Victoria might be one of Australia’s smallest states, but it has no shortage of attractions. With things beginning to open up, start planning your next holiday by taking a look at our favourite ways to explore Victoria.
Things to do in Melbourne
Spend some time in Victoria’s coastal capital! Melbourne is the perfect place to begin to explore Victoria. There’s plenty to do, such as listening to live music, enjoying the cafes or marvelling at the street art. Blender Lane is one of the best spots to see street art, but you can see creativity all over the city. Centre Place provides the perfect spot for grabbing a bite to eat. You can also step into cafes and boutiques that will keep you embedded in the city’s culture.
Pop into Arts Centre Melbourne to see their impressive collections. If you’re interested in Australia’s performing arts heritage, check out the collection that holds over 700,000 culturally significant items. Music lovers can enjoy the magic of the Australian Music Vault here as well. And for a relaxing and educational stroll, head over to the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you can view over 8,500 different plant species.
Top restaurants in Melbourne
In a city like Melbourne, there are plenty of options for getting your food and drink fix. The city has a thriving cafe culture, and hands-on cooking classes are plentiful, so you can bring a bit of the charm back home. Pastuso has some of the best Peruvian cuisine you can find. Executive Chef Alejandro Saravia is widely credited with introducing Peruvian cuisine to Australian food culture, so you can’t go wrong here. For comfort food, try The Meatball & Wine Bar, where you’ll also find some of the best Italian wine in town.
If you’re looking for a reason to reward yourself with a drink, make your way through the TRAPT Bar & Escape Rooms. You’ll need a reservation here, and the themed rooms and extensive cocktail options are well worth the challenge. Another adventurous drinking spot is IceBar Melbourne, the coolest place in town. Cold weather gear is provided, as this place is made almost entirely of ice!
Top picks for Melbourne accommodation
The recently refurbished Jasper Hotel offers a lovely place to rest after a long day exploring the city. With impressive views of the Melbourne skyline, this is more than a place to sleep. The Adelphi Hotel, voted the best boutique hotel in Victoria, offers comfortable accommodation in a fun atmosphere. For a more modern setting, try the Vibe Hotel Melbourne, located in the heart of the CBD.
Looking to experience an unusual side of Melbourne? Check out our tips for the best things to see that may not be on everyone else’s radar.
Explore Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula
With spectacular views and plenty to do, the Mornington Peninsula offers a wonderful escape. There’s an abundance of walking trails, beaches and outdoor markets to keep you busy. If you’re feeling a bit daring, surfing is popular here.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat and something to drink, try the Dainton Brewery. With live music and award-winning beers, you can’t go wrong here. Travellers with a sweet tooth have got to stop at the Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. You can watch chocolatiers at work and best of all, eat their creations too! For luxury accommodation, the Jackalope Hotel is the place to be. The hotel features a socially-distanced Rain Room that responds to your presence and movement, essentially allowing you to control the weather. It’s not to be missed.
Escape to the seaside in Flinders
Looking for a lovely coastal spot? Flinders is the place to be. Bordering Mornington Peninsula National Park, Flinders is a charming historical village with lots to do. Be sure to sample a few of the water activities on offer, such as diving, snorkelling and beach combing.
For delectable seafood and pasta, visit Donna Maria’s Ristorante. It’s a lovely spot to relax after a long day of adventure. One of Australia’s most gorgeous vineyards is located right on the Mornington Peninsula; Nazaaray Estate will keep you happy with delicious wine and stunning sunsets.
For a cosy getaway, stay at Arleston Cottage. You’re sure to be relaxed and comfortable in this scenic spot.
Central Victoria’s attractions are never-ending
Continue to explore Victoria in Central Victoria; it’s rich with former gold rush towns like Bendigo, Ballarat and Castlemaine. You’ll easily get lost in the historical and modern mix of these places.
Visit Bendigo, the Ceramic Centre of Victoria
The gold rush in the 19th century brought livestock, architecture and winemaking to Bendigo, all of which are still thriving today. Head over to Bendigo Pottery, Australia’s oldest working pottery factory, where you can get some hands-on clay experience, shop and enjoy the history. If you’re interested in learning more about the gold rush, visit the Golden Dragon Museum. This is the Chinese Cultural Centre of Australia and documents Chinese heritage in the country, as well as their work during the gold rush.
If you’re looking for a quick and delicious snack, try Indulge Fine Belgian Chocolate. New treats are added often, so you can’t go wrong with anything here. The Dispensary is the perfect spot to grab a meal and a drink. Small and intimate, they’ve got an impressive list of drink choices to peruse. When you’re ready to relax for the night, head to The Schaller Studio hotel, a comfortable stay located close to Lake Weeroona.
Make a stop in Ballarat while you explore Victoria
Spend some time at this lovely historical town, located approximately 120 kilometres from Melbourne. You’ll find great museums, walking tours and botanical gardens to enjoy. Ballarat has an impressive collection of international cuisine, from Indian to Thai and Italian, in its restaurants. A top choice is Carboni’s Italian Kitchen, which will satisfy all your pasta cravings. Spend the night at the famous Craig’s Royal Hotel, which has hosted notable guests like Dame Nellie Melba and Mark Twain.
Curious to know about the third city in Australia’s ‘golden triangle?’ Check out our list of the best places to explore in Castlemaine!
Explore Victoria’s wild west
West Victoria offers much to do. Grampians National Park, traditionally known as Gariwerd, is approximately three hours from Melbourne and has plenty of hiking and walking trails. You can also see picturesque views and lots of wildlife.
Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel gives a fine-dining experience complete with spectacular scenery and history. The menu frequently changes, as it is supplied by their own garden, so be sure to make a reservation and note any dietary restrictions. Accommodation at the Royal Mail Hotel sustains the historical vibe. Plus, each room type offers a different view of Grampians.
Travel the Great Ocean Road
Another place to see gorgeous views in west Victoria is the Great Ocean Road. You can swim with dolphins, gaze at the famous 12 Apostles (of which there are only 8 remaining) or visit the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre near Geelong. One of the best beaches to visit is Bells Beach. The Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition is held here, and the views are gorgeous.
Situated between Port Fairy and the 12 Apostles, Basalt Vineyard is a great place to grab some food and taste some wine. For some deep relaxation and wellness, make sure to stay at The Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs. With expansive ocean views and varying hot bathing experiences, the only thing that can drag you away is the promise of adventure on the Great Ocean Road.
There are endless way to explore Victoria: plan a Yarra Valley getaway
The Yarra Valley should be on everyone’s bucket list. About an hour east of Melbourne, it’s perfect for a weekend visit. There are lots of walking and cycling trails to explore, and horseback riding is also popular. You can also venture through Eltham Lower Park on a two kilometre railway ride.
The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s oldest wine region, so there are plenty of opportunities for wine lovers to get their fix here. For a thorough tasting tour, try A Day on the Vine. It’s on the expensive side, but you’ll see boutique wineries, breweries, fine eateries, vineyards and more on this all-day tour. There are several other options for tours; visit the Yarra Valley visitor site for more information.
After a day of sampling the good stuff, you’ll need somewhere to crash. There’s plenty of accommodation in the Yarra Valley, from cosy Bed & Breakfasts to gorgeous hotels. Araluen Glen Accommodation offers an enviable experience in the heart of the Yarra Valley. You’ll also find spa village and lodge options that treat you to an exceptional stay in the Yarra.
Keen to keep reading?
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