Top Holiday Spots in Victoria

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Posted 2016-08-08 by Gayle Beveridge-Marienfollow

Queensland may be 'Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next' but let's not underestimate what Victoria has to offer. Take a look at a map of Victoria, a good look. How many towns do you see? Astonishing isn't it; I wonder how long it would take to visit them all? Too long I imagine so let's hit the highlights. This is my take on some of the best holidays Victoria has to offer, for families, young people, and retirees alike. There is something here for everyone.

[SECTION]Apollo Bay and The Great Ocean Road[/SECTION]

Claimed to be the most picturesque coastal drive in the world, The Great Ocean Road trip is a treat in itself but it is only a part of what this area has to offer.

Get an early start out of Melbourne to Victoria's Surf Coast and be in Lorne for morning tea or get a late start and be there for lunch at the historic Grand Pacific Hotel , built in 1879.

Visit the world renowned Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge an hour and a quarter drive from Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road. The imposing offshore limestone stacks are the result of erosion from waves, wind and rain.

The Otway Fly Treetop Walk gives visitors an opportunity to view the forest from the canopy. At around 2km in total the walk includes the 600m long treetop walk which rises to 300m in height. Otway Fly Treetop Adventures also has a two and a half hour Zipline Tour.

If waterfalls beckon you, The Great Ocean Road and Otway Ranges area is just the ticket. Choose any or all of more than ten waterfalls in the area.

Glow worms anyone? SunRoad Tours offer a one and a half hour tour from Apollo Bay to a local glow worm site where there is only a short walk to the soil banks. For those who like to go it alone glow worms can also be found at Melba Gully .

Head out to Cape Otway to visit the Lighthouse, Telegraph Station and WWII Radar Station. This is an area steeped not only in maritime and military history but is also of significance to our indigenous peoples and there is a Cultural Centre on site.

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Gold was discovered in Bendigo in 1851 and the city has a rich heritage from that era but don't imagine that is all it lays claim to.

The Central Deborah Gold Mine was a commercial mine operating between 1939 and 1954, and one of the last two mines to cease operation in the city. On the surface a poppet head towers over the other buildings. Below ground the Central Deborah Mine offers The Mine Experience, The Underground Adventure Experience, and The Nine Levels of Darkness.

The Golden Dragon Museum opened in 1991 is dedicated to Chinese History in Australia. Run by the Bendigo Chinese Association the museum displays artefacts dating back to the 1850's.

Trams have been rattling around Bendigo's streets since 1890. Today there are 45 trams in the Bendigo Tramways fleet, 14 of which are used for their Vintage Talking Tram Service.

Bendigo Pottery was established in 1858 and continues to operate today. The company has established an interpretive museum on site but lovers of all things pottery be warned, there is a shop on site and a tempting array of tableware and cookware.

If you are a history buff or you just like the splendour of heritage buildings will not disappoint. Visit The Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum built in 1921, The Sacred Heart Cathedral part of which was completed in 1901, The Conservatory in Bendigo's Conservatory Gardens built in 1897 and The Bendigo Town Hall constructed between 1878 and 1902.

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It is easy to argue that Echuca on the Murray is Victoria's riverside playground and testimony to that is the long list of things to see and do in the area.

Take the Port of Echuca Tour to get an animated and interesting dose of history and visit the Discovery Centre, a well presented and modern museum.

You can't visit Echuca without cruising on at least one paddle streamer. There are a variety of cruises on offer by Echuca Paddle Steamers and Murray River Paddle Steamers .

The Holden Museum is displaying over forty Holden Cars representing the history of the iconic model. All the models have information plaques and for some this will be a walk down memory lane.

Kingfisher Cruises runs an eco-tourism cruise on the Barmah Choke, the narrowest section of the Murray River. See red gum forests, azure kingfishers, welcome swallows, whistling kites, pelicans, cockatoos and cormorants.
Picturesque Horseshoe Lagoon is just over the bridge in Moama. A boardwalk passes over the lagoon and through to the banks of the Murray River. Tracks ideal for both walking and cycling extend into the bush and skirt wetlands.

The Mathoura Reed Birds Bird Hide is across the border in NSW. This is a large bird hide with variable height viewing slits for children and adults and humourous information boards. The Reed Beds stretch to the horizon and offer great views of a large variety of water birds.

Torumbarry Weir Reserve offers native gardens surrounding a lawn picnic area. The interpretive centre is free to enter and tells the story of the weir. Outside you can walk across the top of the weir for a close up of the workings.

The Echuca Historical Society Museum , in the Port Precinct, preserves the area's history and has displays to interest both the casual visitor and dedicated historian.

Chanter Estate and Military Museum is across the bridge in Moama. A restored 100 year old church houses the Chanter Estate Winery and fronts the Military Museum. Enjoy a wine tasting before exploring the museum.

The Great Aussie Beer Shed and Heritage Museum houses a collection of 17,000 beer cans. Owner, Neil, runs a tour through his beer can collections. There are beer bottles too, tap tops and brewery equipment and yesteryear paraphernalia in displays are too numerous to list. Out back is a museum of heritage farm equipment dating back to the 1800's.

The Port of Echuca Precinct is a mecca for tourists. Book a tour, ride a horse drawn carriage, visit Sharps Magic Movie House and Penny Arcade, taste wines and chocolates, or check out the wood turner or have your photo taken in period costume.

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[SECTION]Wodonga and Beechworth[/SECTION]

At just over three hours from Melbourne along the Hume Freeway this picturesque rural countryside along the might Murry River provides an ideal weekend or holiday getaway.

