Nature & wildlife
With its volcanic soils and maritime climate, nature and wildlife abound in the region. From wetlands to coastal woodlands and a vast ocean sea, it supports a huge array of different plants and is the feeding ground for many native animals, marine life and migratory birds.
For a true bush experience, head to the You Yangs, between Melbourne and Geelong, and immerse yourself in its natural beauty. Enjoy a short walk, test yourself on a long hike, or hit the trails on two wheels and see why it's one of the region's mountain biking hotspots. Take in an impressive landscape of granite peaks, native shrubs and towering gums. A habitat for wildlife, watch out for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, brush-tail possums, echidnas, lizards and more. You might even spot the rare greenhood orchid, one of 30 orchid species found in the park.
Explore coastal woodland at Edwards Point Nature Conservation Reserve on the Bellarine Peninsula. Home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, it boasts many walking trails and breathtaking coastal views. Make you way through coastal tea-tri, past salt marshes and down to the beach front, where busy flocks of ibis and pelicans can be found fishing for their lunch. Out in the ocean, if you look far enough, you may also be lucky enough to spot a dolphin pod, elusive banjo shark or a busy school of fish.
At the Begola Wetlands, in Ocean Grove, find a rich environment teeming with bird and aquatic life. A nature reserve, with its series of wetlands and lakes, it's an important feeding ground for migratory birds and offers many great walking tracks for keen hikers and bird spotters. Its name, Begola, is a Wathaurong word for 'place of many frogs', which also reflects the vast number of frog species found in the reserve.
Once you've had your fill of the famous cool climate wines, spend a few days exploring the myriad natural attractions the valley has to offer. Witness wildflowers in full bloom and look out for sleepy koalas in the trees at the Brisbane Ranges National Park. Hit the Rainbow Bird Trail to see orchids and diverse native birdlife or just traverse the pristine rivers and gorges, parks and bush land at your own pace.