Whilst we don't claim to have visited absolutely every inch of Australia, we've seen more than our fair share. We've ridden the highways, rattled along the tracks, powered through the deserts, up the mountains, through the valleys and roamed deep into the Outback.
The information provided here is intended to give you the knowledge you'll need to stay safe in Australia, plus a little personal account of the main areas of the country.
Advice and information - Victoria
Hugging the southern tip of the Australian east coast, Victoria is Australia's second-smallest state, covering 227,600 square km - roughly the size of the British Isles. Despite its relatively small size, Victoria packs a huge amount into a compact area. It has a wealth of attractions from sweeping coastlines, pristine beaches and national parks teeming with wildlife to wineries, lakes and mountains offering skiing, climbing and hiking.
The climate of Victoria can best be described as 'varied' and is well known for being changeable. "Four seasons in day" is how many locals describe the south coast. Winter has cool, wet weather along the coast and the Victorian Alps are covered in snow. Because the north of the state is much closer to the centre of Australia, it exhibits a characteristically warmer and drier climate than the south, which borders the Bass Straight and Southern Ocean.
Victoria's capital, Melbourne, sits on the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Lauded for its sense of style and elegance, Melbourne boasts glamorous festivals and events, plenty of shopping, a passion for eating and drinking, plus a flourishing interest in the arts. Restored and preserved nineteenth-century architecture, built following the discovery of gold, provides a heady reminder of a prosperous age, while beautifully tended parks and gardens present a therapeutic respite from the pace of city life. A very easy city to get around, most things are within walking distance of the centre and a widespread system of trams is ready and waiting to sweep you off your tired feet.
Perhaps the premier ‘pull’ of Victoria, especially where motorcyclists are concerned, is the ‘Great Ocean Road’. Famously regarded as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, words can't adequately describe the wonderful scenery on this 280km stretch of road west of Melbourne. Every motorcyclist should ride this road at least once in their life! It ribbons its way from Torquay in the east along the rugged and beautiful coastline taking in such spectacles as ‘The Twelve Apostles’, ‘London Bridge’ and ‘Loch Ard Gorge’ before finally coming to an end just west of Peterborough. A fantastic ride with something for everyone to enjoy, be it the ride itself, or the fascinating towns and attractions along the way.
One point worth mentioning is that many people think the Great Ocean Road runs all the way to Adelaide, but that's far from the truth. It's 600km from Peterborough to Adelaide and while it's a pleasant ride if you go the right way, it certainly can't be called spectacular. It's for this reason that many people turn north at the western end of the road and head for the Grampians National Park.
The Grampians are a beautiful and contrasting landscape of jagged mountains and cool shaded valleys. Right in the middle of an otherwise topographically unchallenging region of the state the views from lookouts such as Baroka and the Balconies are stunning. MacKenzies Falls should be on your list of 'must sees' and the steep steps to the bottom are well worth the effort. The Grampians has fantastic scenery, winding mountain roads and great camping spots.
Continuing on our typical tour of Victoria I would leave the Grampians riding east. This takes you through the lovely old fashioned towns of the goldfield region. Daylesford and Castlemaine are lovely with friendly bakeries, restaurants and old world charm in abundance. The history of the region is fascinating too.
Keep riding east and you'll gradually climb through the lovely scenery of the foothills and Lake Eildon to the ‘Alpine National Park’. This 646,000 hectare park houses the states highest mountains. A wide range of opportunities present themselves in the region including hiking, four wheel drive tours, fishing and even skiing in the winter months. There are spectacular views at every turn and there are plenty of those as you'd expect of any alpine region. It's a great place to find yourself on a bike!
Riding south along the Great Alpine Road you'll ride past ski resorts with lifts and alpine chalets to match those of Europe. Don't ride this way in Winter by the way! It can be cold on top even in Summer, but in winter it doesn't bear thinking about! As you twist and turn your way down toward the south coast you'll find yourself near the lovely fishing port of Lakes Entrance. It's a nice place to stop for the night with great seafood.
Hugging the coast on the way back to Melbourne, Wilson’s Promontory is the southernmost point of the Australian mainland and affectionately known to Victorians as 'the Prom'. It is arguably the most loved national park in Victoria with its 130km coastline framed by granite headlands, mountains, forests and fern gullies. The area also contains the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria.
Last stop on this whistle stop tour is the Mornington Peninsula. Just 50km south of Melbourne this beautiful area shares rolling countryside with great wineries, the protected beaches of Port Philip Bay on one side and the raging Southern Ocean on the other. There are superb coastal walks along the southern shores and busy small towns to explore on the western side. It's a great final stop before heading back up to the city.
One area I've not dealt with here is northern Victoria, simply because I've not been there yet. I'll leave that area for you to discover on your own!
As I said at the beginning there's a lot of great biking roads, interesting places to visit and amazing scenery packed into Victoria. You could spend a very busy week or easily take three and still fill your time.
Many riders start in Melbourne and ride past most of the areas above before heading up to Sydney and beyond. This is a good plan for a longer longer trip and there's more incredible scenery awaiting you just over the border in New South Wales!