Australians are living through a period unknown to most – a period where things we take for granted are restricted or no longer permitted. Travel across some state borders is regulated, cafes and restaurants can no longer serve dine-in customers, many attractions are closed, events are postponed and entertainment severely limited. Our leisure activities have been heavily curtailed as part of necessary efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The traditional Easter and school holiday activities, where people get in the car for a road trip or board a plane for a distant destination, are on hold, with people told to instead stay at home this Easter.
Like all pandemics, coronavirus will not last forever. That means lovers of travel can use this time to plan their next getaway when travel restrictions are lifted.
With many communities across Australia having been badly affected by recent drought and bushfires, and now battling the economic shock of the coronavirus shutdown, these communities will be crying out for visitors once things get back to normal. Of course, it is not just communities that service travellers as they criss-cross the country along highways and byways that have been badly affected – also Australia’s major cities and world-class tourist attractions have been impacted.
Support Australian tourism, so once the coronavirus restrictions are over, you can plan your next getaway within Australia rather than dashing overseas.
There is no better way to see Australia than with a road trip.
Travel Tracks Australia (also on Instagram @traveltracksaus) is launching their Aussie Road Trip Itineraries ebook, which is packed with 37 road trips from all over Australia. There are 5 trips in Victoria – Great Ocean Road, Great Ocean Walk, Grampians, Phillip Island and Yarra Ranges. Get inspiration to start planning your next getaway when restrictions ease up.
The Aussie Road Trip Itineraries ebook is now completely free to readers of this blog when you enter in the discount code of TRAVELVICTORIA at the check-out. Get the ebook for free now.
Start reading today and plan your next getaway around our great country!
Tourism businesses and event organisers may spend a significant amount of money and time on promotional activities, but did you know there are many high exposure opportunities on the internet where they can be promoted for free?
There is always plenty going on in Victoria. From community festivals to markets, concert, sports tournaments, shows and international events, there is always something happening, no matter what day of the week or time of the year it is.
Promoting events can be a costly and time consuming exercise, but when it comes to exposure on the internet, Victoria 365 should be your first priority. This website presents a huge collection of events that are happening 365 days a year in Victoria. All listings are free of charge and there are self-serve facilities so you can instantly register and update your listing as often as you like. Simply go to the list your event page to get started.
One of the exciting features of Victoria 365 is that your listing is stored in the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW). This national database is used as a source of content by over 100 distributor websites, which means that not only is your event featured on Victoria 365, but it will also appear on other websites which publish event information without you having to do a thing. It offers a fantastic opportunity for wide exposure on the internet for minimal effort and zero cost.
Dog friendly restaurants and cafes
Australians love their pets, and dogs are the most common of them all. It is estimated that there are close to 5 million pet dogs in Australia, with around 40% of households owning a dog.
As Australia becomes more dog-friendly, people are increasingly taking their pooches with them when they leave home, providing company and sharing a common experience. Whether it is a coffee or meal at a cafe, a trip to the beach, or even a holiday away from home in dog-friendly accommodation, dogs are being welcomed in more and more places.
If you operate a dining establishment in Victoria that has areas where dogs are permitted, you can list your business for free with Dogs On Holidays. That website is a comprehensive guide to enjoying Victoria with you dog and includes listings of dog-friendly accommodation, restaurants, beaches, parks, activities and events. While the accommodation listings require a small cost to list, all restaurant and cafe listings are completely free of charge. It’s a great way to gain good exposure for your dog-friendly business. Simply fill in your details on the advertising page and your listing will be published promptly.
Tourist attractions, tours, wineries, markets, restaurants and pubs
Visitors to Victoria are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding interesting things to see, enjoying fascinating experiences and indulging in the amazing food and wine that Victoria is renowned for.
Many businesses which cater for tourists, day-trippers or visitors are able to be listed for free with Travel Victoria. The Travel Victoria website is a valuable resource and features many thousands of listings including tourist attractions, scenic tours, cruises, wineries, breweries, markets, restaurants, cafes, pubs, farm gates, public sporting facilities and accommodation. All listings (except for accommodation) are free, and submissions for inclusion can be made on the advertising page.
