Guides

The Ultimate Summer Guide To Exploring Victoria For Every Kind Of Traveller

For a pretty small state, Victoria really has a lot crammed in here. So when it comes to planning a trip to celebrate summer (and freedom), it’s kinda hard to narrow down where to go and what to do.

We’ve figured out some of the best spots in the state that’ll help you forget about the hell year that was 2020. Decide what kind of trip you’re down for, gather your mates (in a Covid-safe manner, of course), and book a getaway that you’ve definitely earned.

If you’re keen for a beach trip

Every Victorian already knows the best beach holiday spots are places like Torquay and Sorrento, so we’re not going to bore you with old news. Here are some fresh spots to interject into your summer destination rotation.

Phillip Island

 

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It’s barely two hours from Melbourne but feels like a whole other world. It’s got some of the best surf beaches in the country, as well as winding walking trails through the wilder parts of the island. Start your day with the Pyramid Rock to Berrys Beach walk, which is all dramatic rocky cliffs and amazing coastline, then hit up the idyllic and deserted beaches on the South Coast. Of course there’s the famous penguin parade, and then you can head out to Nobbies Point to see whales and seals.

Mallacoota

 

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This little town right near the NSW border was seriously affected by bushfires, so now’s the time to support local and head up there for a little getaway. It’s got a chill, unpretentious vibe and is perched on a patch of land where a river opens into the ocean, so swimming options are plentiful. There are some great coastal walks, good cafes, an excellent bakery and a surprisingly good Chinese restaurant.

If you’re a massive foodie who loves a drink

Melbourne is by far the greatest food city in Australia, which is definitely helped by the fact that Victoria is full of amazing produce regions. From dairy and meat, to wine and everything in between, here are two regions we love that foodies should be making a beeline for.

South Gippsland

 

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This area is all farms and cute towns, so it makes sense that the local produce here is top-notch, with a ton of great cafes and restaurants just waiting for you to visit. Base yourself somewhere like Inverloch. They have a great cafe, The Local, which has the best coffee in the region and serves up dishes made with goods from neighbouring producers.

Then hit the road on a DIY food tour: there’s Harman Winery which serves woodfire pizza on weekends, Macca’s Farm where you can pick your own strawberries, Bassine Speciality Cheeses to stock up your esky, Udder & Hoe general store which stocks only local products like bread, olive oil and nuts, then end the day at The Grove, whose menu changes based on what’s in season and available.

Need a break from food? The Bass Coast Trail is an epic 21km biking path through the stunning countryside, while Flat Rocks Beach is an ideal spot for a coastal walk.

Daylesford

 

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It’s just 90 minutes from Melbourne, but there’s so much here to eat and drink you’ll want to dedicate at least a couple of days to the region. Dairy Flat Farm is a must-visit, with an olive grove and orchards as well as a bakery where you can buy fresh loaves or take a class in making sourdough. The General Store in Glenlyon is a cute little cafe and local produce shop, or try Wombat Hill House for a simple brunch in a cafe tucked into the trees.

Passing Clouds winery has organic, cool-climate wine that’s truly delightful and a lunch menu featuring local produce, while Cliffy’s is a licensed cafe that’s perfect for an afternoon wine complete with a charcuterie board. You’ve gotta try The Farmers Arms, a cosy country pub with an inventive Asian-inspired dinner menu. Finally, hit up the Daylesford Sunday Market before you go home and stock up on fruit and veg, honey, meat, baked goods, cider and wine.

If you’re an active nature buff

Victoria has it all: cliffs, mountains, forest, rainforest, farmland and coastal trails. No matter what kind of hiking you like or how much time you’ve got off work, there’s a perfect hike just waiting for you.

Great Otway National Park

 

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This national park has it all. Of course, there’s the incredible coastline along the Great Ocean Road, but there’s also a ton of land to explore up in the hinterland. There are plenty of hikes for all fitness levels – the Canyon Circuit is an easy bet that’ll take you past three waterfalls and through the park’s deep rocky canyon. The Great Ocean Walk is a stunning multi-day hike that you can conquer over eight days, or just do in small sections.

Alpine National Park

 

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This is an obvious hiking destination – just look at its name. Everyone knows about the steep hike up Mt Bogong, the state’s tallest mountain, but there are some other great trails you can tackle if a 20km summit sounds a bit too ambitious.

The Room With A View trail starts off from the Great Alpine Road, and is a short walk out to an amazing lookout, or the Mount Tabletop Walk is a moderate 10km hike with views of the valley. Adventurers will love the Tali Karng trail, a two-day hike out to a hidden lake nestled in the mountains. There’s a camping spot around the halfway mark.

Croajingalong National Park

 

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This UNESCO heritage-listed park is home to the iconic Wilderness Coast Walk. This trail winds for 100km through barely-visited areas of the state, along the coastline near the NSW border. You can complete it in about five to seven days, though you need a permit before you set off. If you’re after something a little shorter, it can be broken down into two to three day sections, or day hikes.

If you’re into camping and disconnecting

Of Victoria’s 35 national parks, camping is allowed in 25 of them. Most sites are pretty cheap, if not free, which is a great incentive to get out in nature. If you’re not too keen to spend a weekend sleeping on the ground, rent a camper and get the best of both worlds. Either way, here are some epic spots to stay.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

 

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You’ll find this spot a couple hours’ south of Melbourne, and it’s undoubtedly the most beautiful place in Victoria. It’s a remote, rugged park with the kind of beaches, wildlife, and nature you wouldn’t expect to find so near the city. There are some good overnight hikes out to the furthest regions of the park, or you can just hang out on one of the park’s many spectacular beaches.

Tidal Bay is the most accessible campground, near the popular Squeaky Beach and the Mount Bishop summit trail.

Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park

 

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This is an ideal spot for people who like their creature comforts. It’s technically a campsite, but there’s a woodfire heated pool, WiFi, private bathrooms, espresso machines and giant communal fire pit. Located in the Grampians near  Lake Bellfield, it’s the perfect choice for a cute little weekend of adventuring and exploring.

Johanna Beach Campground

 

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This is an idyllic stop along the Great Ocean Road for beach bums. It’s a rustic campsite (no showers or flushing toilets) but it’s right on the beach – and it’s dog-friendly! Johanna Beach is a great surf beach, and you’re also right near Belles Beach, epic rainforest hikes, the Twelve Apostles and Triplet Falls. Campsites sell out quickly so plan ahead.

(Lead Image: Tourism VIC / Great Ocean Road Marketing)