Victoria is the southernmost of the eastern mainland states of Australia. The state is roughly triangular in shape. New South Wales lies to the north/north-east, with the Murray River forming most of the boundary between the two states. South Australia lies to the west and the southern coast forms the other side of the triangle. Melbourne, the state capital and largest city, is nestled on Port Phillip in the centre of the southern coast.
| Melbourne |
Capital and the world's most liveable city
| The Murray (Sunraysia, Mallee)|
| Wimmera (The Grampians)|
| Goldfields (Central Goldfields, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Pyrenees)|
| South West Coast (Geelong, Great Ocean Rd, Bellarine Peninsula, The Otways)|
| High Country (Alpine)|
| Gippsland (Wilsons Promontory, Phillip Island)|
| Yarra Valley |
| Mornington Peninsula (Rosebud, Sorrento, Hastings, French Island)|
- Melbourne - the lively state capital and largest city
- Bairnsdale - a laid-back city in the heart of Gippsland
- Ballarat - the Gateway to the Goldfields
- Bendigo - a city of old Victorian buildings built on gold money
- Geelong - Victoria's second largest city and the beginning of the Great Ocean Road
- Mildura - perched on the edge of the outback in the state's far north-west
- Shepparton - a vibrant city in Victoria's foodbowl, home of the agricultural industry
- Warrnambool - a historic maritime city on the Shipwreck Coast
- Wodonga - The twin cities of Albury and Wodonga span the Murray River.
- Bellarine Peninsula - a region just past Geelong, home to seaside villages, wineries and surf beaches
- Dandenong Ranges - towering forests line the side of majestic mountains overlooking Melbourne
- Grampians National Park - rugged mountain ranges, perfect for bushwalking and birdwatching
- Great Ocean Road - the famous scenic journey along the south-west coast of Victoria
- Mornington Peninsula - sun, fun, wineries and golf on Melbourne's doorstep
- Mount Buller - the state's most popular ski resort, appealing both to beginners and the experienced
- Phillip Island - penguins, beaches, wineries and nature parks teeming with wildlife
- Wilsons Promontory - a large peninsula of mostly wilderness, offering spectacular bushwalking and diving
- Yarra Valley - Victoria's premier wine growing (and tasting) region, just out of Melbourne
Victoria is the smallest and most densely populated state on the Australian mainland. Parts are ideal for touring, without the long distances between towns common in the more sparsely populated states.
Standard time is 10 hours ahead of GMT and summer time (from the first Sunday of October to the first Sunday of April) is 11 hours ahead.
On 1 July 1851, Victoria was established as a new colony from New South Wales. Days later gold was discovered near Ballarat and Bendigo.
Victoria has good cross border road connections into its neighbouring states. The main routes from the north are the Princes Highway following the coast and entering the state near Genoa, the Hume Highway from Sydney entering the state at Wodonga, the Newell Highway entering the state near Shepparton and being the main route from Brisbane, and the Sturt and Silver City Highways entering at Mildura. From the west, the Princes Highway is again the coastal route, and the Western Highway the more direct route.
Melbourne is the main entry point to Victoria by air and Tullamarine airport 24km to the north of Melbourne City has direct flights to all Australian capital cities, and many international destinations.
Avalon airport is close to Geelong, around 57 km south-west of Melbourne, and Jetstar operates some low-cost flights there. Useful to access Melbourne on the cheap, and for better access to the Great Ocean Road.
Rex fly to Mildura and Albury from Sydney, giving easier access to the north and the north-west of the state.
Victoria is serviced regularly by one boat route, which travels between Victoria and the island state of Tasmania. The Spirit of Tasmania arrives daily (twice daily during peak season) at Station Pier in the inner-city suburb of Port Melbourne, approximately 6 kilometres south-west of the city centre. There is a regular light-rail service between the pier and city centre. To encourage tourism, the Tasmanian state government subsidises fares and it can be a relatively inexpensive way to get to Victoria, especially if you are taking a vehicle. If travelling without a vehicle, it is usually cheaper and more convenient to arrive by air. The boat offers deck travel or for a higher price cabins are available. Most people travel by boat overnight, with it being an approximately 10 hour trip.
Melbourne has an integrated bus, tram and train network. Information about public transport across the state, is available at Public Transport Victoria (PTV)
Touring Victoria by car is a straightforward and practical way of seeing the state. Distances between towns tend not to be as great as in other states, and it is unusual to drive for more than a short while without passing through a small town unless in the Victorian Alps or in far north-western Victoria.
Victoria has the most developed road network of any state of Australia, and most towns are accessible without using dirt or gravel roads. Roads are indicated as motorways, A, B or C roads, but in general there is no need to avoid a C road if it clearly provides the quickest trip to where you want to go.
Victoria has the most comprehensive rail passenger service in Australia. The state's passenger rail service, V/Line provides rail services within the state. Connecting V/Line coach (i.e. bus) services extend to some towns that passenger trains no longer service.
V/Line train services operate in five regions:
- Northern Victoria – to Bendigo and from there on to Swan Hill and Echuca
- North Eastern Victoria – to Seymour, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Wodonga and Albury
- Eastern Victoria – to Traralgon and Bairnsdale in Gippsland
- South Western Victoria – to Geelong, Colac and Warrnambool
- Western Victoria – to Ballarat and from there on to Ararat and Maryborough
Many services outside of those between Melbourne and the main centres of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon can be very infrequent, sometimes running only a few times a day.
The train service to Adelaide, The Overland, now accepts travellers to destinations within Victoria. This enables travellers to go by rail to towns in western Victoria beyond Ararat such as Stawell, Nhill and Dimboola.
Travellers can also take the NSW Trainlink XPT train to Sydney twice daily.
Outside of the rail corridors V/Line runs coach services to some towns. These often extend from train stations in towns with rail services.
Many other larger towns have local bus services servicing their suburbs or outlying towns. See the local guides.
Victoria has a number of rail trails, some of which can be reached by towns which have rail services. Bus coaches will sometimes take bikes if space is available in their storage areas. Wangaratta is one such destination easily accessible with your bike on a train, and you can easily reach Beechworth.
Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road. The Alpine Regions of Beechworth and Bright. The Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island penguins. Puffing Billy, the villages and forests of the Dandenong Ranges, on the eastern fringe of Melbourne.
- Cycle the railtrails. Many Victorian railway lines closed during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of these lines have been converted to railtrails, suitable for cycling, horseriding or walking. Some of the most developed at the Murray to the Mountains railtrail, the Bellarine railtrail, the Ballarat to Skipton railtrail, and the East Gippsland railtrail. All of these trails have towns and attractions along the route for rest and relaxation.
- 12 Apostles Flight Adventures, Telford St, Apollo Bay, ☎ +61 438 377 371. Highlights include Apollo Bay, Cape Otway Lighthouse, Dinosaur Cove culminating in the "awesome" Twelve Apostles. Then, returning via the magnificent Otway Rainforests.