Discover The Best Hidden Places To Visit In Victoria.
The list of places to visit in Victoria can be a little overwhelming, with top attractions like the Great Ocean Road and the buzzing metropolis of Melbourne catching the eye of many first-time visitors.
But if you want to find a place to visit in Victoria that’s away from the tourist crowds there are plenty of great options.
Some of the best places to visit in Victoria are the small towns and villages that line the coast or are hidden further inland.
In our guide to the best places to visit in regional Victoria we look at some of the most interesting historical towns, the top spots for nature, as well as a few of the best hidden places to visit in Victoria that are well off of the tourist radar.
Best Hidden Places To Visit In Victoria, Australia
One of the most historical towns to visit in Victoria, Portland started as a whaling station in 1829.
See the sights on the Portland cable tram network, visit galleries and museums, and look out over Nelson Bay at Yellow Rock lookout.
The town was established in 1834 when Edward Henty established the very first European settlement in Victoria.
Learn more about its rich past and uncover some of its varied history by visiting some of Portland’s 200 heritage buildings.
You will also discover how European settlement came with its downsides. Portland was the site of one of the first and largest massacres of Indigenous people in Victoria.
The Gunditjmara, the traditional owners of the southwest, were violently displaced when Europeans first arrived here.
But Portland isn’t just about the past, it’s also a great place for wildlife watching.
Point Danger is home to the only mainland gannet bird colony in Australia, while the 6-kilometre Cape Bridgewater Seal Walk has mass gatherings of over 2,000 Australian and New Zealand fur seals.
During the winter months, migrating whales can be seen from the shore as well as a designated viewing platform.
2) Port Fairy
Port Fairy is undoubtedly one of the best towns to visit in Victoria and was voted number 1 in the “Top Tourism Town Awards” in 2022.
You can find Port Fairy in the Shire of Moyne, just off of the Princes Highway in Victoria. Top spots to visit include the lighthouse, Merrijig Inn, Moyne Mill, the Lecture Hall, and the Court House.
The coastal town is home to one of the busiest fishing ports in Victoria, it’s a great place to grab fresh seafood, wander around heritage buildings, and relax at East Beach.
The town has lots of charm with a swathe of Victorian buildings from its European settlement in the 1800s as a whaling town.
Now of course it’s better known for its nature reserves and conservation efforts. Take a boat trip to Lady Julia Percy Island to see dolphins, a large colony of Australian Fur Seals, and the majestic Southern Right Whales.
If you happen to come on the right weekend in March, you may even come across the Port Fairy Folk Festival with live music, delicious local food and drinks, and lots of family-friendly things to do.
Just east of Port Fairy is Warrnambool, another great spot for sightseeing in Victoria.
Located at the far western end of The Great Ocean Road, many visitors end up here on their Shipwreck Coast road trip. Visit Thunder Point, Warrnambool Botanical Gardens, or one of the town’s famous vibrant markets.
Every winter whales migrate here from the sub-antarctic to give birth at Logans Beach, known as a whale nursery. The best place to spot them is from the specially designed Logan’s Beach Whale Watching Platform.
Make sure to visit at least one Warrnambool market while you’re in town. From antiques to one-of-a-kind pieces, the second-hand markets in Warrnambool are a great place to find treasures for your home.
For fresh local produce, there’s also the flower market and the farmers market. While in the summer months head to Lake Pertobe to enjoy the long evenings, and catch an open-air film at the Twilight Market.
4) Aireys Inlet
Aireys Inlet is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to visit in Victoria. The scenery along this stretch of coastline is out of this world.
Surfers flock here to catch waves at Fairhaven Beach, while the secluded coves and rock pools make it equally enticing for nature lovers.
For walking and hiking there’s the Surf Coast Walk, the Cliff Top Walk, and the Aireys Inlet Lighthouse Precinct Walk.
Snorkelers will love exploring Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary, a rich 17-hectare reserve that’s home to Cat sharks, Port Jackson sharks, skates, and rays.
Other top attractions in Aireys Inlet include the 12-hole mini golf course and Split Point Lighthouse – better known as the ‘Round the Twist’ lighthouse from the TV series.
