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Victoria Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Victoria

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Federation Square

Opened in 2002 to commemorate 100 years of federation in Australia, Federation Square lies in the very heart of Melbourne, adjacent to the Flinders Street railway station and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Its ultra-modern design stands juxtaposed against the surrounding Victorian architecture and is comprised of open spaces, museums and cultural institutions. Regular events and concerts are held here throughout the year, with a giant screen that broadcasts major sporting events and public announcements. Federation Square is also the largest site of free Wi-Fi anywhere in Australia.

Federation Square is home to the Ian Pottery Gallery that houses the Australian art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. There are more than 20,000 artworks covering media ranging from paintings and sculpture to fashion, textiles and photography, with notable works by Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts and Sidney Nolan.

It’s also where the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is found, featuring video art, installations and interactive exhibitions... read more arrow

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Royal Botanic Gardens

Established in 1846, the Royal Botanic Gardens sprawl across 40 hectares to the south of the Yarra River and are considered one of the finest of their kind in the world. The gardens include more than 10,000 different species, including many rare varieties of both native and exotic species.

The Royal Botanic Gardens is divided into numerous themed sections, including a Herb Garden, Arid Garden, Fern Gully and Rose Garden, as well as numerous different lawned areas. There are impressive collections of New Zealand plant species and those from New Caledonia, as well as a Southern China collection and a California Garden.

The Water Conservation Garden promotes the efficient use of water resources, while the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden has been designed to encourage a love of gardening from an early age. For those interested in Australia’s indigenous culture, don’t miss the Aboriginal Heritage Walk which features plant species that have been utilized for centuries... read more arrow

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Melbourne Cricket Ground

Known to locals simply as “The G”, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is considered Australia’s most legendary sports stadium and the country’s largest. It was here that the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games were showcased and it is considered the spiritual home of Test Cricket and Australian Rules Football.

The MCG was built in 1853 and hosted the first cricket Test match to be played between Australia and England in 1877. It was also here that the first One Day International was played between the two countries in 1971. Today its biggest event of the year is the annual Australian Rules Football grand final that takes place each September and sees the stadium filled to capacity.

The MCG is home to the National Sports Museum, which celebrates Australia’s sporting achievements, and has been listed on the Australian National Heritage Register. In addition to sporting events, the MCG also holds big-name musical concerts and cultural events, with its largest attendance being recorded at 130,000 for a Billy Graham evangelistic crusade in 1959... read more arrow

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Southbank

Stretching along the Yarra River just a short stroll from the city center, Southbank is a vibrant area of restaurants, cafes, cultural institutions and shops. It is a major hub of live entertainment, with venues such as Hamer Hall, the State Theatre and the Playhouse situated within the Arts Centre, as well as being home to the famous Crown Casino.

Southbank was once a largely dilapidated industrial area that was reinvigorated to become one of Melbourne’s cultural hot spots. It’s dotted with outdoor art sculptures and is always frequented by street performers and live musicians. By day there are beautiful views across the Yarra River towards the city skyscrapers, while at night the promenade is illuminated by twinkling lights.

Architectural landmarks in Southbank include the iconic Melbourne Convention And Exhibition Centre, which has won numerous awards for its design, and the Eureka Tower that boasts the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform... read more arrow

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National Gallery of Victoria

Australia’s oldest public art museum is the National Gallery of Victoria, which is set across two locations in Melbourne. It was founded in 1861 and has grown to become one of Australia’s largest institutions dedicated to art, with the NGV International collection on St. Kilda Road and its Australian works in Federation Square’s Ian Pottery Centre.

The NGV International first opened in 1968 and was later redeveloped by Mario Bellini, now being listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. It is renowned for its Great Hall where visitors are encouraged to lay on the floor and admire the colorful stained-glass ceiling. The collection here includes European paintings, photography and textiles, Asian decorative arts, Pacific and Mesoamerican works, as well as global antiquities. It’s particularly noted for its Egyptian artifacts and Greek vases, together with works by Rodin, Degas, Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt... read more arrow

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Eureka Tower

Named after the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebellion of Victorian goldfield prospectors, the Eureka Tower has become one of Melbourne’s most recognizable landmarks. Its gold-plated windows and crown glisten in the sun’s light as it soars 297 meters over the Southbank entertainment precinct. The Eureka Tower’s 88th floor Skydeck is the highest public viewing area in the Southern Hemisphere, with a glass cube known as The Edge sliding out from the building for a vertigo-inducing experience.

The Eureka Tower was designed by Melbourne architectural firm Fender Katsalidis and was the tallest residential tower in the world when it was completed in 2006. Its gold crown is to represent the gold rush, with a red stripe symbolic of the blood that was spilled during the rebellion and blue glass for the background on the Eureka Stockade’s flag. An art installation resembling a beehive by Richard Stringer and Nonda Katsalidis was added at the base of the tower in 2007, with two worker bees sitting outside the box together with a queen bee... read more arrow

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Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building

If you want to gain a more comprehensive insight into the history of Melbourne, make the short tram ride from the CBD to the Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building. It follows the development of society and cultures in the city from its indigenous Aboriginal communities to modern-day settlements and has recently been awarded the title of “Best Tourist Attraction”.

