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VICTORIA AUSTRALIA ATTRACTIONS

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If you visit Victoria, Australia, you'll find many things to do. According to Tourism Victoria, these "experiences" range from food and drink to culture, scenic drives and unique wildlife.

Yarra Valley tours

Australian Wine Tour Company offers wine tasting tours at Yarra Valley wineries and vineyards. Located 50 minutes from Melbourne, Yarra Valley has 55 wineries, several vineyard restaurants and Chateau Yering, a five-star Yarra Valley hotel.

Yarra Valley wines include chardonnay, sparkling wine, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. January to May is the grape-harvest season in the Yarra Valley, but Australian Wine Tour Co. operates year-round daily wine tours from Melbourne and St. Kilda.

Wine tour packages, for 12 to 24 people, visit four Yarra Valley wineries — Yering Station, Yering Farms, Rochford Wines and Domaine Chandon. Wine tastings take place in wine cellars, vineyards and the Rochford Wines Restaurant, where the wine tour group has lunch. Wine experts educate and entertain participants during the seven to eight-hour wine tasting tour.

Deluxe wine tasting tours, for up to 10 participants, feature food and wine pairings, lunch at Yering Station Vineyards and private tours. Yarra Valley wineries may include De Bortoli's, St. Huberts, Giant Steps and TarraWarra Estate.

Great Ocean Road

If you prefer a self-drive tour of Victoria, Australia, a Great Ocean Road trip offers spectacular scenery along the Shipwreck Coast, including views of the Twelve Apostles. Torquay is known for its surfing and Surf World Museum. Between June and September, you can look for Southern Right Whales off Logan Beach in Warrnambool.

The Great Southern Touring Route continues through Victoria, Australia, to Grampians National Park, famous for MacKenzie Falls, rock art sites, bushwalking trails and rock-climbing.

Sovereign Hill

Ballarat, Australia, is famous for goldfields. The 72-kilo Welcome Stranger gold nugget was found here.

Sovereign Hill recreates life in the goldfields during the 1850s. You can pan for gold, visit the Gold Museum and watch the sound-and-light show before lodging for the night at Sovereign Hill Lodge.

Visit Melbourne Australia

It takes 50 minutes to drive from Ballarat to Melbourne. The capital city of Victoria, Australia, is known for more than 3,000 restaurants, culture and special events, such as The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, held in March and April.

To orient yourself to Melbourne, go to Skydeck 88, the highest public observation point in the Southern Hemisphere. Located in Eureka Tower, it offers views of Melbourne through floor-to-ceiling windows, from an outdoor terrace and from The Edge, a glass cube, which projects from the 300-metre-high observation deck.

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is a unique place to have lunch or dinner. The fleet of historic trams depart from and return to Normanby Road, near the corner of Clarendon Street in South Melbourne.

Diners enjoy Australian dishes, like pepper crusted kangaroo, Tasmanian ocean trout and Australian cheeses, while enjoying views of the Melbourne Arts Centre, Luna Park and the Paris end of Collins street.

Phillip Island travel

How do you get to Phillip Island? You can take a Phillip Island tour from Melbourne, catch a passenger ferry from Stony Point, on the Mornington Peninsula, to Cowes or drive across the bridge from San Remo. Phillip Island is a popular stop for visitors driving the Sydney Melbourne Coastal Drive.

At sunset, the Little Penguins parade from the sea to their burrows in the sand dunes. Phillip Island visitors watch from viewing stands, from an elevated viewing tower, on ranger-guided eco-tours, or from a private beach with a ranger guide.

A 3 Parks Pass provides admission to three Phillip Island Nature Parks — Nobbies Centre (for viewing Australian fur seals), the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island Heritage Farm. Because Phillip Island is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, it's best to stay overnight. Phillip Island accommodations include eco-resorts, apartments, guesthouses, cabins and caravan parks.

Mornington Peninsula Victoria

Phillip Island is a one-hour drive from Mornington Peninsula, which is a one-hour drive from Melbourne. You can drive the length of Mornington Peninsula in a half-hour and drive across it in 15 minutes.

Between the beaches, you'll find more than 50 Mornington Peninsula wineries, such as Red Hill Estate, Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, which have winery restaurants.

Golfers can play on more than 20 Mornington Peninsula golf courses. Family attractions include Polperro Dolphin Swims and Moonlit Sanctuary, where you can see nocturnal Australian wildlife, like quolls, pademelons, bettongs, owls and gliders.

The websites for Tourism Victoria, Visit Melbourne and Tourism Australia provide more information on these Victoria, Australia, attractions.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Tourism Victoria: www.visitvictoria.com

Visit Melbourne: www.visitmelbourne.com

Tourism Australia: www.australia.com

More things to see & do in Australia:

Outback Cuisine

Australia Aboriginal Tours

Tjapukai Cultural Park

What to do in South Australia

Sydney Australia Stopover