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Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay

Victoria

Located at the foothills of the Otways and in the heart of the Great Ocean Road region, laidback Apollo Bay boasts a wide, crescent-shaped sandy swimming beach set against a backdrop of rolling green hills, waterfalls, and national and state parks. Like many destinations along the Great Ocean Road, the beach is a focus for year-round activity. Swim in the clear water, sea kayak with local seals, indulge in some deep-sea fishing, learn to surf, or horse ride along the beach at sunset. Head to Marriners Lookout Road and Cape Patton near Wye River for panoramic views over the town and coast, or take to the air for spectacular views of the nearby Twelve Apostles on one of many charter flights available from the local airport. Fishing is an important local industry and seafood is always on the menu at the local cafés and restaurants. For great views try Chris's at Beacon Point high in the hills overlooking the sea. Shop for art and curios in the many gift shops, galleries and tea houses and wander through the regular Saturday foreshore market for local crafts and produce. Head into the Otways to find mainland Australia's oldest lighthouse. Explore nearby forest and waterfall walks or enjoy an exhilarating ride through the ranges on a mountain bike. Take a treetop walk along the Otway Fly and enjoy a bird's eye view of the spectacular Otways rainforest. Apollo Bay is located 195 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, a scenic 3.5 hour drive by car via the Great Ocean Road.

12 Apostles Port Campbell National Park

Port Campbell

Victoria

Towards the western end of the Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell nestles among some of Victoria's most spectacular coastline scenery, including Port Campbell National Park and the Twelve Apostles. Sheltered by cliffs and Norfolk pines, it has the atmosphere of a haven on the edge of wild nature. Port Campbell is best known as a great base for seeing the Twelve Apostles, the dramatic rock stacks that have made this coastline famous. A scenic flight offers once-in-a-lifetime bird's-eye views of the Twelve Apostles, while a boat tour around them is the best way to appreciate their immense size. Other stunning coastal features include Loch Ard Gorge, Gibson Steps and the Bay of Islands. Port Campbell itself is a colourful and lively seaside village, home to restaurants and cafés with views of the beach, bakeries selling homemade goodies and vibrant shops and galleries. Summertime around Port Campbell is most often spent on or in the water. Local creeks and the harbour offer excellent fishing, while Two Mile Bay is revered by surfers as one of the best big-wave breaks in Australia. Dive charters travel to large canyons and gorges on the sea floor, and boat tours cruise to the stacks, caves and arches in the area. Port Campbell is 230 kilometres south-west of Melbourne or about three hours by car along the M1 and A1.

Creswick

Creswick

Victoria

Creswick is a historic gold rush town set amid tall eucalyptus and pine forests just north of Ballarat in Victoria's Goldfields region. Creswick's wide main street is dotted with elegant and imposing gold rush-era buildings including the old Masonic Lodge, State Savings Bank (now an antique and gift shop), Creswick Library, Post Office and the Creswick Historical Museum. Noted artist Norman Lindsay was born in Creswick. You can see a permanent exhibition of his paintings at the Creswick Historical Museum. The museum also displays paintings from the Lindsay family and historic artworks relating to Creswick's past. Set sail on Salt Junk Sarah boat at the Magic Pudding Playground, based around the characters and events of Lindsay's The Magic Pudding book. Get outdoors and tour the Creswick Regional Park, which includes a 15-hectare koala park, trails through natural bushland, camp sites and picnic facilities. Follow the track around the shore of scenic St George Lake, home to waterbirds and the elusive platypus. Or, get yourself lost in the Tangled Maze, a garden maze grown from thousands of climbing plants. Play a round of golf at the Robert Allenby designed course at the Novotel Forest Resort. Drop in a line at the Tuki Trout farm and have your catch cooked and served to you at the1850s sheep station turned country retreat. Take a short drive from Creswick to the mineral springs of Daylesford, the wineries of the Pyrenees, and the historic town of Clunes. Creswick is 129 kilometres north-west of Melbourne or about 90 minutes by car on the Midland Highway.

