3 DAY GREAT OCEAN ROAD AND GRAMPIANS
- Duration: 3 Days (approx.)
- Product code: NAT5
Our guests on this small group tour are picked up from their city hotel or Federation Square and we quickly depart Melbourne via the West Gate Bridge. We travel through the vast volcanic plains on route to Geelong where you have time to stroll along the beautifully transformed waterfront. We start our journey along the Great Ocean Road at Torquay, stopping at various places along the coast including Bells Beach and our scenic morning tea location.
Our focus then turns to Australian native wildlife as we observe Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the wild. This is one of many opportunities to see and hear about our unique and unusual animals in their native habitat. Our journey then begins travelling the very scenic, cliff-hugging section of the Great Ocean Road. While winding our way along we stop to view sites such as the ‘Memorial Arch’ and tell you of the intriguing story of this incredible road. Lorne is the largest of the seaside resorts, with its abundance of cafes and restaurants it is a perfect place for a lunch break. You may even find time to have a swim or do some shopping.
After lunch we cruise along the spectacular road, stopping at many scenic spots including Kennett River where we can see koalas and many colourful native birds in the wild. Travelling through Apollo Bay we go into the Great Otway National Park. We take you on a 1km guided walk through a cool temperate rainforest gully to see the world’s tallest flowering plants, prehistoric trees and ferns and unique features such as ‘Yabbie Chimneys’.
We visit Apollo Bay before checking in to ‘Beacon Point Ocean View Villas’. Your private self contained villa is set high on a hill overlooking the Southern Ocean. This amazing setting is a great place to relax and unwind for a couple of hours. We have dinner tonight at the famous ‘Chris’ at Beacon Point’, this award winning restaurant with breathtaking views has an modern Greek Australian menu and utilises great local produce.
Our second day starts with breakfast at the ‘locals favourite’ Bay Leaf Cafe. Great coffee, tea and vast breakfast menu make this a perfect way to start another full day. Our journey starts with us travelling through the Otway ranges and onto the ‘Shipwreck Coast’. Our first stop is at Castle Cove overlooking the Aire river valley. Our guide will introduce you to the strong Aboriginal heritage of the region with many tribes living prosperously around the coastline for thousands of years. In the same area millions of years ago when Australia was part of the great southern land, Gondwana, dinosaurs were roaming the land. A unique find along the coast in 1987 uncovered important clues into the world’s pre-historic past.
The 12 Apostles are Icons of Australia’s natural beauty. We arrive as the stacks are lit with the morning sun making them perfect for photos and crowd free. This is a bonus for taking a 2 day trip as the stacks are silhouettes in the afternoon and overcrowded. After hearing of the creation of the stacks and holding some of the Limestone rock you can explore the boardwalks or brave a helicopter flight along the coastline (own expense). We then visit ‘Loch Ard Gorge’, the site of the most famous 19th century Australian shipwreck. We retell the entire story from the calm voyage, the tragic wreck, the courageous survivors and their ultimate fate. While hearing the tale you will be able to see and hold some original artifacts, photos and documents from the ‘Loch Ard’ contained in our treasure chests. Port Campbell is our lunch stop for today. The small fishing village of just 350 is set in a beautiful natural port and has some wonderful cafes and restaurants for food and views.
After lunch we travel to a lesser known but highly impressive area of the Coastline west of Port Campbell. This section includes the limestone formations of London Bridge, Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs and Boat Bay and is seen only be a small percentage of the people travelling the Great Ocean Road. Our journey then continues through to Warrnambool and Port Fairy with a visit to Tower Hill Game Reserve for the chance to see Koalas, Kangaroos and Emus living wild within this extinct volcanic crater.
We then leave the coast and drive north towards the Grampians National Park. Your accommodation is at the foot of Mt Sturgeon staying and eating at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld. This hotel has won many awards for its food and wine including ‘Regional Restaurant of the year 2009’ in Gourmet Traveler Magazine and ‘Country Restaurant of the Year 2009’ by the Age Good Food Guide.
Our third day starts with an incredibly scenic drive along the Wonderland and Mt William Ranges through to Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians NP. Our day includes a few short walks at Baroka Lookout, Reid’s Lookout and McKenzie Falls as well as visits to ‘Brambuk’ Aboriginal cultural centre and a rock art site ‘Bunjil’s Shelter’. Our journey back to Melbourne takes us through the gold mining township of Ballarat, once one of the richest towns in the world. The end of our 3 day tour concludes back in Melbourne around 6pm.
Our Great Ocean Road / Grampians tour departs at 0830 from Melbourne. Pickups are available from all city hotels within Melbourne. Passengers will be returned to their points of departure at 1800 at the completion of the tour.
Tours include :
• 3.5 - 4 star accommodation
• 3 x 2 course dinner
• 3 x cooked breakfast