As your travel around Victoria, you can utilise the helpful service and information provided by the local Visitor Information Centre. Visit www.visitvictoria.com for a comprehensive guide to Visitor Information Centres in Victoria.
Despite its small size, the Victorian climate varies across the state. The north has much drier and warmer weather than the south. Australia's seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. The climate can be characterised as warm to hot in summer (December to February), mild in autumn (March to May), cold and damp in winter (June to August), and cool in spring (September to November).
More than one in four Victorians was born overseas. In order, the top 10 other countries of birth for Victorians are: United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, New Zealand, Germany, China, Netherlands, India, and Malta.
Great food is essential in Melbourne. Like dressing well, Melburnians are wired to eat well.
Melbourne’s European and Asian migrants transformed the bland Anglo-Saxon table into a feast of flavours.
In Melbourne, football and cricket have been joined since birth by their shared home – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This one place is both the sacred site of football in winter and a magnet to cricket addicts in summer.
Melbourne boasts no less than 101 football ovals and cricket pitches in inner Melbourne alone. And in greater Melbourne there are more footy ovals and cricket pitches (over 2150) than there are churches or schools.
The youngest jockey to win the Melbourne Cup was a 13-year old Aborigine, Peter St Albans, riding Briseis in 1876.
The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861. The winner, Archer, took a prize of 170 pounds and a gold watch. Today, the total prize pool is around $4 million, $2 million for first place.
Melbourne loves a party, preferably an arty party and preferably with a parade.
Each year the city celebrates Moomba in March, the Melbourne Fashion Festival also in March, Comedy Festival in April, the Melbourne International Film Festival in July, the Age Melbourne Writer’s Festival in August, the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September, the Melbourne Festival in October and the Melbourne Cup in November.
It’s a measure of the continuing increases in the city’s population size, mix and sophistication that Melbourne can support so much festival activity.
Did You Know...
The key to Melbourne’s liveability lies in two major design elements. First, the garden wedges. Great chunks of green break into the metropolis, Second is the glorious width of the main streets – 99 feet wide. Although Vegemite is no longer Australian owned, it is still only made in Melbourne.
Victoria's network of first-class roads, connecting the state’s cities and towns as well as interstate locations, means it is easy to reach your destination by car, motorbike or bicycle. Various train and bus companies connect Melbourne with intrastate and interstate destinations, while scheduled flights service regional centres. Find out the best ways to get to Victoria's regions.
Getting around Melbourne is easy thanks to an excellent train and tram system, a good taxi service and an easy-to-navigate gridlike city map.
Food & Wine
Victoria boasts over 850 wineries, of which 650 have cellar doors, in 21 distinct wine regions. Enjoy cellar door tastings and dine on local produce at winery restaurants. From the cool-climate varieties of the Yarra Valley to the big reds of Rutherglen, create your own Victorian wine experience:
Around Melbourne - Melbourne's Surrounds are unique – five winegrowing regions within 90 minutes of the city. And where there's good wine there's always great food, markets and festivals
North-east Victoria - Five individual regions – Rutherglen, Beechworth, Glenrowan, King Valley and Alpine Valleys – producing a diverse range of wines from old-style fortifieds to the newer Italian varietals.
Central Victoria - Stretching from the bountiful Goulburn Valley, west to the opulent city of Bendigo, east to the magnificent High Country, and north to Echuca on the Murray.
Western Victoria - Head west to mountains, Goldfields and four distinctive wine regions. Follow the Great Ocean Road and the Great Grape Road tasting spectacular wines along the way.
South-east Victoria - Head east to Gippsland and three separate sub-regions with their own microclimates and wine styles. Discover over 100 individual vineyards and about 30 small, family-owned wineries.
North-west Victoria - With its Mediterranean climate tempered by the Murray River, north-west Victoria is home to vast orchards, citrus and olive groves, grain fields and of course, vineyards.
