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State of Many and Varied Attractions
Aerial view of Victoria's Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles

Victoria's Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles

© Tourism Victoria

  • Victoria, at the southeastern end of mainland Australia, is the country's smallest mainland state with a land area of some 227,620 square kilometres. Only the island state of Tasmania is smaller at 67,800 square kilometres.

The thing about Victoria is that Melbourne, its capital city, is better known than the state, even when visitors are traveling in it from Melbourne.

Because of Victoria's small land area, this translates to the state's many and varied visitor destinations being close to one another — and to Melbourne — making road travel a convenient way to view and experience the state's attractions.

Melbourne itself is such a visitor-friendly city with free tourist bus and tram services to bring you to such areas as Southbank, Docklands, and the city's boutique shopping areas.

Just outside Melbourne

Some of Victoria's popular wine regions are so close to Melbourne it takes but half an hour to go to Yarra Valley and about a hour to the vineyards of Mornington Peninsula. The peninsula itself boasts of some of Victoria's fine beaches, holiday accommodation, various activities and attractions — and mazes in which to get lost, or not.

East and west of Melbourne

Phillip Island, where fairy penguins parade home at dusk, is said to be Australia's second most visited destination after Uluru in the Northern Territory. Phillip sland is south-southeast of Melbourne and east of the southern tip of Mornington Peninsula across the water.

Traveling to Phillip Island does take a southeasterly road route to the town of Lang Lang before turning south, then west to the island. The trip should take just about two hours.

Southwest of Melbourne, through the city of Geelong, then south to Torquay, visitors to Victoria find themselves at the eastern start of the Great Ocean Road, the state's most scenic coastal route leading to the unique rock formations rising out of the sea such as the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch (formerly London Bridge before its land section collapsed).

South of Torquay is Bells Beach, well-known for surfing activities and competitions such as the Rip Curl Pro.

A detour from Lavers Hill on the Great Ocean Road takes you to the Otway Tree Top Walk, an elevated tree top walk through a Victorian rainforest.

Victorian goldfields

The Victorian goldfields northwest of Melbourne boomed from the mid-1850s to the late 1860s, leaving historical and pioneering architecture in the boomtowns such as Ballarat and Bendigo.

In Ballarat itself, Sovereign Hill is a recreated gold mining town which gives visitors an insight into the life and times of the gold rush period.

In the goldfields region, too, can be found the site of the Eureka stockade where rebellious miners fought police and government troops in an attempt to correct perceived injustices.

Ned Kelly's last stand

The town of Glenrowan, along the Hume Highway southwest of the twin border towns of Albury-Wodonga, is famous for being the site of Australia's most famous bushranger Ned Kelly's last stand, an event immortalised in books and in at least five feature films.

The iconic image of Ned Kelly in a suit of armour devised from molded iron plowshares is reproduced in a giant statue at Glenrowan.

The mighty Murray

Generally considered a South Australian river, the Murray actually begins its flow from the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales and then into the New South Wales-Victoria border.

The Murray River in Victoria courses through the Victorian towns of Echuca, Swan Hill and Mildura.

In its riverboat heyday, Echuca was Victoria's busiest inland port and today has the largest collection of paddle-steamers for river cruises and sightseeing.

Skiing in Victoria

Victoria's ski slopes are found in what is known as the High Country in the state's Alpine region in the northeastern section of the state.

Here are to be found the ski areas of Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, and Mt Buffalo, among others.

International sporting events

At least two competitive international events &mdash: the Australian Open in January and the Melbourne Cup in November — take place in Melbourne. Surfing competitions take place on Bells Beach.

State emblems

Victoria's state flower is the common heath. An endangered species of the helmeted honeyeater is Victoria's bird emblem (see Bird Emblems of Australia) while Leadbeater's possum is its animal emblem (Animal Emblems of Australia).

Postcodes and area codes

Victoria postcodes comprise four digits starting with 3.

The telephone area code for Victoria, which it shares with Tasmania, is 03. The 0 is dropped when telephoning from outside Australia and prefixing the country code of 61, hence 612 followed by the eight-digit local phone number.

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