Although Victoria is one of Australia’s smallest states, it offers up so much to see and do, including 45 National Parks and so much iconic Aussie wildlife. From beaches, to forests, to mountains perfect for hiking, the diversity of landscapes means there will always be a national park to suit your vibe.
Victoria’s National Parks perfect for an oceanside beach escape
For all your beach and ocean-y dreams try these National Parks: Mornington Peninsula, Great Otway, Port Campbell, Wilsons Promontory, The Lakes, and French Island. All situated along the southern coastline, they’ll give you plenty of opportunities for staring off into the horizon and daydreaming. Plus some of them have great chances to surf, swim, hike, fish, or discover waterfalls and shipwrecks.
If you don’t need to be on the coast, just on the water, you’ll find great lakes and rivers in these National Parks: Alpine, Lake Eildon, and Hatta-Kulkyne. Go white water rafting at Alpine National Park, sail at Lake Eildon National Park, and canoe or bike at Hatta-Kulkyne National Park. Plus, these parks have great hiking and camping opportunities, as well as the chance to spot some incredible wildlife.
National Parks in Victoria made for hiking, forest escapades, and catching those views
When you’re ready to hit up the forests, trees, and mountaintops there are plenty of National Park options. Our favourite hiking destinations? Explore the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park, Kinglake National Park, or Dandenong Ranges National Park. All three offer great trails and views. And if you aren’t a huge hiker that’s okay too! There are both short easy trails and longer treks to choose from. One of Victoria‘s gems for hiking is The Pinnacles Loop in Grampians National Park. It’s 8.5 km of uncrowded trails and it will take you up high with gorgeous overlooks along cliffsides.
Want to see a volcano?
You’re not going to find any active volcanos in Australia. The country isn’t on a plate line. However, Victoria has two National Parks with extinct volcanos in them. Visit Mount Richmond National Park and you likely won’t even be able to tell it was once a volcano. Today you’ll see that sands have swept in from the sea and it looks just like any other mountain. But you’ll know it was a volcano. Opt instead to visit Organ Pipes National Park (30 minutes out from Melbourne) and you’ll be able to see the old volcano’s impact. That’s what created the Organ Pipe design in the rocks!
But which National Park should you choose?
National Parks make for great day trips and short outings or side quests. They’re also excellent stopping points to camp the night. Take a look through our map with all of Victoria’s National Parks. That way you can see just where they are and get planning your visit.
Turn your National Parks trip into a road trip too
No one ever said National Parks were only accessible by hiking and outdoorsy activities. The Great Ocean Road on the southern coast of Australia will allow you to pass through not one, but two National Parks (Great Otway National Park and Port Campbell National Park). The road itself has awesome views. There are plenty of spots to stop along the way and admire the scenery or snap some pictures. Port Campbell is where you’ll find the famous Twelve Apostles. Starting in Torquay and ending in Allansford, it would take you just under 4 hours to drive the over 240 km if you didn’t stop (but where’s the fun in that). On average, people usually take 2-4 days driving the Great Ocean Road, stopping to explore the towns, try their hand at surfing, take in the scenery and wildlife, and more.
Where’s your best chance to see Australia’s iconic wildlife?
Victoria’s National Parks offer amazing opportunities to see some of Australia’s animals in their natural habitats. You’ll find Little Penguins over on Phillip Island. You’re likely to see kangaroos and wallabies in parks like Churchill National Park, and Grampians National Park. At Barmah National Park, The Lakes National Park, and Warby-Ovens National Park you’ll also find things like koalas, emus, and some cool parrots, cockatiels and other colourful birds. If you’re on the hunt for a platypus sighting you’ll want to try looking in southwest Victoria (side fact: young platypus emerge from their dens around end of summer).
If you really want to be sure that you’re going to see certain animals rather than taking a chance on a sighting in the wild – opt for a visit to Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, or Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park. All three of these spots offer lots of opportunities to see Australia’s native animals while also helping to care for and ensure the safety and longevity of the species.
Whether you’re in it to hike up a mountain or to see a kookaburra or an echidna – Australia’s outdoors are waiting for you. Don’t keep them waiting long. Search for your flight now and you can save £50 by using code MELBOURNE23.