From the bush to the river basin, Victoria, Australia, offers a unique taste on a historic piece of the continent.
It might be Australia’s second-smallest state but it is also arguably Australia's most scenic and most exciting travel destination. Welcome to Victoria--where you can discover a wealth of regional areas and attractions ranging from the sweeping coastlines and pristine beaches of Mornington Peninsula to the wildlife and wineries of Kyneto, and the charming cafes and streets of Mildura.
Located just hours south of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula is home to numerous sandy coves and quaint seaside towns offering an array of activities. Here you will be able to go hang gliding on the steep cliffs overlooking Point Nepean, surf the sun-kissed waves of Port Phillip, tee off on one of the area’s many highly-ranked golf courses and dive to explore 19th century ship wrecks.
Families and beach bunnies alike will love the area's many diverse swimming beaches. Of these, Rosebud and Rye are the most family-friendly and laid-back, with calm waters and soft sands. Portsea, while rockier, boasts of wonderful coastal views.
Rising 1,000 feet above sea level, Arthur’s Seat is a must-see with its natural bushland and magnificent views of Port Phillip. Its many attractions include the McCrae Homestead--a historic property located at the foot of the small mountain. Built in 1844, it is one of Victoria's oldest homesteads and is a reminder of how early Aussie pioneers worked, farmed and lived.
Nearly by is Fort Nepean, a former defensive facility built in 1873 to protect the narrow entrance to Port Phillip. Used right up until World War II, the fort is now a national park where visitors with a thirst for history can view and learn more about Australia's military past.
One of Victoria's most popular and well-loved natural attractions, Mornington Peninsula National Park is a sanctuary to many forms of Australian wildlife. The Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is a 25-acre sanctuary showcasing the fauna that existed on the Mornington Peninsula prior to European settlement. The park's nocturnal animal walks are very popular.
Located only an hour's drive from Melbourne, the historic town of Kyneton draws visitors looking to escape the daily grind and gourmet food aficionados. After all, the area is famous not just for its stunning bush vistas but also its many gourmet food producers.
Held every second Saturday of the month, the Kyneton Farmer’s Market at St Paul's Park becomes a hub of activity for the town. Both locals and visitors gather to socialize, shop fresh produce and sample regional offerings such as award-winning olives, olive oils and preserves.
It's not just the food that draws visitors to Kyneton--it's also the dry climate wines of the region. Here's your chance to visit one (or more!) of the region's many family-operated boutique wineries dotting the countryside.
Kyneton was originally a gold rush town--and evidence of these halcyon days still abound on its buildings and streets. Take a walk through the town center and check out the beautiful old bluestone churches and buildings, many of which still boast their original facades and ornate verandas.
Don’t forget to check out Hanging Rock; it is one of Australia's most enduring mysteries--the as-yet-unsolved disappearance of several schoolgirls and their teacher during a picnic at Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day in 1900. Today, you too can picnic at Hanging Rock and then explore the majestic peak of Mount Macedon nearby.
Located in the far northwest of Victoria, Sunraysia is known for its sunshine, grapes and oranges. Its center, Mildura, is known for its Mediterranean charm, set as it is on the sandy banks of the idyllic Murray River and surrounded by vineyards.
Just an hour's flight from Melbourne, Mildura is rich in architectural attractions and natural ones. Its wide, leafy streets are lined with art deco buildings and its location by the Murray River offers plenty of recreational activities.
The town is also home to a thriving cafe culture, with many restaurants and cafes at which you can kick back and take in atmosphere while you sample the excellent wines and produce of the region.
You can discover the history and architecture of Mildura with a self-guided walk that will bring you to all the highlights of the town; including the Old Mildura Homestead and the original Rio Vista House. Both were built in the 1800s and offer a good peek into life back then.
Another way to view the city is by paddling! Paddle steamers and paddle boats have plied the Murray River since 1853. Today you too can experience this bygone era by taking a paddle boat ride down the Murray.
If anthropology is your game, check out The Perry Sandhills, which make up 10 hectares of striking red sandhills that were once part of the huge Willandra Lakes System and date back to an ice age 40,000 years ago. There have been bones found in the sandhills that reveal that huge kangaroos, wombats and other creatures once roamed this region.