Which is Australia's smallest state

Victoria

Just an hour from Melbourne is Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges, Victoria's Spa Country. Surrounded by fragrant lavender fields, first-class wellness facilities offer programs and treatments to relax and recharge. You can also let yourself be pampered by delicious local wines and regional cuisine.

Wine-growing has a long tradition in the Yarra Valley (just under an hour east of Melbourne). More than 55 small family-owned wineries press their Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons here. At some wineries you can sleep in style and take part in wine tastings. The Dandenong Ranges is a hilly landscape, which is bordered by 100 m high eucalyptus trees and ferns. The best way to explore the region is with the old Puffing Billy steam locomotive.

Just an hour from Melbourne is the Mornington Peninsula with its long, fine sandy beaches - popular with Melbournians for weekend getaways. The peninsula is one of the youngest and fastest growing wine regions in Australia and is home to some boutique wineries. This also includes excellent regional cuisine that pampers guests in gourmet restaurants. Playing golf is one of the main activities - 15 golf courses invite you to tee off on a very small area. A relaxing visit to the Peninsula Hot Springs, in which healing thermal water gushes at 38-43 ° C, will drive away the sore muscles.

Victoria's little natural paradise Phillip Island is only 90 minutes south of Melbourne. The world-famous little penguins offer a wonderful spectacle every evening in the penguin parade when they waddle from the sea over the beach back to their dwellings in the dunes. See one of Australia's largest seal colonies on Phillip Island's west coast, and get up close and personal with marsupials at the Koala Conservation Center. For surfers, the surf on the south coast is some of the best in Victoria. The north coast, on the other hand, is lined with fine sandy, family-friendly beaches.

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world and meanders nearly 250 km along Victoria's south coast. Dense rainforests alternate with rocky cliffs, rolling hills and idyllic beaches. Highlights are the bizarre rock formations of the Twelve Apostles and the London Bridge in Port Campbell National Park. The surfing town of Torquay is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, and surfers can find satisfaction at nearby Bells Beach. Another must-see stop along the way is the Great Otway National Park with its ancient eucalyptus giants. Whale watching in Warrnambool from May to October. A special tip is the Great Ocean Walk - an eight-day hike that stretches 104 km from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles. You can also travel with light luggage and experience the most beautiful stages on day hikes.

Ballarat in the Goldfields is Australia's most famous gold rush town. After gold was found here in the 19th century, the colony of Victoria was transformed into an adventure land for adventurers from all over the world. Today Ballarat is a lively small town with magnificent buildings and lush gardens. Go back in time at Sovereign Hill, Australia's largest open-air museum, and try your hand at gold prospecting.

In the Grampians National Park, rugged rocks made of red sandstone rise to a paradise for hikers, climbers and mountain bikers. A network of hiking trails over 200 km long leads through eucalyptus forests to waterfalls and spectacular viewpoints. In spring kilometer-sized carpets of wild flowers cover the landscape. In Halls Gap, the central starting point for excursions and activities, kangaroos hop along the way. The Aborigines have immortalized themselves in the Grampians with wall and cave paintings. Their customs and ways of life are explained in the Brambuk National Park & ​​Cultural Center.

With almost 2,000 m high mountains, the Victorian Alps offer an ideal backdrop for numerous outdoor activities. Whether hiking, riding, climbing or rafting, in the High Country you can let your adrenaline level rise or go skiing in the European summer. The Great Alpine Road is a 308 km long panoramic route from the mountains to the sea and one of the most scenic mountain routes in Australia. The region can also offer culinary delicacies. The matching wines grow on the gentle slopes of the King Valley.

The Gippsland region stretches east of Melbourne along Victoria's dramatic south coast. Wilsons Promontory National Park is the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and a jewel among Australia's national parks. Here you will find small secluded bays, beautiful beaches, dense rainforests and animals in the wild. Discover Wilson's Prom on the numerous hiking trails or in a sea kayak. The Gippsland Lakes National Park is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and wildlife watchers. Only a narrow stretch of coast, the pristine Ninety Mile Beach, separates the lakes from the sea. In the inland of Gippsland, it is worth stopping in the gold rush town of Walhalla, where you can get an impression of life over 100 years ago on a guided tour of the gold mine. Located at the foot of the Victorian Alps, this is also the end point of the two-day Great Walhalla Alpine Trail.

The Murray River is Australia's largest river and lifeline for the surrounding fruit and wine estates. Echuca invites you to go on excursions with the largest fleet of historic paddle steamers. You can also linger longer on cozy houseboats. In Mildura, Stefano de Pieri is not only waiting for you, one of the best chefs in the country, but the small town located directly on the Murray River is also the starting point for tours into the outback to the Mungo National Park.