Victoria occupies the south east corner of the continent between latitudes 34 and 39 south and longitudes 141 and 150 east. It covers 227 600 km2 - which is about the same area as England, Wales and Scotland; three-fifths of Japan and slightly larger than the US State of Utah.
About 36 per cent of Victoria is covered by forest with the major forest belt in the east. The highest peaks are Mt Bogong (1986 m) and Mt Feathertop (1922m).
Victoria's 1800 km coastline borders on Bass Strait, which separates the mainland from Tasmania, and in the west on the Southern Ocean. It's a generally rugged coastline but includes many wide sandy beaches and three large, almost fully enclosed harbours. Melbourne and Geelong are on the shores of the most important of these harbours, Port Phillip Bay.
Temperatures vary widely but most of the State falls within the warm, temperate belt of the south-east corner of Australia, characterised by warm and dry summers and cool to mild, wet, winters.
Daily summer temperatures range from 14° to 23° C in the coastal areas, 11° to 20° C in the mountains and 16° to 31° C inland. In winter, temperatures range from 7° C to 14° C in coastal areas, 0° C to 5° C in the mountains and 5° C to 16° C inland. Snow settles on the Australian Alps in the north-east of Victoria from June to September.
Rainfall is heaviest in the eastern highlands, in Gippsland in the east of the State and in the Otway Ranges in western Victoria. Some areas receive annual rainfalls of more than 1000 mm. Lowest falls are in the Mallee region, where the average is 327 mm. Melbourne's average rainfall is about 660 mm a year.
Located in the Port Phillip area of Victoria, the Mornington Peninsula region enjoys a 'maritime' climate, with the wind blowing from either the north and west across Port Phillip Bay or from the south and east across Bass Strait.
The region enjoys relatively high humidity and sunshine hours with plentiful rainfall during winter and spring. The Peninsula's summer heat is generally maintained through till March, only starting to decline during April, often providing 'Indian summer' conditions. Below the gently undulating hills and open landscape are four principal soil types. Hard mottled yellow duplex soils with a very distinct break marked by a thin, acid cement/sand pan between the surface soil and the underlying friable, well-drained clay are to be found in the Dromana area. Very deep and fertile red soils of volcanic origin (kraznozems) predominate around Red Hill and Main Ridge. Brown duplex soils can be found in the Merricks area and much sandier soils are in evidence at Moorooduc.
The North East region benefits from a warm climate, slightly cooler in January, the soil is well-drained, fertile, deep red clay and loamy clay, ideal conditions for raising thoroughbreds.
This region benefits from an easterly aspect which ensures good exposure to the sun whilst the prevailing cool south to south-east winds, that blow throughout the period from October to March, moderate the impact of the afternoon heat in summer. Summer temperatures are two to three degrees lower than nearby Bendigo. Rainfall is surprisingly evenly spread during the year and spring frost is seldom a problem. The slopes of the Mt Camel Range offer deep red clay-loam soil and with fine structure overlying uniformly textured red calcareous sodic clay soils, known as Cambrian Greenstones and, in their local manifestation, as the Heathcote Greenstone Belt.
The Murray Darling is a vast region stretching from North West Victoria to Western New South Wales. The climate throughout this large region, which covers more than 350 kilometres, is hot, with long sunshine hours, low humidity and little season rainfall - making agricultural irrigation a necessity. The soil is unique to the Murray River system and is known technically as calcareous earth. It ranges from brown to red-brown loamy sand, sandy loam or loam. The surface is neutral to moderately alkaline with increasing alkalinity at depth as textures become more clayey and calcareous. Generally, the soil supports vigorous growth.