Victoria stretches from the Murray River and its historic river ports to the wild, weather-carved coastline of the Southern Ocean. Visitors to Victoria will discover a diverse range of beautiful scenery and experiences in a relatively compact area. Within a few hours drive of Victoria's capital, Melbourne, you can reach the Dandenongs, Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas, and Phillip Island, famous for its nightly penguin parade.

Sophisticated Melbourne is a great place to soak up some city culture. Famous for its grand Victorian architecture and cultural attractions, Melbourne also boasts some of the country's best known shopping, fashion and dining precincts. If you need a change of pace, then venture out to explore Victoria's snowy peaks, historic goldfield towns, rivers, lakes and waterways, and amazing stretches of coastline and untamed wilderness.

Population

4.7 million

Capital City

Melbourne

Area of State

228,000sq km

Climate

January and February are the hottest months throughout Victoria, with average maximum temperatures around 20°C in the High Country, 25°C along the coast and up to 35°C in the north-west of the state. In winter, maximum temperatures range from below 10°C in the high country (less than 3°C on peaks) to 13°C in coastal areas and 17°C in the north-west.

History

On Flinders Street in the centre of Melbourne, a small plaque marks the place where in 1835 a settler from Tasmania, John Batman, traded axes and other small goods for 600,000 acres of land from the local Aborigines. This became the first successful European settlement in the Port Phillip area; an earlier attempt in 1803 had failed. Nervous of inheriting a penal system from New South Wales, Victoria sought separation from its neighbouring state and was granted this status in 1851. Gold discovered near Ballarat at this time more than doubled Victoria's population within a year. While the gold eventually ran out, Victoria continued to flourish as a financial and cultural centre, with Melbourne being the capital of Australia from 1901 until 1927.

Time Zone

Australian Eastern Standard Time

Daylight Saving: Clocks go forward one hour on the last Sunday in October and go back one hour on the last Sunday in March.

State Emblems

Animal Emblem: Leadbeater's Possum
Floral Emblem: Pink Heath

Major Attractions

Melbourne, Hanging Rock in the Macedon Ranges, Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Wilsons Promontory, Phillip Island, Ballarat, Echuca and the Murray River, High Country, Grampian Mountains, Great Ocean Road, Great Alpine Road, Snowfields.