Things to Do in Victoria - page 4
With its sandy beaches, windswept bluffs, and miles of rugged walking trails, Cape Woolamai is a place to unwind and simply get back to nature. Stretched across the southeastern corner of scenic Phillip Island, Cape Woolamai is a popular getaway for surfers, birdwatchers, and hikers. On the western stretch, Woolamai Beach has some of the best surfing in the entire state of Victoria, whereas the eastern stretch is covered in sand dunes just a short walk from town. Woolamai Beach is part of the Phillip Island Surfing Reserve and home to a popular lifesaving club, and granite cliffs provide a rugged backdrop to the wide, golden sands. Atop the bluff, a system of walking tracks leads to the highest point on all of Phillip Island, and while it’s only a moderate 370 feet, the viewpoint provides a panoramic vista looking back towards the Australian mainland. Avid hikers can enjoy the 5.3-mile loop that passes the best beaches and viewpoints, and between September and April, birdwatchers can scan the skies for shearwaters that migrate from Alaska. Of all of the cape’s rugged scenery, however, the most striking image is of waves crashing up against the Pinnacles—an iconic collection of eroded sea stacks towards the very end of the cape.
Phillip Island is famed for its free-roaming penguins and Australia’s largest colony of fur seals, but those are not the only types of wildlife you can see there. The Phillip Island Wildlife Park is home to more than 100 different species of native Australian animals. Visitors can see and interact with the wildlife living in the park.
The City Circle Tram is a free tram service that runs in a circular route around Melbourne’s central business district and passes many of the city’s major attractions. Easily spotted thanks to its burgundy, green, and gold exterior, the tram is one of the few remaining heritage trams in operation in the city.
In the heritage-listed Fitzroy Gardens sits a historic building that is one of the most significant in Australia. Built in 1755 in England before being shipped to Australia in 1934, that building is Cooks’ Cottage – built by the parents of one Captain James Cook, the man who claimed Australia for the empire.
Today, after having being carefully dismantled, thoroughly labelled and shipped halfway around the world to be reconstructed, Cooks’ Cottage serves as a museum to the exploits of Captain Cook. Modern interpretations of his adventures are displayed alongside antiques in a very English cottage and garden.
As Captain Cook’s Childhood home, Cooks’ Cottage is a step back in time. The building has been carefully restored and great emphasis is put on the experience of visiting the cottage, including the 18th-century costumes worn by the staff. Entry to the cottage includes a self-guided tour and comprehensive fact sheet available in many languages, and school holiday programs run for children four times a year.
A Melbourne icon located in Port Phillip Bay, Brighton Beach boasts golden sand and 82 distinctive bathing boxes. The brightly painted, timber-framed huts date back to the Victorian ages and serve as one of the city’s most photogenic backdrops.
Located in the Old Customs House—which dates back to the 19th century—the Immigration Museum reveals the multicultural customs that immigrants have contributed to life in Australia. As well as learning about the lives of the first settlers in Australia, you can discover your family history by searching the museum’s archive of immigrant details.
Set amid the rolling vineyards of Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm is a family-owned farm that also grows raspberries, cherries, and blueberries. The farmstead is also home to a cafe that serves decadent strawberry desserts and a gift shop where you can buy jam, ice cream, and freeze-dried fruit.
Get a glimpse into the lives of early Australian settlers and pioneer farming practices at Churchill Island. Located just off the coast of Phillip Island, Churchill Island was the first European agricultural site in Victoria. Today, it’s home to a historic working farm, the Churchill Island Heritage Farm.
Best known as the home of the Formula 1 Grand Prix—which takes place in Melbourne every March—Albert Park is a leafy inner-city retreat with a swan-filled lake, sports venues, playgrounds, and a skyline view. Take a stroll along the lakeside boardwalk, enjoy a steak at The Point restaurant, or hire a boat to explore the lake.
Clinging to Phillip Island by a single bridge, the tiny Churchill Island is one of Melbourne’s most unique attractions - a scenic patchwork of farmlands, heritage gardens and wetlands, where time appears to have stood still. Despite encompassing a mere 57 hectares, the small island boasts a significant history, as one of the first agricultural developments of European settlers back in the 18th century.
Today, the historic farmhouses and lands have been preserved as the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, a working farm where visitors can discover pioneer farming techniques and learn about the island’s long history. Visitors can follow the walking trails around the island, watch traditional activities like cow milking, blacksmithing, sheep shearing and working dog demonstrations, peek into the cottages and outhouses to gain an understanding of the lives of the early settlers, and even purchase local produce at the monthly farmers market or gift shop.
More Things to Do in Victoria
Chugging its way through the rugged bushlands, fern gullies, and ancient woodlands of the Dandenong Ranges, the Puffing Billy Railway is one of Australia’s most scenic train journeys. The spectacular views of the Yarra Valley are just part of the experience—the historic steam engines, Victorian-style interiors, and open-air carriages that allow for dangling legs make it a fun and memorable activity for the whole family.
Located at the Chadstone Shopping Centre, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne offers the ultimate indoor LEGO® experience. Featuring 13 attractions and activities, including two rides, 11 build-and-play zones, and a 4D cinema, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne offers a fun and educational outing for the whole family.
