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