Dear Victoria, I’m Sorry! You’re a great road trip destination

Dear Victoria,

I’m sorry.

My hands are outreached with humility and love.

I want to take back the way I’ve ignored you and dismissed you as just that boring south east corner of our Great Southern Land.

“Pffft. Victoria – are you kidding! Why would I want to go there?”

Oh my, the stupid ways we judge. Never mind I’ve only been to the Great Ocean Road for like 5 minutes previously and scarcely even got to know Melbourne.

I feel bad for giving my Victorian friend Mick heaps of stick when we lived as expats in Raleigh, North Carolina. He tried to tell me his home state was the bomb, but I just gave him the old whatever eye roll.

It’s not my fault Victoria. I’ve never been inspired to visit your state because I’ve not really heard anything about it, only the Great Ocean Road.

Why would I want to visit a state just to see a couple of rocks jutting out from the ocean?

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria - Australia
12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road,

I need more.

I need adventure, and beaches, and mountains, and food, and wine, and festivals and sport and fun people.

Sure there’s the AFL (Australian Football League) and when I think of it, it is a pretty exciting game, and I do like it way more than I do rugby league. (Hmmm, cut looking men in tight shorts anyone?)

My favourite AFL matches have always been when the Sydney Swannies have won the Grand Final because you know, NSW is so good at being the best.

We’ve always had so much more to offer in NSW than Victoria…my fingers linger over the keyboard trying not to type the words, but does it?

And with those 3 words I think I have been kicked out of NSW with the words traitor etched across my forehead. I can’t help it. Victoria you are just so good.

An undiscovered, under marketed, secret of Australia.

When planning our Aussie road trip last year we pencilled in 1 month in Victoria. “That’s all we’ll need. I just want to skip through the state so we can get to the good stuff.”

3 months later we’re still here.

I arrived and my soul said, Don’t move. Just stay awhile and savour what Victoria has.

It’s been gentle, soul serving and uplifting, filled with memorable moments and beautiful people. After a month of slammed travel in Tasmania, we needed to recover, Victoria became our Epsom salts.

Victoria has Bright

It started with Bright – oh how I love Bright, my little alpine slice of heaven.

OVens River Bright, Victoria, Australia
Ovens River, Bright

Bright gives love its concrete form and I just want to bathe in it.

Kalyra and I don’t stop sharing the memories. She wants to live there. Although she is torn with a city that captured her heart.

Victoria, you convinced me, Melbourne is Australia’s best city

“I love Melbourne Mummy.” She’d clap with glee every time she saw the skyline loom in the distance on yet another of our pit stops there.

Sydney and Melbourne have long vied for title of best city in Australia. While there’s no denying that Sydney easily wins all beauty categories – on a stunning and global scale – Melbourne owns the urban soul of Australia.

It digs deep to offer a more personable and cultural experience to make up for what it lacks in looks. I fell in love with each new suburb and cafe we found hidden deep in laneways or in convent gardens.

We explored by foot, by tram and by bikes, Kalyra even breaking all 6-year-old dare devil limits to cycle down Swanston St.

I even took a shine to your beaches – with sunsets like this how could you not?

Sunset at St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, Australia
St Kilda Beach, Melbourne

Melbourne, you wrapped us up in community. We never felt alone or like we had to pretend to be someone we weren’t.

How can it not be?

The food, the coffee, the shopping, the arts, the festivals, the vibe, the culture, the sports – you didn’t get the Olympics in 2000 but you have the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Tennis Open, the Grand Prix, AND the AFL.

Victoria, your beauty is tucked away in so many corners. Do you hide it there because you want to keep it all to yourself? I’m glad I discovered your secret. And I am sorry, but I’m sharing it.

And whilst your VB sucks, I happily discovered one of my favourite craft beers in Beechworth.

Let’s talk Prom Country, shall we?

WTF?

That’s what I said about Wilsons Promontory when we turned the corner and saw the views: pink, granite boulder cliffs, turquoise waters, white squeaky sand, and dunes and green hills.

Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia
Arriving in Prom Country

WTF?

How have I NEVER heard of you and Squeaky Beach until I crossed the border and every Victorian I met said,

“Prom Country is my favourite part of Victoria, if not Australia.”

The old me scoffed on the inside.

