Adventure

Only In Victoria: 5 Experiences Unique To The State

Ever wanted to rent your own private island?

Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

Australians are renowned for our love of travel, but while we’re often busy thinking of our next exotic overseas jaunt, we easily forget all of the gems in our own backyard.

From waterfalls to walking tracks, mountains to museums, there’s almost too much to discover across this big old island of ours – as Qantas have been kind enough to remind us with their beautiful and wanderlust-inducing new inflight safety video.

So next time you get those itchy feet, why not consider staying on home soil instead and exploring the best of what ‘Straya has to offer? We’re bringing you some excellent experiences unique to each state, whether you’re looking for a day trip from home or a giant Aussie adventure (and yes, you need to get out of your car, but trust us – it’ll be worth it).

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Let the Yarra guide you

While Melbourne may not have Sydney’s beaches or Perth’s weather, it does have one unique thing to call its own: The Yarra River, which runs right through the heart of the CBD and splits the city into two distinct parts (“Are you southside or northside?” is a perfectly acceptable question to ask a stranger, FYI). While the river itself isn’t much to look at, evidence of the things that typify Melbourne can be found along it, right in the heart of the city. Hop off the train at Flinders Street Station and spend the afternoon exploring the riverside, whether it’s grabbing a drink at the cool Arbory Bar & Eatery or Ponyfish Island (which is hidden under a bridge in the middle of the river), catching a show at the excellent Hamer Hall, exploring the impressive art and changing exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, riding a bike along the Capital City Trail or checking out the Pop Up Patch rooftop garden with CBD views.

Photo: Qantas

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Sip well in the state’s premier wine region

For some seriously luxe foodie culture, the Yarra Valley – only an hour’s drive from Melbourne– is a hotspot for wine, cheese and just about everything else you’d want to wrap your mouth around. From wine-tasting at De Bortoli Wines and Yering Station, to cheese sampling at Yarra Valley Dairy and pub meals at the Coldstream Brewery, a visit to the region makes for a perfect, food coma-inducing day. It’s pretty much impossible to have a bad time. If you don’t want to designate a driver, lots of tours leave from Melbourne’s CBD at 9am and deliver you – full and merry – back to the city in the afternoon. Alternatively, there’s plenty of places that make a weekend trip worthwhile: the TarraWarra Museum of Art is a beautiful gallery set on a hill overlooking vineyards and the Hedgend Maze is an awesome place to get lost.

Photo: De Bortoli Vineyard, Qantas

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Visit the Mediterranean of Melbourne

Starting less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is the closest thing Victoria will ever get to the Mediterranean and it’s a winner all year round, whether you’re on a weekend liaison with your partner, a cheerful family trip or a group date with your mates. From spas, hot springs and fancy vineyards to hedge mazes, enchanted gardens, ferry rides across the bay and strawberry picking, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do on the Peninsula’s 190 kilometres of coastline. Splash out and dine at the fancy Ten Minutes By Tractor restaurant or keep it casual with pizzas at the Mornington Peninsula Brewery. For a truly Instagrammable holiday, have Happy Glamper set up a bell tent or vintage caravan in your campsite of choice.

Photo: Peninsula Hot Springs

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Walk in an ancient landscape

The rugged mountain ranges of the Grampians in Victoria’s north-west are so ancient that they were formed before there were any flowering plants on earth. Seriously: they’re older than flowers, and you can still experience them today. From the tiny charming town of Halls Gap (which is home to some delicious country bakeries), you can undertake plenty of walks and drives that’ll get you up close and personal with nature. There’s the super popular walk to the rock formation called The Pinnacle, a waterfall with a natural swimming hole at MacKenzie Falls or, if you’ve got a few days and you’re feeling fit, you can undertake the three-day Grampian Peaks Trail hike which gives you a front-row show to nature and some incredible views. It ain’t easy, though, but who said good things should be?

Photo: Grampians Peaks Trail

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Rent a private island for you and 52 mates

Though it’s a popular spot for family summer holidays, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy in the beachy town of Lakes Entrance (home to the best fish and chips in Victoria, as far as I’m concerned). For example, why not gather your mates and HIRE YOUR OWN PRIVATE ISLAND? This isn’t a drill: Fraser Island – no relation to the one in Queensland – sits in the bay around Lakes Entrance and can be hired out for a weekend. Here there’s a homestead that sleeps 53 people, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool and guaranteed good times. The dream is real, mates, and it lives in Gippsland.

Photo: Fraser Island Retreat

(Lead image: Grampians Peaks Trail)