The Australian state of Victoria is located in the extreme south-eastern parts of the continent. To the north it is bordered by New South Wales, to the west by South Australia and to the south by the Bass Strait, which connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans and separates Victoria from Tasmania. Victoria occupies a total area of 237.629 square kilometers, making it the sixth largest state in the country, larger only in comparison to the island of Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Victoria is a very green state. Its landscape has nothing in common with the dry and red desert interior of Australia. The south-eastern half of the state is mostly mountainous, and it is occupied by the Australian Alps.
For the most part, the mountain is covered by lush rain forests of local species, especially eucalyptus. Among the thick mountain vegetation you will find small and cool lakes with clear water as well as numerous fast flowing mountain rivers.
To the west Victoria’s beautiful forests give way to fertile farmlands, but the landscape is still green and fresh.
The romantic provincial picture is complemented by huge flocks of sheep grazing on the lush green meadows. To the north-west the landscape gradually becomes different, and vast green spaces give way to dry grasses and shrubs.
The most remarkable part of Victoria is its spectacular and beautiful coastline. Here you will find magic sandy beaches, secluded coves with calm waters, but also spectacular cliffs rising more than 50 meters above the restless waters of the Bass Strait.
Victoria is one of the most populous states of Australia, and the reasons are numerous. On the one hand, the climatic conditions in this part of Australia are very close to those in Europe. On the other hand, the state was one of the hottest spots on the continent during the Australian gold rush.
In addition, for a long period of time the city of Melbourne had been the most important financial center of the continent, before being replaced by Sydney, the current leader. Melbourne also played the role of a temporary capital of Australia.
Today the state has a population of over 5.6 million people. The majority of them (about ¾) live in Melbourne, and the province is sparsely populated. In ethnic and religious terms, the population of the state is very diverse.
However, traditionally the majority of local residents are immigrants from Europe (mainly from the UK) or their descendants, and the official religion of more than 61% of the local population is Christianity.
The second most widespread religion is Buddhism. Similar to other strongly developed western societies, a large number of locals say they have no religious affiliation.
Victoria has the second largest economy in Australia after New South Wales. The state is very well developed, the infrastructure is excellent, and the standard of living is very high.
The residents enjoy a high life expectancy, high-quality health care and education and low crime rate compared to most other Western countries.
Melbourne, the state capital, is regularly among the top places as one of the best cities to live in the world.
The service sector today has the largest share and experiences a growing importance, while the significance of the manufacturing sector, though still high, has a tendency to decrease.
The agriculture sector enjoys an ever-increasing importance, and its production is marketed worldwide.
Large areas are planted with wheat and barley, and in the state is grown a great variety of fruits that are quite common in Europe such as peaches, cherries, pears, apples, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and even some warm-loving fruits such as bananas.
Foods to try while in Victoria. Victoria is an attractive destination for culinary tourism, and the reason is not only the variety of crops which are grown here but also the high quality and great reputation of the domestic products.
The southern Australian state and its cities stand out for their excellent restaurants as well as for their surprisingly rich coffee culture, especially when it comes to Melbourne. This is why you should start your culinary adventure with a fragrant cup of coffee.
If you want to experience the true flavor of Victoria, there are several things that you should not miss to try while you’re in the state.
There are different kinds of high quality dairy products, especially cheeses, produced in local farms. In addition we have to say that most of them are comparable with the most famous European brands.
Also, Victoria offers an amazing variety of seafood as well as fragrant wines from the sunny and fertile vineyards of the state. And finally, you should not miss to enjoy the unique taste of the real high-quality eucalyptus honey.
Climate. The climate in Victoria is not exactly what most people think of when it comes to Australia. The state falls entirely within the subtropical climate zone, but it experiences very different climate conditions in comparison with, for example, the Mediterranean countries.
The weather in this part of Australia is highly variable and unstable, and significant changes can occur even within a few hours.
Summers are quite long and warm, sometimes hot. The average daytime temperature in January and February ranges from 24 – 26°C in some coastal and mountainous regions to around 30 – 35°C in the Northwest.
During the winter months of July and August the temperatures range from about 12 – 14°C along the coast to about 16 – 17°C in the Northwest.
Traditionally the mountains are significantly cooler with daytime temperatures of about 5°C and night temperatures of about (-5)°C.
The weather in Victoria is relatively wet. There are no prolonged periods of drought, although there is a pronounced seasonality in rainfall distribution.
Winter is the most rainy season, and the days with precipitations can reach up to 16 – 17 in July and August.
On the other hand in January and February the weather is drier, and the number of rainy days decreases to 7-9. The average quantity of rainfall is generally moderate throughout the year.
Usually the beach season in Victoria lasts from November to March. The sun is in abundance and is quite strong, but the ocean water temperature is relatively cool in the range between 14°C in July and August and about 21 – 22°C in February (higher in some small, shallow and sheltered bays) .
What not to miss? If you want to see the best of Victoria, you have to devote enough time to the modern metropolis of Melbourne. Do not miss to visit some of the amazing national parks of the state.
They boast an impressive combination of completely different sceneries – deserts, ocean, rain forests, mountains. Visit Port Campbell and the famous Twelve Apostles as well as the Ninety Mile Beach (one of the longest in the world).
Among the most famous are also Tarra-Bulga National Park (located in the southern part of the state and known for its rain forest), Alpine National Park (known for its beautiful mountain landscapes), Croajingolong National Park (perfect combination of dense forests, fresh lakes and wild untouched coastline), Murray-Sunset National Park (it covers parts of the hot and dry semi-desert North of Victoria), Wilson Promontory National Park (combining pristine beaches, forests and fresh breeze in the southern most point of the continent) and many others.
Among the greatest sights of Victoria is also the Sovereign-Hill – an amazing town-museum under the open sky in the outskirts of Ballarat, not far from Melbourne.
How to get to Victoria? The quickest and easiest way to get to Victoria is by plane to the Tullamarine International Airport in Melbourne. It handles flights to and from cities in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
However, the most regular destinations are the countries in South, East and Southeast Asia. Given the size of Australia, the Australian domestic airline services between Victoria and all the other states are also very well developed.
When to visit Victoria? The state of Victoria has a variable weather, and it can make you change your travel plans at the last minute, no matter when you are planning to go there.
However, from November to March the weather is more stable, the temperatures are pleasant without being too hot, and the number of rainy days is significantly smaller.
Risks. The first and greatest danger in Victoria is the strong sunlight. The summer months are rarely unbearably hot.
However, this is misleading because the sun here is quite strong and dangerous, especially for people with light skin.
It is recommended to use a high-SPF sunscreen even on cloudy days. Another danger when traveling to Victoria is the variety of venomous animals, mainly snakes and insects, that live in the area.
Although risks exist even in the urban environment of cities such as Melbourne, it is especially recommended to be very cautious when you go into the wild.
It is always better to be on the lookout for dingoes, which sometimes become aggressive and attack even people.
If you are planning to bathe into the ocean, you have to be very cautious, because these waters are home to one of the most dangerous predators in the World Ocean – the great white shark.
Another danger on the coast are the big ocean waves and dangerous sea currents, which appear quite often.