A Bustling Metropolis
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the Hinterland. Melbourne is connected to the rest of Australia with modern freeways, the city is known for street art, live music and theatre. Melbourne is a mecca for coffee shops, cafés and unique shopping boutiques. Explore the city’s beautiful arcades and street art around every corner. Melbourne is renowned for its markets, which sell everything from local produce to arts and crafts and vintage fashion. Get amongst the hustle and bustle of the Queen Victoria Markets, the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest gallery. Visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to immerse yourself in film, television and digital culture. Catch a performance at one of Melbourne’s many theatres, which host everything from musicals to comedy and cabaret.
The Great Ocean Road
Victoria’s dramatic south-west coastline covers an incredible range of scenery. Schedule a scenic flight with a helicopter tour to view London Bridge or the entire Shipwreck Coast all the way to Australia’s oldest lighthouse at Cape Otway. The Great Ocean Road begins with a 90-minute drive from Melbourne’s city center to Torquay. From Torquay to Nelson the road spans 250 miles traveling southwest along the Australian coast.
Forests, Waterfalls, And Gorges
From rainforests and rivers to old volcanoes and rugged coastlines, the Great Ocean Road showcases nature at its most diverse. The curviest and most spectacular stretch of the Great Ocean Road lies between Lorne and Apollo Bay, roughly an hour drive. Stop at Kennett River to see the koalas and parrots along a quiet side road. In Great Otway National Park you’ll see thundering waterfalls and sparkling gorges and walk through the tops of ancient, mossy trees.
Australia Aboriginal Culture
At Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, near Warrnambool, you can take a 60-minute tour to spot emus, kangaroos, koalas and lizards. The beautiful visitor center is managed by the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Cooperative, which offers guided walks explaining local Aboriginal culture and bush tucker. Enjoy didgeridoo workshops, bush food tasting, boomerang painting and throwing lessons.
Grampians Quality Wines
The Grampians National Park is a great choice for less mobile visitors and is home to an incredible mountain landscape dotted with small towns such as Dunkeld, Stawell, Halls Gap, Wartook Valley and Beaufort. The Grampians is home to some of Australia’s oldest vines and olive groves. The area is famous for quality reds, vibrant whites. There are more than 15 wineries in the area and Halls Gap comes to life every autumn with the Grampians Grape Escape which is an hour and a half north of Warrnambool on The Great Ocean Road.