It may be pint-sized compared to the colossal kilometres of some states, but Victoria packs just as much variety, wilderness, remoteness, guts and urban mayhem as its beefier neighbours. Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, occupies a southern bay, and is a hybrid of global influence. The art, music, theatre, cinema and cuisine in this city of culture junkies is accessible to every budget, and though fuelled by the best baristas in the country, the Melburnian pace is set to an affable amble.
Scalloping its way around coves, beaches and cliffs, the Great Ocean Rd is great indeed. Wild surf pounds the shoreline and enigmatic coastal towns mingle with lush national parks such as the unfailingly photogenic Port Campbell National Park. Around Melbourne the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula are latticed with grapevines; popular spa towns Daylesford & Hepburn Springs aren't too far either.
In the High Country, brilliant autumn colours segue into snowfields and back again to sleepy summer towns, haunted by pale ghost gums. Skis get a work-out in winter, and cycling, horseback riding and cheeky weekends are the mainstays of the summer bliss. Dry plains in the Western District are home to farmland and breathtaking bushwalking in the Grampians National Park. The most-southern mainland tip is in the spiritually reviving Wilsons Promontory National Park. The exquisite empty of the outback creeps into the deserts of the northwest and the mighty Murray cuts a verdant swathe high above.
Such geographic extremes nurture a bipolar climate, which oscillates from windy gales to sunny skies, all between leaving the house and catching a tram! This too has become part of Victoria’s charm; the locals here are up for anything, anytime.
Last updated: Mar 19, 2009
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