Don’t miss a visit to the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre and the dedicated children’s museum, with plenty of hands-on activities to keep young visitors entertained. The Melbourne Museum also features a free Discovery Centre and an IMAX theatre that shows movies and documentary films in 3D.

The Melbourne Museum is surrounded by the beautiful Carlton Gardens and stands adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building, which was constructed in 1880 to host Melbourne’s International Exhibition. It was also here that the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia initially sat in 1901 and it was the first building in Australia to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site... read more arrow

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Melbourne Zoo

Officially known as the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, the Melbourne Zoo is located a short tram ride north of the city center and survives as Australia’s oldest zoo. It was modeled on the London Zoo and first opened to the public on 6 October 1862 on a 55-acre parcel of land at Royal Park. While its initial function was to help animals acclimatize after being transported to Australia, it developed into a zoo in its own right with animals acquired for public display.

The Melbourne zoo is set across numerous themed bioclimatic zones, including the African rainforest section where gorillas and pygmy hippos can be seen and the Asian rainforest which features tigers. An Australian bush area enables visitors to get up close to native wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and hairy nose wombats and there’s a flight aviary filled with different bird species.

A highlight of the Melbourne Zoo is its Trails of the Elephants exhibit that features five Asian elephants, as well as the Orangutan Sanctuary with both pure Sumatran and Sumatran-Bornean hybrids... read more arrow

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Cottage of Captain Cook

Brought all the way from Yorkshire, England to Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens, Captain Cook’s Cottage is the former home of one of the most influential explorers to enter Australian waters. It provides a unique insight into the life and times of this British captain who made the first European contact with Australia’s east coast, as well as being the first recorded as having circumnavigated New Zealand.

The cottage was originally constructed in the village of Great Ayton in 1755 by the parents of Captain James Cook and there remains disagreement as to whether he actually lived for any extensive period in the house. When the owner of the cottage decided to sell it in 1933, she requested that it remain in England, although she was persuaded to change this request to “Empire” and accepted a substantial bid from Australian Russell Grimwade.

The cottage was deconstructed brick by brick to board the Port Dunedin in Hull where it was transported in cases and barrels across the seas to Australia... read more arrow

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Queen Victoria Market

If you want to pick up fresh produce and artisan goods in Melbourne, there’s no better place than at the historic Queen Victoria Market. It’s the only surviving 19th-century market left in Melbourne’s CBD and is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. It has been serving consumers since 1878 and is now listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The market isn’t actually named after Queen Victoria, but rather due to its location at the corner of Queen and Victoria streets.

The Queen Victoria Market has had a storied history, with the site on which it now stands once part of the Old Melbourne Cemetery. More than 900 bodies had to be exhumed and reburied in other Melbourne cemeteries when the market was expanded in 1917, while around 9,000 bodies still remain buried beneath the market’s car park. At first, some market gardeners refused to use the new space and it was dedicated to livestock and hay in the years before a dedicated Meat Hall was built... read more arrow

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Stretching for more than 240 kilometers between Torquay and Allansford, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most scenic drives. It takes in spectacular beaches, charismatic surf towns and the iconic rock formations of the Twelve Apostles.

The Great Ocean Road was built by returned World War I soldiers and stands as the world’s largest war memorial. Today it is a recreational paradise, with legendary surf, beautiful coastal walking trails and snorkeling in the offshore reefs.

Be sure to explore the Surf Coast Walk that extends 44 kilometers along the coast from Point Impossible to Fairhaven. It’s divided into a number of sections, including the Wadawurrung Country trail that explores the indigenous heritage of the region and the Surf Coasting section that offers incredible views of the waves at Juc Juc Beach.

You can discover more about the Great Ocean Road’s surf legacy at the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay... read more arrow

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Jutting into Bass Strait to the southeast of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a popular getaway destination for locals. It features idyllic stretches of beach and an enticing gastronomy scene, as well as picturesque walking trails within the Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Wander around the seaside town of Mornington that overlooks the waters of Port Phillip Bay. It has a charming village atmosphere and beautiful beaches for swimming and surfing while being surrounded by a scattering of award-winning cellar doors where you can taste the region’s cool-climate wines.

There are magnificent views of the Mornington Peninsula from the state-of-the-art gondolas at Arthurs Seat Eagle, taking you to the highest point on the peninsula. Or you can test your skills on the “tree surfing” high ropes adventure and Tarzan swing at the Enchanted Adventure Garden. This award-winning fun park also features hedge mazes and giant slides that make it one of the peninsula’s most popular family-friendly attractions... read more arrow

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Featuring rugged sandstone mountains that rise spectacularly from the Western Plains, the Grampians National Park is one of Victoria’s most popular wilderness destinations. It’s traversed by bushwalking trails and scenic drives that explore its cascading waterfalls and panoramic lookouts while being dotted with campsites and climbing routes.