Forrest, a charming village nestled in the heart of a lush rainforest, fern gullies, and sprawling bushland, is a haven for nature enthusiasts, athletes, and adventurers alike.
Adding to its allure are the Forrest Brewery and Forrest General Store and Cafe. The brewery, known for its handcrafted beers, offers a unique taste of the local culture amidst the natural beauty.
Just a stone’s throw away, the Forrest General Store and Cafe serves as a delightful spot for visitors to enjoy delicious, locally sourced meals and refreshments.
These two establishments not only enhance the village’s rustic charm but also provide perfect spots for relaxation after a day of exploring the stunning surroundings.
Tours to the nearby Lake Elizabeth offer the chance to spot the elusive platypus, as well as other native creatures like glow worms.
Take a tour with a company like Otway Eco Tours for a better chance of an encounter.
You can find Forrest around half an hour’s drive from Victoria’s south coast, near Otway Forest Park.
6) Halls Gap
The small town of Halls Gap is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in Victoria. It sits right at the centre of the huge Grampian National Park making it the perfect base for exploring the area.
It’s a top destination for walking and hiking with trails like Pinnacles Lookout, the Venus Baths Loop, Boronia Peak and Chatauqua Peak, and the Grand Canyon walking track.
Some of the main reasons to visit are the stunning natural sights like Mackenzie Falls, Grampians National Park, and Lake Bellfield.
There’s also a rich indigenous history here. Visit the Brambuk Cultural Centre to learn about the aboriginal heritage in the Grampians area or see aboriginal rock paintings at Gulgurn Manja Shelter.
If you’re looking for places to visit in Victoria in winter, the spa town of Daylesford is a safe bet.
It’s popular year-round due to its hot springs, visitors come from far and wide to take a dip in the revitalising mineral-rich waters.
At around an hour and a half from Melbourne by car, it’s an easy overnight stay or even as a day trip if you’re short on time.
Head over to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range to discover one of the wealthiest gold-rush towns founded during the 1850’s.
You might notice that the Victorian-era town has interesting and unique architecture due to the Swiss-Italian migrants that first settled here.
The gastronomy is also first class with a wealth of farm-to-table restaurants, fresh local markets, and some of the best names on the Central Highlands food scene.
8) Macedon Ranges
One of the best places to visit in regional Victoria if you want to escape to the great outdoors is the Macedon Ranges.
This verdant region in Central Victoria lies between the cities of Bendigo and Melbourne.
Come to explore expansive native forests with over 30 kilometres of trails to wander throughout the Macedon Regional Park.
Other top visitor attractions include Hanging Rock, the village of Woodend, the historic town of Kyneton, and the imposing Mount Macedon at 1001 metres elevation.
Nine historic and creative villages in total make up the Macedon Ranges. The region is famous for cellar doors brimming with cool climate wines, internationally acclaimed gins, and a vibrant art and culture scene.
The small city of Castlemaine is another one of the nice places to visit in Victoria that’s tucked away. It’s located in the Goldfields region of Victoria – around a 30-minute drive north of Hepburn.
Explore the plant life at one of Victoria’s earliest botanical gardens – the sprawling Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, or learn a little more about its history at the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
Art and culture also play a huge role in Castlemaine’s list of things to do.
You can uncover some of the best up-and-coming talent at the local artists market, visit the more famous collections at the art museum, or embrace the culture at the biennial Castlemaine State Festival.
As the third-largest inland city in Australia and the third-most populous city in Victoria, Bendigo comes high on the list of where to visit in Victoria.
Bendigo was named as a UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy in 2019. Local restaurants and eateries certainly live up to the labels with around 80 wineries and plenty of locally sourced food to tuck into.
This arty hub is a great place to visit to see all of the cultural treasures of Victoria with top spots like View Street and the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Chancery and Bath Lanes also have some wonderful street art to explore.
One of the most popular things to do in Bendigo is to take a tour of the Central Deborah Gold Mine.
In fact, there’s lots of gold-rush history and heritage architecture to explore in the city; jump on one of the famous trams for one of the easiest and most scenic ways to get around all of the sights.
The 60-acre Rosalind Park is another must-visit with its beautiful cascade waterfall and open-air fernery.
Take a picnic or take the kids to the fantastic playground to make the most of the open spaces.
