Combine the stunning natural beauty of Wilsons Promontory with the once-a-year opportunity to see whales migrating along the coast of Victoria. Visitors can take in the stunning coastal scenery, pristine wilderness and an abundance of native wildlife on boat cruises have recently begun such as Wildlife Coast Cruises and Refuge Cove Cruises . Wildlife sightings on boat cruises include playful dolphins swimming alongside the boat, thousands of seals in the Kanowna Island colony and a wide variety of sea-birds or majestic wedge-tail eagles. The cruises run year-round, giving visitors the opportunity to wander untouched beaches, walk remote trails and swim in pristine, turquoise waters.
Set between Geelong and the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula, the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park offers visitors the vibrancy and diversity to rival any tropical reef is hidden under the waters of Port Phillip Bay. Wildlife spotters can choose from a range of recreational pursuits from snorkelling and scuba diving to passive recreation on the beach or heading out on a Sea All Dolphin Swim from Queenscliff Harbour which are all excellent ways to get up close and personal with the incredible marine life.
Previously inaccessible by the public, Naturaliste Tours now offers tours to French Island National Park, which is home to a large koala population. Accessible only by a 15-minute passenger ferry ride from either from Phillip Island or the Mornington Peninsula, visitors to French Island can have a glimpse of this nature and wildlife haven home to a diverse range of wildlife and containing environments ranging from mangrove saltmarsh areas to open woodlands.
Mount Buffalo located in the High Country is an all-seasons playground. In summer, wildflowers are plentiful and the park is a cool retreat from the heat of the lowlands. Also in summer, wildlife wanderers can join free guided spotlight tours in the national park run by National Park Rangers in the Eurobin Creek area where gliders, possums, bats and wombats may be encountered. The activity is free but bookings with Parks Victoria are essential.
Phillip Island Nature Parks is well known for its loved Penguin Parade experience but for those seeking a more adrenaline-pumping experience can take a ride on the EcoBoat Adventure Tour. Visitors will experience the fun and adventure of a high speed 90-minute boat ride along Phillip Island’s spectacular coastline and see up close one of Australia’s largest colonies of fur seals in their natural environment.
Journey into the yonder
Hike, walk, tramp – no matter the terminology, visitors can get a glimpse of Victoria’s untouched natural landscape - inland or on the coast - and breathe in the freshness of the Australian flora.
Located halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, Croajingolong National Park in East Gippsland has been declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, because of the incredible biodiversity within its borders. Visitors to the Thurra Sand Dunes can experience a truly unique natural destination within the Croajingolong National Park, where the dunes tower an incredible 30 metres above the Thurra River. The Wilderness Coast Walk extends 100km from the eastern shores of Sydenham Inlet in Croajingolong National Park, to Wonboyn in the Nadgee Nature Reserve, NSW. The walk can be accessed from a number of locations along the coastline, enabling visitors to walk sections of the trail.
Those wanting a quick retreat into nature from the city can make their way to You Yangs Regional Park. Visitors can hike to the top and take in the views at Flinders Peak, use the mountain bike trails or get involved in guided tours to see wildlife and undertake conservation efforts with Echidna Walkabout Tours.
Located in the heart of Ballarat, The Ballarat Botanical Gardens is a hub of recreation and relaxation for locals and visitors alike. Walkers, runners or cyclist can journey along the 6-kilometre Lake Wendouree track and admire the swans gliding across the glistening waters. Visitors winding down for the weekend can take in the stunning floral displays, pebbled pathways and secret gardens and wander down the country’s only avenue of Prime Minister busts, majestic heritage-listed trees and Italian marble statues.
Victoria’s High Country may be known for its Alpine region but its stunning mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes are perfect places for adventure, year-round. Experience the natural wonder of the Alpine National Park, the largest national park in Victoria and home to 10 of the 11 highest mountains in the state. Explore the pristine wilderness and witness a changing landscape boasting everything from raging rivers and rocky outcrops to ghostly forests and high plains carpeted with wildflowers.
Hikers heading to the Grampians can scale the great sandstone mountains in the region and make their way to The Pinnacle Lookout. Depending on experience, hikers can access the lookout one of two ways. Hikers can choose the easy to medium walk from Sundial Carpark or challenge themselves through the Grand Canyon from Wonderland Carpark. Once at the top, be rewarded with stunning views of Halls Gap and the Grampians' many peaks.
Visitors can break their drive on the Great Ocean Road with the mother of all nature walks, the Great Ocean Walk. It may be taken in as a short 2km walk or multi-day adventure, showcasing a 'mild to wild' journey as its remoteness and ruggedness increases further towards the 12 Apostles. Stretching from the seaside village of Apollo Bay west to the 12 Apostles, the Great Ocean Walk passes along a dramatic coastline of soaring cliffs and remote beaches, with tangents exploring giant eucalypt forests full of kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, and meandering estuaries brimming with birdlife.
Those continuing along the scenic coast can take on the whole 66 kilometres or choose a section of the Surf Coast Walk that runs from Torquay to Lorne. Accompanied by the rich ochre cliffs of Bells Beach and coastal forests of leafy green eucalypts, as well as the deep blue waters of Bass Strait - its a walk that is definitely about the colourful journey.
In the Mornington Peninsula, the Bushrangers Bay Walking Track offers walkers stunning views over the sea and rocky bays as well as the spectacular Cape Schanck and its lighthouse. This coastal clifftop walk also takes visitors through the native Banksia forest and grassy clearings where it's not difficult to spot kangaroos.
This content can be shared and edited for the purpose of promoting Victoria as a visitor destination. Not for use in paid advertising. Please credit Visit Victoria.