With Christmas just around the corner, here is our version of the timeless carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas“.
On the 12th day of Christmas, Victoria gave to me…
…12 famous apostles
The 12 Apostles are Victoria’s most famous coastal attraction consisting of towering limestone stacks near Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road. However, they are the 12 Apostles in name only. Just 8 remain standing today due to relentless wind and ocean erosion over the years.
…11 public holidays
There are 11 days of celebration in Victoria that are declared non-working days. Unique to Victoria is a public holiday to mark the running of Australia’s richest horse race, the Melbourne Cup, which is held on the first Tuesday of November. Due to the good weather that time of year, some people also take the Monday off work (sometimes illegitimately!) and turn the Melbourne Cup holiday into a mega 4 day long weekend.
…10 winter snowfields
Victoria has 10 designated snowfields, all located in the east and north-east. They include large commercial resorts such as Falls Creek, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Mount Baw Baw. For sightseeing snow and tobogganing that is very close to Melbourne, head to Mount Donna Buang, just over 90 kilometres east of Melbourne via Warburton.
…9 big things
Australia is home to many novelty structures that are vastly over-sized monuments to something of local significance. 9 of Victoria’s most iconic big things include a cigar, earthworm, koala, fish, a statute of Ned Kelly, pheasant, potatoes with forks, wine bottle and wool bales.
…8 diverse islands
A number of Victoria’s islands are uninhabited or inaccessible, however there are 8 islands which the general public are permitted access to and can reach fairly easily. The most visited is Phillip Island – within easy reach of Melbourne and internationally recognised for its penguin parade and grand prix. Also in Western Port is the heritage farm of Churchill Island and French Island with its significant koala population. Raymond Island, accessible by car ferry from Paynesville, is renowned for its native wildlife, while Griffiths Island at Port Fairy is linked by a pedestrian causeway to the mainland and is home to a large colony of mutton birds. Snake Island is Victoria’s largest sand island, located off the coast of Port Welshpool, noted for great fishing on its beaches. Gabo Island, located off the coast of Mallacoota, is home to large colonies of sea birds and features a pink granite lighthouse. And the final island is Swan Island, located off the coast of Queenscliff. Visitors are welcome to play at the local golf course which boasts being an all weather course given it resides on an island made up of drifting sand.
…7 historic paddlesteamers
Echuca, once Australia’s busiest inland port, is home to 7 paddlesteamers that operate from the historic Port of Echuca precinct on the Murray River. Enjoy a short day cruise, a dining experience, special occasion or overnight cruise on one of the paddlesteamers Adelaide, Alexander Arbuthnot, Canberra, Emmylou, Hero, Pevensey or Pride Of The Murray. The paddlsteamer Adelaide is the oldest wooden-hull paddlesteamer that is still operating anywhere in the world.
…6 wine zones
Victorians love their wine, and the state is divided up into 6 flourishing cool and warm climate wine zones. There are hundreds of wineries ranging from boutique family-owned establishments to large scale operations that export world-wide. Many wineries provide a complete destination experience with their own cellar doors, sales of local produce, restaurants and beautiful gardens.
…5 enthralling zoos
Zoos Victoria manages 3 zoos in Melbourne and its surroundings – Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. There are two other zoos in Victoria which are well worth visiting. The Halls Gap Zoo, located in the scenic Grampians between Halls Gap and Pomonal, is home to over 160 species of animals, with a strong emphasis on native fauna. The Mansfield Zoo, located within picturesque parkland to the south of Mansfield, with particular emphasis on allowing visitors to feed many of the animals.
…4 mineral springs
Victoria’s Macedon Ranges are home to Australia’s largest concentration of natural mineral springs, and one of the best places to see this is at Hepburn Springs. Head to the Mineral Springs Reserve where you will find the iconic Hepburn Bathhouse health complex, parkland and bush tracks. There are 4 mineral springs within the park that you can sample and fill up at – Locarno, Soda, Sulphur and Wyuna.