Another of Victoria’s historic gold-mining towns, Beechworth boasts heritage architecture, boutique shopping opportunities, and nature right on its doorstep.
Autumn is one of the best times to visit as the oak and elm-lined streets turn orange, red, and yellow with the changing leaves.
Here you can visit over 30 National Trust-listed buildings, take a ghost tour at the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, or head out of town to visit the impressive Woolshed Falls.
You can also learn about beekeeping at Beechworth Honey – one of the most famous honey brands in Australia.
No trip to Beechworth is complete without a stop at Beechworth Bakery. The bakery is known throughout the state for its traditional baked goods that retain an old-world charm in keeping with the town’s atmosphere.
As one of the state capital’s suburbs, Werribee is only 30 minutes from Melbourne’s city centre so it makes an easy day out if staying in Melbourne.
Escape the concrete jungle at the sprawling Werribee Park Precinct, there are plenty of world-class attractions in this area alone.
The magnificent Werribee Park Mansion is perhaps the most famous attraction, but there are also the 5000 roses of the Victoria State Rose Garden and the top-rated safari tour at Werribee Open Range Zoo.
The nearby Shadowfax Winery is a great place to reward yourself after a hard day of exploring with an award-winning glass of Shiraz.
For those looking for an active day out in Werribee, you can stroll or kayak down the Werribee River, wander Wyndham Harbour, or go hiking or mountain biking in nearby You Yangs Regional Park – one of the many hidden gems in Victoria.
Portarlington is a popular holiday spot located on the Bellarine Peninsula, 28 km from the city of Geelong. It’s surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and has fantastic views over Port Phillip Bay.
Highlights include Newcombe Street with the historic Grand Hotel, the nearby wineries, and the family-friendly Portarlington Miniature Railway.
Make sure to check out the drive along The Esplanade from Portarlington to St Leonards while you’re in town to take in unforgettable views of Melbourne’s skyline, Port Phillip Bay, and the You Yangs mountain range.
Also located on the Bellarine Peninsula, just a 20-minute drive south of Portarlington, is the heritage town of Queenscliff.
Known as the ‘Grand Dame’ of The Bellarine, it has all the seaside town vibes you could hope for – including top-notch fish and chips!
Once the most heavily armed fort in the Southern Hemisphere, Queenscliff’s prime location means it’s the perfect beach holiday spot, surrounded by water on three sides.
One of the best ways to spend time here is by taking part in the water activities on Port Phillip Bay.
The abundance of reefs and shipwrecks makes it a great spot for diving and snorkelling, you can also swim with seals and dolphins and there are some great spots for fishing.
Another popular thing to do in Queenscliff is to explore the township of Sorrento on the other side of the bay. Just hop on the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, the journey takes around 40 minutes.
15) Ocean Grove
A little further along the Bellarine Peninsula, Ocean Grove is a lively surf town, surrounded by wineries and idyllic beaches.
There’s ample room to spread out or play a game of cricket at the two-kilometre Ocean Grove Main Beach. It’s the perfect spot for surfing and bringing the family- plus it’s dog friendly too.
The sand stretches from Point Lonsdale to the Barwon River mouth, so it’s never too hard to find a good spot all to yourself.
For kids, there’s the nearby Adventure Park that’s full of fun rides and waterslides. Located in the nearby town of Wallington, it opens all summer between late November and late March.
There’s no shortage of golf clubs around Ocean Grove for sports lovers, but for families, there’s also the mini golf at Bellarine Adventure Golf.
For nature lovers, there are plenty of bird-watching opportunities like on the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve loop.
While for foodies highlights include Blackman’s Brewery and the wine tastings at Oakdene Vineyards.
16) Wilsons Promontory
Known locally as ‘The Prom’, Wilson’s Promontory is home to Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area and lies at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia.
Wilsons Promontory National Park has around 50,000 hectares of protected landscapes, it’s the perfect place to escape into the wild and go on a real outdoor adventure.
Top spots to visit include Norman Beach, Mount Oberon, and the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park.
Camp out under the stars or rent a cabin in the woods overnight at Tidal River Campground to really immerse yourself in nature.
Night hikes are also a popular option here taking in sights like the historic Wilsons Promontory Light Station and Sealers Cove.
