In sports-mad Melbourne you can watch the Formula One Grand Prix every March “ run in the scenic Albert Park  or cricket or soccer at the 98,000-seater MCG. The Australian Open brings the world's premier tennis players to the city's Rod Laver Arena every January, while the Melbourne Rebels represent rugby union in the Super 15 and Storm play NRL.


Don't ever think of leaving Victoria without experiencing footy! Non-stop AFL is the biggest sport in the region by far, with crowds for the Grand Finals among the highest for any sporting event in the world.


Melbourne has a concentration of clubs in the national League - including Essendon, Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and St Kilda. But one of the most successful is nearly 100km west in Geelong, where the Cats enjoy the longest unbroken sports sponsorship in the world in their partnership with Ford.


CULTURAL CORNERWaterfall in Victoria


In quieter vein, Melbourne boasts the state's National Gallery, essentially two galleries joined together in a single precinct. Major international exhibitions include the highly successful show of Monets.


Close by are the Ian Potter Centre and the Arts Centre, two more buildings with impressive collections.


Meanwhile, outside the capital in Bendigo, there is an art gallery that is one of the oldest and best stocked in Australia. It displays a fine and distinctive collection of 19th century European works alongside Australian art from 1800 onwards, and there are frequent special events.




Melbourne is magic for music, with everything from the city's Symphony Orchestra at its summer programmes of classics outdoors at the Myer Music Bowl to the sounds of the clubs of St Kilda, Windsor and Prahran “ jazz and soul, indie and funk  you'll hear everything in these southern suburbs. In New Brunswick and Northcote there's all the folk and country music you'll need, while international top pop names grace the Docklands arena.




There's a popular ferry (for foot passengers and cars) that runs between Queenscliff and Sorrento at the end of the beautiful beaches of the Mornington Peninsula. It's a breezy 40-minute trip across a fascinating stretch of some of the most dangerous water in the world “ the Rip. People come from all over just to watch the waters roil and boil. No swimming!




If you are in the north of the state, the high country of the Alpine region is great for winter skiing, especially in the foothills of Mount Bogong, the state's highest mountain at 1,986m. Falls Creek, home to Australia's first ski-lift, is the largest ski resort. In summer, the region is famed for its breathtaking scenery and endless walking trails.


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