From Yarra Valley's idyllic vineyards to the sweeping vistas of the Great Ocean Road, Victoria serves up an endless slideshow of postcard-worthy landscapes. It's not all about getting back to nature, either — the region is also renowned for its gastronomy and the cultural hub that is Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city.
With mild weather even in winter, any time is a good time to travel to Victoria, but it's at its best during the sunny spring and summer months, when Melbourne hosts a number of lively festivals. Whenever you plan to visit, there's no time like the present to book your trip, and with the Australian dollar falling, US and European travelers have even more reason to book soon and take advantage of the favorable exchange rates.
Ready to start planning? Here are five things not to miss:
Cruise the Great Ocean Road
Touted as one of the world's best coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road
doesn't disappoint. The 150-mile (243-km) route between Torquay and Allansford winds along the coast past golden beaches and soaring sea cliffs. Join a day or multi-day road trip, fly overhead in a helicopter or hike the coastal route, stopping to enjoy views of the iconic Twelve Apostles
, Apollo Bay and Shipwreck Coast.
Dine in style on Melbourne's Colonial Tramcar
Get a taste of Melbourne's heritage with a city sightseeing tour onboard the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
. Tuck into a delicious 3-, 4- or 5-course meal as you chug around the city on an authentic 1948 tram and take in views of South Melbourne, St Kilda, Prahran and Malvern.
See penguins and koalas on a Phillip Island day trip
Cuddling a koala is at top of many travelers' bucket lists, but another wildlife wonder not to be missed is the Penguin Parade
. Start your Phillip Island
adventure with a visit to the Koala Conservation Centre
, spot Australian fur seals at Seal Rocks, then head to the Penguin Parade viewing platform at dusk to witness the island's adorable mascots waddling to shore.
Eat like a foodie in Melbourne
With its multicultural heritage, abundance of local produce and flair for the creative, Melbourne has earned a place among Australia's top culinary destinations. Roving foodies can try everything from Turkish kebabs to Mexican-style tacos, while the nearby Yarra Valley is a hotbed of artisan food producers. Get the inside scoop on a food-tasting tour, explore the famous Queen Victoria Market
or sample the city's best coffee, chocolates and cakes on a sweet-themed walking tour.
Explore Victoria's famous wine regions
Wine lovers will find plenty to get excited about in Victoria. Take time away from Melbourne to tour the Rutherglen region; sip chardonnay and pinot noir in the beautiful Yarra Valley
; or discover some of Australia's best shiraz in scenic Heathcote.