The Best time to Visit Victoria
Victoria and Melbourne by season
Despite being approximately the same size as the United Kingdom, Victoria has a surprisingly varied climate, ranging from semi-arid in the north to temperate along the coast, producing hot to mild summers and cool winters, with a good amount of rain to keep the land looking green and lush. And the good news is: you can visit any time of year, depending on your interests. Here are our seasonal suggestions.
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September - November
As it warms, the flowers bloom and the Victoria countryside comes alive with colour. Great Otway National Park’s waterfalls gush with water and its forests are at their lushest. The Yarra Valley too, turns vibrant shades of green and the Dandenong Ranges fill with wildflowers. This is a great time to get outside, hike the pathways and drive the Great Ocean Road in the sunshine.
Melbourne Cup: held in Flemington, the highlight of the horse racing calendar is a raucous affair involving a carnival, flamboyant hats and a seemingly endless supply of Champagne.
Melbourne Festival: a major arts event held in October, Melbourne Festival celebrates dance, theatre, music and visual art in various locations across the city.
December - February
Summer in Victoria is hot and dry with cooling breezes along the coast and in Melbourne. With temperatures averaging at 25°C, this is peak Great Ocean Road time, with all warm-weather activities in full swing. Hit the beaches and get swimming, surfing and sunbathing, but book early – it gets busy.
Lorne Pier to Pub: head to Lorne on the Great Ocean Road in January for this quirky swimming race from the town’s pier to the Lorne Pub. Around 4,000 competitors take part.
Australian Open Tennis: held in the last two weeks of January at Melbourne Park, come to see the world’s greatest tennis players battle it out for the coveted Grand Slam title.
March - May
Autumn is a lovely time to go to Melbourne, which boasts about its famous blend of fashion, festivals, food and flowers at this time of year. To see the autumn foliage at its best, try the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and the Yarra Valley, or follow the hiking trails in the Grampians, still very pleasant in the autumn months as the temperatures hit up to 20°C.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: in late March and early April, come to Melbourne and taste the state’s best food and wine, and perhaps join a cookery masterclass.
Formula One Australian Grand Prix: in March, book your tickets and head down to Melbourne’s Grand Prix Circuit for two hours of speedy driving and hi-tech cars.
June - August
Temperatures may be lower, but winter is a lovely time to drive the Great Ocean Road without the summer crowds and traffic. The Bass Strait is at its most dramatic too, so bring your camera and photograph those crashing waves and moody seas. With temperatures dropping to 6 or 7°C, don’t forget to wrap up and perhaps warm up with a glass of rouge in the Yarra Valley’s wineries.
Whale watching: winter is peak whale migration time along Victoria’s coastline, so look out for passing humpbacks, southern right and killer whales.
Winter Blues Festival: on the last weekend of July, join the musicians for various blues performances at over 30 venues across Echuca Moama, and banish those winter blues.