11 December 2016
There are some wonderful drives you can take when visiting Australia, but none better than this. Beginning and ending in the wonderful city of Melbourne, you travel south to the coast and drive along the spectacular Great Ocean Road. Along the way you will see one of the country's best surfing beaches, great seaside towns and natural wonders like the Twelve Apostles and the Cape Otway rainforest.
Collect your car this morning and travel south west from Melbourne on the Princes Highway to Geelong, the largest provincial city in Victoria. From there travel on to Torquay, the surfing capital of Australia, where you find Bells Beach, which featured in the hit film Point Break. Then follow the coast road through Anglesea to Lorne and visit the nearby Erskine Falls. The coastline from Lorne to Apollo Bay has been described as one of the most beautiful and breathtaking drives in the world. Overnight at Apollo Bay.
Leave pretty Apollo Bay this morning and travel along the fabulous Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell. The road does leave the coast and wind through the ferny slopes of Cape Otway, a silent and untouched rainforest area. When the road meets the coast again you see some amazing rock formations including the Twelve Apostles, which are huge stone pillars in the surf, carved by the crashing Southern Ocean waves. Continue to Port Campbell and then Port Fairy a quaint fishing village where you spend the night.
Drive north today to the amazing Grampians National Park with its woodland walks, waterfalls and rock formations. Your journey will take you via Penhurst to Dunkeld, just south of the Grampians. From here a scenic drive leads you through the Grampians National Park to Halls Gap, where highlights include McKenzie Falls, Reids Lookout and the Balconies. The Grampians offer some of the best bush walking, mountain biking, rock climbing and abseiling in Australia.
Just out of Halls Gap is Stawell, home of the Stawell Gift, the richest footrace in the world. In the surrounding areas are some fabulous wineries, such as Montara Estate. Other towns on the way include Ararat and Beaufort. Ballarat is Victoria’s largest inland city. It is famous for being the site of the world’s biggest deposit of alluvial gold, and almost a third of all gold found in the colony was taken from its rich quartz reefs. Sovereign Hill, an exact re-creation of what life was like in the town, is a must visit.
The last day of this memorable tour, so make the most of it. Before leaving Ballarat, a visit to The Ballarat Wildlife Park will bring you back into the present with a close encounter with native fauna. From Ballarat travel via Bacchus Marsh on the return journey into Melbourne. Your hire car has been booked until tomorrow and should be dropped off at the depot before the time it was picked up at the beginning of the tour to avoid additional charges. Then stay on and enjoy more of this great city.
Standard Group B car fr £439pp
Boutique - NO CAR fr £499pp
Superior Group C car fr £546pp
Boutique Group D car fr £648pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated