Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state, but the second most populous.

It is located in the South East corner of the Australian mainland, and is bordered by New South Wales to its north and South Australia to its west.  The Capital of Victoria is Melbourne, and about 70% of Victorians live in Melbourne.

Although Melbourne was first settled in 1835 its growth was rather sporadic.  In 1851 gold was discovered at Ballarat, and shortly after at Bendigo, and there followed discoveries in other areas soon after which sparked one of the great gold rushes of all time, which significantly swelled Victoria’s population and allowed Melbourne to swell to become Australia’s second biggest city.

The gold rush also sparked Australia’s first, (and most serious) armed rebellion at Ballarat in 1854 where the miners protested against the heavy mining taxes (a much smaller armed rebellion took place at Broken Hill, NSW, during WWI when two Turkish brothers declared war on Australia).  The incident at Ballarat was known as the Eureka Stockade and is considered to have heralded the birth of democracy in Australia.

Following the gold rush, so must wealth was created in Victoria that Melbourne became the financial capital of Australia, and even today many of Australia’s largest companies have their headquarters in Melbourne.

When Australia became a Federation on January 1, 1901, and the Commonwealth of Australia was created, Melbourne became Australia’s temporary Capital, and remained so until the new Capital, Canberra was built on a sheep farm in southern New South Wales – in an area that became known as the Australian Capital Territory.

Today Victoria has a population exceeding 5 million and is Australia’s most urbanised state.  Outside of Melbourne, Victoria’s biggest urban areas are Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Warrnambool and the Latrobe Valley.

There are many attractions for tourists visiting Victoria, which include:

  • Skiing in winter in the Victorian Alpine Region, just a few hours outside of Melbourne
  • The historic goldfields towns, especially Ballarat, Bendigo, Beechworth, Castlemaine, Maldon and Daylesford
  • The Dandenong Ranges, just outside of Melbourne
  • The Yarra Valley wine region
  • The Murray River towns of Echuca, Mildura
  • The Great Ocean Road, where you can see astounding scenery such as The Twelve Apostle’s (towering sentinels of rock forming a line in the ocean – but there are only eight as some have collapsed!)
  • The Surf Coast, which includes the surfing mecca of Bell’s Beach
  • The Mornington Peninsular, known for its magnificent scenery at the southern tip of the Australian continent

Victoria is also known at Australians as the Home of Sport, because of its ability to attract many of the world’s great sporting events to the region.  These include The Australian Open Tennis Championship, The Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s premier horse racing events, The Formula 1 Grand Prix, The Bells Beach Surf Classic, The Moto GP, The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, The Boxing Day Cricket test at the MCG, but mostly Victoria is famous for being the home of Australian Rules Football.

Weather in Victoria is perhaps the least predictable on mainland Australia, and Melbourne has a reputation for sometimes having all four seasons in one day.  Be prepared when you visit Victoria, and pack for every weather situation.

Transport is Victoria is excellent.  Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport is the gateway to Victoria, but there are also domestic departures from Avalon Airport, south of Melbourne.  Victoria has an excellent road and rail system, and because of its compact size (by Australian standards), you can see a lot in a relatively short time.  Melbourne has one of the biggest tram systems in the world, and these are a terrific way to explore the city.  Taxis are regulated and metered, and drivers do not expect tips.

Victoria is known for the quality of its restaurants and its wines. There is plentiful accommodation available in Victoria, ranging from backpacker’s hostels and camp sites to five star hotels and house boats.  Check out the Visit Victoria website for more information.

2 comments to Victoria

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>