The Ultimate Victoria Bucket List

You haven’t truly “done” Australia’s state of Victoria unless you’ve done these 100 experiences.

#10 - Explore the Savannah at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Where is it? K Rd, Werribee South, VIC

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Victoria is home to a large number of quality wildlife attractions - many of which feature previously on this list - but few of them can compare to the sheer scale and degree of immersion that Werribee Open Range Zoo provides visitors.

Spread out over an expansive 225 hectare area, Werribee does an excellent job of simulating the African savannah all within an easily accessible drive from one of Australia's largest cities, transporting guests to another continent filled with rhinoceros, giraffes, antelopes and more all unbound by cages. Augmenting the raw thrill of its roaming animals are a number of nice additional touches, such as a safari bus that takes visitors on a trip with informative commentary that's actually insightful rather than generic filler. Those looking to splash out can even spend the night on the savannah in an upmarket "glamping" experience, and wake up to a scene worthy of the Lion King.

#9 - See the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island

Where is it? 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, VIC

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One of the most popular natural destinations that’s reachable within a reasonable distance outside Melbourne, Phillip Island is especially famous for one reason: its penguins. With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence that is known as the “Penguin Parade”.

Located within a protected nature park, the parade occurs under the cover of darkness with some added artificial lighting to aid in viewing, and once the penguins feel conditions are appropriately safe, they begin to emerge from the water in small groups and shuffle their way up the shore for a meal. Visitors witnessing the parade will be able to view the penguins through fences via walkways, and the sight of the little creatures waddling their way up the sand is a purely magical experience. In addition, its physical beauty augments Phillip Island’s array of wildlife, and it boasts some impressively windswept, rugged sections of coast that makes it well worth exploring prior to the parade. Add in some quality man-made attractions, and this is one of Victoria's best all-round spots for families and solo adult travellers alike.

#8 - Pay your respects at the Shrine of Remembrance

Where is it? Birdwood Ave, Melbourne, VIC

A wonderful feat of construction that serves as both one of Australia's most unique architectural attractions as well as a fitting tribute to our veterans from wars throughout our country's history, the Shrine of Remembrance is a distinctive part of Melbourne's cityscape. Situated in a central location atop a hill that provides excellent views of the surrounding city panorama, the Shrine itself lies amongst immaculately-kept grounds and conveys a solemn sense of beauty and respect.

One of the focal points for annual ANZAC commemorations in Australia as well as over 120 other ceremonies and services throughout the year, the facade of the shrine brings to mind that of ancient Greece - a metaphor for a people with which many of the ANZACs identified themselves during their time deployed in action. Be sure to time your visit with the daily lowering of the flags at 5:00pm - a moving experience for any Aussie. Image credit: Mark Chew via Tourism Victoria

#7 - Outdoor adventure at Wilsons Promontory National Park

Where is it? Wilsons Promontory, VIC

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"The Prom" as it's known colloquially can be found at the southern tip of Victoria and is a diverse and remarkable mixture of natural features all rolled into one. A hotspot for bushwalking and hiking, there are few places in Victoria where the simple joy of being outdoors comes with as impressive rewards as Wilsons Promontory National Park - long, windswept coastlines contrast with surrounding vivid waters, pink-granite peaks come draped with forest, and there are plenty of excellent lookout points from which to take in the coastal panorama.

Perhaps the best part about the area is that it remains almost completely unspoiled by any negative commercial impact - and as a result, it's in pristine condition to this day. Regardless of whether you come here to camp, swim, or simply take a stroll, you're sure to become another on the long list of fans of The Prom. Image credit: Thousand Wonders

#6 - See a game at the MCG

Where is it? Brunton Ave, Richmond, VIC

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You’d be hard pressed to find an Australian who doesn’t have at least one fond sporting memory of an event that was held during their lifetime at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (or MCG as it is more popularly known). Having been host to such significant sporting events as the 1956 Olympic Games, the first ever cricket Test match, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 1992 World Cup and countless VFL and AFL Grand Finals, the MCG is a historic and permanent fixture in Australian sports (as well as the scene of numerous blockbuster music and celebrity performances).

Melbourne has one of the proudest sporting cultures of any Australian city, and the MCG is a true reflection of that fact, being a venue that is huge but still manages to maintain a feeling of friendly intimacy. The sheer roar of a maximum-capacity crowd of 100,000 and communal atmosphere of Australia's largest stadium during a major sporting event is hard to match, and thus witnessing a match here is akin to experiencing a an essential part of the essence of Melbourne. Image credit: Emily Godfrey via Tourism Victoria

#5 - Take in views of the Grampians National Park

Where is it? Halls Gap, VIC

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Victoria’s Grampians National Park is a destination that offers one of the greatest numbers of spectacular lookouts of any locale in the country; its various canyons, gorges, peaks and valleys all provide different aspects from which to take in the rugged Australian bush land within. Rich in both natural scenery and indigenous Aboriginal rock art, the Sandstone Mountains of the Grampians have been featured in art, literature and film – a testament to their rugged beauty.

The collection of ridges that make up the Grampians provide both wide and far-reaching panoramas to take in as well as a section of Victoria that is rich in wildlife and draped in colourful flora – particularly in Spring. Natural sites abound - perhaps most famously, the rocky outcroppings of the Balconies - and the diversity on offer within the national park is impressive; it’s a mixture of tumbling waterfalls, deep gorges and even fine dining that provide an all-round natural destination that’s impressive in its scope.

