With Melbourne, Australia’s cultural capital at it’s heart, the Australian state of Victoria has plenty to offer. With world class sporting events like the Melbourne Cup and the Melbourne Grand Prix, sports fans will feel right at home; outside of the city you can visit teeny weeny penguins on Phillip Island or watch a dreamy sunset over the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. Here are our top 5 reasons to visit Victoria and our favourite things to do around Melbourne!

1. Relax in one of Melbourne’s beautiful parks or gardens

Relax by the Yarra River | Photo credit: Visit Victoria/Robert Seba

Known as the ‘Garden State’, more than one third of Victoria is covered by forest and much of the remainder is rolling green fields and fertile valleys. Better still, Melbourne actually receives significantly less rainfall than rival city Sydney.

Victoria’s state capital, Melbourne has more than 480 hectares of gardens and parks - including Kings Domain, Flagstaff Gardens and Carlton Gardens. The perfect opportunity to enjoy a lazy, sunny afternoon with some good company or a book or a picnic.

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens are regarded amongst the best in the world and sit on the south bank of the majestic River Yarra. Forming a haven for rare and threatened species such as Banksia, Eucalyptus and Hakea, the Botanic Gardens open daily from 7.30am until dusk and best of all, they are free to enjoy.

Head north from the city centre and you’ll find the largest of Melbourne’s inner city spaces, Royal Park – open all day and free to enter. If you’re feeling fit you could use the cycling and running tracks, play golf or tennis or head to the grassy hill between the Native Garden and the Royal Children’s Hospital. It’s the perfect place for kite flying – either take your own watch others when the breeze gets up!

2. Form an audience when the adorable little penguins return to shore

Take your pick of unmissable day tours from Melbourne

No trip to Victoria is complete without a day trip to Phillip Island to the south of Melbourne, at the end of a beautiful drive along the Mornington Peninsula.

The stars attraction here is the Little Penguins. Standing no more than a foot in height, the smallest breed of penguin certainly lives up (or down) to it’s name! Head to the penguin centre to watch what’s become known as the ‘Penguin Parade’. Each evening at sunset the super-cute little penguins waddle up the beach after a long day’s fishing, much to the delight of onlookers. You can’t touch the penguins, but you can get pretty close.

You can also see other native wildlife on Phillip island, for example - watch the colony of fur seals at Seal Rocks or for a more hands-on animal experience head to Maru Koala and Animal Park. Here you can see wombats and Tasmanian Devils and kids will love hand-feeding the koalas, wallabies and kangaroos! Hire a car or campervan and you can hop about and explore at your own pace.

3. Celebrate your sporting passions, whatever their colour

The MCG, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Life in Victoria (and specifically, Melbourne), centres around sports and the great outdoors. If you live for sport, Melbourne should be your new home town! To get the ball rolling (pardon the pun) here are a few sporty facts about Melbourne:

  • Melbourne is the only city to boast five international standard sporting facilities on the fringes of its city centre; Melbourne Cricket Ground (‘MCG’), Docklands, Rod Laver Arena (for the Australia Open Tennis ), Hisense Arena and the Olympic Park
  • The MCG holds the world record for highest attendance at a cricket match – 90,800 for a test match between Australia & the West Indies
  • Aussie Rules (AFL) was invented in Melbourne in 1858 as a way to keep cricketers fit in the winter off-season
  • It’s the only city in the world to host both a tennis Grand Slam tournament (January) and a Formula One Grand Prix (March/April)
  • It also hosts the Australian 500CC Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Football League Grand Final and international cricket matches including The Ashes

Major sporting events take place throughout the year so whenever you’re in Melbourne, you won’t miss out. Melbourne hotels get booked up around major sporting events so it’s important to book in advance.

4. Drive the Great Ocean Road and see sunset over the Twelve Apostles

One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road is Victoria’s number one attraction. The route starts 100km south west of Melbourne and winds its way along the coast through sleepy gold rush towns – ideal places to stop for a paddle or a picnic. Because there are some many places to stop and take in the view, this part of the coast makes an ideal self-drive itinerary.

The Twelve Apostles are a big highlight along the Great Ocean Road

The most famous sight along the drive is the magnificent Twelve Apostles, originally known as the ‘Sow and Piglets’. These limestone rock stacks rise up out of the ocean and were formed over time as a result of erosion forced by sea and wind. Much photographed – they are particularly magnificent when glowing orangey-red at dusk or shrouded in dawn mist. The only way to see all 12 rocks stacks is to take a short helicopter flight over the top – a breath taking view!

5. Linger in the most liveable city in the world

Head out to the popular suburb of St Kilda for a drink by the beach

In Monocle's annual listings, Melbourne has claimed gold as the world’s ‘most liveable city’ seven times in a row - most recently in 2017.

The city’s enviable climate, low crime rate and great transport infrastructure all play their part in its lofty ranking. Add in more green spaces than any other city on earth, a buzzing café, bar and restaurant scene, outstanding museums, world class sporting events and great beaches, and you can start to see why no other city can beat it. It’s rare to meet anyone Melbourne visitors who haven’t fallen in love with it – why not come and see for yourself?


Would you like to visit Victoria?

If you'd like to visit Australia and plan to visit Melbourne, we can help you arrange all aspects of your trip. From flights, stopovers and transfers to accommodation, campervans and touring, we can tailor-make a trip or holiday to suit you. Simply contact Travel Nation on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.

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