A Visitors Guide to the Variety of Victoria


Victoria, the southeastern state of Australia, has world-renowned street art, diverse wildlife, fabulous national parks, delectable cuisines, terrific festivals, and a captivating history.  From the bustling cityscapes of Melbourne to the rugged allure of the Great Ocean Road, Victoria boasts a diverse spectrum of attractions, ensuring that every traveler finds something to cherish. In this extended article, with a few videos to watch as you read through, we offer a few highlights of the State. We love to spend time in Melbourne, for both business and pleasure and never tire of discovering the rest of the Garden State of Victoria. Fortunately, one of our daughters is studying at Melbourne Uni, so we do not need much of an excuse to visit! Enjoy! ED: Kevin Parker

Melbourne: The Urban Heart

Kickstart your Victorian adventure in Melbourne, the cultural and artistic epicenter of the state. Melbourne is a bustling metropolis teeming with captivating attractions. Begin your exploration with a leisurely stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, an oasis of tranquility housing over 8,500 plant species, serene lakes, and lush lawns. Just nearby, the Shrine of Remembrance stands as a poignant symbol of remembrance and offers stunning 360-degree views of the city.

Art Galleries and Museums: Melbourne’s cultural scene extends far beyond its streets. The city is home to an array of world-class art galleries and museums, showcasing a rich tapestry of history and creativity. You can explore these cultural gems to gain a deeper understanding of Melbourne’s artistic spirit and heritage.

  • National Gallery of Victoria (NGV): The NGV, split into two locations (NGV International and NGV Australia), houses an extensive collection of art, including Australian, Indigenous, Asian, and European works. It hosts major international exhibitions, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI): Located at Federation Square, ACMI celebrates the world of film, television, and digital media. It features interactive exhibitions, screenings, and discussions on the ever-evolving world of visual storytelling.
  • Melbourne Museum: Situated in Carlton Gardens, the Melbourne Museum offers a fascinating journey through Victoria’s natural environment, cultural heritage, and history. It’s an ideal place to delve into the state’s past and discover its diverse flora and fauna.
  • State Library of Victoria: The State Library is both a repository of knowledge and a magnificent architectural marvel. It houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and historical documents. The majestic domed reading room is an iconic Melbourne landmark and a tranquil space for study and reflection.

Street Art Exploration: Melbourne’s laneways are not just canvases for street art; they are living art galleries in their own right. While wandering through these laneways, such as Hosier Lane and Union Lane, you’ll encounter an ever-changing display of vibrant and thought-provoking street art. Local and international artists have transformed these alleys into a dynamic urban canvas, reflecting the city’s creativity and subculture.

Boutiques and Coffee Culture: Melbourne’s laneways and neighborhoods are also treasure troves for boutique shopping and exceptional coffee experiences. From vintage stores to designer boutiques, you can explore a wide range of shopping options catering to various tastes. And when it comes to coffee, Melbourne’s reputation as a coffee capital is well-deserved. Cafés throughout the city serve expertly crafted brews, and locals take their coffee seriously.

Queen Victoria Market: Your exploration of Melbourne’s cultural and culinary scene wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Queen Victoria Market. This historic market, operating since the 19th century, is a vibrant hub where you can immerse yourself in the city’s food culture. Stalls offer fresh produce, gourmet foods, artisanal products, and an array of international cuisines. It’s an excellent place to sample local delights and shop for unique souvenirs.

Melbourne’s fusion of art, history, and urban vibrancy makes it a captivating destination for culture seekers. Whether you’re admiring art in renowned galleries, sipping coffee in hidden laneways, or delving into the city’s rich history at its museums and libraries, Melbourne invites you to explore its multifaceted cultural tapestry at every turn.

Great Ocean Road: A Coastal Adventure

Embarking on a journey along the meandering Great Ocean Road is a coastal odyssey that will etch itself into your memory. This iconic road trip unfurls breathtaking coastal vistas and presents you with landmarks like the Twelve Apostles, imposing limestone stacks that majestically rise from the Southern Ocean. Pause in seaside towns like Lorne and Apollo Bay to savor fresh seafood and soak up the local charm.

Victoria’s Gold Rush Past: Sovereign Hill

Transport yourself back in time at Sovereign Hill, an open-air museum nestled in Ballarat. Here, you can step into the shoes of gold rush-era inhabitants. Pan for gold, explore an underground mine, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the meticulously recreated town. This immersive experience vividly brings to life Victoria’s rich cultural history, offering a glimpse into its past.

