Just how big is Victoria?

Do you know how big this state really is? No idea how much time you will need to tour it? Then you must read this if planning to visit Victoria!

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Hazy hills at the bottom of the Great Dividing Range, in Victoria
Even small populated Victoria is full
of wide open spaces and vast farms!

For those of you who didn't already know, Australia is big, really big. It is hard to appreciate just how big VIC is from the map on this page. You could be forgiven for thinking that it is not such a big place.

So the two important questions are:
Just how big is the state, and how long will it take to tour it?

Just how big is it?

It may not be as big as some other states and territories in Australia, but it still covers 237,629 km², which is big... really big. This should help to put things in perspective for you.

If it was its own independent country it would be ranked as the 84th biggest in the world. While at first this doesn't sound that impressive, it means that it is bigger than almost two thirds of the worlds countries, and is about twice as big as countries such as Greece, Cuba, Honduras, and North Korea. In fact, it is 98% as big as the entire United Kingdom.

This is even more impressive when you consider that if you exclude the capital city, Melbourne, there are only 5.7 people per km². This figure drops much lower is you exclude the next three biggest cities.

When you compare this to the UK, which has 257 people per km² (even if you exclude the 4 biggest cities of the UK this figure doesn't drop very much at all) you get a true idea of just how big, and uninhabited Australia can be. And Victoria is Australia's most populated state by people per km²!

How long will it take to tour Victoria?

This really does depend a lot on how much time you have in Australia, so I will try to break it down a bit more for you into two different categories:

1. Only in Australia for a short time (less than 3 months)

I know that perhaps a capital city doesn't sound so appealing to some people, but you will more than likely have to fly there anyway, so you should take the time to see it - it is an amazing city with so much to see and do. Melbourne is not what you'd expect from a city of around 4 million people. Many people fall in love with the charm that this city possesses.

If you are on a REALLY tight schedule, and if you only get to see three places in VIC, I would recommend seeing the capital city Melbourne, driving the Great Ocean Road, and going to the Grampians National Park.

This would require one week, and would break down something like this:
  • Day 1:
    Transit, arriving and checking into your accommodation in Melbourne.
  • Day 2 - 3:
    Two full days enjoying and exploring the city.
  • Day 4:
    Checking out early, and driving the first part of the Great Ocean Road, staying overnight in Warrnambool.
  • Day 5:
    Driving the second part of the Great Ocean road before heading inland to the Grampians National Park, arriving in the late afternoon.
  • Day 6:
    A full day in the park exploring the aboriginal paintings or culture museum, hiking, making a BBQ lunch, doing a nature tour, discover hidden waterfalls, etc.
  • Day 7:
    Leave the Grampians early and either drive back to Melbourne via one of the many inland routes, or continue onto Adelaide on your way to discover Uluru (Ayers Rock).

If you have the time though, you could easily spend 2 or 3 weeks in Victoria and still only have seen a little part of it. There are the highland/alpine mountains, Wilsons Promontory, the Gold Fields, some desert to explore, the great Murray River, and so much more. That's the problem with Australia, it is so big that you cannot possibly do it all.

2. In Australia for a longer time (3 months or longer)

If you are in the luxury position of being able to spend longer than 1 or 2 weeks in Victoria you are in for an absolute treat and the time of your life.

Just be careful not to get stuck in Melbourne for too long. Many backpackers decide to only stop for a week, but get charmed by this city and end staying much longer.

If you have the time, the transport, and the wish to, you could easily spend two or more months doing a circular tour of the state. With many national parks and camping areas, you can do it quite cheaply if you enjoy getting away from the cities and into remote areas.

Many people get to Melbourne and then head west along the Great Ocean Road, finally arriving at Adelaide. This is a real shame because they have not seen any other parts of the state. Eastern Victoria is beautiful. Heavy rain falls ensure the land is gorgeous and green almost all year long. If you get the opportunity, get off the back packer trail and go discover the eastern half of the state! And if you have the time, don't forget to check out the alpine areas of the state!

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