18 January 2017
There are roads all over the world that run alongside the ocean . . . but there is only one Great Ocean Road. On this week long self drive tour you will hug the spectacular coastline between the lovely cities of Melbourne and Adelaide, see world famous surf beaches and all the time will be surrounded by beautiful scenery. Along the route you will stop at fascinating historic towns, see the majestic Twelve Apostles rock formations, have the chance to go whale watching and visit some of Australia's finest wineries.
Pick up your rental car at the airport or downtown and head out of Melbourne towards Ballarat, the main centre of the Victorian Central Highlands. Gold was first discovered in the Ballarat area in 1851 and it is here that the world’s second biggest nugget was found during the old gold rush days. Visit the Sovereign Hills Quarts Mining Site where staff dress in period costume. Other attractions include the Gold Museum and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. Overnight in Ballarat
Leave Ballarat and travel to Geelong , where you join the Surfcoast Highway to the pretty coastal resort town of Torquay. Here you join the Great Ocean Road. Shortly after Torquay, you should make a short detour to the coast to enjoy magnificent views over Bells Beach, one of Australia 's leading surfing spots. Then drive past the scenic coastal resort towns of Anglesea and Lorne to arrive at Apollo Bay. The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia 's most spectacular drives and perhaps one of the world's most scenic. The road hugs the coastline for much of the route, revealing lovely coastal scenery, as well as the inland splendour of the Otway Ranges.
Depart Apollo Bay via Port Campbell, Peterborough and Warrnambool along the Great Ocean Road to arrive at Port Fairy. Along the way make time to visit the Otway National Park, and Cape Otway. Port Campbell is near the major attractions of the Great Ocean Road and is a small cray fishing village. A must for visitors is the Port Campbell National Park and the best known features are the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge and this is a great area for whale watching. Port Fairy is a delightful little fishing port and seaside resort at the mouth of the Moyne River.
Today you drive to Portland, then travel north up to Heywood then via Dartmoor to Mount Gambier. Portland is a busy deep-water port and the oldest permanent settlement in Victoria . To the southwest are the spectacular seascapes of Cape Nelson and the blowholes and petrified forest of Cape Bridgewater. When you reach Mount Gambier you will be on the slopes of an extinct volcano. The area has two famous attractions, the Blue Lake and the Cave in the centre of the city.
Today you drive along the Princes Highway to the town of Millicent where you can visit the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park. Drive on to Beachport which was first settled as a whaling station in the 1830's but is now a quiet seaside town involved in the lobster and fishing industries. Travel on to Robe where you can visit the interesting museums and historic buildings. Here you can also take a trip to Little Dip Conservation Park. Overnight in Robe
Leave Robe and travel through the towns of Kingston, Murray Bridge and Strathalbyn. Continue past the towns of Goolwa and Port Elliot leaving time to explore some of them. Victor Harbour is a delightful coastal resort, and the largest of the towns on Horseshoe Bay. It was an old whaling base and much of its early history is preserved at Whalers Haven Colony Museum. An old horse tram runs out to Granite Island, which has colonies of wallabies and fairy penguins. One of the best known landmarks is Rosetta Bluff, a natural rock formation, which dominates the skyline.
The tour ends today, but there is still plenty to see and do. Visit the famous Hardy and Seaview wineries at McLaren Vale in the heart of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s wine coast in the rolling plains at the foot of the Mt. Lofty Ranges. Dotted among the vineyards are orchards of olives, almonds, avocados, stone fruits and berries, all of which grow well in this temperate region. Hahndorf is a historic German village situated in the delightful Adelaide Hills and boasts many art and craft shops making it ideal for some last minute bargain hunting. The return your car when you arrive in Adelaide.
Standard Rate fr £524pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated