Beautiful country towns to visit in Victoria

View across lake in Daylesford


Posted April 30, 2024

Explore these beautiful regions and discover the best towns to visit in Victoria. 

Charming coastal gems, historical wonders, natural havens, and scenic blooms - the state of Victoria is home to some of the most picturesque towns in the country.

From the historical allure of Walhalla to the spa haven of Daylesford, discover why some of Victoria's country towns are not just destinations, but a symphony of beauty, history, and natural wonders.

Before you head off, remember to keep road trip happy by reviewing your road safety checklist, including packing essential items for your car safety and emergency kit, and checking that your emergency roadside assistance coverage is up to date.  


Boats tied up to pier in Moyne River in Port Fairy

The Moyne River is one of the many attractions in Port Fairy. Image: Visit Victoria 

The best and most beautiful towns to visit in Victoria

1. Port Fairy: a coastal gem 

Drive from Melbourne: about 3½ hours

Port Fairy is a coastal town rich in history and natural beauty, with a unique blend of antique charm, scenery, and community that makes it an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

With its quaint heritage buildings and stunning ocean views, it’s no wonder that Port Fairy is often referred to as a hidden gem at the end of the Great Ocean Road. It is in fact 39km away from where the Great Ocean Road concludes at Allansford.

Famed for its whale trail sightings, nearby volcanoes and annual folk festival, one of the key allures of Port Fairy is its historical significance. 

Established in the early 19th century, the town played a vital role in the development of the wider Shipwreck Coast region. Many of its buildings have been preserved by the National Trust, providing visitors with a glimpse into the town’s fascinating past. 

The Port Fairy Lighthouse (or Griffiths Island Lighthouse), standing proudly at the entrance to the Moyne River, offers panoramic views of the coastline on the hour-long walk around the Griffiths Island circuit. A known nature reserve, it is home to a colony of shearwaters (or mutton birds) and is a popular spot for birdwatching and leisurely scenic walks. 

Port Fairy is also renowned for its beautiful beaches, including the 5.8km-long East Beach and the smaller, 500m-long South Beach, perfect for swimming, picnics, or simply enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery.


daylesford convent and gardens

Daylesford has a timeless quality with its natural beauty and historic buildings. Image: Visit Victoria

2. Daylesford: the spa capital 

Drive from Melbourne: about 90 minutes

Whether you're seeking relaxation, unique experiences, or a nature retreat, Daylesford has it all.

Daylesford is renowned for its therapeutic offerings, artistic community and charming beauty. Nestled amid rolling hills and forests, it is one of the most beautiful towns in Victoria, and only a 25-minute drive from RACV Goldfields Resort

Visitors can stroll around the serene waters of Lake Daylesford, go hiking in the nearby Wombat State Forest, or marvel at the views from the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens.

For 130 years, the town's natural mineral springs have drawn visitors seeking soothing mineral baths, while in more recent times, pampering spa treatments and luxury wellness experiences have become added drawcards.

Art enthusiasts can explore the numerous galleries and art studios that showcase the works of local and international artists, while food lovers can indulge in the area's gourmet delights, with an array of farm-to-table restaurants, wineries, and farmers markets to choose from in this beautiful country town.


Pier at Sorrento Beach

Sorrento's beautiful beaches and historic pier make it a year-round attraction. Image: Matt Harvey

3. Sorrento: Victoria's seaside paradise

Drive from Melbourne: about 1½ hours

Sorrento, located on the Mornington Peninsula, has long been a popular Victorian holiday destination. Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or beachside vibes, Sorrento has it all. 

The wider area boasts some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Victoria, with clear waters and soft golden sands along 30km between Cape Schanck and Point Nepean. 

You can relax and soak up the sun, snorkel some of the best reefs in Port Phillip Bay, or take a refreshing swim, with the area’s stunning beaches offering the perfect escape in summer.

Stroll along Sorrento Pier for a view of the wider Mornington Peninsula coastline, explore the walking trails near RACV Cape Schanck Resort, or enjoy one of many free things to do in the region.  

Be inspired by the Mornington Peninsula trail, relax under the stars at the nearby hot springs or visit the boutiques, cafes and galleries that help make Sorrento village a much-loved destination. 


Austum trees and historic buildings in Bright

Bright is known for its rustic charm and award-winning eateries. Image: Visit Victoria

4. Bright: a palette of seasons

Drive from Melbourne: about 4 hours

Bright, a small town located in the heart of the Victorian Alps, is known for its stunning seasonal beauty, adrenaline-filled adventure, award-winning eateries, and rustic charm. 

Whether you visit in spring, summer, autumn, or winter, you'll be captivated by the ever-changing landscape. Come winter, snow-capped peaks transform the town into a winter wonderland, offering opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing aplenty. 