Glenrowan is the perfect place to stop for a leisurely morning tea on your road trip to Wodonga. Across the road from the 'Big Ned Kelly', is Kate's Cottage and Ned Kelly Museum . Behind the museum is a replica of the Kelly homestead presented as it would have been in Ned's day, prior to 1880.

The Army Museum at Bandiana is housed at Gaza Ridge Barracks, four kilometres east of Wodonga. The collections both inside and out represent the army from 1863 to the present.

The Bonegilla Migrant Experience is a museum housed in the remnants of the migrant camp. Bonegilla started life as an army camp but was converted to a migrant reception centre to house the post World War II migrant influx to Australia.

Holbrook Submarine Park and Museum is across the border in NSW. The HMAS Otway is at Submarine Park where her above water-line structure is displayed. The museum honours the late Commander Norman Holbrook VC RAN.

While you're in Holbrook take a look at the Woolpack Inn Museum a two storey heritage building jam packed with things of the past.

Also in Holbrook is The National Museum of Australian Pottery . The museum run by Geoff and Kerry Ford, it is dedicated to 19th and 20th century Australian pottery and displays over 1,600 pieces from over 120 pottery companies.

To top the holiday off head home via Beechworth . Take in the Beechworth Historical and Cultural Precinct and wander through this extraordinary selection of heritage buildings. Don't miss The Beechworth Honey Experience where you can follow an educational tour with honey tasting.

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[SECTION]Gippsland Lakes[/SECTION]

The Gippsland Lakes System is surely a jewel in Victoria's Crown. This picturesque area of around 400 square kilometres of inland waterways is a holiday mecca. Roughly 300 kilometres and less than four hours from Melbourne and framed by a bushland coastline the Lakes area has something for everyone.

With such significant bodies of water there is no shortage of boat trips available. Scenic cruises, eco cruises and meal cruises are all on offer.

The Gippsland Lakes must truly be a fisherman's paradise . No matter your passion, be it fishing from shore, pier or boat, you will not be disappointed.

The Buchan Caves Reserve is home to some spectacular limestone caves including the Royal Cave and the Fairy Cave. The caves are thought to date back 300 to 400 million years and have been a tourist attraction since the 1920's.

Do a bit of dolphin spotting . The Gippsland Lakes are home to around 50 of the rare Burrunan dolphins, a species of bottlenose dolphin only found in the Lakes and in Port Phillip Bay.

On Raymond Island , a short ferry ride from Paynesville, walk the 1.2km koala trail to see wild koalas in the residential streets. There is also a variety of native birdlife to be spotted and a beachside boardwalk.

Nyerimalang Homestead and Heritage Park is a large historic house perched on a hilltop above the Gippsland Lakes and surrounded by lovely gardens. After checking out the homestead wander out on one of the five walking tracks on the property.

Only a short detour from the highway is Stony Creek Trestle Bridge . At 274 metres long and 18.6 metres high, the bridge built in 1916 is claimed to be the largest remaining wooden bridge in Australia.

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Ballarat is close enough to Melbourne to be an easy day trip but you may want to stay a lot longer to take in everything on offer in this historic gold mining town.

Sovereign Hill is generally the Aussie history destination of choice. It has a working heritage town, gold panning, horse drawn coach rides, a theatre, a gold museum, an evening sound and light show 'Blood on the Southern Cross' and an underground mine tour.

Learn the history of the battle of the Eureka Stockade at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka . Located on the site of the 1854 stockade the museum tells the story of the struggle for democracy in Australia.

Kryal Castle is a medieval English castle just east of Ballarat. It features a medieval village, the Dragon's Labyrinth, jousting tournaments, wizardry, sword battles, archery, jesters and a torture dungeon amongst other things.

The Ballarat Wildlife Park specialises in Australian native animals. They have a number of interactive experiences on offer and kangaroos roam freely in the park.

Lake Wendouree is a great place to stop for a picnic or BBQ. There are cycling trails along with the Steve Moneghetti Walking and RunningTrack .

The Ballarat Botanic Gardens have been in place since the 1850's and have a significant collection of mature trees. Other features include the Robert Clark Conservatory and Prime Ministers Avenue, a collection of statues. It is a particularly busy place in March when the Begonia Festival is on.

[SECTION]Phillip Island[/SECTION]

At only one and a half hours from Melbourne, you might be tempted to make Phillip Island a day trip but if you do you're going to miss out.

Each day at the famous Penguin Parade visitors can watch from viewing stands and boardwalks as the fairy penguins leave the water after a day at sea and waddle up the beach to their burrows.

Wander the treetop boardwalks at the Koala Conservation Centre and see the koalas in the trees where they live.

Churchill Island Heritage Farm preserves a time past and as well as the animals visitors can walk through the heritage home and farm buildings and watch some of the daily activities

Hop aboard a high speed boat for the Wild Ocean Eco Boat Tour . Zoom past the Island's picturesque coastline on your way to an up close encounter with one of Australia's largest colonies of fur seals.

Find your way through the maze, be astonished in the Illusion Rooms or play Mini Golf at A Maze'N Things . Fall down the Look Out Slide or Navigate Skytrail, the high rope course.

At the National Vietnam Veterans Museum look around at military equipment and artefacts from the war. Watch a sound and light show in an army tent and check out the helicopters.

Call into Panny's Phillip Island Chocolate Factory for a chocolate overload. Join Panny's Amazing World of Chocolate Interactive Experience and enjoy a chocolate themed snack in the café.

Hop aboard one of Phillip Island Wildlife Coast Cruises boat trips. Choose from Seal Rocks, whale watching (in season), scenic cruises, market cruises and eco cruises.

Visit the new Antarctic Journey attraction at the Nobbies Centre. In this virtual tour of Antarctica you can even feel the freeze in the Chill Zone.

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