AREA: 227,010 sq. km.
POPULATION: 5,200,000 (2009)
CAPITAL: Melbourne (3,806,000)
CLIMATE: Highest temp. 40-50° C (north-west) to -12.8°C at Mt. Hotham (Ski Resort) in the Victorian Alps.
High rainfall with extremes of heat in summer in the western and north western regions. Melbourne is reknown for having 4 season in the one day but generally is very cold in winter and can be very hot - but dry in the summer.
Founded by John Pascoe Fawkner and John Batman (it’s quite a story!) Melbourne was first settled around 1835. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state with only 1200 miles of coastline. Victoria is also known as the 'Garden State', a reference to its beautiful gardens, rolling green hills (in winter - in summer they are rolling brown hills!) and valleys which make up the majority of the state, resembling in no small way England’s “Green and pleasant land” description.
Among the major attractions of the state is The Grampians National Park, west of Melbourne. This beautiful area offers walking trails, spectacular lookouts and lake swimming and fishing. South-east of Melbourne, Phillip Island is a wonderful place to observe the nightly procession of penguins returning to their nests after a days activities.
North East Victoria, near the High Country of the Victorian Alps is Ned Kelly Country and where I grew up as a young boy. You can watch the video (& poem) here for ‘The Man from Snowy River’, Banjo Patterson’s epic poem about a legendary horseman also from the High Country. The Alps are Australia’s winter playground and offer great winter sports and hiking and fishing in the summer.
The capital of Victoria, Melbourne, deservedly enjoys the reputation of being Australia's (and one of the world’s) cultural and restaurant capitals, and this is also reflected in the many live theatre shows which abound in the city. Melbourne also is arguably one of the coolest places in the world to shop with its fashion and couture labels and fashion boutiques. Also recognised as the home to Aussie Rules, the (I’m biased) greatest football game in the world! Go the Pies!
Here’s some more info on Victoria: