Here at Melbourne on the Move, we are very proud of the landscape, culture and history we have on our doorstep and we really want to show it off to you. While some of our tours focus more on specific activities or the natural world, some will tell you a little bit more about life in Victoria generations ago. These tours are especially popular with families, but will also be of interest if you just want to find out a little more about the history of our great state.
Those of you who have an interest in the history of Victoria may know that the very earliest evidence of human settlement in Australia was found in Keilor (just outside Melbourne) and dates back over 31,000 years. Archeologists estimate that nomadic peoples occupied the area even earlier, possibly up to 40,000 years ago. When you take a day trip to one of our national parks (such as The Grampians) you can easily see why this area, so rich in natural resources, was a great place to fish, hunt, and later, to farm and build towns and cities.
Besides being abundant in fascinating natural and Aboriginal culture, Victoria is perhaps best known for its more recent colonial history. The area is full of stories of pioneering spirit from the 19th and 20th centuries, from the 1850s gold rush to the construction of the Great Ocean Road after WW1. Put yourself in the shoes of one of the the old-time inhabitants of Victoria by taking a bus tour to one of the historical sites we have on offer.
Puffing Billy – Half Day Tour
This beautiful little steam train runs along Australia’s oldest preserved railway. Constructed in the 1900s as part of an experimental expansion into rural areas, the 2’-6” (762 mm) gauge still navigates the same route today. The operation of the railway is maintained by a large group of enthusiastic volunteers, and they will be sure to answer any questions you have about the train or the area. This is one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions, and you will see why when you get a little taste of the pace of 1900s life and travel by riding this historic train through the stunning Dandenong Ranges.
Ballarat and Sovereign Hill – Day Tour
Sovereign Hill is a recreated gold-rush town located on one of Australia’s most prosperous gold fields. The staff are all dressed in Victorian costume and remain in character as locals of the era to give you a flavour of what it might have been like to live 150 years ago in a gold-rush town. You can also take part in activities such as panning for gold for a really immersive historical experience.
Great Ocean Road Day Tour
You are bound to feel like an explorer travelling along the world-famous Great Ocean Road. The road was started in 1918 to provide employment for young men returning from fighting in the first world war. Though it may seem hard to believe now, it was almost impossible to travel by road along the southern coast back then, and traders had to move their supplies by sea or rough coach track. Famed for its shipwrecks, this particular bit of coast was extremely dangerous. Along our Great Ocean Road day tour, you will see some of Australia’s most famous shipwreck sites.