Get inspired by these spectacular places to visit in Victoria, Australia, brought to you by a local Burn City inhabitant addicted to her home state.
Melbourne. Voted the most liveable city in the world seven times over. I mean, there's gotta be more to it than our smashed avo on toast which, mind you, is the the bomb diggity - or, our not-to-be-messed-with coffee culture. Right?
I don't even know what the ranking is based on, but I can tell you one thing - despite the mind blowing brunch selections or soul soothing flat whites, Victoria is home to a vast number of captivating attractions that'll make you see exactly why the capital of this state is the most liveable city in the world.
If you're seeking the perfect weekend getaway, or you're looking to add some unforgettable day trips to your Melbourne itinerary - this epic list serves to inspire you to pack your bags, and visit the most beautiful places in Victoria.
For more on Melbourne & Victoria, take a look at these posts.
A solid 3-hour road trip from Melbourne, Gippsland is found in the far eastern corner of Victoria. Known for its picturesque intertwining lakes, amazing camping grounds, and the famed Ninety Mile Beach - it's a popular spot for families and nature seekers to retreat to rent house boats, sail, or simply chill.
Grab your sleep bags and snooze under the starry night sky on a quiet stretch of beach, try your luck at fishing, explore the coastline, or visit all the quaint little towns dotted around the lakes. Or, drive inland to the Buchan Caves that were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. Walk beneath hundreds of stalactites that line the ceilings and try not to freak out and think about one cracking and dropping on your noggin.
If that's still not enough nature for you, then hop on a ferry and explore Gippsland Lakes - Australia's largest and most stunning inland waterways, consisting of lakes, marshes and lagoons covering a massive 600 square kilometre space.
But, there's even more nature, guys - hike up falls, conquer mountain biking trails, or simply stroll along coastal walks and bask in the views.
Country, bush, coast - Victoria's got 'em all. But, if the mountains are callin' - we've got those, too. And, you better heed that call.
Take a trip out to the Dandenong Ranges, a mere one hour drive from Melbourne - it's a super easy retreat from the fast paced city life, where you can explore eclectic mountainside villages, wander through forest-scape, discover magical falls, and stunning viewpoints.
But, wait. There's more. Dandenong Ranges is home to a myriad of wonderful natural sights and attractions, including - the Puffing Billy Steam Railway, Kokoda Memorial Walk (1000 Steps), William Ricketts Sanctuary, Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, Sherbrooke Forest, and the Rhododendron Botanic Garden. Phew, I think I got 'em all.
As always, the best way to make time for all the sights is to stay overnight, take it slow, and bunk yourself up in a cosy cottage, B&B, or forest resort located in one of the towns or within Mount Dandenong.
You haven't experienced the magnificence of Aussie beaches until you've been to Wilsons Promontory - located all the way down south of the state - the entire national park is a natural marvel that you need to behold.
Prepare to be astounded by gorgeous trails and hikes, spotless white sandy beaches, unique Australian wildlife, and views to literally die for.
Camp under the stars, skip along the 'Prom's iconic Squeaky Beach, or conquer the summit at Mount Oberon - it's a haven for hikers, family adventurers, and photographers alike. Get out of the city, slow down a few paces, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the outdoors.
Unless you're a keen camper, unfortunately, no other forms of accommodation can be found within Wilsons Promontory, as the National Park aims to protect its pristine beaches, rainforests and wildlife from the threat of overtourism.
Book unique accommodation near Wilsons Prom - Browse a range of stunning country Airbnb cottages & houses.
Picture this - dazzling rugged coastlines, deep blue tinged water perfect for surfing, Fish 'n' Chips by the beach, and adorable little penguins bouncing up sandy hills to get to their nests. That's Phillip Island in a nutshell for you, and without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in Victoria that you must see.
Located in Western Port at the south end of the state, it's only a one hour drive from Melbourne, and it's pretty much a little holiday island for locals to get away to in the summer months.
