Victoria is blessed with sweeping coastlines, pristine beaches, national parks and forests teeming with wildlife, lakes and mountains offering skiing, climbing and hiking. Grand nineteenth-century architecture and elegant gardens are a reminder of Victoria's 'Gold Rush' past, while Aboriginal cultural landmarks and landscapes continue to connect Indigenous Australians with a living cultural heritage dating back more than 60,000 years.
On 1 July 1851, independence of Victoria from New South Wales was established proclaiming a new Colony of Victoria. Just a few days later gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria and triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power and within ten years the population of Victoria increased from 76,000 to 540,000. Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, especially from Ireland and China. Many Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs.
Western Victoria's most famous natural attraction are the 12 apostels along the Great Ocean Road. It is without a doubt one of the most scenic drives in Australia, but the region has many more natural wonders on offer, such as the stunning Grampians or Otway national parks. Combined with the historical gold mining towns of Ballarat, Bendigo and others, as well as plenty of outdoor activities, visitors can expect to experience a great and diverse holiday in Western Victoria.