Things to Do in Victoria
Phillip Island is brimming with memorable wildlife experiences, but its headline act is the nightly Penguin Parade. Each night at dusk, thousands of little penguins—the largest colony in Australia of the world’s smallest penguin breed—can be seen along the shores of Summerland Beach, waddling back to their beachside burrows after a day at sea.
Need a break from nonstop wine tasting in Victoria’s Yarra Valley? Decadent desserts, creamy fondue and rich ice cream are waiting for you at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. The scent of fresh chocolate alone is a treat, and here visitors can watch master European chocolatiers create edible masterpieces.
This shop is sure to satisfy the whole family with more than 250 chocolate products and free tastings. Devour sweet snacks or order from the café menu for breakfast or a light lunch. Once you’ve finishing indulging, work off those treats with a wander through the nearby gardens and wetlands conservation area.
Get a taste of life during Australia’s gold rush era with a visit to Sovereign Hill. A reproduction of an 1850s mining town, this outdoor museum is perched on the site of the Red Hill Mine. The mine shaft you see—as well as much of the equipment—is original.
The Nobbies Centre offers a front row seat to nature’s powerful drama. Marooned out on the western end of Victoria’s Phillip Island, the Nobbies is a spot where the jagged rocks are met by the fury of the sea. The area is best known for the 16,000 fur seals that make their home on the rocks, and the spring season from October-January is when males fight to claim their territory and mothers feed their young. Above the rocks and crashing surf, hundreds of sea birds float and glide on gusty currents in the sky—almost to the point that their avian cloud can partially block out the sun.
A series of boardwalks and lookout points leads from the center to the coast, although the seals are rarely close enough to be seen with the naked eye. Instead, it’s the power of the wind, waves, and sea spray that offers immediate drama. When a storm rolls in off the Southern Ocean and encounters the slippery rocks, the walls of whitewater furiously exploding are reason enough to visit. If the wind is whipping up a chill, escape to the confines of the educational center and warm up with a coffee or tea, and keep your eyes peeled for Little Penguins that burrow under the boardwalk. While the Centre itself is a quick visit, it’s the sweeping views from the coastal boardwalk that make this a visitor favorite.
Lush greenery and rolling hills dotted with twisting vines create a picturesque backdrop for sipping some of Yarra Valley’s finest wines. Rochford Wines, located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, offers first-class vino, a top-notch culinary experience and panoramic views of the iconic Great Dividing Ranges. Meander through the winery’s sprawling vistas to visit the on-site art gallery and retail shop. Try a tasting from Rochford’s cellar door or dine at the winery’s award-winning restaurant Isabella’s at Rochford.
An oasis of natural beauty located in the heart of Victoria’s wine country, Rochford is known for hosting a range of events, concerts and functions. The winery boasts activities to suit all tastes— from hot air ballooning and segway tours to wine and cheese pairings.
Amid the sweeping coastal vistas and jagged sea cliffs of the Great Ocean Road, the Great Otway National Park serves up some of the most spectacular natural scenery along the famous drive. Stretching over 100,000 hectares along the southwest coast from Torquay to Princetown, the park encompasses a startling variety of scenery, from lush rainforest, waterfalls and lakes, to rocky bays, dramatic headlands and golden sand beaches.
The park makes a popular spot for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding, with a network of waymarked trails and the 91km Great Ocean Walk running through the heart of the park. It’s also a hotspot for spotting native Australian wildlife, with key destinations including the Cape Otway Lighthouse, a prime spot for watching whales and dolphins along the coast; the Melba Gully, renowned for its glowworms; and the Otway Fly, where adventurous travelers can see the rainforest up close on the world’s longest treetop walk or a thrilling zip-line course.
Tucked into the serene and picturesque Yarra Valley of Victoria, the Dominique Portet Winery is renowned for its deep roots in French soil — Bordeaux to be exact. The art of winemaking has been passed down through the Portet lineage from 18th century France; a father and son duo (ninth and 10th generation) run this winery with experience that spans around the world. The modest space boasts an array of wines in a comfortable, Mediterranean-style setting. Get lost among the sprawling vines, or relax with a glass surrounded by oak barrels at Dominique Portet. Enjoy tastings from the cellar door, learn more about the Portet history and culture with a vintage tour, or stay for a leisurely lunch overlooking the valley.
Home to around 400 different animal species, the family-run Ballarat Wildlife Park makes a popular day out from Melbourne and there’s plenty for animal lovers to get excited about. Since opening its doors in 1985, the 15-hectare park has become a refuge for hundreds of native Australian animals from kangaroos and koalas, to wombats, echidnas and crocodiles.
Visitors can hand-feed the free-roaming population of kangaroos and emus; learn about some of the world’s most venomous snakes in the Reptile House and see baby koalas, quokkas and giant tortoises. As well as interacting with the animals, there are daily ‘meet the keeper’ experiences and animal shows, including the chance to watch the crocodile and Tasmanian Devils feeding, see eagles in full flight and have your photo taken with a koala.
A ride on the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola whisks visitors to the 1,030-foot (314-meter) summit of Arthurs Seat—the highest point in the Mornington Peninsula. Spectacular views are guaranteed both during the climb and from the hilltop viewpoint, from which you can see Port Philips Bay and Melbourne on a clear day.
Situated right at the end of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles are a set of eight rock formations—there used to be twelve—jutting out of the Southern Ocean. These limestone pillars were once connected to the nearby cliffs but have been eroded away into caves, pillars, and arches from the harsh conditions of the ocean.