The island harbours splendid sights and activities for families, couples and adventure seekers to enjoy. Learn about its history and heritage at Churchill Island Farm, hike along Cape Woolamai and admire unique rock formations at Pinnacles Lookout, watch the Penguin Parade, or take a stroll down the boardwalk at the Nobbies Centre.
Be sure to grab the Phillip Island Combo Ticket saving you money on up to 5 attractions, including: the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Sanctuary, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, Nobbies Antarctic Journey, and Adventure EcoBoat Tour.
Cathedral Ranges State Park
One of the craziest and adrenalin-fuelled hikes that I ever agreed to embark on, hiking up Cathedral Ranges is not for the faint-hearted. Well, you can take an easier trail up where your chances of tumbling down the cliff edges are a lot lower.
But, I can assure you - the view at the top is completely worth the near-death experiences and general struggles of uphill climbing. Enjoy one of the most stunning views of the Victorian countryside, overlooking vast farmlands, charming towns, and mountain ranges.
The Wells Cave Track is, hands down, the most dangerous yet incredible hikes in Victoria, taking climbers through claustrophobia-inducing narrow cave passages and edge-of-the-cliff climbs that'll make you feel an inch closer to death. If adrenalin is what you seek, then adrenalin you shall find.
If you're already in the area, make sure to drop by the lovely township of Marysville where you can stay overnight at a dainty country lodge with kangaroos hopping past your window, and explore all the quirky little things that this charming place has to offer.
Great Ocean Road
One of the top places to visit in Victoria, the Great Ocean Road is hailed as one of the world's most scenic coastal drives. It's not something you want to miss on your trip to Australia. And, if you live in Victoria, well - this is a holiday destination that you'll always come back to.
The 243km coastal stretch runs along the windy south eastern coast of of Australia, where the journey begins in the small beach town of Torquay, a surfer's paradise an hour outside of Melbourne.
One of the most iconic attractions along the Great Ocean Road is, without a doubt, the Twelve Apostles - but lemme be real for a second. Are you ready? They're overrated. Yup, I said it. And, there's only what, like, 6 left? To skip the tourist hordes, alternatively, you can take a look 7 of the other remarkable attractions you'll most likely drive past on your road trip.
Although the drive is best done by renting a car in Melbourne, you can also book yourself on a day tour if time is limited, and discover the best attractions of the Great Ocean Road at sunset. For the real thrill seekers out there who need their hit of adrenalin and really want to see the magnificent coastline from above, then you might even consider jumping out of a plane and skydive this marvel.
Save a ton on Great Ocean Road's best attractions:
Crystal blue waters and soft sandy beaches that stretch into the horizon - the Mornington Peninsula is home to some of the most swimmable kid-friendly beaches in all of Victoria. If this isn't on your Victoria bucket list, then you need to add it right now. Stat.
Rent a car and make the gorgeous drive down, or book the Ultimate Mornington Day Tour that covers the main attractions, like, a visit to Fort Nepean at the very cusp of the peninsula, the Enchanted Adventure Garden, and even its famed strawberry and chocolate farms.
For more offbeat adventures, take a look at our video showcasing the 5 Secret Spots You Must Visit In Mornington Peninsula - from some of the most stunning shorelines you'll have ever seen to abandoned fortresses. Although the beaches scattered along Dromana, Rye, and Rosebud are perfect for swimming - don't miss a visit to the rugged back beaches. Climb along battered cliff edges, leap into rock pools, snorkel above colourful reefs, or surf the crazy waves.
There's also a huge array of activities for kids, after all, it's one of the top family holiday destinations in Victoria. Swing by Moonlit Sanctuary where kids can get up close and personal with iconic Aussie wildlife, jump on the Arthurs Seat Eagle cable ride for incredible ocean views, or pop into Peninsula Hot Springs for a dip in the thermal mineral springs.
Known for picture perfect sandstone mountains, colourful wildflowers and exhilarating Australian wildlife, the Grampians National Park is the perfect destination for couples or families seeking recluse in the mountains.
