How to Explore Victoria

Victoria, the home of what some would argue is the best pinot noir and coffee in Australia, if not the world, calls on all visitors to explore its vast offering. Explore the cafe, restaurant and bar culture in Melbourne, drive to Daylesford’s luxurious Lake House and, whether it’s via plane, car or walking boots, visit the extraordinary 12 Apostles on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Victoria’s beaches are known for their surf, and water buffs explore the coast to look for a few good waves.

100 Birdwood Ave, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia
When you need a break from all the laneways and urbanscapes, head to the sprawling Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Here, 93 acres of landscaped gardens feature more than 10,000 species of native and exotic flora species. On sunny days, locals tend to gather on the grassy slopes that surround the ornamental lake or jog along The Tan (a nearly 2.5-mile walking track that loops around the gardens and past the striking Shrine of Remembrance). If you’re a first-time visitor, however, be sure to also explore the Australian Forest area, Trig Point Lookout, and the Rockpool Waterway. And families will love the interactive Children’s Garden.
11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
Besides being home to the largest IMAX theater in the world, which plays documentaries in both 2D and 3D, the Natural History Museum’s fauna displays are unique because of Australia‘s location on the globe; extremely large snakes, reptiles, and several varieties of butterflies are abundant and preserved wonderfully in the huge modern space. A complete skeleton of a Blue Whale (pictured) is a showstopper for all visitors. My favorite exhibition detailed the differences between kangaroos, wallabies, and other marsupials. Not to mention all those colorful butterflies. Of course, no visit is complete without a stop into the Bunjilaka, a space for learning about Victoria’s Koorie (southeastern Aboriginal) people. The Museum and the shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except major holidays.
98 Parker St, Dunkeld VIC 3294, Australia
Nestled into the base of Mount Sturgeon, at the southern entrance of Grampians National Park roughly three and a half hours from Melbourne, the Royal Mail Hotel combines a bush experience with world-class food and wine. The property is a slow-paced reprieve at the site where the town of Dunkeld was first settled. Accommodations range from minimalist mountain-view rooms bedecked with furniture and light fixtures by Melbourne designer Jardan to the Mt. Sturgeon sheep station, home to a six-bedroom homestead as well as eight dog-friendly sandstone cottages with bathrooms built inside old water tanks. Gardens play a prominent role in the Royal Mail experience; the hotel has the largest kitchen garden in Australia, which supplies the restaurant with nearly all its organic produce, and a 24-acre private garden is home to many rare indigenous and non-indigenous plants. With the Grampian Mountains and their year-round waterfalls right at the hotel’s back door, the Royal Mail is also a prime base for exploring the wilderness and its native wildlife. After a day in the woods, guests can indulge in an eight-course tasting menu with matched wines from one of the top-ranked cellars in the world.
178 Faraday St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
The stunning Baker D. Chirico does some of the best bread in Melbourne. This place is all about quality, premium bread, and that means high prices. But with those prices and at that standard, it comes with a pretty stunning design and store fit out. Unlike the other Daniel Chirico store in St Kilda, this store has no coffee machine, deli or other distractions. Wonderful curving wood infuse light and warmth into the space, and one wall is pared back to its rustic stone and scratchy paint. Black and white floor tiles are reflected in the packaging. The store, the building and the various packaging designs were a collaboration between FOD, architects March Studio, artist and fashion designers PAM and Daniel Chirico, the stellar artisan bread maker. According to team that worked on the project, there was a focus on “the juxtaposition between age-old tradition and craft, and contemporary design thinking with a surreal twist”, the store creates a unique, welcoming and inspiring experience. Even if design isn’t your thing, it’s worth picking up a loaf or two here.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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