The Ultimate Victoria Bucket List

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

#50 - Ride the Victorian Goldfields Railway

Where is it? Hornsby St, Maldon, VIC

There's something to be said for the charms of old-world transportation as opposed to our modern more efficient - yet bland - systems of getting from A to B, particularly for those looking to soak in some scenery along the way. Central Victoria's Victorian Goldfields Railway allows riders to do just that, as its beautifully restored, steam-powered engine takes travellers on a journey between the regional areas of Castlemaine and Maldon in impressive fashion. Staffed by volunteers who have put in an admirable effort to keep this timeless experience alive, this half-day experience carves its way through the rolling countryside on a surprisingly smooth ride with plenty of informative commentary dispensed along the way. Travel in family friendly excursion carriages in your own compartment or step back in time and sample the craftsmanship of the Golden Age of rail travel in the superb parlour cars complete with full bar service and end viewing platform. For the ultimate bucket list experience, drive the steam train! Riders can be put in the driver's seat and under expert supervision drive their own special train for the day. Image credit: Peter Dunphy via Tourism Victoria

#49 - Indulge at Brown Brothers Vineyard

Where is it? 239 Milawa-Bobinawarrah Rd, Milawa, VIC

The fact that Brown Brothers is one of Australia's longest-running and most widely-awarded wine companies is only part of the reason visiting their vineyard at Milawa in Victoria's north-east makes the bucket list. Sure, it's a location where you can sample over 60 varieties of both conventional and experimental wines of varieties red and white, but it's the external factors that make the vineyard more of a full-blown attraction that a simple winery. Home to fabulous gardens with well-manicured lawns, a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a coffee and hot chocolate while lounging on bean bags, regular farmers markets and even live music performances can all be encountered here, while it's also home to a quality restaurant dispensing divine food. Throw in the quality decor and a playground for the kids, and you've got a wine-oriented - but not wine-exclusive - spot that offers far more than your average cellar door.Image credit: Brown Brothers

#48 - Catch a live show at the Forum

Where is it? Flinders St & Russel St, Melbourne, VIC

A concert venue that stands out among innumerable in Melbourne and oozing character and charm, the Forum in the heart of Melbourne city is one of its most unique and a history-rich spots to take in a live show. As a hub for performances dating back to the 1900’s where it originally contained a large pipe organ, the shows it hosts have evolved with time to the point that its exterior facade belies the modernity of the music that's now regularly played within. The Forum boasts a decent capacity while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere for smaller-scale concerts, and offers a diverse portfolio of performers hosting singers, festivals and comedians. Add to this the fact that its architecture - which features a Moorish construction and various aspects of Greco-Roman decor within - makes it a landmark in and of itself, and both audiophiles and history buffs will be able enjoy a visit here. Image credit: Roberto Seba via Tourism Victoria

#47 - Bathe in the Peninsula Hot Springs

Where is it? 30 Springs Lane, Fingal, VIC

Fancy a spot of relaxation and pampering surrounded by a wonderful landscape all within easy reach of one of Australia's largest cities? You'll want to make the roughly 90 kilometre drive from Melbourne and head to the lovely Mornington Peninsula; while it's famed for its delightful waterfront areas and beaches, the peninsula is also home to a unique attraction of its own - the Peninsula Hot Springs thermal pools. The attraction features mineral-enriched waters implemented in a series of over 20 individual bathing experiences; it's an attraction that seems more like something you'd come across in the countryside of New Zealand or Japan (from which the springs were inspired) than Australia, yet the benefits are easily accessible to any interested Aussie. The hot springs lie in a spot hidden amongst the rolling hills of the Mornington Peninsula that provide a lovely outlook surrounded by eucalyptus trees and open fields with 360 degree views that make for a wonderful complement to the water revitalising your body. The experience at the Peninsula Hot Springs varies by season, with Winter being perhaps best time of year to visit as the clash of the outside air forms a welcome contrast to the temperature of the waters.

#46 - Admire the beauty of Victoria State Rose Garden

Where is it? K Rd, Melbourne, VIC

Home to over 5,000 roses and draped in immense floral beauty, this award-winning garden in Victoria's Werribee Park features flowers that are beautifully arranged in a number of petal design beds with blooms of a number of different colours. Exceptionally well-groomed and cared for, the Victoria State Rose Garden has to be visited at just the right time of year to be fully appreciated, but time things right (during the peak of Spring in September - late November) and you'll be more than impressed. Each of the rose species is clearly labeled, and all of them from the yellow St. Patrick to the pink Angel Face and the exceedingly popular red Crimson Glory add their own dash of colour to the garden's tableau. Both the visual display and floral scent that arises from the roses make for an exceptionally pleasant grounds to stroll through or relax and picnic in. Entry to the gardens is also free - although donations are welcomed - and as a result it's the ideal stopover spot to spend an hour (or several) in whilst on your way to some of the the other popular attractions in the Werribee area. "Stop and smell the roses" may be a cliche, but there is no better place in Australia than the Victoria State Rose Garden to do exactly that. Image credit: Tourism Victoria