“Poor Victorians, have no idea what a good beach is. It doesn’t take much to excite them. It can’t be that good, I’ve never heard of it.”

You’re so freakin beautiful. You exist in the same purity as the Gods that created you. You’ve only got two competitors so far as best in Australia – Freycinet National Park and Whitehaven Beach. That’s some company you keep.

Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia
Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Prom

It made our best beaches in Australia list and top national parks to visit in Australia.

But I am disappointed Victoria. I’d never heard of Prom Country so we didn’t book ahead. Your popularity meant we could only get 3 days with you at Tidal River. I wanted the romance to last for weeks.

Fairy penguins on Philip Island

Ahh Victoria – I thought I’d be gushing over fairy penguins on Phillip Island, but instead, it was the chilled vibe that captivated me most.

What a weekend getaway you give to those working hard in the city each week. We extended the groove on Phillip Island to a week long stay.

Cowes Beach, Phillip Island, Victoria - Australia
Cowes Beach, Phillip Island

Oh, and I discovered there really is something about Marysville, the Mornington Peninsula and the Bellarine. All within 2 hours drive. More forest and sea beauty and goodness. And we didn’t even get to see the magical Yarra Valley.

Victoria, you’re so compact and give your people so much opportunity for rest and rejuvenation, with good food and wine thrown in.

Once again, Victoria, you surprised us with the gift of a place to rest and a community to embrace us.

The quiet Bellarine

We had no plans to visit the Bellarine Peninsula, but followed the advice of a trusted friend. One week turned to three as we explored Queenscliff, Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.

Once again, it’s an area that can’t compete with the stunning beauty of many towns across the border, but there was a home grown goodness here that stole our hearts.

It rooted us and helped us to rebuild. You opened up a new dimension of ourselves, deepened our bond and brought clarity and renewed strength to continue our journey.

Brunch at Barwon Heads, The Bellarine
Brunch at Barwon Heads, The Bellarine

And what about your people, Victoria?

They come to you with hearts and arms wide open. There’s a softness and warm happiness with Victorians. They don’t have to prove to the world they’re great, they just know it from the inside out and take comfort in that inner peace. They win the award for most passionate and friendly.

Just when I was starting to wane with you, you know because of your weather that is so consistent with being inconsistently awful – and the most annoying flies in Australia (on last count, I’d swallowed 5), you wowed me again with…

The Great Ocean Road.

So much more than just a couple of rocks, yet even those totally floored me with their impressive beauty.

We lingered for 10 days hiking through rainforests, spying on sleeping koalas in gum trees by the roadside, enjoying your beautiful beaches, and exploring the magnificent sculptured coastline.

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria - Australia
At the amazing 12 Apostles – Great Ocean Road

Then we finished Victoria with one of my favourite days of our road trip so far. A 4km round trip hike to the Pinnacles in the Grampians National Park.

The sun came out and warmed our spirits. The girls walked the entire 2.1km uphill path to the peak, surprising me with a strength I did not know they had.

Savannah walked barefoot and Kalyra took on the leadership role to follow the arrows to the top. It was one of those memorable days spent bathed in happiness and beautiful nature.

Grampians National Park, Victoria - Australia
Pinnacles Lookout in The Grampians National Park

It really is time for us to leave now Victoria, we’re heading to warmer pastures.

But you’ve given me so much. You’ve opened my eyes to the depth my country has to offer. Thank you for that. I’m not sure if the other states will embrace and open me like you have, but I’m excited to find out.

You will always have a special place in my heart, Victoria.

Thank you.

Love Caz – and the Makepeace family!

P.S. I hope I’ve made up my rudeness to you by sharing you passionately with the rest of the world.

More Victoria Travel tips

19 thoughts on “Dear Victoria, I’m Sorry! You’re a great road trip destination”

  1. LOve it guys!
    Although Victoria doesnt hold as much of my heart as NSW i do agree with the Great Ocean road – one of the most memorable road trip for me!

  2. Haha, what a beautiful love letter to the fine state of Victoria! I moved here two years ago and still have a love-hate relationship with the place. Although, there’s now a few more things to add on my to-do list after reading your post.

    Thank you for sharing wonderful memories.

