An underwater wonderland
If you want to point and laugh at some of the largest Australian marine creatures without getting your hand bitten off, a trip to the aquarium is in order. Aquariums allow you to view the wonders of the Australian ocean without the fear of being in the water with an unknown creature. A fun family activity, Australian aquariums showcase a variety of marine life, with each state showing their unique coastlines in which they populate.
Where are some of Australia's best aquariums?
Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest in the world and one of Sydney’s premier tourist destinations. Featuring over 12,000 animals from 650 species, Sydney Aquarium is home to a range of water loving creatures, from turtles and stingrays to platypuses and sharks. If you’re looking to get up and close, but not in a ‘snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef’ way, Underwater world in Queensland’s Mooloolaba comes complete with options to swim with the seals, dive with the sharks or to play it safe with the sea stars at the touch pools. However, it’s not only the east coast that holds a wide range of aquatic attractions.
Trek your way across the Apple Isle
Well renowned for its natural beauty and plethora of outdoor activities for its size, Tasmania’s bushwalking tracks are the best way to see the best of the land on foot, with 20% of the land area protected. For such a small place, Tasmania has an impressive 2,000 kilometers of world class walking tracks to choose from. With so many natural and accessible sights within easy reach, it's time to don your hiking boots and discover the wonders that wait.
Where are some of the best bushwalking and hiking tracks in Tasmania?
Covering 65 kilometers of land, the Tasmanian Overland Track weaves its way through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Internationally recognized as one of the world’s great wilderness walks, this trail runs from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, through diverse terrain encompassing rocky mountains, rapidly running rivers and tranquil rainforests. Normally undertaken from north to south, the Tasmanian Overland track takes six days to complete, with several alternative side tracks to discover along the way.
The south west region of Tasmania, acclaimed for its remote wilderness offers some of the state’s most challenging treks, so if you’re up for a test, this is your destination. The Frenchman’s Cap is a track leading to the summit of Tasmania’s most prominent peak in the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. More arduous than any other walk, the Frenchman’s Cap takes approximately two days, full of steep inclines and rewarding views.
In one of the most inaccessible wilderness areas of the world, the South Coast Track is one of the most popular hikes in the region, between Melaleuca in the south west and Cockle Creek in the south. 84 kilometers in length, the South Coast Track’s sheer remoteness makes it renowned for being one of the last remaining great wilderness walks in the world, passing through bridgeless streams, sandy hills and a plethora of mud. If you’re looking for a challenge, this Tasmanian track is the one to tackle, dramatically descending from alpine to rainforest.
Find out about bushwalking and hiking around South Australia
Australia's convict past
Take to the Apple Isle and discover the abundance of historical sites, homes and buildings that tell a story of Tasmania's colonial past, complete with convicts, criminals and many Victorian mansions.
Where are some of Tasmania's historic sites, homes and buildings?
For an insight into Australia’s convict history, the Coal Mines Historic Site is one of many Tasmanian convict labour driven worksites and played an important role in the early stages of colonization. Darlington Probation Station was another penal settlement on Maria Island
in 1825, renowned as one of the best examples of large scale convict transportation.
Somewhat contrary to what it sounds like, the Cascades Female Factory
was the home for female convicts, incarcerated here as punishment or while waiting to be assigned. A World Heritage listed site, the Cascades Female Factory plays an important role in the shaping of Tasmanian history, available for tours on a daily basis. Additionally, Ross Female Factory was home for hundred of female convicts between 1820 and 1856, situated
If you wish to live vicariously through history, a trip around some of Tasmania’s historic homes will leave you with antiquated envy. To name a few, Runnymede is a rare 19th century whaling family’s home, every bit as elegant as it is immense. Complete with an impressive garden and a rich collection of whaling and maritime artifacts, Runnymede is situated in New Town
, north of Hobart city. A great Georgian home, Clarendon Homestead was built in 1838 and is one of Australia’s finest period houses. Restored to its original condition, Clarendon includes stables, cottages, a stone barn and a servant’s wing.
Discover more of Australia's history by heading to the ACT
Wheel it to the wineries
Due to Victoria’s diverse range of rocky, mountainous terrain, flat paths and gentle slopes, cycling makes for both a popular means of transportation and an increasingly popular recreational activity. Victoria’s Great Alpine Valleys have both road and mountain cycling trails, whether you choose to tackle the ride to Mount Hotham
or go winery to winery along the Murray
to the mountains.