Discover Shepparton

Shepparton

Victoria

Located a leisurely two hour drive from Melbourne, the Greater Shepparton region offers a blend of both provincial and metropolitan lifestyles with a diversity of attractions, events and accommodation perfectly suited for visitors. Discover first hand why Greater Shepparton is renowned internationally as Australia's food bowl with farm gate sales, factory outlets and cellar door options. As Shepparton lies on the banks of the Goulburn River in Victoria's Goulburn Valley, a major agricultural and food processing region with great weather, gourmet food and wine, and excellent recreational and entertainment facilities are part of everyday life in the regional centre. Known as a family friendly destination, Greater Shepparton offers something for everyone. The region is home to Australia's largest adventure playground, KidsTown and Victoria's best small museum for 2012, the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) home to the MooovingArt initiative. For a fun photo opportunity, look out for Greater Shepparton's unique public art exhibition, a colourful collection of life-sized three dimensional fibreglass cows known as the Moooving Art cows. With more than 90 cows in the herd, each has its own design and are a much-loved celebration of the region's agricultural industry. Learn about Aboriginal culture and history at the Bangerang Keeping Place. Fishing, boating, canoeing and bike riding, all of these can be enjoyed at the Victoria Park Lake precinct or the Yahna Gurtji Shared Path Network, allowing you to discover the majestic Goulburn and Broken Rivers. The stories of the region are reflected in its intriguing history that can be experienced with a visit to Gallery Kaiela, the Bangerang Cultural Centre or exploring 'the Flats' interpretive walk. Visit the Discover Shepparton website to learn more about attractions and upcoming events. They look forward to welcoming you to their wonderful region and all it has to offer.

Venus Bay

Venus Bay

Victoria

Beyond the vegetated sand dunes of the South Gippsland town of Venus Bar lie wild waters and golden sands - no less than five superb surf beaches as well as sheltered swimming beaches. Venus Bay has a population of around 500, but can surge into the thousands as anglers, surfers and families converge during holiday periods. Just outside the town are the five surf beaches patrolled by surf lifesavers in the summer months. The state's longest sand spit at Anderson Inlet is where you can find safe, sheltered beaches ideal for swimming. The coastline from Venus Bay to Cape Liptrap offers visitors the chance to see an old lighthouse and native Australian plants and wildlife. The Point Smythe Nature Trail traverses thick coastal vegetation, while the Tarwin Lower boardwalk follows the Tarwin River - a good spot for fishing. View abundant bird life and mangroves at Bald Hill wetlands, close to Tarwin Lower and heading towards Walkerville. The Tarwin Lower to Venus Bay Pathway is a scenic and easy cycle between two towns that follows the banks of the Tarwin River on a gently undulating shared pathway. Venus Bay is approximately 170 kilometres from Melbourne, or around two hours and 10 minutes by car along the M1 and South Gippsland Highway.

Ranges of Olinda

Olinda

Victoria

One of the highest villages in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges, Olinda's pronounced seasons are reflected in its gardens and scenery. Spring blooms, autumn colours, crisp summer days and occasional light snowfalls are all on show throughout the year. Olinda is well known for its magnificent public and private gardens. A particular jewel is the National Rhododendron Gardens, which contain thousands of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and daffodils. There are also the quirky sculptures hiding in the William Ricketts Sanctuary, rare and historic plants at Cloudehill, and botanically important trees at Pirianda. Lyrebirds lurk amid the tree ferns in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, there is tranquil forest in RJ Hamer Arboretum, and Olinda Falls reward a strenuous walk. Resident emus, wombats, possums and echidna companions can be found if you look carefully as you tour the area. Olinda village reveals a treasure trove of art and handicraft galleries and antique and vintage stores, as well as eateries serving famous Dandenong Ranges Devonshire teas. Local restaurants treat regional produce with respect and serve up delicious meals to cap off a day full of fresh air and spectacular scenery. Olinda is 44 kilometres east of Melbourne or just under an hour's drive. Travel along the Eastern Freeway and continue onto Eastlink tollway. Exit at Burwood Highway and follow the road to Upper Ferntree Gully, or exit at Canterbury Road and follow the road to Montrose and onto the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.

Collins St

Collins St & Little Collins St

Victoria

Thanks to the respective specialisations of Melbourne's Collins and Little Collins streets you don't have to choose between shopping at international designer stores or local design boutiques, or between dining at acclaimed fine dining restaurants and bohemian cafes. You can do it all. Collins Street, or the 'top end of town' is known for its designer stores in heritage buildings, five-star hotels, private clubs and exclusive jewellers. It boasts its very own 'Paris End' featuring the flagship stores of Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton and more. To find more chain and concept stores, stroll west to bustling retail centres like two3four and Australia on Collins. Veer out of the mainstream and into Little Collins Street and Howey Place for haute couture and hip culture, and clothes by Melbourne's most interesting designers. Head to the stretch between Swanston and Russell streets for menswear. Peek between shops for the hidden bars on Collins and Little Collins. Sip cocktails at Hairy Canary or Bar Americano, have a G&T at the Gin Palace, munch on tostadas and tequila at Mamasita, and channel the Iberian life at Bar Lourinha. Get some history of the precinct and discover how Melbourne developed into what you see today at City Museum at the Old Treasury. To explore Collins and Little Collins streets walk a couple of blocks north from Federation Square or catch any tram along Swanston and Elizabeth streets to Collins Street. You can take the free City Circle Tram to the corner of Spring and Collins streets or the corner of Spencer and Collins streets, or catch the free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle.

