Lively culture, overwhelming nature - Victoria, with its area of almost 228,000 square kilometers, is the second-oldest, second-smallest, and yet most varied of all Australia’s states.
About 4.5 million people live here. Victoria has it all: rugged rocky coasts and broad sandy beaches for surfers, swamps as well as lovely green agricultural areas, snow-covered mountains and vast deserts. Unlike its neighbor New South Wales, Victoria was not a British penal colony. It was founded by free settlers and named for Britain’s Queen Victoria. The first European immigrants settled near what is now Melbourne in 1835. In 1850, gold was discovered in Victoria. Tens of thousands of people from around the world streamed into Melbourne to find their fortunes in the nearby goldfields. Today’s prosperous city grew out of that conglomeration of tents and huts.