Where can I cycle around Victoria?
When exploring Melbourne, you’re in luck. With an active cycling culture, this city has an extensive number of cycling baths both on and off road, topped off with generally flat topography and a mild climate. For a flat ride, go on the Capital City Trail, winding through Melbourne’s parks, gardens and historic landmarks. An easy track, this allows you to sight see at a leisurely pace, exploring the city and the grassy banks of the Yarra Valley
For something a little more challenging, the Maribyrnong
River Trail runs along 28 kilometers, following the Yarra River towards the Maribyrnong. Passing historic buildings, wetlands and parklands, this track is well worth spending an afternoon outdoors for, perfect for a picnic pitstop.
From Melbourne’s eastern fringe to the CBD, the Main Yarra Trail is another popular cycling track to see the most of the city, a 33 kilometer run finishing at Southbank
Care to extend your cycle? Find more tracks here
Get down with the best of Australia's up and coming
Contributing more than half a billion dollars to the state’s economy each year, Victoria’s live music venues are far from dull, renowned for being one of Australia’s thriving entertainment capitals. In the 1970’s and 80’s, St Kilda
spawned its own distinct sound, and fast became the live music epicenter of Australia. Growing in diversity, this has seldom changed, with Melbourne still remaining the hotspot for live music in the state, hosting a range of lesser known and up and coming artists.
Where are some of the best live music venues in Victoria?
The Esplanade –or Espy
– has been a renowned Melbourne live music venue since 1878, playing host to some of the best performers in Australia and throughout the world. From iconic Australian legends like John Farnham to the contemporary rock stylings of Jet, The Esplanade has secured its reputation for being a renowned live music venue. With three permanent stages, this six bar venue has gigs on every night of the week, catering for every music taste.
To be in the action on a late night out, the city is the place to be. Disappear down one of Melbourne’s laneways or up a hidden stairwell into one of the city’s original venues and experience a truly memorable live show. Venues such as Ding Dong Lounge
, Pony and Cherry are some of the more traditional live music bars with a twist, keeping to the soul of being somewhat of a dive bar, full of drinks, dancing and live shows running as late as 2am.
If you’re after something a little smoother, the Paris Cat Jazz Club
is a vibrant underground jazz club, voted one of the best world music venues in Australia. Grab a gin martini and immerse yourself with sounds of brass instruments while you gaze at original jazz artwork.
Find out more information on Victoria's sub-cultural art scene here
Australia's Mediterranean playground
North east Victoria is comprised of five wine regions, all wineries
in which are reflective of their unique climate and topographic differences. Ranging from vibrant Italian style wines to Muscat and sparkling, these wine regions are situated in a picturesque area of Victoria, with wineries to the east a gateway to the ski fields.
Where is Victoria's wine region?
Encompassing chilly mountain ranges, dry rolling hills and humid plains, the diverse regions within central Victoria all produce an array of different wine varieties. With shiraz country to the west and white and sparkling wines to the east, match your wines with central Victoria’s accompanying local produce, where an abundance of lamb, cheese and vegetables are grown and produced.
is home to over 100 vineyards and more than 40 wines, closely located to Melbourne. Each sub region in Gippsland has a distinct characteristics, all reflected in the wines produced. From the Mediterranean climate of the east where pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon reign supreme, to the west, where warm dry autumns produce riesling and sauvignon blanc, make sure not to limit Gippsland’s winery tour to one day.
Wine your way up to New South Wales. Find out where, here
Bed, breakfast and bliss
What better way to accompany your Victorian holiday than with charming Victorian style accommodation. B&B’s have made their mark in Victoria as an indulgent escape, with breathtaking scenery, cozy hospitality and an intimate ambiance. Relax in the hot tubs with chilled champagne, indulge in fine food and wine and unwind amidst the peaceful Victorian scenery.
Where are some luxury B&B's in Victoria?
To name a few modern bed and breakfast delights, Must Creek Hollow is a Japanese inspired world of peace, tranquility and solitude, situated in Daylesford. Here, you can be enveloped by a garde of plants, a soft flowing creek and indulge in gourmet breakfast hampers.
Window on the Otways in Lorne is one of Victoria’s most amazing getaways. This self contained spa cottage overlooks Great Otway National Park and is designed with privacy in mind. Rekindle the love with your significant other and spend a weekend in luxury, this is one destination every couple would love to go.
