, one of the most thrilling and most anticipated events takes place – the Grand Slam at the Australian Open. Whether you’re a tennis fan or not, you’ll enjoy the adrenaline that this event runs on seeing the world’s best players gather to battle it out.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – March
Up there as one of the top Melbourne attractions, each year thousands gather to celebrate the world of gastronomy and wine at events throughout the capital, Melbourne, and the rest of Victoria. Critically acclaimed chefs preparing dishes to die for, cooking demonstrations and the signature event, The World’s Longest Lunch; if you’re around, you should not miss this event on your Melbourne Australia tour.
Melbourne Cup Carnival – October
One of the most loved and most anticipated events on the Melbournian’s calendar, the Melbourne Cup Carnival not only combines sport and entertainment, but also fashion, food and history all in one place. This iconic event takes place at the Flemington Racecourse and is an event not to be missed by both locals and visitors alike.
Regions Tours in Victoria
Port Fairy Perfection
Escape to a charming coastal town on this Port Fairy tour where you’ll stay at the luxury, bespoke Drift House. Stroll the historic streets, head out for scenic walks and sample exquisite dishes with perfect wine pairings at Conlan’s Wine Store.
Yarra Valley Escape
Stay at the charming Yering Gorge Cottages, dine at Rochford’s Winery, sample perfection at the TarraWarra Estate and immerse yourself in the surrounding countryside on this Yarra Valley tour.
Luxury Mornington Peninsula Tour
Expect spectacular coastlines, pristine vineyards, farm-to-fork gastronomic experiences and over 50 cellar doors awaiting you with open arms on this three-day Mornington Peninsula tour. Staying in luxury accommodation, you’ll go hiking in the national park, taste the region’s favourite wines and soak in hot springs.
Great Ocean Road Drive from Victoria
An iconic trip that you can’t miss. Short but sweet, this three-day Great Ocean Road self-trip drive takes you to the must-see attractions on this strip of Victoria’s coast with an added array of spontaneous and adventurous activities. If a helicopter ride from Torquay, Victoria, over the 12 Apostles, or a zipline canopy tour in the Otway National Park appeals to you, then this is the ideal trip!
Melbourne Like a Local
When it comes to trip planning, our Local Designers excel; showing you around places like you yourself are a local is at the top of their skillset. This two-day Melbourne trip sees you exploring the city’s top sights and treasures hidden in its laneways by bicycle and getting to know the city that bursts with art, glamour, and of course, exquisite coffee and food.
Take it all in on a Victoria Tour
If you’re happy to keep moving, this seven-day Victoria tour driving yourself from one top destination to another is all you need to tick off several of the most iconic Victoria attractions in one trip. From Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road, the Bellarine Peninsula, the Grampians National Park and finally, to Daylesford, Victoria, this self-drive trip showcases the best of the state.
Ready to Plan Your Tour to Victoria, Australia?
You are just moments away from connecting with one of our Local Designers in Australia to plan your ultimate trip through Victoria. Whatever you’re looking for, whether it be a romantic getaway for two or a family trip of a lifetime, let our Local Designers make it a reality and design your Australia tour now!