Top Ten Melbourne Sites (OK there are 11)
- Eureka Skydeck
- Melbourne aquarium
- Phillip Island
- Great Ocean Road
- Queen Victoria Market
- Dandenong Ranges
- Yarra Valley vineyards
- Port Phillip Bay
- Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Royal Exhibition Building
- Melbourne Trams
3 days in Melbourne (courtesy Australian Tourist Board)
Three Great Days in Melbourne, VICTORIA:
Melbourne's Southbank and Federation Square are where creative and café culture meet. Cruise down the Yarra and visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. Explore South Yarra to beachside St Kilda and Fitzroy. Take day trips to the beaches, wineries, galleries and golf courses of the Mornington Peninsula.
Day 1: Melbourne City Centre
There are free shuttle buses in Melbourne. You can take a City Circle Trams to Queen Victoria Market and the Southbank's huge casino complex and riverside restaurants, bistros and bars. Then visit the galleries and museums in Federation Square. You will find shops in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, QV laneways and alleys.
Kayak or cruise down the Yarra River, walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens or round it on the loop locals call 'The Tan'.
Tour Melbourne Cricket Ground. Little Bourke Street or try Italian in a laneway trattoria. Stop for live jazz or a nightcap in a hidden laneway bar, or find a café serving late night coffee and cake.
Day 2: Yarra River to St. Kilda Beach
Watch the crowds pass by from a café in South Yarra's Chapel Street. Then shop designer fashion and explore Greville Street and Toorak Road in Prahran. visit Como House, a Victorian-era mansion with manicured gardens. Catch a tram down to St Kilda beach to the esplanade or go sail, windsurf or kiteboard. Fitzroy Street and Acland Streets are lined with patisseries.
Try Vietnamese food in Richmond, Italian along Carlton's Lygon Street or Spanish or Indian along Johnston Street in Fitzroy. Nearby Brunswick Street offers gourmet pubs, hip ethnic eateries and lively nightspots. See a performance of comedy, theatre, ballet or modern dance at the Arts Centre on the Yarra River.
Day 3: Mornington Peninsula
Head out to the Mornington Peninsula, where vineyards and olive groves meet ocean views. Stop off in historic seaside village of Sorrento and the coastal walk from Sorrento Ocean Beach to Portsea Back Beach, then wander the galleries, grand hotels and charming cafes.
Swim with wild bottlenose dolphins or spot them on a cruise. On the peninsula you'll find Portsea, a secluded playground for Melbourne's rich and famous. See the opulent, ocean-front mansions and then drive to Red Hill in the hinterland. Dine out and tour the wineries and pick your own berries on a berry farm. In Flinders, you can surf and swim on the beaches or play golf on a course with sea views. Hunt for antiques or follow one of the walking trails through Mornington Peninsula National Park.
Drive The Great Ocean Road
Take a ride through nature on the spectacular Great Ocean Road, which winds alongside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean from Geelong to Portland. This diverse and dramatic region takes in surf beaches, historic ports, whale lookouts, breathtaking mountain ranges, rainforests and national parks. See monster waves at Bells Beach and laze on the golden sands of Lorne. Visit an important Aboriginal site near Tower Hill or spot shipwrecks near the charming fishing village of Port Fairy. Of course, you can't miss the Twelve Apostles - craggy limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean.
Five highlights of your Great Ocean Road trip:
1. The spectacular coastline
Victoria's dramatic south-west coastline covers an incredible range of scenery. See monster waves at the iconic surf spot of Bells Beach. Laze on the golden sands of Great Southern Touring Route. You can swim, surf, sea kayak or fish in Apollo Bay. Or soak up salty history in the charming old fishing village of Port Fairy. Enjoy family friendly swimming at Anglesea or get wild and windswept on Shipwreck Coast. Of course, you can't miss the Twelve Apostles. These craggy limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean are sure to leave you spellbound.
2. Wild and wonderful nature
From rainforests and rivers to old volcanoes and rugged coastlines, the Great Ocean Road showcases nature at it most diverse. In Great Otway National Park, you'll see thundering waterfalls and sparkling gorges and walk through the tops of ancient mossy trees. Cruise through gorges and past spectacular caves at Cape Bridgewater. See ancient limestone towers that seem to float in the ocean at the Bay of Islands. Need to stretch your legs? You can see deserted sandy beaches, thick forests and some of Australia's highest sea-cliffs on the 91km Victoria, Australia Guide.
3. Wildlife everywhere
See koalas, kangaroos, emus and waterbirds roam freely at Tower Hill State Game Reserve. Enjoy a game of golf alongside grazing kangaroos in Anglesea.
See koalas in the wild at Kennett River and in the Great Otway National Park. Check out hundreds of fur seals at Cape Bridgewater and watch glow worms put on a spectacular light show at Melba Gully in the Great Otway National Park. Swim with dolphins at Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula. For something different, canoe alongside platypus on Lake Elizabeth at dawn.
4. Food, wine and all things fine
Need another sense to impress? The Great Ocean Road regions will tempt your tastebuds with sumptuous local produce, great dining and excellent wine regions.
Go to the source for mouth-watering local delicacies. For seafood, step down to the wharf in any seaside town and be sure to visit the fishing co-ops in Lorne and Apollo Bay.
Taste luscious berries from farms in Colac, Heywood, Gellibrand and Deans Marsh. Or get into the gourmet cheeses from delicatessens in Allansford, Timboon and Cooriemungle. Cool climate wineries stretch the length of the Great Ocean Road, so stop off for a drop at Colac, Apollo Bay, Timboon, Geelong and Henty. You'll also enjoy fine food and warm hospitality in restaurants, cafés and tea rooms throughout the region.
5. Vibrant Aboriginal culture
Aboriginal stories connect the landscapes of the Great Ocean Road, from Wathaurong country in Geelong to the Gunditjmara region of the west.
Taste bush tucker, learn about ancient remedies and watch boomerang throwing and didgeridoo playing in Geelong. Learn about the significance of the site nestled in an extinct volcano near Tower Hill from the Gunditjmara people. In heritage-listed Lake Condah, you'll see the stone houses and fishing traps left from a permanent Aboriginal village.
More info on the Great Ocean Road:
- Bells Beach Surfing mecca - crashing waves, lots of surfers and kangaroos in nearby grasslands in the early morning
- Point Addis, Surfing and there is also an indigenous walk through the bushland to a lookout over the beach. Signs provide insights into how the local aboriginals used the land. (approx 30 minutes return)
- Split Point, Aireys Inlet.
- Angahook-Lorne State Park. The park has many walking trails particularly in the Aireys Inlet and Lorne areas.
- Teddy's Lookout, Lorne Provides a view of the Great Ocean Road as it winds along the coastline.
- Marriner's Lookout in Apollo Bay with views of the township and the 3 bays that make up Apollo Bay.
- Otway National Park. At Mait's Rest there is a 30 minute loop walk through lovely rainforest. Glow worms can be found in gullies on night walks. This National Park also includes a number of beautiful waterfalls including Hopetoun Falls, Triplet Falls and Beauchamp Falls.
- Cape Otway Lighthouse. In operation since 1848, it's the oldest lightstation on mainland Australia,and saved the lives of sailors in this treacherous part of the Southern ocean and Bass Strait. You can climb to the top and get a view over spectacular ocean to see passing whales and ships.
- Melba Gully State Park. There are picnic facilities and toilets below the carpark and a 30 minute walk through the bush. The boardwalk provides a unique opportunity to walk among the tree ferns. Glow worms can be seen along the tracks at night.
- Port Campbell National Park near Port Campbell, including the 12 Apostles, London Bridge and Razorback rock formation.
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