Find more accommodation options in Victoria here
A surfer's rocky ride
Victoria’s rugged and rocky coastline is home to some of Australia’s best surf, brought in by the wild Southern Ocean. From Brighton
Beach’s symbolic bright beach houses to Gippsland’s Ninety Mile Beach
, Victoria’s 2000 kilometers of coastline spots beaches of all shapes and sizes, for surfers, swimmers or sunbathers.
Where are some good beaches for sun and surf in Victoria?
In Victoria, many surfers head straight to the Surf Coast, west of Melbourne, where a number of well known beaches are situated, most notably that of the world famous Bells Beach. Popular fishing and surfing beaches around this area are that of Torquay
and Jan Juc, where lifesavers patrol during summer.
Impressively large waves are common on beaches around the Great Ocean Road, particularly Port Campbell
, and although it’s all too tempting to try beginners luck, it’s often best to leave these waves to the more experienced surfers.
A historic beach popular with tourists, St Kilda Beach and its accompanying esplanade is a busy weekend destination for swimmers, beachside diners and iconic ice cream vans. The main beach closest to the city, St Kilda
is a popular beach for families, with gentle waves and a friendly, upbeat atmosphere.
Surf up to New South Wales, here
Meander amongst the mansions
Victoria is home to numerous historical buildings, each of which holds its own unique story. Victoria is adorned with historic buildings, homes, theatres and cathedrals, many of which are state or national heritage listed. Visible reminders of Victoria’s past, these historic buildings are spectacular in architectural and interior design, but also rich in history. From the hundreds of heritage buildings along the Great Ocean Road
to the mansions of Australia’s rich and famous families, take a wander and discover some of the state’s best hidden historical secrets whilst exploring some of the country’s most beautiful buildings.
Where are some of Victoria's best historic buildings?
To get up and close with Australia’s convict history, make sure to visit Old Melbourne Gaol
, where 135 people were hanged. Wander the three story museum and see the prisoner and staff memorabilia, including the death masks of executed criminals.
For something a little less horrifying, why not explore Cooks Cottage
, where you can visit the house built by the parents of British explorer Captain James Cook and learn all about his life and voyages. Cooks Cottage is situated in the Fitzroy Gardens and was constructed in 1775.
To meander through gardens both pristine and pure, head to Werribee Mansion, Victoria’s largest private residence. This mansion is situated in Werribee Park, and stands as one of Victoria’s most important surviving imperial houses. To continue a wander through the Victorian high life, Rippon Lea Estate
is one of Australia’s grand suburban estates, a National Heritage listed mansion, gardens and orchard with over one hundred varieties of apples and pears. Spend an afternoon meandering through Rippon Lea Estate, getting an insight into the lifestyle of some of Australia’s wealthiest families.
For more of Australia's regal remnants, check out some of Western Australia's historic buildings
A compact cruise
Victoria’s small size is ideal for road tripping, due to the fact you can see so much in such a short time frame. From spectacular mountain landscapes to cruisy coastal sunsets, set aside a week or two and take to the road, where you can explore nature, learn some Australian history and adventure amongst some of Victoria’s amusing attractions.
What are some of Victoria's best road trips?
For a short trip, head from Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula
, stopping via Phillip Island. Along the way, stop at the historic homestead of Warrook Cattle Farm and enjoy home cooked food or head out on a full farm tour. Once you cross the bridge from San Remo to Phillip Island
, you will be inundated with activities from watching the Phillip Island fairy penguins to exploring the rock pools and cuddling up to koalas. One of Victoria’s most beautiful destinations, Mornington Peninsula also offers a range of activities, with fruit farms, wineries and picturesque gardens.
For a foodie vacation, head on the Great Alpine Road. A 308 kilometer road from Victoria’s north east to the heart of Gippsland, the Great Alpine Road winds past mountains, valleys, vineyards and farms, where you can breathe in the essence of Victoria’s natural beauty, as well as take time out to sample local food, wine and produce.
One of Australia’s greatest known road trips, the Great Ocean Road
is a scenic coastal route, encompassing views of waterfalls, surf breaks and the magnificent rock stacks of the 12 apostles. Running across 243 kilometers between Torquay and Warrnambool, the Great Ocean Road is a national Heritage Listed stretch of road, built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932.
Find more great Australian road trips here