From thrilling world class events and renowned architecture, to café-lined streetscapes and verdant parklands, there’s always something new and magical to discover in Melbourne. Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, sits on the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Known as the capital of fashion and coffee, the home of art and culture, and the sports hub of Australia, there is little that Melbourne doesn’t do well.
Lauded for its sense of style and elegance, Melbourne boasts glamorous festivals and events, Australia’s best shopping, a lively passion for eating and drinking, and a flourishing interest in the arts. Restored and preserved nineteenth-century architecture, built following the discovery of gold, provides a heady reminder of a prosperous age, while beautifully tended parks and gardens present a therapeutic respite from the pace of city life.
Melbourne is a natural starting and finishing point for your self-drive journey through some of Victoria’s unique, enchanting and varied landscapes. Experience the romance and exhilaration of a drive down the Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives boasting of a breathtaking stretch of astonishing seascapes, magical forest and sprawling farmlands. Take in highlights like the spectacular Otway Ranges, famous Bells Beach, the dramatic rock formation of the Twelve Apostles on the Shipwreck Coast, and the excitement and heritage of the gold rush in Ballarat.
Capture the awe-inspiring splendour of the iconic Twelve Apostles with its majestic limestone stacks rising up out of the ocean on a scenic helicopter flight or from a boardwalk for easy walking and great views. Experience the gold fever that gripped Australia in the 1850’s at the Ballarat Goldfields. Pan for gold, see blacksmiths at work, dress up in Victorian costume at Sovereign Hill, an outdoor living museum that re-creates the days of the goldfields, scene of one of just two civil uprisings in the history of Australia.
From world famous wines to fabulously fresh food and breathtaking scenery, the hills of Yarra Valley are a charming experience. The birthplace of Australian winemaking, the Yarra Valley is studded with more than 50 vineyards and a host of stylish cellar doors and restaurants. A Winebus Winery Tour offers tastings at four premium wineries as well as cider tastings and a winery restaurant á la carte lunch. Catch the sunrise on a Hot Air Balloon ride floating gently above rolling vineyards for that top of the world feeling. The Puffing Billy Steam Railway, Australia’s favourite steam train and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world operating since 1900, winds through the beautiful Dandenongs and offers a unique travel and dining experience.
Just 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is renowned for its penguin parade, wildlife, surf beaches and motorcycle racing. Each night at sunset see the world’s smallest penguins waddle ashore to their sand dune burrows at Summerland Beach. From the Nobbies, see thousands of fur seals, see koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre, or tour the Grand Prix circuit. At Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolates, see a chocolate waterfall or create your own chocolate bar!
Drive along the coastline with cliff top mansions, Mediterranean jewel-like bays, rugged surf beaches and lush bushland to discover the picturesque Mornington Peninsula region. It offers fabulous winery experiences, golfing, wildlife and adventure opportunities. With its style and sophistication, waterfront vistas, restaurants with world renowned chefs, olive groves, strawberry farms, cellar doors and vineyards, the Peninsula is a gourmand’s delight.
Victoria offers you the best of Australia’s natural attractions, coastal scenery, history and heritage – all in a flexible, compact touring package.