More Things to Do in Victoria
For many travelers, Phillip Island is known for the penguins that stumble ashore at sunset, but for anyone into high speed racing on motorcycles, go karts, or stock cars, it’s known for the Phillip Island Circuit and the legendary, ocean view course. With a total lap length of 2.7 miles, the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit is not only technically challenging with all of its twist and turns, but considering the sweeping ocean views, is generally regarded as one of the sport’s most scenic and popular tracks. If there happens to be a race while in town, head to one of the spectator spots to watch the fast-paced action, where professional riders accelerate to speeds that can often top 200 mph. On days when races are not actively in session, go kart rides are offered for visitors to get the feel for the course, or you can also whip through the track at high speeds while accompanied by a professional driver. To learn even more about the history of the Grand Prix circuit, and relive its memorable moments, join in a guided tour of the track that takes place at 2pm, where you’ll finish the tour on the winner’s podium like the greatest racers in the world.
Federation Square, just across from Flinders Street Station, is Melbourne's beating heart and favorite meeting spot. Numerous city events take place here throughout the year, making it a must-visit attraction for all travelers. The square is surrounded by many bars and restaurants, and is home to the Ian Potter Centre, an Australian art museum.
First opened in 1912, Luna Park Melbourne is a slice of theme park history. Enter through the mouth of Mr. Moon and ride historic attractions, including the Great Scenic Railway wooden roller coaster. Old-time favorites, such as a ghost train and hall of mirrors, offer thrills to kids, as do bumper cars, carousels, and modern rides.
The Yarra River winds its way through Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) plus a number of suburbs. In the city, bars, restaurants, and parks thrive along its banks, bringing locals and tourists together. Numerous festivals and sporting events take place on the Yarra, including the famous Moomba Festival and rowing regattas.
One of the world's most famous driving routes, Victoria's Great Ocean Road offers scenic surprises at every fork in the road. In signature Australian style, endless stretches of white sandy beaches are flanked by dense pockets of rain forest, charming coastal towns, and canopies populated by koalas.
See thousands of marine animals without leaving the city at the SEA LIFE Melbourne aquarium. Boasting more than 10 themed zones, the aquarium features penguins, sharks, rays, crocodiles, starfish, and much more. The ocean’s diversity and marine conservation efforts are the focus at this popular family attraction.
The largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most famous sporting venues in Australia, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is more than a Melbourne landmark. The legendary stadium has hosted the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the annual Boxing Day Test Match, and Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final.
The Melbourne Zoo has been open since 1862, making it Australia's oldest zoo. Modeled after the London Zoo, the Melbourne Zoo houses more than 300 species from around the world, from elephants and lions to Aussie natives like kangaroos and koalas. The zoo is also a conservation center dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction.
With a maze of mine shafts and tunnels descending to depths of up to 748 feet (228 meters), the Central Deborah Gold Mine is Australia’s deepest underground mine tour. Visit the former gold mine to experience the below-ground world and to gain insight into Australia’s historic gold mining industry.
Boasting a prime location on the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne Southgate is a shopping, eating, and entertainment complex. As well as offering one of the most diverse shopping experiences in the city, Melbourne Southgate is just a few minutes walk from Flinders Street Station and Arts Centre Melbourne.
Get away from Melbourne’s bustling city center without actually leaving town at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. This 89-acre (36-hectare) park is home to more than 8,500 plant species, tranquil lakes, and lush lawns. Join guided walking tours, workshops, or presentations, or feel free to walk around the flourishing oasis on your own.
Australia might be famous for its kangaroos and koalas, but the Werribee Open Range Zoo offers all the excitement of an African safari on Aussie shores. Lions, rhinoceros, giraffes, and gorillas all roam freely in the park’s 494-acre (200-hectare) grasslands, affording visitors some incredible wildlife-watching opportunities.
This world-class destination, 100 percent owned and operated by Australia’s Aboriginal people, is nestled into the scenic backdrop of the continent’s own unique indigenous flora and fauna. Visitors agree that the incredible architecture, pristine grounds and knowledgeable staff make Brambuk – the National Park & Cultural Centre one of Victoria’s top destinations.
Travelers can tour ancient rock art while they learn about the traditions of one of Australian’s oldest people. Interesting exhibits explore the chronological history of native cultures and the boomerang training ground, where families can test out their newly purchased toys, provides visitors with a truly memorable experience.
When winter snows begin falling in June in Victoria’s inland mountains, Melbourne residents grab their jackets and make the drive to Lake Mountain. As the closest alpine ski resort to the streets of downtown Melbourne, Lake Mountain Alpine Ski Resort is a convenient, scenic winter escape from the hustle of urban life. With its 23 miles of cross-country trails, the resort exclusively features cross-country skiing as opposed to downhill or snowboarding. Tobogganing is fun for younger visitors, and especially those who live near the beach and rarely encounter snow.
From the nearby town of Marysville, wind your way upwards into the mountains to over 4,000 feet, and immerse yourself in towering timbers where snow hangs off of the boughs. In summer, skiing is replaced by mountain biking, hiking, and riding the flying fox, and the resort is a great place to escape the heat of summer down near the coast. Sip a coffee in the bistro on site while gazing out over the mountains, and take a deep breath of mountain air overlooking the Yarra Valley. While Australia’s mountains might not be tall, they still offer alpine escapes, and Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is just the place to find it.
- Things to do in Melbourne
- Things to do in Yarra Valley
- Things to do in Ballarat
- Things to do in Tasmania
- Things to do in South Australia
- Things to do in New South Wales
- Things to do in Hobart
- Things to do in Adelaide
- Things to do in Sydney
- Things to do in Hunter Valley
- Things to do in Queensland
- Things to do in South Island
- Things to do in Northern Territory
- Things to do in North Island
- Things to do in Western Australia