For more details about the food and wine experiences available in Victoria, please visit www.visitvictoria.com
Walks & Treks
Pack a picnic, map and camera and discover a picturesque rainforest. Victoria's walking provide the perfect getaway for everyone. You will find many trails are close to Melbourne and most are within easy driving distance of the city:
Mornington Peninsula - set out on two feet to explore Mornington Peninsula along rugged bushland tracks and bayside boardwalks. Don your walking shoes and delve into Mornington Peninsula's national and state parks, including Point Nepean, Arthurs Seat, French Island and Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park. Safe and scenic walking tracks lead you through a diverse range of landscapes, from beautiful secluded bays to rugged headlands, pounding surf beaches to bushland and lookouts with great views. Take a leisurely shoreline stroll or hinterland hike, or embark upon the epic two-day Arthurs Seat to Cape Schanck trek. Spot birds, kangaroos and koalas and be impressed by a series of stunning views.
Great Ocean Road - criss-crossed with a range of walking tracks. Explore the region’s stunning natural beauty on foot and see breathtaking ocean views on coastal tracks, see stunning waterfalls and lush forest or walk along the rim of a lake-filled volcanic crater.
There are a vast range of easy short walks to choose from:
Maits Rest Rainforest Trail - Stroll along a boardwalk above beautiful damp tree fern gullies and the moss-covered roots of ancient rainforest trees. Only 30 minutes return, minutes return you’ll see giant myrtle beeches tower in this untouched rainforest, creating a protective canopy above a delicate understorey of tree ferns, lichens and moss. The wooden boardwalk not only protects this fragile ecosystem, but also offers unique views of its plant and animal life.
Shelly Beach Walk - an easy 45 minute walk and is one of the best short walks on the Great Ocean Walk. The track traverses through fern gullies, coastal scrub, along Shelly Beach and across rocky platforms to Elliot River. Return through a majestic stand of blue gums, inhabited by koalas and nocturnal Yellow-bellied Gliders.
Gable Lookout Walk – a leisurely 20 minute return walk and travels through a casuarina grove to a spectacular lookout over the ocean and the reefs around Moonlight Head. This is one of the highest sea cliffs on mainland Australia. Keep a close eye out for seabirds, or whales from June to September.
For more walking ideas in the Victoira region, please visit www.visitvictoria.com
Pack your clubs and experience the range and diversity of courses around Melbourne and regional Victoria. Enjoy stunning views of rivers, mountains and beaches, and play a round in the famous south-eastern 'sandbelt' where the climate, landscape and rich history create a golfing destination like no other.
Sandhurst Club - The North Course includes many innovative design features. None more so than the wall hole, a par three early in the round. A 1.6 metre high wall flanks the entire left side and rear of the green on this 185-metre hole. Pronounced elevation changes are a highlight of the Champions 18. Individual holes are dedicated to many of Australia's golfing greats. Informative plaques on each tee allow players to take a walk through the history of the game. With a north-facing facade designed to be flooded with sunlight, the stylish clubhouse creates a social hub for both golf members and the rapidly expanding residential community.
Moonah Links - hosted the Australian Open in 2003 and 2005. Five times British Open champion Peter Thomson created what he described as the culmination of his life's work among the magnificent dunes land. All golfers need to plot their way around his masterpiece, taking care to avoid the penal bunkering set strategically into this rolling layout. The companion course is The Legends. Designer Ross Perrett did a superb job fitting the golf holes in among the natural landforms varying from ancient Moonah forests to dune-scapes.
The Sands, Torquay - signalled the first foray into golf course architecture for 2002 Australian Open champion Stuart Appleby. Bunkering is a feature of the design with sand blending seamlessly into the seaside backdrop. Some holes on the back nine border the foreshore reserve and crashing surf of Bass Strait. Look forward to the 14th hole, a par four running parallel to the sand dunes with stunning views along the coastline to Barwon Heads.
Murray Downs Golf & Country Club - somewhat of a fertile oasis compared to the surrounding landscape baked red by the hot sun. Golf is the cornerstone of the resort that's a short five-minute drive from the regional centre of Swan Hill. The signature hole is the fifth – a par three measuring over 200 metres from the back tees with water all the way along the right and behind the green. The most exciting tee shot with a driver in hand is on 16, a dogleg par five across a water body set on a diagonal to the fairway.
There are many more golf courses in the Victoria region. If you are a keen golfer and wish to view more to choose from, please visit www.visitvictoria.com