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Lake Tyrrell, Sea Lake, Victoria
Photograph: Parks Victoria

10 things you probably didn't know about Victoria’s natural wonders

Learn the startling number of shipwrecks there are along Shipwreck Coast and how the 1000 Steps walking trail got its name

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Written by
Adena Maier
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Despite being one of Australia's smallest states, Victoria has no shortage of beautiful natural wonders like waterfalls, rock formations, temperate rainforests and more. It stands to reason that these places that have been around for millions of years are chock full of fun historical facts. Learn how the 1,000 Steps walking trail got its name or about the Tom and Eva Lookout which is essentially a relic of Victorian-era fanfiction based on shipwreck survivors. 

If you want a challenge, test your knowledge with this quiz on Victoria's natural landmarks.

1. When television arrived in Melbourne in 1956, the very first transmission mast was built at the top of Mt Dandenong. It happened just in time for locals to watch the very first Australian Olympics held right here in Melbourne. 

2. While it’s called the Twelve Apostles, there are actually only seven magnificent stony structures standing down on the southwest coast of Victoria. There was an eighth, but it succumbed to erosion in 2005

3. In 1878, there were only two sole survivors of a tragic shipwreck along what is now the Great Ocean Road. The survivors were teenagers Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael who became famous after the shipwreck and many hoped they would marry. While this didn’t happen, the spot where you can see two rock pillars along the coast, known as the Loch Ard Gorge, is often called the Tom and Eva Lookout in honour of the two. 

4. The unusual rock formation known as Hanging Rock is one of the world’s best examples of a mamelon or volcanic plug, which is what forms when stiff magma oozes out and hardens within the vent of an active volcano. 

5. There are at least 638 known shipwrecks laying on the ocean floor of the aptly named Shipwreck Coast along Great Ocean Road. 

6. The famous Warburton Redwood forest actually started as a softwood logging experiment in the 1930s but because of the great fertile soil and plentiful water supply these trees ended up growing rapidly and becoming a mainstay of the area. 

7. Have you ever wondered how the 1,000 Steps walking trail in the Dandenong Ranges got its name? In World War II, Australian servicemen fighting in the Kokoda Track campaign in Papua New Guinea had to walk single-file through a rugged and steep trail known as the Kokoda Track. Some veterans noticed a similarity between that track and the Dandenong Ranges track and this led to the placement of several memorial plaques along the steps as a reminder of what the soldiers endured. 

8. Budj Bim is the only Australian UNESCO World Heritage property listed exclusively for its Aboriginal cultural values. It’s one of the earliest examples of aquaculture in the world and the local Gunditjmara people used the volcanic rock to create manmade ponds and dams, construct fish traps and manage water flows from nearby Lake Condah. 

9. In 1990, tourists Kelli Harrison and David Darrington were taking in the view from the London Bridge rock formation along great Ocean Road when part of the bridge suddenly collapsed into the ocean. They were cut off from the mainland and left stranded for two hours before a helicopter could come and save them. After this disaster, the London Bridge became known as the London Arch.

10. Lake Tyrell, located in the state's northwest, is Victoria’s largest inland salt lake. During the darker and wet winter months, the surface of the pooling water turns into a sort of sky mirror, reflecting the vast cosmos above. This is likely where it gets its name since ‘Tyrrell’ or ‘direl’ is the Boorong word for night sky or space.

RECOMMENDED: 35 incredible facts about Melbourne that you probably didn't know.

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