Regent Theatre has been one of Melbourne’s most important performance venues since 1929. The lavishly designed 2,145-seat auditorium has hosted some of the city’s most popular plays and musicals over the years including ‘The Lion King’, ‘Wicked’, ‘We Will Rock You’, and the world premiere of ‘King Kong’.
The Cape Schanck Lighthouse has been operational since it was built in 1859. Constructed from limestone and sandstone, to this day the lighthouse still uses its original mechanisms to function. Situated in the Mornington Peninsula National Park in Victoria, the Cape Schanck Lighthouse offers a glimpse into the past.
As well as regular guided tours, the lighthouse station has a kiosk, a museum, and an information center. Visitors can also stay the night in the old lightkeeper’s cottages, making the Cape Schanck Lighthouse a unique base for exploring the Mornington Peninsula.
Referred to by locals as Little Italy, Lygon Street was once the epicenter of Melbourne’s cafe culture. The street is characterized by Victorian terraces, Italian restaurants with al fresco seating, and cafes serving cakes and gelato. Come for a coffee and to browse boutiques, and stay for a film at Melbourne’s largest arthouse cinema.
Though modern Australia was originally settled by poverty-stricken convicts, you’d never know it from the aristocratic grounds of spectacular Rippon Lea. Only 20 minutes from central Melbourne, this manicured, refined, and immaculate estate is a throwback to 19th-century royalty and ornate, Victorian homes. The gardens span across 14 acres and were built in a style that was so advanced they actually harnessed their own water. The mansion itself was also constructed with features ahead of its time, and was one of Melbourne’s original estates with electricity and modern plumbing. When visiting the historic mansion today, stroll through 15 different rooms where each is more lavish than the last. Play a casual game of croquet on the mansion’s well-trimmed lawn, or lay out a blanket while sipping tea in a picnic from days gone by.
Located amid the lush countryside of Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens are home to Australia’s oldest traditional hedge maze. As well as encompassing 25 acres (10 hectares) of gardens, the complex features a Lavender Labyrinth that flowers year-round and a Circular Rose maze made up of 1,200 roses.
Between the surfing, the wildlife, the hiking, and driving, sometimes the best Phillip Island activity is simply doing nothing at all. That’s the plan at the Phillip Island Winery, where the family-run tasting room actively encourages visitors to kick back and relax. Located amidst the green pastures on the western end of the island, sit down with a Chardonnay or a signature Pinot Noir, and allow the owners to walk you through a flight of their colder climate wines. Indulge with platters of Gippsland cheeses, homemade dips and smoked trout, or watch a blustery storm roll in from the cozy cottage confines. This is the oldest winery on Phillip Island and definitely the most relaxed, and a place to simply relax and unwind and experience the island’s beauty.
There was once a time when wool-spinning mills were prevalent throughout Australia, and sheep were clustered in rural paddocks stretching far out into the hills. Today, however, the wool spinning industry is in rapid decline, which is all the more reason that Creswick Woollen Mills is an important Victoria highlight. The mill, in fact, is the lone remaining mill of its kind found anywhere in Australia, and alpacas provide the fiber for scarves, sweaters, socks, and shawls. When visiting the mill, tour the exhibit “A Very Fine Yarn,” which allows you to follow the wool making process from growth through harvest and production, and is one of the only places in Australia to watch manufacturing as it happens.
You can see the alpacas from the viewing deck and feel their luxurious wool, and even have the chance to feed the alpacas as they eat right out of your hand.
With its spas, natural springs, walking trails, and fresh air, the tranquil town of Daylesford provides the ultimate escape from city life. Within easy reach of central Melbourne, Daylesford offers a plethora of activities; swim or go kayaking around Daylesford Lake, climb to the top of Wombat Hill, or wander the gardens surrounding Convent Gallery.
Few Australian beers are as world famous as Carlton and there’s no better place to sample the classic Aussie brew than Melbourne’s Carlton Brewhouse. The iconic brewhouse is only one of Australia’s largest breweries, producing more than 420 million liters of beer each year, including top beers like Carlton Draught, Fosters, Victoria Bitter, and Pure Blonde.
As well as being a working brewery, the Brewhouse also has a dedicated visitor facility, where visitors can go behind-the-scenes and see the production rooms and bottling plant. As well as discovering the brewery’s 100-year history, visitors can also shop for souvenirs at the Beer Gear shop, enjoy expert-led tastings or pair food and beer at the Brewhouse Café.
From music legends such as Paul McCartney, AC/DC, and Metallica; to open-air concerts by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; to candlelit Christmas carols—the Sidney Myer Music Bowl offers something for music lovers of all tastes. Set amid the grassy lawns of the Kings Domain Gardens, it’s Melbourne’s largest and most popular outdoor music venue.
From Ozzy Osbourne to Madonna, Katy Perry to Oasis—the Forum has hosted bands and artists from all around the world. Dating back to 1929 and completely renovated in 2016, it remains one of Melbourne’s most legendary live music and festival venues, famous for its amphitheater-inspired architecture and atmospheric interiors.
Stretching along the south bank of the Yarra River and encompassing more than 89 acres (36 hectares of parklands; Kings Domain is one of Melbourne’s most popular green spaces. The tree-lined walkways, lengthy manicured lawns, and shady picnic spaces offer plenty of scope to escape the city, dotted with monuments and memorials.