Exploring Oz’s Southern State
Despite being the smallest state on mainland Australia, Victoria still packs a punch, and some would argue that it’s the best state to visit in Australia, but what makes it such a must see on a gap year? And most importantly, what’s there really to see and do in Victoria?
Victoria has a beautiful blend of culture and it’s the most cosmopolitan of all the Australian states, taking touches from a number of European influences. Not only do you have the outdoor lifestyle that all of Australia is famous for, but you also have the cafes and restaurants to make this possible on a daily basis.
Victoria really is a backpackers dream. The trend for Australia used to be the great road trip from Sydney to Cairns. These days, as Victoria is so popular, the norm now is to travel from Melbourne to Cairns, so make sure you don’t miss it!
5 things to do in Victoria
The Great Ocean Road
No trip to Victoria would be complete without driving along the Great Ocean Road. In fact, it would be really hard to visit Victoria without driving on it (its 285 kilometres long after all!)
From Torquay to Warnambool, you’ll be treated the the most magnificent views of the coast. In my opinion, the only way to see the Great Ocean Road is to drive it yourself – then you’ll get to stop off at any spot that takes your fancy (and there’ll be a few).
One of the iconic symbols of Australia is the Twelve Apostles. Well, you’ll see that for miles and miles on the Great Ocean Road. Not only is this one of the greatest road trips in Australia but it’s also one of the greatest road trips in the world…
Melbourne is Australia’s second biggest city with a population of 4.2 million people, though you wouldn’t think it when you’re there. It’s small enough to walk around yet big enough to feel lost in.
If there was one word to describe Melbourne, it would be cool. It’s just very, very cool. On some streets you’ll see old fashioned Victorian architecture, and on the next you’ll see a brand-spanking new skyrise.
Melbourne resonates multiculturalism and it’s easy to think you’re in a number of European cities. Couple that with the fact that it has the third largest Greek population in the world after Athens and Thessaloniki and you’ll start to get the picture.
If you’re into your arts & crafts, cafes, cuisine, fashion, music, performance, then Melbourne is the only place you’ll want to be. Oh, and footy. Melbourne is footy mad… (that’s Aussie Rules, not our footy…)
Penguins? In Australia? You betcha. Phillip Island is home to these critters and it’s one of the most popular wildlife attractions in the whole of Australia. Despite the island only having a population of approximately 6,000, it receives over 3.5 million tourists a year!
Known as the penguin parade, people travel from all over to watch the penguins come up the beach at sunset to bed in the for the night.
And if wildlife’s really your thing, Phillip Island also has the Koala Conservation Centre, a tourist park for kangaroos. Nah, just joking. It’s really a koala conservation centre…
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park, otherwise known as ‘the Prom’, is the most southerly part of Australia’s mainland, and it once was connected to Tasmania. It’s known for its beautiful rainforests, unspoiled beaches, and abundant wildlife.
It’s Victoria’s most popular national park and it’s an amazing place for hiking and camping. There’s nothing quite like walking around for the day and then waking up in the bush the next morning, but make sure you spend a few days here! Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave!
New South Wales has the Hunter Valley; Victoria has the Yarra Valley. It’s one of Australia’s best wine regions and it’s a great place to learn more about Australia’s wine production.
Near Melbourne, you can visit the Yarra Valley on a day trip, though a couple of days is recommend to visit all of those wine estates! There are dozens and dozens dotted around the valley, so make sure you give yourself enough time.
Another way to see the Yarra Valley is from a hot-air balloon. Though technically this falls under the category of flashpacking, it truly is a spectacular experience!