Of course, there’s no shortage of wildlife in this natural paradise, with common sightings including seals, dolphins, kangaroos, emus, wombats, and echidnas.
17) Lakes Entrance
The seaside resort of Lakes Entrance has been a popular holiday spot for a number of years, so you can expect to find everything you need for a summer holiday in Victoria.
The fishing port town sits on the eastern edge of Ninety Mile Beach, where Australia’s largest inland waterways (the Gippsland Lakes) enter into the Southern Ocean.
The town is known as a place to go for amazing seafood.
For the best local catches make your way to Off the Wharf, or sample fresh seafood at one of the floating restaurants (Sodafish or The Floating Dragon Dockside Restaurant).
For something a little sweeter there’s also local institution Big Bears Donuts with 20 flavours of delicious donuts to choose from.
Another must-visit is the Lakes Entrance Surf Club Foreshore Market for local finds and produce – held on the first Sunday of the month.
Named after the Aboriginal word for ‘meeting of the waters’, this historic river port lies just across the border from Moama in New South Wales.
Echuca is famous for being Australia’s paddle steamer capital and it was once a key part of the trade route along the Murray River.
Today the rail and road network have taken over this vital industry, but Echucha hangs on to its glory days through its museums and historic buildings.
The area is home to the world’s largest fleet of operating riverboats and you can even enjoy a cruise on an authentic paddle steamer on a guided tour of the river.
Another way to embrace the water-based way of life here is by staying on one of the many houseboats that line the banks of the Murray River in Echuca.
19) Swan Hill
A little further inland down the Murray River, Swan Hill is a city in the northwest of Victoria, Australia.
Also a once important trading town, now its claim to fame is that it has “more sunny days per year than the Gold Coast” with an average temperature of 23°C.
It was named by Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836 after the noisy swans that kept the men up at night after making camp here.
Visitors can learn more about the first European settlers by heading to the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, an open‑air history museum that serves as Australia’s first reconstruction of a 19th‑century river port.
The city has its own share of outdoor activities too. Head down to Riverside Park and the Swan Hill River Walk, or take a bush walk through the red gums and box trees of Nyah Vinifera State Forest.
Lying right on the border with New South Wales, Mildura is the most northerly regional city on this list.
Its access to the wild Australian outback and year-round sunshine make it one of the best hidden places to visit in Victoria.
Situated on the lands of the first peoples of Millewa-Mallee (Latji Latji and Ngintait traditional owners), there are plenty of great places to explore the outdoors around Mildura.
Visit the ancient Mungo National Park, kayak through Kings Billabong, and be amazed at the Pink Lakes of Murray Sunset National Park.
The top highlights of Mildura city include taking a historic paddle steamer tour on Murray River, exploring culinary delights on ‘Feast Street’, and perusing local produce at the Sunraysia Farmers Market.
21) Lake Tyrrell
One of the more unusual places to visit in Victoria is this 120,000-year-old salt lake.
Right in the heart of the Mallee region, Lake Tyrell’s shallow waters provide some amazing opportunities for photographers with a mirror-like film covering the earth’s surface.
But you will want to stay for longer than just a day trip here; by night Lake Tyrrell has some of the best dark skies in Victoria.
See the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations in their full glory; beautifully reflected by the lake’s still waters.
Lake Tyrell is a four-hour drive from Melbourne along the Calder Highway, visitors can stay 7 kilometres north in the town of Sea Lake.
Hidden Places To Visit Victoria Map
Victoria’s regional treasures offer a delightful escape for those seeking experiences beyond the usual tourist paths.
By exploring historical towns, engaging with nature at its finest, and uncovering hidden gems, visitors can immerse themselves in the authentic charm and diverse beauty of this remarkable region.
Whether it’s a quiet coastal village or a secluded inland retreat, each destination in Victoria holds its own unique story and allure.
This guide serves as a key to unlocking these lesser-known yet equally enchanting corners of Victoria, promising an enriching and memorable journey for every traveler.
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- 15 Of The Best Grampians Waterfalls
By Audrey Chalmers
Audrey grew up in Victoria and travelled the world but she always called Victoria home. She loves nothing more than exploring her home state and sharing it here.