A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published October 16th 2013
Hit the road and explore the best Victoria has to offer
There's a whole lot to see and do in Victoria: rugged coastal scenery, boutique wineries, historic villages, soaring alpine mountains and legendary Aussie bush landscapes. The best way to take in all the wonderful travel experiences Victoria has to offer is to take a road trip, so here are five of the state's most enjoyable drives for you to explore.
Forget the Hume Highway; the next time you're heading north for a road trip to Sydney, take the coastal route. This 1160-kilometre journey takes in national parks, beautiful seaside towns, and some of the most relaxing coastal vistas anywhere in the world.
You can admire the gorgeous Little Penguins on Phillip Island, gaze at the majestic beauty of Wilsons Promontory, or simply relax on one of the many peaceful beaches. There's a whole host of gourmet local produce to indulge in along the way, from cheeses and smoked meats through to organic fruit and vegetables.
If you're feeling adventurous you can take a spectacular coastal walk or strap yourself in for one of many watersports on offer in Australia's largest inland network of waterways, the Gippsland Lakes.
The trip to Sydney might take a lot longer, but the scenery and experiences along the way make this detour well worth it.
The inclusion of the Great Ocean Road on a list of Victoria's best drives isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff, but there are plenty of reasons why this spectacular route is so well known. Quite simply, the Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most picturesque coastal routes.
Starting at Torquay in the east and winding its way to Allansford in the west, this legendary road trip takes you past remarkable scenery that's just begging to be photographed and admired. There are huge cliffs, the unique 12 Apostles, pounding surf, peaceful bays and tranquil rainforests.
The region is also home to some fascinating history, from Aboriginal sacred sites to maritime museums, secluded lighthouses and shipwrecks. And there's plenty of quaint seaside villages - many with a relaxed, arty vibe - to explore along the way. This is one drive that should be on everyone's bucket list.
While the Great Ocean Road might be Victoria's most famous route, its alpine cousin should not be overlooked. Covering 308 kilometres from Wangaratta in the state's north-east to Bairnsdale in the Gippsland region, this touring route makes for one very memorable road trip.
The highlight, of course, is the impressive alpine scenery along the way. There are soaring mountains, snow-covered hillsides, and bare, unforgiving landscapes that look like something from another planet. Then there's the beautiful towns like Bright, with its crisp alpine air and beautifully colourful leaves come autumn.
You can sample boutique wines, chow down on fresh local produce, and even do some fishing in a pristine mountain stream. At thr right time of year, you can also strap on some skis and go exploring.
The Around the Bay touring route is a great way to see some of Victoria's best scenery without going too far from Melbourne. Stretching for 233 kilometres, this drive takes in the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas.
Stroll along Geelong's colourful waterfront, tuck into a feast of fresh seafood, and explore the history of seaside Queenscliff. Then you can climb aboard the ferry and cross to the Mornington Peninsula, where beautiful Sorrento awaits.
There's great dining, great views, great galleries and plenty of history to be found here, along with some good surfing spots. Turning north, the route takes in towns like Rosebud, Flinders and Red Hill before winding its way back to Melbourne.
The 659-kilometre trip along the legendary Murray River is another great Aussie road trip. Stretching from Albury-Wodonga in the east to Mildura in the west, this route follows the river's serpentine path through the Aussie bush.
And it takes in some diverse scenery on the way, from the high peaks of the Great Dividing Range to the open, dusty plains of the desert. You can sample delicious wines, munch your way through produce from Australia's food bowl, and discover Aboriginal and pioneer history along the way.
The world's largest fleet of operating paddle steamers is based at Echuca, and a peaceful cruise on one of these old beauties is a must-do. Add in pristine national parks and plenty of native wildlife, and you've got one very impressive road trip.