1. Murray Sunset National Park
Located in the north-western corner of Victoria and considered the state’s “Outback” with its semi-arid climate and vast unspoiled landscapes, this 6,330km2 National Park used to be submerged in water. As the water evaporated or drained away, dried salt deposits have created a network of lakes with beds of crystallised salt and clear waters that transform from glistening white to vivid pink. Lake Harding is particularly spectacular with concentric circles of blue, white and bright pink which appear best during an overcast day.
The park also has several islands that can be accessed via 4-wheel-drive vehicles or canoes, Lindsey Island supports a grand collection of River Red Gums and there is a plethora of rare birds, marsupials and reptiles that call these isolated paradises home. For a true remote outback camping experience, the 58km Sunset Walking Track is a grade 4 circuit that offers ample bush-camping opportunities to lie beneath the expansive outback night sky jam-packed with stars.
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2. Wilson’s Promontory National Park
Covering the southernmost parts of mainland Australia, Wilson’s Promontory National Park has a bit of everything! It’s 70km of coastline boasts prominent headlands, long sandy beaches, and crystal-clear coves all set in front of dramatic orange granite cliffs, dense lush rainforests, and swampy mudflats. The diverse beauty of Wilson’s Promontory National Park can be witnessed from the iconic Mt Oberon giving 360 views of pristine beaches, picturesque mountain ranges and stretching to the idyllic islands offshore.
Get your toes amongst the squeaky sands of Squeaky Beach, dip into the tea tree oiled waters of Tidal River or dive amongst the stunning coral gardens of the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park. The South Point is home to an abundance of wildlife including Southern right whales enjoying the sheltered bays, and don’t miss the hidden treasure of the Big Drift, a formation of gigantic sand dunes that turn enchanting colours during sunrise and sunset.
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3. Mornington Peninsula
This one is not too far from the beaten track actually, an hour’s drive from the state capital of Melbourne you will find the silky-smooth beaches, clear waters and meandering coastal boardwalks of the Mornington peninsula. The rich soils support around 60 wineries known for their premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and bay side views.
Bathe in the natural warm mineral waters of the hot springs, try the tasty delights of Australia’s largest strawberry farm and interact with the furry residents of Moonlit Sanctuary. The 190km of Mornington’s rugged coastline can be admired as you glide across the treetops in Arthur’s Seat Eagle. Experience the thrill of sea-kayaking, hang gliding and skiffleboarding at Sorrento beach, or get lost amongst the 3m hedges of Australia’s oldest maze!
4. The Grampians
Less than 300km west of Melbourne you will find the 1,672km2 sandstone mountain range of the Grampians. Treasuring 90% of all of Victoria’s rock art sites, some of Australia’s best rock-climbing and breath-taking views of the milky-way on clear night skies, it is a must-stop on your Victoria tour. In the heart of the Grampians is the quaint village of Halls Gap where you can grab an ice cream and watch the curious kangaroos, wallabies and emus stroll through the tourists. Throughout the park sparkling stream waters create natural pools, like the sandstone shelves of Venus Baths, or thundering waterfalls like the impressive MacKenzie Falls.
The park has a fantastic selection of hiking; from challenging scrambles at the overhanging outcrops of the Pinnacle, peppered with dramatic ridges providing precarious perches for that perfect insta-shot to terrify the family! To gentle strolls being rewarded with panoramic views of Victoria Valley from the Balconies. Do not be deterred by the towering heights, there are also many picturesque bushwalks through the forests at the park’s foothills, serene lakes and quality wineries for a more relaxed experience!
5. Alpine National Park
Victoria’s biggest National park accommodates 10 of the 11 highest mountains in the state! During the winter months, the impressive peaks transform into extensive snow fields, the rest of the year sees the high plains spring to life with endemic wildflowers of snow and silk daisies, flowering herbs and eucalypt forest. Admire the distinctive landforms carved by glaciers at Kosciusko Plateau, the impressive fish fossils of Mt Howitt and towering snow gum forests where you may find the extremely endangered pygmy possums hiding.
The majestic ridgeline treks, glacier lakes and unique cold-climate flora and fauna provide adventure and wondrous alpine topography all year round. With world-class mountain bike trails, 19km of descending white-water rapids, cross country skiing and epic four-wheel driving - it is any adrenaline junkie’s dream!