The Great Ocean Road
- Where: Torquay to Peterborough
- Distance: 202 kilometres
- Time: One to two days.
- Because: Show off your state to visitors.
The popularity of this unique stretch of Victorian coast shows no sign of diminishing; the Great Ocean Road is almost as famous as Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef.
And that’s because the journey itself is the destination. On one side, the Southern Ocean is spectacular no matter what season or time of day. On the other, you’re against sheer cliffs, but only for as long as it takes to round a promontory and dip into holiday havens such as Lorne and Apollo Bay, or pull up at beaches in the likes of Wye River, Skenes Creek or Princetown. And there are those amazing rock formations and coves near Port Campbell.
But try pulling away from the splendour now and then, for hidden treasures off the main road.
The region has the best waterfalls in Victoria, so seek out Beauchamp, Triplet or Hopetoun Falls (all near Beech Forest) or Carisbrook (near Apollo Bay).
When the tide is right, walk out to old anchors embedded in the rocks at Wreck Beach.
And try the great variety of cheese at Apostle Whey, near Princetown.
Don’t miss: A unique stand of Californian redwood trees planted near Beech Forest in the 1930s. Their size and colour are remarkable.
The Great Alpine Road
- Where: Wangaratta to Bairnsdale
- Distance: 310 kilometres.
- Time: Two to four days.
- Because: It’s Victoria’s highest road.
For a good part of the year most traffic on the Great Alpine Road uses only a fraction of it, the goal being the ski resorts of Mount Hotham and Falls Creek.
For the rest of the time, it’s the ultimate Victorian road trip that needs several days to taste its variety.
Leaving the Gippsland Lakes behind, the road north from Bairnsdale is a steady climb, the bubbling Tambo River an almost constant presence on your right.
Omeo is a well-preserved gold town, and you’ll find other touchpoints of Victoria’s golden heritage as you approach Mount Hotham, from where the trail to Mount Feathertop is a great walk for the well-prepared hiker.
The descent to the Ovens Valley is short but steep and winding. If it’s autumn, the foliage colour in Bright is the reward.
Don’t ignore the side trip up Mount Buffalo, with its array of wondrous rock formations, trails and panoramic views.
The final stretch flows through classic eucalypt country to Wangaratta.
Don’t miss: Milawa, the gourmet capital of the north-east, for its wine, cheese, honey and mustards.