Your complete guide to Victoria

Are you thinking of visiting Victoria? Do you have questions or need some answers? Then come and discover all you need to know right now!

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Victoria, also known by the shortened version VIC or Vic (and sometimes referred to as Vicky), is the 3rd smallest state or territory in Australia, bigger that only the island state of Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. It is home to 5.6 million people, known as Victorians, and its capital city is Melbourne.

Hazy hills at the bottom of the Great Dividing Range, in Victoria
Country Victoria in all its grandeur, full
of bushland, rolling hills and farm land!

Victorians are sometimes referred to as Mexicans (as in coming from south of the border... south of every border in Australia with the exception of Tasmania!) or on rare occasion as Gum Suckers (due to the fact that the resin from gum trees, the Eucalyptus tree which Koalas eat, was used as an early substitute for chewing gum) or even Yarra-Yabbies (yabbies are a fresh water crustacean like a small lobster, and the Yarra is the river that runs right through the centre of Melbourne).

Location

As you can see on the map above, it is the most southern mainland state in Australia. The most southern part of the state is called Wilsons Promontory. To the north it borders with New South Wales, with the Murray River (Australia's longest river), marking most of the border between these two states. To the west, at the end of the Murray River, it borders with South Australia, the driest state on the continent.

Population

By population, it is the second most populated state or territory, with only New South Wales having more people. However, if measured by people per km² it is by far the most populated because it is less than one third of the size of NSW (for the purpose of this I have excluded the Australian Capital Territory, which is similar to a city territory like the Vatican, thus having an exceptionally high people per km² ratio).

However, this does not mean that you should expect a mass of people, don't forget that this is Australia. Victoria only has on average 24.5 people per km²! To put this into perspective, the United Kingdom has 256 per km², Germany has 229 per km², and France has 117 per km².

Ranking of the largest cities (by population): ¹
1. Melbourne
(4.1 million)
2. Geelong(175,000)
3. Ballarat(95,000)
4. Bendigo(90,000)
5. Shepparton(49,000)
6. Mildura(49,000)
7. Warrnambool(33,000)
¹ Sourced from, you guessed it, Wikipedia!


About 75% of all Victorians live in Melbourne, and you can see that the next biggest cities are not very big in population. If you excluded all the people from the cities listed above, the average population density drops from 24.5 people per km² to a tiny 4.25 people per km².

What does this mean?

Once you get out of the cities, expect big wide open spaces! Much of the land is taken up by either farm land (both crops and livestock) or forest. While the state certainly has far more people, for its size, than all other states, once you get out onto the back roads you can easily drive for an hour without coming across the next town.

National Parks

A large gum tree almost covered in the bark that it has shed
Australia, where trees drop
bark, not leaves!

Victorians are very proud of the natural beauty of the state, and this is evident by the 2,850 separate Protected Areas which cover over 17% of the state's land, which includes 41 national parks covering over 11% of the state.

In total, these protected areas cover 39,273 km². At first this figure may not sound very impressive, but it is about the size of Switzerland or the Netherlands. As such, there are many free camping spots all over the state, so for all you nature lovers, get ready to go camping!

What else?

Many people imaging coming to Australia and spending their days at the beach. As such, Victoria it is often not high on international tourists list of places to visit. Which is just wrong! The beaches in and around Melbourne have more than double the number of days above 30°C than those in and around Sydney, and more than triple the amount of days above 35°C! And if you are into surfing, the Victorian coast line has some of the best in the country.

It doesn't really matter what kind of experience you are looking for, with the exception of anything tropical, Victoria has likely got it. With cool climate rainforests along the southern coast lines, snowy alpine regions in winter, desert area in the north west, gorgeous coastlines, world renowned surf beaches, scuba diving galore, national parks, a capital city that has twice been voted the most liveable city in the world, great wine areas, the Murray river, and much more.

If that isn't enough to spark your interest, don't forget the natural spa areas, Philip Island, the world renowned Grampians National Park, the Great Ocean Road, and fun in the sun on the mighty Murray River. There really is so much to see and do!

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