…3 gold mines
Victoria’s gold rush period of the 1850s has left the state with a lasting legacy of history, wealth and prosperity. Get a taste for what life was like for miners in those days, as they toiled for riches without the equipment and technology of today, by visiting 3 of Victoria’s gold mines that are open for public underground tours. Descend 61 metres below the surface and walk in the foot steps of past miners at Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo. Visit Sovereign Hill at Ballarat and take a fully guided tour in a mine tram for a unique themed underground experience. Or head to the quaint village of Walhalla, where time has stood still, and take a guided tour of the original workings of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine.
…2 folklore legends
There are 2 Australian folklore legends which Victoria is synonymous with. The Man from Snowy River, portrayed in Banjo Paterson’s poem, was written in 1890 and is believed to have been inspired by Corryong stockman Jack Riley. Ned Kelly, the infamous, daring and charismatic bushranger, who spent years defying the law, was eventually captured in the small town of Glenrowan where a large monument dedicated to him stands there today.
…and 1 award-winning city
Melbourne was named by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the world’s most liveable city in 2014, scoring very well in areas of health, education, safety, stability and infrastructure. Visit Melbourne today and experience its multicultural heritage, great shopping, abundance of parks and iconic sporting events.
Extra daylight is not the only thing visitors to Victoria enjoy more of. Queensland has some of Australia’s most restricted trading hours. This means that when in Queensland, you do have to plan your holiday around shopping hours. In Victoria, you are set free from those restrictions.
To illustrate the differences, let us consider the trading hours for the Woolworths chain of supermarkets in various locations across Queensland and Victoria.
First, let’s look at the major population centres in Queensland.
Area of Queensland
Gold Coast (*)
Major regional cities
Monday to Friday
8am to 9pm
8am to 5 or 5:30pm
9am to 6pm
(*) Extended trading hours apply to a small number of highly popular tourist areas along the Gold Coast which permits some supermarkets to open later on weekends.
Once you start going to smaller cities and towns in Queensland, both along the coast and inland, you will struggle to even find a supermarket open on a Sunday.
Area of Queensland
Monday to Friday
8am to 9pm
8am to 5pm
In Victoria, Woolworths trading hours are much simpler and longer than those in Queensland, particularly on weekends. This is of great benefit for those who are enjoying a weekend getaway and are trying to fit as much into their schedule as possible. Importantly, these longer trading hours not only apply just to Melbourne’s suburbs and regional cities, but also to smaller country towns throughout Victoria.
Trading hours in Victoria
Monday to Friday
6-7am to 10-midnight
6-7am to 10-midnight
6-7am to 10-midnight
Visiting Queensland on a Saturday? Chances are major supermarkets only open after breakfast and close before dinner time. Needing to shop on a Sunday? Good luck in finding a major supermarket that is actually open in smaller regional areas of Queensland.
Visiting Victoria? Enjoy our unrestricted trading hours and shop virtually whenever you want, every day of the week.
Melbourne and the state of Victoria boomed in the 1850s after an influx of people from around the world entered the region to try their hand at winning big in the gold rush. In fact, in 1852 more immigrants leaving Britain purchased tickets to Melbourne than to any other destination around the world. While the capital and its surrounds have changed dramatically since then, there are still remnants of the era existing in the state that visitors can explore. If you want to visit Victoria to experience sites of the gold rush past, then read on for some of the top tourist attractions on offer.
Arrive in Melbourne by ship
You can start your journey like so many goldminers did in the 1850s – by ship. However, unlike the gold rush prospectors of the past who battled appalling conditions, scurvy and other diseases on the journey, today’s tourists can instead visit Victoria on the Spirit of Tasmania, a stylish and comfortable cruise liner operating twice daily between Tasmania and Victoria. You can put your car on board in Tasmania and then enjoy a pleasant journey across the Tasman to Melbourne. Once there you have your vehicle on hand to tour around the best historical sites in and near Melbourne.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Victoria is Sovereign Hill, an outdoor museum in Ballarat that tells the story of the region during the gold rush. Visitors to Sovereign Hill can enjoy feeling like they have stepped back in time on Main Street, where costumed actors parade up and down, or try their luck panning for gold. Children will love visiting the on-site theatre to watch a show or watching steam-driven machinery in action, as well as the multi-million dollar sound and light show that is presented at night. Adults are sure to enjoy the fully-guided gold mine tour, a horse-drawn coach tour of the town, or getting a glimpse of the many gold nuggets in the museum. Family tickets are available for around $117.
