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The state of Victoria is a world unto itself. From the 24-hour energy of Melbourne to the hulking mountains of the Grampians, and from the iconic wildlife of the Gippsland region to the ravishing scenery of the Great Ocean Road, this is a travel destination that can lay genuine claim to offering something for everyone. Ancient culture rubs shoulders with modern luxury, artisan food producers stand side by side with adventure operators, and orchards and vineyards share the map with rivers and beaches. The range of different experiences is extraordinary – so Australia specialist Travelbag has conjured up an A to Z to help you navigate the trip of a lifetime...


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If you’re going to do something, do it well. This has long been the mantra for Victoria’s brilliant food producers, craftspeople and artists. Think olive oil, fresh fruit, premium meats and organic breads. Think painters, sculptors, carvers and ceramics-makers. As somewhere that values talent, care and provenance, Victoria has become a natural home for quality products of all kinds, whether you’re looking for craft beer, farmers’ markets or one-of-a-kind artworks.   


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With close to 1,900km of coastline to enjoy, Victoria offers a mammoth – and often majestic – spread of bays and beaches. Among the most notable are Squeaky Beach, a stunning strand of white quartz on Wilsons Promontory; Melbourne’s Brighton Beach, which offers traditional seaside fun and rainbow-hued beach huts; and the epic Ninety Mile Beach in Lakes Entrance, which is among the most uninterrupted lengths of beach in the world. And did we mention Bells Beach on the Great Ocean Road, one of the most famous surf spots in the southern hemisphere?     


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The humble coffee bean is treated with serious reverence in Victoria. The state’s roasters and baristas regularly win international awards, and Melbourne in particular is known for its superb neighbourhood cafes, where stopping for a flat white or a small-batch filter coffee is a great way for travellers to witness the city going about its caffeine-fuelled day. This is nothing new – Melbourne’s espresso culture dates back more than half a century.  

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For Victorians, the hill-ringed country town of Daylesford is a symbol of the good life. Known for the dozens of mineral springs that well up in its vicinity, the town is a renowned spa destination. It’s where to head for high-end day spas, natural beauty treatments and the chance to soak in health-giving waters, but it’s also famed for its lavender farms, its cool-climate wineries, its scenic walks and its local markets. What’s not to love?     


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Epic views

Victoria is a feast for the eyes. From the toppling cliffs and sculpted bays of the coastline to the deep valleys and snaking ridges of the mountains – together with the full gamut of lakes, rivers, plains and woodlands – this is a truly stunning part of the world. Whether you’re taking in the Melbourne skyline from one of its many rooftop bars, or gazing out from the slopes of the Victorian Alps, you’ll be wowed by the views.


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Where to start with the state’s food scene? Australia’s culinary culture is globally renowned, and nowhere more so than here in Victoria, where Melbourne plays home to a phenomenal range of street food stalls and fine dining restaurants, and where every valley, vineyard and village holds its own delicious bounty. The state draws its influences from far and wide, helped by waves of settlers from Asia and beyond, and the end results are spectacular.


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Great Southern Touring Route

To truly absorb Victoria's diversity of landscapes you need to get behind the wheel and the 842km-long Great Southern Touring Route winds through the state's very best bits. Beginning in Melbourne, it traces the iconic Great Ocean Road (which is one of the world's great coastal roads in its own right), before steering into Victoria's interior to motor past some of its inland treasures like the unique rock formations of Grampians National Park and the Ballarat Goldfields. It's a drive you won't forget in a hurry.

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Hot springs

Victoria is no stranger to geothermal waters, which means a fine choice of hot springs in which travellers can soothe their limbs. The Mornington Peninsula is something of a hotspot – literally – with hot pools among native bushland, while the Gippsland region gives the chance to bathe in hills overlooking the landscape. Warrnambool has thermal caves you can wade through, and in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, there’s even a Japanese bathhouse!   


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Aboriginal culture stretches back more than 60,000 years in the Victoria region, and it remains a vital part of the destination as a whole. For travellers this gives the chance to learn more about a culture which may be ancient but is very much living and breathing, with guided tours, art galleries, heritage walks, cultural centres, rock art sites all on offer. The UNESCO-listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, meanwhile, is not to be missed.       


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Journeys on foot

Many would say that the best way to experience Victoria’s natural riches is on two feet. The whole state is threaded with world-class hiking trails, from roller-coaster long-distance paths to epic day-walks. Wilsons Promontory and Grampians National Park are both famed for their bushwalks, and even the Great Ocean Road can be completed as a walking route. And the benefits of seeing Victoria on foot are numerous, not least where wildlife is concerned.


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According to recent estimates there are around half a million koalas in Victoria, making these adorably sleepy marsupials something of an emblem for the state’s wildlife. They’re naturally shy animals – and in some areas face conservation challenges – but can often be spotted close to the Great Ocean Road. For a guaranteed sighting, however, your best bet is to head to one of the state’s well-run sanctuaries, such as the Healesville Sanctuary northeast of Melbourne.  

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