Covering over 170,000 hectares of space at the border of Victoria and South Australia, a visit here will offer incredible panoramic views of the region, grande waterfalls, tranquil lakes and lush forests.
Glamping at the Lakeside Tourist Park is a must if you're planning to stay the night, especially if camping is not quite your cuppa tea. Wake up to kangaroos and emus traipsing past your abode as you attempt to snap a quick selfie before they hop along.
Covering some of the best hiking trails in Melbourne, you can climb and conquer the picturesque Pinnacle Lookout and admire stunning panoramic views of the region, or drive up to the Boroka Lookout during at sunset to be greeted with 180 degree views of Western Victoria looking out over the Grampians and Lake Bellfield.
If you're visiting Melbourne on the fly, you can always book the Grampians Day Tour that will take you to all the attractions the national park has to offer.
Ballarat & Daylesford
If you've had enough of the coast and beach life (but, can you ever?), then a getaway to the remote western regions of Victoria is a must.
Hit up Sovereign Hill in Ballarat to learn all about the beginnings of the great Gold Rush era in the 19th century. Explore scores of historic buildings that you can wander in and out of, snap selfies with workers dressed in Victorian-style costumes, or even test your luck and pan for gold.
With loads of kid friendly activities, Ballarat is one of the best places in Victoria for a family weekend getaway. Hit up Kryal Castle, a replica medieval adventure park and immerse yourself in the age of knights and princesses - you can even stay overnight inside the castle. Or, take them to Ballarat Wildlife Park to meet and greet native Australian wildlife.
If you're long overdue for a romantic couples getaway, then Daylesford must be on your agenda. Retreat into the peaceful countryside and base yourself in this luxurious villa with a freakin' jacuzzi in the centre of the living space, and explore all the natural beauty that the spa country has to offer.
Pop into Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa and indulge in relaxing treatments and mineral bathing to rejuvenate your mind and soul. Have lunch at a scenic winery, explore the vibrant town centre, or drop by Lake Daylesford and stroll around lush green woodland.
Escape into Victoria's wine country, the hilly region is home to beautiful sights and activities for couples and families alike. A top destination for weddings, food, and arts - this is truly a place as Victorian as Victoria can get.
If you happen to be visiting in the springtime, be sure to swing by the Tesselaar Tulip Festival to snap some pics for the 'gram, or drop into Healesville Sanctuary to get up close and personal with rescued Australian animals inside premises that make you feel like you're deep within the Aussie bush.
Let's not forget the fact that most people come here some of Australia's best wine, so be sure to go on a Yarra Valley Winery Tour to visit four of the most popular vineyards, or propel yourself up into the skies at the crack of dawn on an unforgettable hot air ballooning experience that will stay engrained in your memory forever.
A perfect short day trip from Melbourne, the Werribee Gorge is located in the desolate west of Melbourne. Hugely popular amongst bushwalkers and rock climbers, the national park offers on trail and off trail adventures, steep descents for thrill seekers, river crossings, cable climbs, wildlife spotting and rock hopping for anyone who's a crazy outdoor junkies.
Picnic, walk, hike or climb vertical rock surfaces - there's a trail for everyone. For more trail reviews and suggestions, take a look at what visitors have stumbled upon whilst hiking the state park.
For more on Melbourne & Victoria, take a look at these posts.
Best Places to Visit in Victoria: Wrap Up
There's obviously more to the reason why Melbourne was voted the most liveable city in the world on numerous counts, but I'd say our amazing countryside mixed in with our spectacular coastline accounts for a good chunk of the points here. Oh, and our food scene. Let's not forget the mind blowing food our chefs put on the brunch table here.
I hope this list has inspired you to jump in a car to explore the remote regions of my beautiful home state - there really is so much to see and do for travellers of all kinds. A great place to start planning your next great Victorian getaway is on the official Visit Victoria site, where you can align your travels with special events, or simply find inspiration on where to go.
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Any other hidden gems in Victoria I should know of? Drop them in the comments below.