Australian Natural Adventures

nature travel & tours, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific


Australia: Victoria

Victoria is one of Australia’s better kept secrets. While the world knows of Uluru, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns, and of course Sydney, Victoria keeps and displays its jewels mostly to locals. But there’s a wealth of wildlife here, from parrots and lyrebirds to kangaroos, wombats and fairy penguins. Victoria's capital, Melbourne, has been the prestigious "most livable city" award, and has a large and vibrant cosmopolitan population, with all the benefits it brings. There is little in the way of food, entertainment or accommodation style that Melbourne cannot provide.

It’s possible to see koalas in the wild just one hour from your downtown hotel, and kangaroos on the local golf course. Similarly close is shorebird viewing that brings knowledgeable birders from around the world, world-ranked wineries, the world’s tallest flowering plants (at around 300 feet!), and Australia’s best art galleries.

A little further afield are deserts full of orchids, temperate rainforests, mountain retreats and an amazing winding clifftop road. While the weather may not be sunny and warm all year, a visit to Victoria in the right seasons will provide an Australian experience second to none. Echidna Walkabout, a nature tour operator, offers several small group tours in different parts of the state. You can see Janine of Echidna, their lead guide and koala expert, in her 30 second National Geographic Channel movie by clicking here. And, of course, you can put yourself in the picture when you travel with us. Janine's let us know that despite their "no drink" name interpretation and reputtion, it seems that after the drought broke in Victoria (August 2007) even the koalas are enjoying a drink. Contrary to usual lore, koalas will drink, not from standing water but by licking water as it runs down a tree trunk, or, as seen here, by licking their wet fur. That's Mary above, by the way, one of the koalas commonly seen on Echidna's Savannah Walkabout day tour. While we can't guarantee a unique photo such as this one taken by Janine, we're confident that you'll return with your own photos of Mary, Bruiser, or one of the others tracked by the Echidna team. By the way, despite popular lore, koalas aren’t drunk on Eucalyptus. The only way an animal can survive on a diet so low in nutrients is to waste little energy on a big brain or an active lifestyle. The koala has neither. (Sorry Janine, and yes that's a bit brutal, but we know you love them anyway.)

Although not mountains in The Rockies or Alps sense, Victoria shares with New South Wales the Snowy Mountains, famous for their heroic horesemen. It's a land of rare-for-most-of-Australia winter snow (although the world's first leisure ski club was formed here, and there's more skiable snow than in Switzerland), and across the border in NSW, Australia's highest (at a tad over 7,000ft) peak, Mt Kosciuszko. The Snowy River begins in this high country, and wanders south through mountain valleys until it meets the sea near Orbost.

Few international travelers visit this high country, or the tall forests of Eastern Victoria, but for those that do, it's a place they'll never forget.

Also in Victoria is the Great Ocean Road, a strip of tarmac that has become an international travel destination in its own right. Clinging to the edge of the Southern Ocean and winding past small bays, offshore stacks, and sweeping ocean vistas, it deserves its accolades as possibly the greatest drive in the world.

We recommend including Victoria in your Australia travel plans if the season right.



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