In spring, Bright bursts into a riot of colours as the cherry blossoms and wildflowers bloom, providing a perfect postcard view for nature lovers and beauty seekers alike. 

During the summer months, hike through Alpine National Park, go mountain biking against the backdrop of Mount Buffalo, or cool off in the clear waters of Ovens River.

The town is most famous for its autumn foliage, when Bright truly comes alive with vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. Walk along the tree-lined streets or enjoy a scenic drive through the surrounding valleys to witness nature's stunning display in this beautiful Victorian town.


Hills and valleys of Walhalla Victoria

Step back in time at Walhalla and take a ride on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway. Image: Visit Victoria

5. Walhalla: an ode to days gone by

Drive from Melbourne: about 2½ hours 

Step back in time and experience the beauty of a bygone era in Walhalla, situated in the Gippsland region. 

With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and ghost town notoriety, Walhalla is a quirky and charming Victorian town that offers a unique experience for visitors looking for something different on their country road trip. 

Walhalla's rich history dates to the 1860s, when gold was first discovered in the area. Quickly becoming a bustling mining town, the area played a significant role in Victoria's gold-rush era. 

Today, the town preserves its heritage, allowing visitors to imagine what life was like more than 150 years ago. See historic buildings, visit the Walhalla Museum, and take a ride on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, an hour-long ride through bushland and across the Thomson River. 

Walhalla is also surrounded by forests, towering mountains, and cascading waterfalls, making it scenic paradise for nature lovers looking for beautiful Victorian towns to visit. 


Two people sitting outside a cafe in Beechworth

Beechworth is renowned for its well-preserved buildings from the gold-rush era. Image: Visit Victoria

6. Beechworth: village vibes

Drive from Melbourne: about 3 hours 

With its rich heritage, gastronomic flair and serene beauty, Beechworth is a must-visit destination in Victoria’s High Country.

Surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards, and stunning countryside, the town is renowned for its well-preserved buildings from the gold-rush era, when four million ounces of gold were found in the town’s formative years.

Imagine you’re in an olden-day movie set by taking a stroll through the village streets, which are lined with Victorian-era architecture. Discover the stories behind landmarks such as the Beechworth Courthouse and the Old Beechworth Gaol. 

Explore nearby national parks, or walk around picturesque Lake Sambell. The 7km Beechworth Gorge Walk takes you along a forest track and past rockpools and cascades. Work up an appetite before visiting Beechworth Bakery, one of the highlights of this beautiful country town.


Aerial view of Torquay

With its coastal walks and surf culture, Torquay is the perfect place for a short stay or longer break. 

7. Torquay: a beachside retreat

Drive from Melbourne: about 1½ hours

With its natural beauty, laidback community and lively food scene, Torquay is considered one of the most beautiful towns in the state for a day trip or longer stay.

Located on the Great Ocean Road, Torquay has beaches, coastal scenery and a vibrant surf culture. It is considered the surfing capital of Australia, and its famous Bells Beach hosts the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. The town is also known for its surf fashion outlets along Pearl Street and the wider Esplanade.

Nature lovers will appreciate the picturesque coastline and Surf Coast Walk, which stretches from Torquay to Aireys Inlet.

The town offers a choice of bohemian cafes, farmers’ markets; fine dining, international cuisine, and a range of wineries and breweries nearby.

Take your pick and enjoy the beautiful ocean views on your visit.


Two people walking along the beach in Inverloch

Winter or summer, Inverloch is the perfect place for walks and relaxation. Image: Matt Harvey

8. Inverloch: coastal serenity 

Drive from Melbourne: about 2 hours

Positioned along the stunning coastline of Bass Coast Shire, Inverloch is renowned for its pristine beaches, making it an ideal destination for sun seekers and water sports enthusiasts. The powdery white sands of Anderson Inlet provide a peaceful setting for picnics, beachcombing, or simply soaking up the sun. Water activities such as fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are also popular along the calm waters of the inlet.

The Bunurong Marine National Park, located nearby, offers coastal walks with panoramic views of the rugged cliffs and pristine landscapes. Birdwatchers can also spot a variety of seabirds and waders, while seals and dolphins can be seen splashing along the Bass Strait coastline. 

Inverloch also holds historical significance, with dinosaur fossil tours, Indigenous history walks and diverse ecosystems around the area and nearby Phillip Island.

For those seeking a culinary experience, Inverloch boasts charming cafes and restaurants offering fresh catches from local waters, including the fresh produce served at Radius Restaurant at the RACV Inverloch Resort.

The town's main street has boutique shops for retail therapy and galleries that feature the work of local artists, rounding off a leisurely holiday in this serene seaside town.


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