At last Victorians are out of lockdown, and desperate for a holiday! Luckily there are a huge range of beautiful holiday spots available throughout Victoria. As we move into the festive season, now is the perfect time to start planning your getaway. Getting some time out and about in fresh air and nature is hugely important for everyone's physical and mental health. Below we’ve listed our top picks for Victorian holiday spots that feature beautiful forests, scenery and rich Indigenous heritage.
Dandenong Ranges (Wurundjeri country)
Dandenong Ranges. Image sourced from Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges.
Right on Melbourne's doorstep the Dandenong Ranges are the perfect holiday spot. The area is only a 1 hour drive from Melbourne or alternatively you can take the V-Line train service. The beautiful area features lush forests and quaint towns. The three towns Belgrave, Olinda and Sassafras are all worth a visit. They offer delicious eats such as the Piggery Café and an excellent range of accommodation options. If you are after a relaxing way of taking in the scenery the Puffing Billy steam train is the perfect choice. The 24 kilometre railway winds its way through beautiful tall Mountain Ash forests and fern gullies. Alternatively if you love a good hike conquer the famous 1000 Steps and enjoy incredible views of Melbourne and Yarra Valley (Parks Victoria, 2020).
The Yarra Valley is a place of significance for the Wirundjeri and Boonerwrung tribes of the Kulin Nation. It was a central resource for the Indigenous communities in the area. The Yarra River provided food and a way to easily travel and trade with neighbouring clans. There are still many ‘scar trees’ that can be seen along the river, left by skilful canoe makers (Yarra Ranges Council, 2016).
Phillip Island (Bunurong country)
Little Penguins, Phillip Island. Image sourced from Only Melbourne.
If you love getting up close and personal with wildlife Phillip Island is the holiday destination for you. The Island is best known for its population of over 32,000 Little penguins, also commonly referred to as “Fairy penguins”. Visitors adore what's called the “penguin parade”, this special event takes place as the penguins come back ashore after their daily fishing adventures. The Koala Conservation Centre is another of the island's key attractions. Raised boardwalks wind throughout the sanctuary allowing for excellent viewing and photo opportunities. Walk through the world-renowned wetlands of Scenic Estate Coastal Reserve and catch sightings of hooded plovers, short-tailed shearwaters and other international migratory bird species, and mammals such as koalas, possums, wallabies and bats. The Island offers an extensive range of accommodation options including camping, glamping, hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts (Metz, 2020).
Phillip Island is home to the Yallok Bulluk people of the Bunurong clan. In the summer months they would feast on shellfish, fish, small marsupials and mutton birds. Ochre was available at several locations on the island and was used for body decoration during ceremonies. While you are there if you’d like to find out more about the Indigenous heritage of the island you can visit the Phillip Island Historical Society Museum (Phillip Island, 2020).
You can find out more about Phillip Island here.
Grampians National Park (Djab Wurrung Country)
Bunjil Shelter. Image sourced from Travel Victoria.
The Grampians National Park is one of the most significant Indigenous cultural heritage sites in Victoria. Rock art is often only associated with the Australian Outback however, cave painting was widespread practice within Indigenous Nations all across Australia. 80% of Victoria's rock art can be found in The Grampians. There are a number of the incredible rock shelters open to the public including the incredible Bunjils shelter. We highly recommend visiting some of the sights and the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre to learn more about the Indigenous culture and history of the area (Goodchild, 2017).
The Grampians is a heritage listed National Park, due to its diversity of flora and fauna. The best way to take in its natural beauty is to take on one of the park's many renowned hikes. The area draws walkers from all around the world. For incredible views climb the highest peak, Mount William or for more easy going walks explore the trails around Halls Gap, Wonderland Range and MacKenzie Falls. Alternatively you can go canoeing at Lake Wartook, Lake Bellfield or one of the park’s many other streams and creeks. There are many beautiful camping locations within the park including Smiths Mill Campground, Boreang Campground and Jimmy Creek (Parks Victoria, 2020).
You can find out more about The Grampians here.
Hollow Mountain Walk, The Grampians. Image sourced from Humble Trail.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve (Gunditjmara Country)
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. Image sourced from Parks Victoria.
Towerhill is one of Victoria's most unique geological formations. The reserve sits inside the crater of an extinct volcano that erupted 30,000 years ago. Within the small area Tower Hill has incredible wildlife diversity where you can get up close with emus, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and echidnas. Boardwalks, nest boxes and a bird hide have been constructed around the lake to assist bird watchers viewing birds including Spoonbills, Chestnut Teal Ducks and Musk Ducks. Take some time to explore the unique rock formations and beautiful forests of the reserve.
This area has always been significant to the people of the Gunditjmara Nation, the Koroit-gunditj and Peek Whurrong peoples. Traditionally the rock formations provided shelter and the abundance of wildlife was an important food source. Members of both clans still live in the area and play a key role in the management of the reserve. This includes running daily guided walks where visitors have the opportunity to learn more about the landscape, flora and fauna and the traditional lifestyle of Indigenous peoples (Goodchild, 2017).
You can find out more about Tower Hill here.
We at Yarn, acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea. We pay our respect to all Elders, past, present and emerging.