Embark on an exploration of Victoria’s top regional gems this summer. Find cool places to unwind by the water, under a shady tree, or hunt down the perfect viewing point for when the sun dips below the horizon. See Victoria’s wild side and get out and about in the outdoors while the weather is at its brightest.
1. Action on the water
Catch the perfect break at beaches across Victoria and hit the waves on your board at home to the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach or the National Surfing Reserve on Phillip Island. Find strong, steady waves at Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine or chase fierce waves at Gunnamatta on the Mornington Peninsula. New to surfing, find the best beginner spots or join a tour with an experienced provider.
Image: Venus Bay, Gippsland
Victoria’s long varied coastline and plethora of rivers and lakes makes it a haven for canoeing and kayaking. Paddle solo or join a tour in Port Phillip Bay or go wild on the rapids in the High Country’s Mitchell River. Take a tour of Cape Woolamai with Pioneer Kayaking or of Corner Inlet in Wilsons Promontory where you can spot seals in the wild with Sea Kayak Australia.
Dive into an underwater exploration on a scuba diving tour where you can see seahorses, soft coral and all manner of sea and marine life. Port Phillip Heads or shore diving or snorkelling near Mornington and Portsea Piers are great centralised spots to start. However, protected parks along the Great Ocean Road are home to kelp forests, caves and shipwreck sites, while Gippsland’s rugged coastline has some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling spots in the state.
2. Fresh water dips
Visit the lifeblood of Victoria – our meandering streams, riverside parks, lagoons and expansive lakes and cool off in their refreshing waters.
Make a splash in the Murray River, with swimming spots in river towns, Echuca, Moama, Mildura and more monitored spots in the region. Stroll around picturesque Lake Daylesford, dine in the famous Boathouse Restaurant, or head to one of the mini piers around the lake and take a cooling dip in the still water.
Image: Lake Daylesford, Daylesford
In the High Country, enjoy a picnic on the grassy banks of Lake Nagambie, jump on a cruise of the lake and surrounding sites, and most importantly, take a swim or enjoy a spot of fishing in the picturesque lake. Soak up the beauty of Australia’s largest inland waterway in the Gippsland Lakes, with 600 square kilometres of lakes, marshes and lagoons to explore. Swim, paddle, spot marine and birdlife and enjoy the sunshine in this breathtaking region.
3. Golden hues
Chase beautiful hues of orange, pink and fiery reds in national parks, from scenic lookouts and perched on sandy beaches in Victoria’s regions.
See the sun drop over dessert terrain in Mungo National Park, or the sky explode in colour from the rugged cliffs at Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island. In Dromana, along the Mornington Peninsula, drive up to Arthur’s Seat for sweeping views of the bay or jump in the Arthur’s Seat Eagle and glide along the cable surrounded by golden hues.
Image: Mungo National Park, The Murray
Road trip along the iconic Great Ocean Road all the way to Portland and take in stunning views of rugged coastlines from the white sand beach of Cape Bridgewater, or hike Mount Buninyong, an extinct volcano just outside Ballarat and watch the sunset over the surrounding countryside.
4. Camp or glamp under the stars
Camping is a budget-friendly way to holiday through the regions. Pitch a tent or park a caravan at local caravan parks or in approved park locations across the state, or, take things up a notch and book a unique glamping experience.
Image: Metung Hot Springs, Gippsland
Sleep surrounded by nature in an eclectic gypsy wagon in pop up locations across the Mornington Peninsula with Wandering Wagons. Say hello to a luxury getaway in one of Wanderlust Glamping’s permanent bell tents at Seppelt Wines in the Grampians, or surround yourself with vines and have access to great wine with a stay at Bellarine Estate, courtesy of Costal Glamp.
For the epitome of luxury on the Gippsland Lakes, settle into a lagoon-side safari-style tent at Metung Hot Springs. Extend your tranquil experience with a stay at the hot springs, complete with private geothermal bathing barrels on a secluded deck.
5. Perfect picnics
Find a patch of grass in a park, by a lake or on a mountaintop and spread your blanket ready for a feast under clear skies. Head to a farmers’ market and load up on fresh produce, pop into a local provedore for handmade fare or book with an expert picnic provider and sit back as your picnic is lovingly prepared for you.
Image: Cliff Picnics, Bright Adventure Company, Mount Buffalo, High Country
Mornington Peninsula Gatherings will do the hard work for you and add a spot of fun, curating a mouthwatering picnic and a selection of clues for you to follow to find your basket and perfect picnic spot. A similar experience is provided by Mystery Picnics on the Bellarine Peninsula. Feel the sea breeze of Ocean Grove and dine on local cheese, olives and grapes.
Head to Coldstream in the Yarra Valley for a gourmet picnic experience with Cellar Door Picnics and Platters at Tokar Estate. Linger on lush lawns with cheese, crackers and sweet treats from local businesses, and of course, wine and fresh sourdough from Tokar. Or, if you’re after more of a thrill, strap yourself in and dine on a private ledge suspended 300 metres above the valley floor with Cliff Picnics at Mount Buffalo in Victoria’s High Country.