Yarra Valley: Wine Connoisseur’s Paradise

For wine enthusiasts, the Yarra Valley beckons just a short drive from Melbourne. Here, picturesque vineyards and world-class wineries await. Embark on a wine tasting tour and savor the region’s renowned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Yarra Valley is not just about wine; it’s also a culinary haven, boasting fine dining restaurants and artisan food producers ready to delight your taste buds.

National Parks

Victoria’s National Parks are another compelling reason to explore this diverse and breathtaking region. These protected natural areas offer a wide range of outdoor adventures and opportunities to immerse yourself in the state’s pristine wilderness. Here are a few noteworthy National Parks in Victoria:

Grampians National Park: Grampians National Park, or Gariwerd, is not only a place of Aboriginal heritage but also a haven for nature enthusiasts. The park is renowned for its rugged sandstone mountain ranges, ancient rock formations, and vibrant wildflower displays during spring. Visitors can explore well-marked hiking trails, such as the Grampians Peaks Trail, which offers breathtaking panoramic views from its summits. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, and a variety of bird species.

Wilsons Promontory National Park: Located at the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland, Wilsons Promontory is often referred to as “The Prom” and is known for its stunning coastal scenery. The park features pristine beaches, lush forests, and granite mountains. Hikers can choose from numerous trails that lead to secluded beaches, viewpoints, and even a challenging trek to the summit of Mount Oberon for panoramic vistas. Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the abundant birdlife, wombats, wallabies, and kangaroos that call the park home.

The Alpine National Park: If you’re a fan of alpine landscapes and winter sports, the Alpine National Park is a must-visit destination. This park covers the high country of Victoria’s Great Dividing Range and offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. During the summer, it transforms into a paradise for hikers, with an extensive network of trails leading through pristine alpine meadows, past clear mountain streams, and to lofty peaks. The park is also home to iconic Australian animals like the brushtail possum and the powerful owl.

Dandenong Ranges National Park: Located just outside of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges National Park provides a tranquil escape from the city. The park is known for its lush rainforests, towering mountain ash trees, and scenic walking tracks. The iconic Puffing Billy Railway takes visitors on a historic steam train journey through the heart of the park, offering stunning views along the way. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic surrounded by nature.

Croajingolong National Park: Situated along Victoria’s eastern coast, Croajingolong National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve that boasts pristine beaches, coastal heathlands, and diverse ecosystems. Visitors can explore the coastal wilderness on hiking trails and canoe through tranquil rivers. The park is also renowned for its biodiversity, including rare and endangered species like the eastern bristlebird and the long-nosed potoroo.


Victoria is a vibrant and culturally rich state in Australia, and it hosts a wide range of annual festivals that celebrate everything from arts and culture to food and wine. These festivals offer a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and add an extra layer of excitement to your visit. Here are some notable annual festivals in Victoria:

1. Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Held annually from March to April, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the world’s largest comedy festivals. It features a lineup of local and international comedians, providing plenty of laughs and entertainment. You can catch stand-up shows, improvisational comedy, and comedic performances in various venues across Melbourne.

2. Melbourne Good Food and Wine Festival: Food enthusiasts should not miss the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, which typically takes place in March. This festival celebrates Victoria’s culinary excellence with a diverse program of food and wine events, including tastings, masterclasses, and chef collaborations. It’s a fantastic opportunity to savor the region’s delectable cuisines and wines.

3. Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF): MIFF is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and occurs annually in August. It showcases a wide array of international and Australian films, including independent and cutting-edge cinema. The festival features premieres, Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and special events for cinephiles.

4. White Night Melbourne: White Night is an all-night arts and culture festival that transforms Melbourne’s streets and landmarks into a mesmerizing wonderland of light, music, and art installations. Typically held in February, this event offers a unique opportunity to explore the city’s creative side after dark.

5. Moomba Festival: Moomba, Australia’s largest free community festival, happens over the Labor Day long weekend in March. It includes a lively parade, water skiing shows on the Yarra River, live music, and a carnival atmosphere. Moomba is a family-friendly festival that attracts both locals and visitors.

6. Melbourne Fashion Week: Fashionistas will find Melbourne Fashion Week, usually held in September, to be a stylish affair. The event showcases local and international designers, runway shows, and fashion exhibitions. It’s a chance to witness the latest trends and celebrate Melbourne’s fashion culture.

7. St Kilda Festival: The St Kilda Festival is an annual summer celebration held in February. It features a diverse range of music, arts, and cultural performances, as well as sports activities. The festival takes place in St Kilda, a beachside suburb of Melbourne, and draws a large, enthusiastic crowd.

