Victoria, Australia (Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula...)

Victoria is located in the south east region of the Australian mainland. Victoria is the home to Australia's "other" large city, Melbourne, which is the capital of Victoria. Victoria is a diverse state with the cosmopolitan lifestyle in Melbourne, the beautifully rugged coast line along the Great Ocean Road, the boutique vineyards of the Mornington Peninsula,
City of Melbourne
City of Melbourne
St. Kilda, Melbourne
St. Kilda, Melbourne

the alpine country and ski resorts in the mountains, the history of the old gold mining towns and 2,000 kilometres of coastline. All this makes Victoria an interesting place to visit.

The best way to get to Melbourne is to fly there on one of the domestic carriers such as Qantas once you are in Australia. You can also fly directly from many other countries including the United States.

Melbourne's airport is serviced by over 20 major airlines. The airport is close to the city. The drive from the airport to the key down town hotels should take around 25 minutes. You can also drive to Melbourne but it may be a long drive depending on where you are starting from. For example, the drive from Sydney to Melbourne is over 600 miles.

There are many hotels to stay at in Victoria with varied price ranges. You should also consider the many bed and breakfasts as well.

The climate is temperate in Victoria. The summer can be warm and the winters cool.

Some Key Attractions:

Melbourne is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city with just over 3 million inhabitants and is well worth a visit. Melbourne has a reputation of being a major ethnic melting pot that started with the Victorian gold rush days that attracted many Irish and Chinese diggers. There was also a large post war immigration from Europe which attracted migrants from Greece, Turkey, Italy and Yugoslavia. As a result, the restaurants are plentiful and represent a multitude of foreign cuisines.

Melbourne is a huge sports fans town and the locals are typically fanatics. The major sports are cricket, Australian Rules Football and horse racing. Another more internationally recognized event is the Australian Tennis Open.

There is a lot to see in Melbourne including the many parks and gardens, the museums, the exhibitions and galleries and for the more relaxed traveler, the pubs, cafes and restaurants. Some of the main attractions include The Immigration Museum, Gold Treasury Museum, Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail), National Gallery of Victoria, Scienceworks, Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Melbourne Aquarium.

Aussie Football.  Courtesy AST

Melbourne Aquarium (Melbourne): The Aquarium is located centrally in Melbourne on the banks of the Yarra River. It is an educational venue where you can learn a lot about the local sealife and get up close to the local marine creatures by walking through clear glass tunnels surrounded by the water. You will find the Aquarium on the corner of Queenswharf Road & King Streets in Melbourne.

The Immigration Museum (Melbourne): The Immigration Museum gives you a feel for how Australia became such a diverse culture. Australia is a young country and has relied on immigration from Asian and European countries. A visit to the Immigration Museum will give you a better idea of what lengths that many of the early immigrants took to seek a better and more prosperous life in Australia. This museum features interactive computer displays and is housed in the Old Customs House which was built in 1876. The Old Customs House is located at 400 Flinders Street in Melbourne.

Gold Treasury Museum (Melbourne): The Gold Treasury Museum will help you to understand how Melbourne really evolved. Its a great place to explore the history of Melbourne. The three permanent exhibits are Built on Gold, Growing up in the Old Treasury and Making Melbourne. The museum is located in the Old Treasury Building which was built in 1862 and can be found on Russell Street located between LaTrobe and Victoria Streets.

National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne): The National Gallery of Victoria is home to more than 70,00 works of art from paintings and photography to textiles. There is also an interesting collection of aboriginal art.

Scienceworks (Melbourne): Scienceworks is an educational experience with hands on exhibits about science. It is a science and technology museum that aims to educate the public in a manner that is entertaining. You will find Scienceworks at 2 Booker Street in Spotswood.

Parks and Gardens (Melbourne): Melbourne is known for it's parks and gardens that give the city a fresh and clean feel. The Royal Botanic Gardens contains 12,000 different species of plants and they were established in 1846. Fitzroy Gardens are located in East Melbourne and have been in existence for over 150 years. Fitzroy Gardens are home to Cook's Cottage. The Cottage was presented to the people of Victoria in 1934 to celebrate Victoria's centenary. The cottage comes from Yorkshire in England and was the house that Captain James Cook was born in. Much later, Captain James Cook went on to discover the east coast of Australia.

Learn some trivia facts about Melbourne.

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The Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most spectacular scenic routes. Its stretches along the south west coast of Victoria along the top of rugged cliffs and rocky outcrops where the coast line has been eaten away by the Great Southern Ocean. The most famous geographic feature is the Twelve Apostles which are rocky outcrops protruding upwards out of the ocean. This scenic road trip can be busy in the summer months due to tourist traffic and the influx of people traveling to their holiday homes in local towns such as Lorne and Anglesea.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade: The Fairy Penguins come ashore every night at dusk and they waddle to their burrows. This is a great opportunity to see these wonderful creatures in the wild. Phillip Island is only 140 kilometres south east of Melbourne. It is part of Phillip Island Nature Park.

Mornington Peninsula has 2 coast lines as it lies between Western Port Bay and Bass Strait. Bass Strait is the straight of rough water that separates mainland Australia from the island state of Tasmania. This region is a diverse region with beautiful beaches, abundant flora and fauna and sleepy coastal towns.

Wilsons Promontory Marine Park is an extensive area of sandy beaches, islands and reefs. It is a wonderful place to fish or observe the local flora and fauna. Located around the southern coastline of the Marine Park is the Wilsons Promontory Marine Reserve. The marine reserve is rich in scenery and marine life. Seals and Cape Barren Geese are among the abundant wild life.

Tasman Sea Coastline: This coastline stretches from Wilsons Promontory to the News South Wales border. One of the highlights is Ninety Mile Beach which is a long stretch of sandy beach and sand dunes. It is said to be dangerous for swimming because of the rips but is a nice place to walk or fish. Further along the coast past the town of Lakes Entrance, the coast becomes more rocky with remote beaches surrounded by forests.

The High Country is the name given to the alpine region which is located in the north eastern area of Victoria. It takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to drive to the High Country from Melbourne. This area is often snow covered and there are ski resorts present. By Australian standards the skiing is fine but really does not compare to the skiing in North America and Europe.

The Macedon Ranges region is a one hour drive from Melbourne. The area is known for it's wineries and is also known as spa country. There are over 30 wineries and Australia's richest content of mineral springs, not to mention superb restaurants.

The Grampians is an area of valleys, mountains and woodlands. There are picturesque lakes and waterfalls which makes this area a must for nature lovers. The Grampians National Park is one of the largest national parks in Victoria. Whether you prefer driving, sightseeing and picnicking, camping and hiking, cycling, fishing or rock climbing, you are able to set your own pace in The Grampians.

Sovereign Hill: If you have an interest in history, Sovereign Hill will be of interest to you. This is the area where Australian history changed during the 1850's goldrush. Tourists can pan for gold or ride in the horse drawn carriages and really feel how life was back in these exciting times.

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