#4 - Indulge at wineries of the Yarra Valley

Where is it? Various locations, Yarra Valley, VIC

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In terms of raw culinary indulgence, few regions in Australia do it quite as well as Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Situated less than an hour away from Victorian capital Melbourne, this is a region that pays proper homage to the simple wonders of the grape with innumerable cellar doors offering an array of quality wines of all major types.

Home to some of Australia's most famous wine-producing brands including De Bortoli, Domaine Chandon, Browns Brothers and Yering Station, aficionados will be spoiled for choice here. The Yarra Valley can be explored in a variety of ways, and its verdant, rolling greenery adds a wonderful backdrop to the delights for the palate making for an enticing overall package for either a self-driven or guided Victorian day trip.

#3 - Enjoy a Coffee at a top-notch Cafe

Where is it? Various locations, Melbourne CBD, VIC

Melbourne simply wouldn’t be Melbourne without its coffee, and likewise a visit to Melbourne wouldn't be complete without sampling a number of tasty brews at a range of different venues while there. The city is literally bursting with cafes; in fact, it boasts the highest density of cafes and restaurants per capita in the world, meaning you're always just a stone's throw away from a cafe, restaurant or stall from which to grab a drop of the good stuff. It’s often said that "the Yarra River runs brown", and coffee is definitely the lifeblood that keeps the city pumping, and thus it’s an essential item for your itinerary even if you're not the biggest fan.

Choosing a favourite cafe is an exercise purely in personal taste, and recommending a "one taste fits all" approach is an exercise in futility; however the area around Flinders Street Station offers a variety of places to grab a quality cup. Our personal pick? Cup of Truth, a fairly hidden little gem in a corner of the Flinders Street subway that’s famous for its’ flat whites featuring textured milk sourced from local dairy farmers.

#2 - See a live AFL game

Where is it? Various locations throughout Victoria

There are few more important institutions in Victoria than Aussie Rules football, to the point that it's ingrained in the culture of the city as a whole. Far different from those Rugby League states north of the border, Victoria has always been the hub for this higher-paced, higher-scoring and overall higher-attendance version of the word "football" ever since the sport originated in Melbourne during the mid-1800's. Victorians will often trumpet the fact that their "code" of football is true "foot-ball" as the athletes often spend time during matches actually using their feet!

Aussie Rules football has attracted more overall interest throughout the country on a quantitative scale than any of the other football codes, boasting higher overall membership numbers and consistently ranking first among winter sports in Australia. It's a sport the brings together fans from differing economic and racial backgrounds, with clubs based out of both affluent and working-class suburbs; its high-flying and end-to-end nature creates a high-scoring and entertaining affair that may be confusing to first-timers, but makes viewing a match an essential part of any trip to Victoria.

#1 - Drive the Great Ocean Road

Where is it? Torquay to Allansford, VIC

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Clocking in at #1 on the list is the epitome of Victorian natural beauty, epic adventure, and sheer variety all wrapped into one: the Great Ocean Road. This amazing stretch of coastline famed for its rugged beauty and astounding rock formations has long been acclaimed as one of Australia’s most picturesque locations, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful coastal drives. Covering a stretch of coastline that follows the southern coast of Victoria and spanning a length of roughly 243 kilometres, the Great Ocean Road not only offers spectacles of untamed seas crashing against rocky shores, but provides a diverse array of scenery and stops along the way.

Should one embark on a journey along the road's full length, you'll get to see up-close such highlights as the quaint and charming areas of Lorne and Apollo Bay, pay a visit to the iconic Cape Otway Lighthouse, sea marine life such as seals and even whales, and much more – all of which culminates in the iconic Apostles rock formations. With plenty of potential diversions along the way, the Great Ocean Road isn't simply a drive – it's a true region in and of itself providing an experience that combines numerous wonderful aspects into Oz's top road trip.

Victoria MapVictoria may be Australia’s second-smallest state, however it’s also one of the most densely packed territories in Oz as far as depth and breadth of experiences are concerned; the state boasts immense variety and blends together wonderfully the coastal, verdant, cosmopolitan and architectural all together into an easily navigable package that’s a joy to explore.

Its relatively compact size means that travellers to Victoria can take in a wide array of visual and gastronomic delights within a relatively short timeframe, and while many may choose to initially use lovely capital Melbourne as a base for exploration, there are also plenty of more options for custom adventures that reveal some of the state’s more hidden delights.

All the character and artistry of Melbourne – one of the world’s most liveable cities and a true culinary and sporting hotbed – are an obvious drawcard, and numerous items on this Victoria bucket list can be found within and just outside the city’s limits. However stepping outside its borders soon reveals that the state is no mere one-trick-pony; heading in all of north, east and west will provide an impressive showcase of the experiences that make Victoria great.

Want to indulge the palate with quality wine and delicious produce? Go for it. After an incredible scenic road trip that ranks amongst the best in the world? Start your engines. A culture and history buff who wants to soak in Aussie and international attractions? Check.

The diversity that Victoria has to offer is reflected in its people, food, scenery and culture – and on this bucket list we hand-pick the 100 that we feel best sums the state up best.

The Victoria Bucket List Map

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Follow Tourism Victoria on IG at @visitmelbourne and Experience Oz at @experience_oz

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