Bairnsdale

Bairnsdale

Victoria

Head to Bairnsdale at any time of year to discover a busy regional centre from which to explore the vast Gippsland Lakes and spectacular Ninety Mile Beach, or the alpine highlights of Omeo, Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham. You'll find plenty of accommodation options and a wide range of shops and services in Bairnsdale, the commercial centre for the local wool, dairy, agricultural and timber industries. Wander around town on a self-guided heritage walk and explore local art galleries, museums, and craft and antique shops. Visit the National Trust classified St Mary's Catholic Church in Main Street with its unique murals and painted ceilings. Stock up on outdoor, surfing, camping and fishing equipment in Bairnsdale, then hit the Mitchell River and nearby waterways for excellent fishing. Take a walk through the Mitchell River National Park and visit the Den of Nargun. According to Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, the Nargun was a half-stone, half-human female creature with the power to repel and turn back spears and stones. You can also tour the Bataluk Cultural Trail to discover elements of Koorie history and culture, or visit the Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place to view artefacts depicting the history of the Gunai/Kurnai people of East Gippsland. Pick up a brochure from the local visitor information centre and drive along the Twin Rivers Food and Wine Trail, or cycle along the East Gippsland Rail Trail from Bairnsdale to Nowa Nowa. Bairnsdale is also a good starting point for the Great Alpine Road. Get along to one of the action-packed race meets at the Bairnsdale Racing Club. Bairnsdale is three hours east of Melbourne along the Princes Highway.

Foster

Foster

Victoria

Once a bustling gold mining town, Foster is the gateway to Gippsland's spectacular natural attractions. The town is just 30 minutes from Wilsons Promontory National Park and a short drive from other popular destinations including Shallow Inlet, Corner Inlet, Sandy Point and Waratah Bay. Originally a gold mining town settled in 1871, mining ceased in the 1930s and it has since acted as the major service centre for Wilsons Promontory. Visit Foster Museum and learn about Foster's gold, forestry, dairying and social history. The town offers inspiring views over Corner Inlet to the peaks of 'the Prom'. Visit local lookouts such as Foster North Lookout on the South Gippsland Highway or Mt Nicholl Lookout. Embark on Hayes Walk and view the site of Victory Mine, the town's largest gold mine. The walk starts in town and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Head to Shallow Inlet for windsurfing or Corner Inlet for birdwatching and fishing. Swim at the local beaches of Sandy Point and Waratah Bay. You can reach Foster in just over two hours from Melbourne, travelling along the M1 and the South Gippsland Highway.

Morwell

Morwell

Victoria

At the heart of Gippsland's Latrobe Valley, the regional town of Morwell also has the distinction of being the energy centre for Victoria. Coal mining and electricity production has been a major source of employment for Morwell for 80 years. Powerworks offers multimedia and interactive exhibits on the coal mining industry, with opportunities to view giant dredges, join a tour of one of the three open cut coal mines and gain an inside view of a power station and its impressive technology. Forming the western entrance to the town's business district, Morwell's beautiful Centenary Rose Garden proudly showcases over 4000 bushes on four acres, including more than 260 varieties in 110 beds. The Rose Garden is one of the finest in the southern hemisphere. For more greenery, venture into Morwell National Park, small in size but of great value in preserving a remnant of the area's original plant and animal life. Take the Fosters Gully Nature Walk to spot birds and animals in the forests and undergrowth. Morwell is home to one of Gippsland's major cultural facilities, the Latrobe Regional Gallery. Established in 1970, the gallery's permanent collection is predominantly post 1970s contemporary Australian Art. Also calling Morwell home is the Gippsland Immigration Park with its wall of recognition of the contribution immigrants have made to the development of Gippsland. Morwell is situated 150 kilometres east of Melbourne, or around one hour 40 minutes by car along the M1 and the Princes Freeway.

T-QUAL

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