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Pieces of Victoria

Victoria is a state of superlatives, but here’s what we think represents the best of the best in the southern state!
Best nature

From cute little penguins to cuddly koalas, cheeky seals and amazing marine life, Phillip Island is a microcosm of Australian wildlife, and undoubtedly one of the best places to get up close and personal with nature. An unmissable experience is the evening penguin parade, when hundreds of Little Penguins emerge from the sea and waddle up the dunes to their nests. Watch from the boardwalk, or book the Penguin Sky Box to see the parade from the comfort of an elevated viewing tower. You can even view the spectacle with the latest night vision technology as part of the Ultimate Penguin Experience.

Dedicated to koala research and education, Phillip Island’s Koala Conservation Centre has reopened its doors and now has new exhibits featuring large interpretive and interactive displays. The new centre connects with elevated boardwalks allowing visitors to stroll amongst the gumtrees and come face-to-face with some 40-odd koalas in their natural habitat. www.penguins.org.au

Best scenery

The journey along the Great Ocean Road is considered one of the world’s iconic drives, a mind-blowing canvas of huge cliffs, tranquil bays, pounding ocean and lush rainforest. It’s one of those quintessential Aussie experiences that should be on every family’s "to do" list.

For many people, the highlight of the drive is the Twelve Apostles at Apollo Bay, spectacular rock stacks that have been carved by the fury of the southern ocean. Stop for a walk along one of the beautiful, deserted and wild beaches; linger at one of the quaint seaside towns for a seafood lunch or coffee, or head inland to explore the Otway Ranges, where waterfalls tumble into crystal clear pools.

For a bird’s-eye view of the forest, visit the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, the longest and tallest elevated walk of its kind in the world. Climb up to the top of the 45-metre lookout via a spiral stairway, emerging into the canopy on a scary springboard cantilever! And for the truly fearless, the Otway Fly now offers abseiling off the fly! www.otwayfly.com.au

Best history

The vibrant history of Australia’s gold rush of the mid-19th century is brought to life in the Goldfields region of Victoria – a living museum and the best classroom a kid can possibly have. From the magnificent streetscape of elegant cities such as Ballarat and Bendigo, to the history-themed Sovereign Hill, to working mines and digs, stepping back in time has never been so much fun!

Sovereign Hill is a recreation of Ballarat in the 1850s, complete with more than 200 volunteers dressed in period costume. You can do all the traditional activities like pan for real gold, ride in horse-drawn carriages or buy boiled lollies from an old-world confectioner. At night the town becomes the setting of the Eureka Rebellion during a spectacular light and sound show called ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’. The 80-minute show tells the dramatic story of the uprising in 1854 by Ballarat’s miners against corrupt colonial leaders … but be warned, you may get caught in the crossfire www.sovereignhill.com.au

Best boating

The mighty Murray River is one of Australia’s great waterways, and there’s no better way to appreciate it than to get out on the water. The choice is yours – from houseboats to paddle steamers, fishing dinghies or kayaks – with each form of transport showcasing the river’s many moods.

‘Taking it easy’ is the mantra on a houseboat holiday; simply sit back and let the world float by. If you’re not into self-drive, luxury historic paddle steamers that ply the river take you back to days gone by when river transport opened up the region.

The Murray is also a canoe and kayak paradise, with long stretches of calm water in the lower stretches contrasting to the furious white water action in the Upper Murray near Corryong. Take the kids for a gentle paddle, then find a secluded spot on a river beach to soak up the sun or cast a line.

Best family fun

The Mornington Peninsula is known as ‘Melbourne’s playground’, and that’s certainly true for families! There’s a plethora of fun activities for all ages, from beaches to parks, playgrounds and family attractions, with nature always at the forefront of the fun.

The Mornington’s beaches are an elixir to the soul any time of year; choose from calm bay waters to pumping surf, with a string of almost unbroken sand including Frankston, Portsea and Sorrento.

If underwater life is more your thing, don a wetsuit and jump into Port Phillip Bay for a chance to swim with dolphins. Tours with Moonraker Dolphin Swims only operate between October and June when sightings are more prevalent, and children need to be confident in the water and have basic swimming skills. www.moonrakercharters.com.au

Be ‘amazed’ at the Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, home to Australia’s oldest and most famous hedge maze (set with 1000 cyprus trees), a beautiful rose maze and a lavender labyrinth; or ride the chairlift at Arthur’s Seat, floating over the treetops. Whatever your family loves to do, there’s always plenty of choice on the Mornington!

 

Further Information

Contact: Tourism Victoria
Phone: 132 842
Website: www.visitvictoria.com





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