#45 - Ride the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Where is it? 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands, VIC

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A now-staple fixture of Melbourne's Docklands precinct's waterfront skyline, the towering, 120-metre-high Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is one of the best initial ports of call for first-time visitors to the city looking for a panorama of the Docklands, the city CBD and Port Phillip Bay, with views on clear days as far as Mount Macedon possible. It's a great introduction to get your bearings on the city's layout and spot other landmarks for follow-up exploration, and gives riders plenty of time to do so on its approximately 30-minute revolution time. This slow progress makes for both good value and plenty of time to take photos of the view, and also absorb the in-cabin commentary that is dispensed throughout the ride. The Star Wheel's tour takes on entirely different aspects at both day and night as well, and our advice is to attempt to time your ride to coincide with sunset - should you get your timing exactly right you'll get to experience the best of both worlds as the city of Melbourne lights flicker on one by one. Image credit: Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

#44 - Surf Bells Beach

Where is it? Torquay, Great Ocean Road, VIC

This historic and world-renowned beach near Torquay on Victoria's Great Ocean Road has a storied history related to the sport of surfing, with sheer surrounding cliffs making for a sheltered "amphitheatre"-style locale within which to catch some quality waves. Bells Beach offers experienced surfers quality right-hand surf breaks, and as a result has been used as the site for the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing event since the 1960's and been surfed by some of the biggest names in the professional surfing world including Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia, and Mick Fanning. For non-surfers the beach serves as a scenic lookout point from which great ocean views of surfers in the distance can be spotted. while those looking to relax and spend some time on the sand will find it relatively uncrowded, particularly outside of peak holiday seasons - although it's not a suitable swimming beach for families. Bells Beach is clean, it's pretty, and it's easily accessible, so if you're a surfing vet looking to follow in the footsteps of some of the greats, Bells Beach is the definition of "Bucket List Item" in the fullest.

#43 - Shop at the Block Arcade

Where is it? 282 Collins St, Block Arcade Studios, Melbourne, VIC

As much about the history and architecture of its surrounding building as it is the quality of its shopping, the Block Arcade in the heart of Melbourne is one of Australia's most distinctive retail hubs with a long-running history dating back to the 1890's. This beautiful old arcade has all the charm of yesteryear right in the middle of a modern urban metropolis and brings to mind shopping in historic hubs of Paris or Italy; it's a wonderfully-maintained piece of period construction with all the elegant hallmarks of Euro-centric Victorian design. While many of its stores are on the extreme high-end of the budgetary scale - think tailored suit-makers, French jewellery and upmarket shoes - the majority of the fun to be had here is simply in window-shopping and snapping photos of the storefronts and the surrounding examples of craftsmanship. The arcade is also the home of Melbourne's branch of Haigh's Chocolates - one of our favourites in Australia - which features a range of mouthwatering delights for those willing to meet the price point.

#42 - Platypus encounter at Healesville Sanctuary

Where is it? Badger Creek Rd, Healesville, VIC

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One of Australia's most distinctive - yet rare and elusive - wildlife icons, the Platypus is not only incredibly unique-looking, but also remarkably cute, with its hybrid features of duck/otter/beaver making for a highly recognisable animal. Victoria's Healesville Sanctuary offers those with a particular affinity for these cute creatures the chance to have a personalised, one-on-one encounter with a platypus (accompanied by a keeper) in which you'll don wading clothes and head into the platypus' pool. The inquisitive nature of the animal soon becomes apparent as they will approach and not shy away from contact; they'll often even swim up to the participating people to lay in their hands for a belly scratch. Participants will also be able to try their hand at feeding the platypus, while getting detailed insight into their habits, diet and natural environment from the keeper. This experience scores extra points for exclusivity, as it's the only one of its kind in the world - and something that could never be done in the wild.

#41 - Admire the talent at the Arts Centre Melbourne

Where is it? 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC

Aside from its distinctive architectural design, the Arts Centre in Melbourne provides visitors with a number of fantastic reasons as to why this building - and its contents within - is a must-visit location. The unique spire design draws crowds in itself, particularly for its stunning display when lit up at nighttime. Known for being one of the states most iconic monuments, the Arts Centre in Melbourne is both the busiest and largest performing arts centre in Australia. Hosting an array of international and national performances, festivals and artists every year, the Arts Centre in Melbourne has a show to please all persuasions. Take your pick from opera, comedy or music, to name just a few of its offerings; and with the numerous restaurants located nearby, it's a wonderful hub of dining, artistic and cultural experiences all rolled into one of which Melbourne as a whole can be proud. Image credit: Roberto Seba via Tourism Victoria

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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