    BC

  3. I love this…I dream of travel but as we are in the midst of building a home it is a way off for us at the moment. What you’ve done those is inspire me to take a travelling mindset in my own backyard! Love you’re round up of Victoria! I’m sad to say there a few places I haven’t seen on your list and I’ve lived here my whole life!

  4. Having lived in both Melbourne and Sydney, I have to say I prefer Sydney. There’s something about the huge, chaotic city that calls out to me. It’s not a fair comparison, though, more about personal preference. Apples and oranges. 🙂

  5. I LOVE victoria. We lived in Geelong for 2 years and the beauty that surrounded us was truly amazing. We had melbourne to one side and the most beautiful beaches and scenery to the other. Yes the weather is up and down and the winters are wet and cold, but that’s part of its charm. We moved back home to the UK but Victoria will always be considered part of our home 🙂

    1. I live in Geelong. When Caz and Craig said they were coming down, I warned them that the area surrounding Geelong is good, but the town itself is boring. It is ideally located – Apollo Bay and the surf coast on one side and you are *so* close to Melbourne. I think Victoria has an underrated charm and I think that they only got to explore part of what makes it awesome

  6. Great reflections Caz and a real thought inspiring article. For me Melbourne grows on me each time I visit, Sydney dissipates each time I visit. Melbourne has real character and lots of hidden gems. Yet each time I go to Sydney I stumble across more places which don’t look pretty and feel uncomfortable to be in.

    Yes the harbour views of Sydney are amazing, world class in fact. That along with NRL is the main appeal for me. I’m afraid I disagree with you on the AFL, not quite to my taste and I’ve experienced a few matches.

    I think overall in order my favourites would be Queensland, then Victoria followed by NSW.

    I often feel the marketing budget and perception of Victoria is so understated that it never gets the profile it deserves. Good for you for raising it.

  7. Love it! Victoria is enchanting. I consider myself lucky to have discovered Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road. Would love to go back there!

  8. This post made me so happy but so sad at the same time Caz! 🙂 Happy because I’m so glad you’ve loved Victoria. It does have so much to offer but I think often gets overlooked because Sydney’s so ‘flashy’ and pretty and in your face. Victoria and in particular, Melbourne, has gone this kind of nonchalant feel about it; like it’s not even trying to compete with NSW because it’s quietly just sitting there KNOWING is freakin’ amazing but not screaming about it 🙂

    But, like I said, this post also made me sad because I miss Australia so much. I see what you guys are doing and I just want to go back. I was on the Great Ocean Road when I won your Urban Adventures comp back in 2011 – I listened to you announce my name in a video while I walked around Lorne. I don’t really miss working on a vineyard (waaaay too many snakes for my liking!) but I do miss the way of life over there.

    And, even though, I could probably never choose between Sydney and Melbourne (having lived in both) I do miss how laid back Melbourne is; living in St Kilda was a dream and I miss my apartment by the beach.

    But, onwards and upwards, I’m here in London and have all of my memories from Australia to look back on.

    Like I said, so glad you’ve enjoyed Victoria Caz 🙂

    Beverley

  9. I am not surprised that you loved Victoria. My mate went on a summer-long vacation there, and came back raving about how beautiful it is, and how stunning the beaches, the ocean and the wildlife are. He is also a surfer, and almost made me promise that I am going to visit Victoria one day. I have never heard anything bad about the place, so I might have to go one day.

  10. Welcome to the club! Victoria is amazing – I love it, need to get out there a little more again.. Prom country is the best kept secret..shhh I try and take family there when they visit Australia, it is so special. The Prom country also has an amazing walk for the fit about 3 days I think. You’ve inspired me to visit Bright again as it has years since I’ve been (pre children) I can picture you living in Bright Ms Caz I think ,your daughter is very astute… Enjoy the warmer weather as you head north… (next time add Port Fairy & Malacoota & Croajingolong National Park to your list)

  11. I totally agree with you. I spent the first 22 years of my life in Victoria and couldn’t wait to relocate to sunny Qld. Having spent time travelling around now that I’m in my fifties I can appreciate her bounty. I also loved The Bellarine

  12. We moved from QLD to VIC (Brisbane to Geelong). We discovered how accessible so many great places were. Truly a wonderful discovery. I love the lane ways in Melbourne, but not the hook turns and trams. I prefer to get the train into Melbourne to avoid those.

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