Located in inner-city Carlton, the Melbourne Museum provides an affordable day out for families. With tickets just $10 for adults and free for children, parents don’t need to spend a lot to take their family to this museum for an exploration of life in Victoria over the ages. The museum covers a wide array of subjects in its eight galleries, from the state’s culture and history to its natural environment. The Melbourne Story exhibition features over 1200 objects from Museum Victoria’s vast collection, including a Cobb & Co Coach and a gold mining model from 1858.
The Old Melbourne Gaol
Built in the mid-1800s, the Old Melbourne Gaol housed criminals, petty offenders, the mentally ill and the homeless during the peak Gold Rush period. At the oldest prison in Melbourne families can explore the three levels of the gaol and see Ned Kelly’s death mask; take a tour of the cells and visit the Police City Watch House; take part in a trial recreation at the old Magistrate’s Court; or take an evening tour of the facilities…if they dare! Family passes cost around $55 for the day.
Melbourne Walks is a company that operates walking tours throughout Melbourne. For tourists who would like to learn some more about the Gold Rush period, they can embark on a cottage tour of the city’s oldest residence and its surrounds. The gold rush cottage is owned by George and Lola Russell and was built in 1850. Tours cost around $70 per person, last for approximately 2 and a half hours and include morning or afternoon tea.
Melbourne is a magic city for a fun and family friendly holiday. It’s easy to get around, there are loads to see and do and the kids will be delighted by the novelty of travelling around on the vintage trams. There’s also lots of budget accommodation and fantastic cheap eats, so a holiday in Melbourne needn’t break the family budget.
Here are six must see attractions in Melbourne and surrounds that all the family will enjoy.
1. Watch the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
Take a waddle on the wild side at the famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, a 90 minute drive from Melbourne. Every evening at sunset thousands of little penguins (the world’s smallest and cutest) cross the beach and settle into their burrows for the night. A family ticket for two adults and two children costs from $56.50. While at Phillip Island, be sure to stop by the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Heritage Farm.
Located in Carlton, the award-winning Melbourne Museum explores the nature, culture and history of Victoria. Highlights include a complete skeleton of a blue whale, the famous race horse Phar Lap, a living rainforest, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and an IMAX theatre. Entry is around $10 for adults, while children up to 16 years of age are free.
3. Old Melbourne Gaol
Located in Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD, the Old Melbourne Gaol precinct includes Melbourne’s oldest gaol, the historic Magistrate’s Court and former Police City Watch House. A day tour ticket for two adults and two children costs around $55, or thrill children over 12 by taking The Hangman’s tour or an evening ghost tour by candlelight.
4. Travel on the Spirit of Tasmania
Take the kids ‘overseas’ on a side trip to Tasmania cruising across Bass Strait with the Spirit of Tasmania. Choose from day or night sailings between Melbourne and Devonport and enjoy a range of facilities on board including dining and bars, a playroom, games arcade and cinema. Adult day tickets start from around $79 and children $5. Take your car along with you from around $89.
5. Eureka Sky Deck 88
Located atop the Eureka Tower in Southbank, the Eureka Sky Deck 88 offers awe-inspiring 360 degree views from the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. For a real thrill seeker experience try The Edge, a glass cube that projects three metres out from the building. Family tickets for two adults and two children cost around $42. The Edge experience is extra.
6. Fairy Park
A one-hour drive from Melbourne, Fairy Park at Anakie is a wonderland for the whole family. Kids can become a knight, a princess, a hero or a villain for the day and enter a world dedicated to storytelling, fairy tales, myths and legends. Tickets are from around $16 per adult and $8 per child, children under three years free.
These six must-see attractions are just the beginning of the many family-friendly activities on offer in Melbourne. So take the family to Melbourne for a fun-packed holiday of a lifetime.