Victoria state in Australia is home to the city of Melbourne. As Malaysians, we’ve either been there ourselves, or know at least one person who has visited, studied, or is currently living there. If you’re planning a trip to this vibrant metropolitan anytime soon, and would like to experience something other than city life, we’d suggest a road trip to places like the Great Ocean Road and The Grampians to enjoy some of the best scenic experiences Victoria has to offer. You get to indulge in the beauty of nature and enjoy a road trip with your travel companions while capturing some top-notch Instagram content. Here are 10 awe-inspiring natural wonders for you to make like Dora and explore while you’re visiting Victoria.
1. Twelve Apostles
Located about four hours outside of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road, we can’t quite think of anything as majestic as the Twelve Apostles. These majestic limestone rock formations rise up from the Southern Ocean and are results of roughly 20 million years of erosion. Some of these formations or stacks are about 50 metres high. To get an unforgettable view of the Twelve Apostles, take a helicopter ride which starts at around AUD145 (approximately USD99) for 15 minutes.
2. Loch Ard Gorge
This wonder is a three-minute drive from the Twelve Apostles, and is named after a ship called Loch Ard that washed up ashore on a journey from England to Melbourne. Nearby is what used to be a natural bridge formation over the gorge called Island Archway. In 2009, the middle collapsed, leaving two unconnected formations standing in the sea. These two formations were named Tom and Eva – after Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael – the only two Loch Ard shipwreck survivors. If you want a closer look at the gorge, make your way down a staircase that leads you onto the beach of the gorge to take in the spectacular view.
3. Teddy’s Lookout
Just a short drive from Lorne is Teddy’s Lookout, a platform that gives you unbeatable views of a rainforest-covered valley, the Saint George River, and of course, the breath-taking Great Ocean Road coastline. There’s a walking track of about 1.6 kilometres that takes you up to the lookout platform. Besides this viewpoint, the trail also leads you to two other lookout platforms. The whole walk to and from takes about 30 minutes.
4. London Bridge
Also along the Great Ocean Road, located in Port Campbell National Park and nearby the Twelve Apostles, is a natural limestone formation called the London Bridge. Besides looking like its namesake, it connected an arch of land to the mainland. In January of 1990, the middle part of the structure collapsed leaving the arch of land to stand alone in the ocean.
5. The Grampians
There is no better place in Victoria that will put you at one with nature than the Grampians National Park. This nature reserve is known for its mountains, wildlife, lakes, waterfalls, and magnificent lookout points that give you unparalleled views of the Victoria mountain range. There are also Aboriginal rock art sites, the Brambuk National Park & Cultural Centre that gives you a look at Aboriginal history and art, as well as a host of activities like bushwalking, abseiling, kayaking, hiking, and even golf and glamping!
6. MacKenzie Falls
To get to MacKenzie Falls, you’d have to go to Halls Gap which is a village in Victoria and the gateway to the aforementioned Grampians National Park. These falls are one of the largest in the state and flows all year round. Viewing the falls can be an easy feat if you only want to see it from the viewing platform at the bluff (also wheelchair accessible – yay!). If you want to be right where the action is, take a 20-minute hike down the extremely steep (but safe) trail to the base of the falls. At the bottom, bear witness to the wonder that is powerful cascades of water thundering down a rock wall into a deep, dark pool.
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7. The Otways
The Great Otway National Park, otherwise known as The Otways, spans over coastland, beaches, and mountains. The park features waterfalls and boardwalks that take you through the rainforest. There is the Cape Otway Lightstation sat on a cliff overlooking the Bass Strait. The Great Ocean Walk through the park leads you right to the Twelve Apostles. You can camp out in The Otways, or explore the many trails on foot, mountain bike, or even horseback.
8. Lake Elizabeth
Formed when the valley was flooded over 50 years ago, Lake Elizabeth is a calm body of water surrounded by tall eucalyptus trees. A 20-minute walk into The Otways, this is where you will be able to spot the ever-elusive platypus. Trunks of dead trees dot the lake which adds a mysteriousness to the lake, especially in winter mornings when a light mist sits above the water.
9. Erskine Falls
There are two viewing points to Erskine Falls – one at the top and another at the bottom. The one at the top is a five-minute walk from the car park, while the one at the bottom takes 240 steps to reach. It’s worth the climb down because you get to see one of the longest falls in the region where the water plummets 30 metres into a fern gully of the Erskine River. If you’re an experienced walker or hiker, we’d recommend you explore the 7.5-kilometre Erskine River Track that leads along the river to the town of Lorne.
10. Phillip Island
Less than a two-hour drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is a favourite getaway for day trips. You get to see fluffy koalas and also adorable penguins (you read that right!) in their natural habitat. On Summerland Beach, you can watch a penguin parade happen daily at sunset as they come in from the sea. This is also a great spot for whale watching during the migration season between the months of May to October. The Nobbies, an outcrop of the island, is home to Australian fur seals as well. Phillip Island is also home to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix which takes place in January.