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7 Victorian versions of these famous Australian destinations

Can't go to the Great Barrier Reef right now? Victoria has its own marine park you can visit

Written by
Saakshi Gupta
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Please check with Parks Victoria about park openings before heading out.

Does this sound familiar? You’ve been itching to visit some of Australia’s famous destinations (like the Great Barrier Reef, Wineglass Bay or the Daintree) for some time now but something always gets in the way of planning that trip. But did you know you can actually get a taste of the best Australia has to offer right here in Victoria? Victoria has many natural wonders and we’ve found some quite similar to their famous interstate counterparts to satisfy your travel-hungry soul.

1. Want to get lost in the Daintree Rainforest? Try walking around Great Otway National Park.

Daintree Rainforest in Queensland and Melba Gully in Victoria
(L): Daintree Rainforest, QLD. (R): Melba Gully, Great Otway National Park, VIC.
Photograph: FNG Nature Tours & Visit Victoria

Sure, the Great Otway National Park isn’t a World Heritage-listed site but you can still experience the cool lush greenery of rainforests there. You can find Melba Gully, one of the wettest places in Victoria, deep within the national park and walk through surrounded by a dense cover of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Tree-fern.

2. Want to go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef? Head over to Port Phillip Heads.

Great Barrier Reef and Port Phillip Heads in Victoria
(L): Great Barrier Reef, QLD. (R): Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park, VIC.
Photograph: Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree & Park Victoria

The Great Barrier Reef is an iconic Australian beauty, but little did you know that Victoria has its own breathtaking alternative to it. You can head on over to Melbourne’s very own marine-protected areas found at the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park and go snorkelling, diving or sea kayaking to see the amazing colour and diversity usually found at tropical coral reefs right here in Victoria.

3. Is your Instagram missing Lake Eyre? Capture Lake Tyrell instead.

Lake Eyre and Lake Tyrell
(L): Lake Eyre, SA. (R): Lake Tyrell, Lake Tyrell Wildlife Reserve, VIC.
Photograph: South Australian Tourism Commission & Parks Victoria

Lake Tyrell, spread over 20,000 hectares, is just as impressive as South Australia's Lake Eyre. Tyrell is the largest inland salt lake in Victoria and you might be able to catch it in its dreamy fairy-floss coloured version when microalgae release red pigment into the water. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets and star-filled night skies make it an even more stunning sight to behold. You can plan a visit to Lake Tyrell during warm and wet periods when shallow water covers the usually dry lake.

4. Byron Bay Lighthouse too far? Visit Cape Otway Lighthouse.

Cape Byron Lighthouse and Cape Otway Lighthouse
(L): Cape Otway Lighthouse, Great Otway National Park. (R): Cape Byron Lighthouse, NSW.Photograph: Tourism Australia & Parks Victoria

While the Cape Byron Lighthouse occupies the mainland’s most easterly point, Cape Otway Lighthouse occupies the position as Victoria’s oldest lighthouse. This 170-year-old structure can be found in the Great Otway National Park, perched on cliffs 90 meters above where the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean collide. You can go on a history tour at the light station precinct which has one of the earliest telegraph stations, a World War II radar bunker, heritage buildings, historical artefacts and an Aboriginal meeting hut.

5. A visit to sandy Fraser Island not possible? Give Discovery Bay Coastal Park a try.

Fraser Island and Discovery Bay Coastal Park
(L): Fraser Island, QLD. (R): Discovery Bay Coastal Park, VIC.
Photograph: Tourism Australia & Visit Victoria

The Discovery Bay Coastal Park might not be quite as vast as Fraser Island (the world’s largest sand island) but it still boasts a huge collection of rolling sand dunes within 55 kilometres of ocean beach. Access to enormous dunes is limited but you can find picturesque views from the track from Swan Lake camp and the nearby section of the Great South West Walk. Take care if you go for a walk in the dunes so as not to become disoriented.

6. Is Wineglass Bay on your bucket list? Visit the bays of Wilson's Promontory.

Wineglass Bay and Wilson's Promontory
(L): Wineglass Bay, TAS. (R): Wilsons Promontory National Park, VIC.
Photograph: Tourism Australia & Visit Victoria

You might not be able to go to Tasmania’s Wineglass Bay, but you can bless your Instagram feed with the striking bays of Wilsons Promontory National Park. Whisky Bay, Picnic Bay, Little Waterloo Bay and Norman Bay are all perfect places for a relaxing visit with their sandy beaches backed by huge granite mountains, rainforests and native animals.

7. Keen to visit Wave Rock? Try Organ Pipes.

Wave Rock and Organ Pipes National Park
(L): Wave Rock, WA. (R): Organ Pipes National Park, VIC.
Photograph: Creative Commons & Parks Victoria

You don’t need to create a whole travel itinerary to visit Wave Rock in Western Australia. Instead, you can travel just 20 kilometres outside Melbourne to go to Organ Pipes National Park. The national park houses a different type of rock formation – a grand 70-metre rock wave-shaped by a series of basalt columns that came into being due to the violent forces of molten lava about a million years ago.

Here are more surreal looking places you wouldn’t expect to be in Victoria.

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