Difference between revisions of "Victoria (state)"
Revision as of 06:21, 14 February 2013
Victoria  is the southernmost of the eastern mainland states of Australia. The state is roughly triangular in shape. New South Wales lies to the north/north-east, with the Murray River forming most of the boundary between the two states. South Australia lies to the west and the southern coast forms the other side of the triangle. Melbourne, the state capital and largest city, is nestled on Port Phillip Bay in the centre of the southern coast.
Cities and Towns
Standard time is 10 hours ahead of GMT and summer time (from the first Sunday of October to the first Sunday of April) is 11 hours ahead.
Victoria has good cross border road connections into its neighbouring states. The main routes from the north are the Princes Highway following the coast and entering the state near Genoa, the Hume Highway from Sydney entering the state at Wodonga, the Newell Highway entering the state near Shepparton and being the main route from Brisbane, and the Sturt and Silver City Highways entering at Mildura. From the west, the Princes Highway is again the coastal route, and the Western Highway the more direct route.
By train and bus
Interstate trains run between Melbourne and Adelaide (the Overland, three times weekly in each direction), and between Melbourne and Sydney (Countrylink, twice per day every day), stopping at intermediate stops along the way. The Melbourne-Sydney train connects with a bus to complete the leg to Canberra. V/Line, Greyhound Australia and other operators also run interstate buses along various routes.
Melbourne is the main entry point to Victoria by air and has direct flights to all Australian capital cities, and many international destinations. It is serviced by two main airports. Tullamarine is the main airport, facilitating both domestic and international travellers and is situated approximately 24 kilometres north-west of the city centre. Avalon is the other major airport and is located approximately 57 kilometres south-west of the centre and 23 kilometres north-east of Geelong, Victoria's second largest city. Avalon is domestic only and caters exclusively for the budget airlines. Both airports are serviced via bus. Tullamarine is notoriously expensive for car parking, especially short-term.
Victoria is serviced regularly by one boat route, which travels between Victoria and the island state of Tasmania. The Spirit of Tasmania arrives daily (twice daily during peak season) at Station Pier in the inner-city suburb of Port Melbourne, approximately 6 kilometres south-west of the city centre. There is a regular light-rail service between the pier and city centre. To encourage tourism, the Tasmanian state government subsidises fares and it can be a relatively inexpensive way to get to Victoria, especially if you are taking a vehicle. If travelling without a vehicle, it is usually cheaper and more convenient to arrive by air. The boat offers deck travel or for a higher price cabins are available. Most people travel by boat overnight, with it being an approximately 10 hour trip.
Melbourne has an integrated bus, tram and train network, described at the Metlink website.
Touring Victoria by car is a straightforward and practical way of seeing the state. Distances between towns tend not to be as great as in other states, and it is unusual to drive for more than a short while without passing through a small town unless in the Victorian Alps or in far north-western Victoria.
Victoria has the most developed road network of any state of Australia, and most towns are accessible without using dirt or gravel roads. Roads are indicated as motorways, A, B or C roads, but in general there is no need to avoid a C road if it clearly provides the quickest trip to where you want to go.
Victoria has the most comprehensive rail passenger service in Australia. The state's passenger rail service, V/Line provides rail services within the state. Connecting V/Line coach (i.e. bus) services extend to some towns that passenger trains no longer service.
V/Line train services operate in five regions:
Train services between Melbourne and each of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon run very frequently, usually hourly during weekdays and slightly less frequently on week-ends and on weekday evenings. Train services beyond these cities are more infrequent, between one service and four services in each direction per day.
The train service to Adelaide, The Overland, now accepts travellers to destinations within Victoria. This enables travellers to go by rail to towns in western Victoria beyond Ararat such as Stawell, Nhill and Dimboola.
Travellers can also take the CountryLink XPT train to Sydney twice a day, and this train stops at intermediate stations including within Victoria.
Outside of the rail corridors V/Line runs coach services to some towns. These often extend from train stations in towns with rail services.
Many other larger towns have local bus services servicing their suburbs or outlying towns. See the local guides.
Victoria has a number of rail trails, some of which can be reached by towns which have rail services. Bus coaches will sometimes take bikes if space is available in their storage areas.
Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road. The Alpine Regions of Beechworth and Bright. The Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island penguins. Puffing Billy, the villages and forests of the Dandenong Ranges, on the eastern fringe of Melbourne.