[Australia] area: 227,600 sq km
population: 4,476,100 people (1995)
density of population: 19.67 people per sq km
Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state - it's also the most densely populated and the most industrialised, and features some of the most diverse landscapes and some of the most impressive national parks.
Melbourne, as Australia's second-largest city, is one of the states prime attractions and lays claim to being the fashion, food and cultural capital of Australia. For years it was also considered to be Australia's financial and business capital, but it now shares that role with Sydney.
The Great Ocean Road, which runs southwest from Geelong towards South Australia, has some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world.
To the south-east of the capital is Phillip Island with its nightly penguin parade, and for those who are interested in motorcycle racing: Phillip Island has one of the worlds best race tracks which hosts the annual World-Championship races for the GP- and SB-classes.
The Murray River region has many historic river towns, including Swan Hill and Echuca. For most of the length of the border between NSW and VIC, the mighty Murray River forms the actual boundary.
Statistically, the weather in VIC and Melbourne is not too bad; average temperatures in summer or winter is only a few degrees less than Sydney's and Melbourne is certainly far less humid than Sydney or Brisbane. The trouble with Melbourne's climate is that it's totally unpredictable; hence the old joke that if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute. Melbourne does have four distinct seasons, although sometimes it seems like they all come on the same day. A good guiding principle is to expect the unexpected.
source: lonely planet travel survival kit, Australia


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