Stop in at the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre near Halls Gap to discover the local indigenous history and rock art sites within the national park. It’s also here that you can grab a map of the Grampians and find out about the recreational opportunities available, including bush tucker walks and traditional Aboriginal painting workshops.

A highlight of any visit to the Grampians is the MacKenzie Falls Lookout Walk that offers sweeping views of the falls and river as it flows through the gorge. You can opt to stop at the Bluff Lookout or continue on to the base of the waterfall for a different perspective... read more arrow

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Sprawling between Torquay, Princetown and up into the Otways hinterland, the Great Otway National Park protects rugged coastlines and pristine beaches, as well as tall forests and cascading waterfalls. Windswept tracts of heathland support magnificent spring wildflowers while lush fern gullies provide a habitat for a diverse array of species.

Follow the boardwalks that lead through the temperate rainforest of Maits Rest where giant tree ferns grow and witness thousands of glowing worms at Melba Gully. There are numerous waterfalls to visit, including the three picturesque cascades at Triplet Falls and the 30-meter-high Erskine Falls that plunge into a tree fern gully below.

For an adrenalin-pumping experience, get a different perspective of the Great Otway National Park at the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk. It includes not only an elevated walking platform through the forest canopy but also a zipline that will see you flying through the treetops like Tarzan.

Be sure to visit the Cape Otway Lightstation that perches on the cliff tops over-looking Bass Strait... read more arrow

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Traversing the magnificent Dandenong Ranges, the Puffing Billy Railway is a heritage, narrow gauge railway that stretches between Belgrave and Gembrook Stations. It was built at the turn of the 20th century in a bid to develop the rural areas on the outskirts of Melbourne, with the Victorian capital situated just 40 kilometers away.

The Puffing Billy Railway takes passengers through lush fern gullies and towering Mountain Ash trees, as well as over the historic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge. Soak up the vistas of rolling green hills towards the Dandenong Ranges, with views all the way to Port Phillip Bay.

Most passengers opt to board in Belgrave and disembark at Lakeside where there’s a playground and picnic tables on the banks of Emerald Lake. Belgrave is the main hub for the railway and where tickets can be purchased, although you can buy tickets from the conductor aboard the train.

Couples can indulge in a lunch railway experience within the First Class dining carriage, while families can join in the fun on the “Day Out With Thomas” and “Santa Special” events... read more arrow

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Jutting into Bass Strait to the southeast of Melbourne, Wilsons Promontory National Park is Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area. It’s a land of rugged granite mountains and white sandy beaches and renowned for its abundant wildlife that can be spotted along the extensive walking trails. The national park was designated back in 1898 and today covers more than 50,000 hectares that includes a cluster of offshore islands.

The entrance to Wilsons Promontory National Park is at Yanakie, with the road winding south to the settlement at Tidal River. It’s from here that many of the walking trails depart, including to the white quartz sand of aptly-named Squeaky Beach. Soak up the views across Bass Strait towards the offshore islands from the summit of Mount Oberon and discover the local history at the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation that dates to 1859.

Wilsons Promontory National Park protects a diverse array of wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, wombats and echidnas... read more arrow

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Nestled in the Victorian Alps of the Great Dividing Range, Mount Hotham is home to Victoria’s highest ski resort and a favorite winter getaway for locals. The summit of Mount Hotham rises to more than 1,800 meters, with Hotham Alpine Resort offering 320 hectares of skiable terrain.

Thirteen lifts access the trails of Hotham Alpine Resort, with around 20% of the terrain dedicated to beginners and 40% each to intermediate and advanced snow hounds. There are also cross-country skiing and snowboarding trails to explore and four terrain parks, as well as night skiing available on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the season.

Hotham Alpine Resort has a Ski and Ride School that is one of the best places in Victoria to take your first steps on the snow. Kids can learn to ski from as young as three years old, while there are multi-day programs for budding freestylers to hone their skills.

There is a range of chalets, lodges and self-contained apartments scattered around the Hotham Alpine Resort, as well as a good choice of accommodation in the nearby settlement of Dinner Plain... read more arrow

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Wander through the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens that have been created atop an extinct volcano or enjoy the scenic drive around the edge of the garden. Seasonal floral displays illuminate the grounds, with incredible views over Daylesford from the walking trails. Also nearby is the Wombat State Forest where rare wildlife species such as the spot-tailed quoll can be seen.

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Lake Daylesford sprawls to the south of the town, with the “peace mile” walking trail hugging its perimeter. The elegant Lake House nestles on its eastern shore, with its fine-dining restaurant and country house accommodation one of Victoria’s most exclusive. Also of note is the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa that has been in operation since 1895 and is today one of Daylesford’s most state-of-the-art spa facilities.

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Art enthusiasts should make a point of visiting the Convent Gallery that includes works by local and international artists within what was once the Gold Commissioner’s residence.

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Take a ride on the Daylesford Spa Country Railway that travels from the 1882 heritage-listed railway station in Daylesford to the town of Bullarto. It travels through thick forest and the scenic countryside of the Central Highlands to what is the highest operating railway station in Victoria.

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* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Victoria sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Victoria by visiting the individual Victoria attraction pages.