St Kilda Festival

8. Ballarat International Foto Biennale: This biennial photography festival takes place in Ballarat, offering a showcase of contemporary photography from around the world. The festival features exhibitions, workshops, and talks, making it a must-visit for photography enthusiasts.

These festivals represent just a snapshot of the vibrant cultural scene in Victoria. Whether you’re interested in comedy, film, food, fashion, or the arts, there’s likely a festival that aligns with your interests and adds an exciting dimension to your visit to Victoria. Be sure to check festival dates and program details in advance to plan your trip accordingly.

Whether you seek the vibrancy of city life, an outdoor adventure, a culinary journey, or a deep dive into Australia’s rich cultural heritage, Victoria offers an array of experiences to suit every traveler. So, pack your bags and get ready for an extraordinary journey into the heart of Australia’s Garden State, where every moment promises to be a cherished memory.

Theatre and Nightlife

Her Majesty's Theatre Melbourne
Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne

For those seeking live performances, Melbourne’s theatre scene is world-renowned. The city is home to iconic venues such as the Princess Theatre, Regent Theatre, and Her Majesty’s Theatre, where you can catch top-notch musicals, plays, and performances. The Melbourne Theatre Company and the Arts Centre Melbourne are institutions that consistently deliver exceptional theater productions and cultural events.

Beyond traditional theater, Melbourne has a thriving independent theater scene, with intimate and edgy venues scattered throughout the city. These venues showcase innovative and experimental works, providing a platform for emerging artists and boundary-pushing performances.

Melbourne’s laneways also play a role in the city’s nightlife, with hidden bars and speakeasies waiting to be discovered behind unassuming entrances. Whether you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail, live jazz, electronic beats, or a quiet wine bar, Melbourne’s nightlife precincts like Fitzroy, Collingwood, and the CBD offer an array of options.

In addition to theatre and bars, Melbourne’s nightlife includes live music venues where you can catch local and international bands, DJ sets, and eclectic performances. The city’s music scene spans genres from rock and jazz to electronic and indie, ensuring that music enthusiasts are well-catered to

Australian Rules Football

Victoria is often referred to as the sporting capital of Australia, and its residents have a deep and passionate love for sports. One of the most significant and beloved sports in Victoria is Australian Rules Football (AFL), which holds a special place in the hearts of many Victorians. Here’s some information about AFL and Victoria’s sporting preferences:

Australian Rules Football (AFL): AFL, often simply called “footy,” is a unique and high-energy sport that originated in Victoria in the 19th century. It has since become an integral part of the state’s culture. The Australian Football League (AFL) is the premier competition for the sport, and it features 18 teams from across Australia, including several Victorian-based clubs.

Victorian AFL Teams: Victoria is home to a significant number of AFL teams, which include:

  • Essendon Bombers
  • Collingwood Magpies
  • Richmond Tigers
  • Carlton Blues
  • North Melbourne Kangaroos
  • Melbourne Demons
  • Western Bulldogs (formerly Footscray Bulldogs)
  • Geelong Cats
  • Hawthorn Hawks
  • St Kilda Saints

AFL Culture in Victoria:

  • Passionate Fans: Victorians are known for their passionate support of AFL teams. Game days are often a community affair, with families and friends gathering to watch matches at stadiums, sports bars, or in their own living rooms.
  • The MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground): Often dubbed the “G,” the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the spiritual home of AFL. It’s the largest stadium in Australia and can hold over 100,000 spectators. Grand Final day at the MCG is a major event on the Victorian calendar.
  • Local Clubs: Many Victorians have strong connections to their local AFL clubs, and junior and amateur leagues are widespread. These clubs serve as hubs for community engagement and social gatherings.
  • AFLW: The AFL Women’s competition (AFLW) has gained immense popularity in Victoria and across Australia. It provides a platform for women to excel in Australian Rules Football, and many Victorian women and girls actively participate in the sport.

Rivalries: AFL rivalries are an integral part of the culture, and matches between traditional rivals like Collingwood and Essendon (the “Anzac Day Clash”) or Geelong and Hawthorn are highly anticipated and passionately contested.

Sports Tourism: AFL draws not only local fans but also visitors from interstate and overseas. Tourists often plan their trips to Victoria around attending AFL matches, particularly marquee events like the AFL Grand Final.

In addition to AFL, Victorians also have a strong interest in other sports, including cricket, soccer, rugby, tennis, and horse racing. The state boasts world-class sporting facilities, making it a hub for major sporting events and competitions.

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