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Explore the best of Victoria in 5days

 

The Great Southern Touring Route


842 km/523 miles, about 13 hours

 

See the best of Victoria in this amazing 5 day round trip. Explore the spectacular coastline of The Great Ocean Road. Discover the breath taking view points from The Grampians National Park then step back in time with a visit to the Historic town Ballarat.

Keep your camera close at all times to make the most of the stunning scenery and beautiful wildlife.

 


Day 1: Melbourne to Apollo Bay
187 km/116 miles, about 3 hours

Begin your trip with a short drive from Melbourne to Torquay which takes just over an hour. Torquay is the first town on the Great Ocean road. Bells beach is famous all over the world for its surfing competitions. Bells beach hosts the annual Rip Curl Pro Championship. Be sure to keep an eye out for kangaroos if visiting in the evening.

Magnificent coastal views will dominate the next 30 kilometres as you drive to beach town Lorne, the perfect spot for lunch – fish and chips on the beach is a must.

Another twenty minutes winding along the coastal road will bring you to Kennett River and its most famous locals: koalas. Take some birdseed for their flighty friends then follow the 'koala walk' with your camera ready.

As you make your way to Apollo Bay, you'll travel up along cliff-tops offering incredible views and alongside wild beaches – take time to stop at the lookouts for photos, or beachside for a stroll.

From coastal town Apollo Bay, follow the Great Ocean Road into the lush Otway National Park, and turn off to the Cape Otway light station (about a 50-minute drive). Take a tour of the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia, climbing to the top to see where the Bass Strait meets the Southern Ocean.

 

 

Day 2: Apollo Bay to Port Fairy
189 km/117 miles, about 3 hours

 

Begin day 2 with a beautiful drive through the Otway National Park. Keep an eye out for Koalas hidden in the trees. Park up and explore the rainforests nature walks. If you are bit of an adrenaline junky why not zip line through the rainforst and take in the views from above- not for the faint hearted.

Next up is the famous 12 Apostles. The visitor centre offers free car parking and lots of souveneirs. Close by with an 86 step descent to the beach, you can view the 12 apostles from below. Helicopter tours of the area are also available.Take plenty of time to stop at lookouts over the cliffs of the Loch Ard Gorge and, just beyond Port Campbell, the hauntingly beautiful Bay of Islands.

Continue along the Great Ocean Road west, to Warrnambool. Explore the maritime capital's history then head to the viewing platforms at Logans Beach to spot its impressive winter visitors: southern right and blue whales. Catching a glimpse of these giants schooling their calves just offshore is truly awe-inspiring.

From Warrnambool, drive towards Port Fairy and take the turn-off to Tower Hill State Game Reserve, an easy 15-minute drive. Take to the walking tracks, keeping an eye out for koalas, emus, kangaroos and waterbirds who roam freely among the hills of this extinct volcano. Visit the Worn Gundidj Visitor Centre to find out more about the reserve's Aboriginal history.

 

Day 3: Port Fairy to Halls Gap
158 km/98 miles, about 2.5 hours

Spend the morning exploring charming fishing village Port Fairy. For more wildlife, take a cruise out to the seal colony just offshore on Lady Julia Percy Island.

From Port Fairy, make the easy drive 90 kilometres north to Dunkeld (about an hour's drive), gateway to the southern Grampians. Popular with wildlife watchers, outdoor adventurers and history buffs, the Grampians is a series of rugged sandstone mountain ranges and forests rich with wildlife and home to significant Aboriginal rock art sites.

The stunning twin peaks of mounts Sturgeon and Abrupt provide a glorious backdrop for Dunkeld, and inspiration for much of the art in the galleries.

If you're feeling fit and energetic, tackle a challenging but rewarding climb to the summit of Mount Sturgeon or Mount Abrupt for panoramic views of the surrounding ranges and volcanic plains. Both hikes take around three hours return, require good levels of fitness and suitable walking attire, and promise camera-worthy rewards.

Leaving Dunkeld, take the scenic Grampians Road right through the national park to Halls Gap, an excellent base for exploring the ranges. If you're the outdoorsy type you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities: hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing and abseiling, fishing and more. Whatever your activity of choice, keep your camera poised for wildlife the park is home to a profusion of native animals and birds, including kangaroos, koalas, emus and wedge-tailed eaglesand wildflowers.

 

 

 

Day 4: Halls Gap to Ballarat
142 km/88 miles, about 2 hours

Start your day with a visit to the Brambuk Culture Centre to delve into the area's fascinating Aboriginal history and culture. Enjoy the art, artefacts and activities – try your hand at a boomerang. Join Aboriginal guides on tours to ancient rock art sites and to learn more about the landscape's spiritual significance.

Looking with a new point of view, explore the park further, taking in its famous lookouts: Boroka, Reed and the Balconies, all a short distance from Halls Gap and offering stunning views over the Mount William and Wonderland Ranges and Victoria Valley.

Make time to stop at another of the Grampians' star attractions: MacKenzie Falls, one of Victoria's largest and most spectacular waterfalls. Take the steep climb down to the base of the falls (allow an hour return) or the easier, more accessible trail that follows the top of the ridge line.

From Halls Gap, Ararat is just a quick 50 kilometre drive away. Stop in at the Gum San Chinese Heritage Museum to learn about the town's intriguing Chinese history or give yourself goosebumps on a ghost tour of Aradale, Australia's largest abandoned asylum.

Back out on the open road, you're just over an hour's drive from your final destination for the day, Ballarat. Along the Western Highway, admire the imposing Mt Ghiran and explore the beautiful Langhi Ghiran State Park, rich in Aboriginal cultural heritage and home to significant art sites.


Day 5: Ballarat to Melbourne
166 km/103 miles, about 2.5 hours

Spend the morning in Ballarat's heritage precinct and unearth the city's rich gold mining history and magnificent architecture on a self-guided heritage walk. The grand tree-lined streets are perfect for meandering, the heritage trails are dotted with elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, parks, gardens, statues and churches.

Dig deeper into the region's gold-mining history with a visit to open-air gold-rush museum Sovereign Hill. Try your luck panning for gold, brace yourself for an underground mine tour, and learn about rare 19th-century trades.

Before you make your way back to Melbourne, treat yourself to a visit to Daylesford and the surrounding spa country. For food and pampering, it's nothing but heavenly.

Enrich the last day of your trip with a short detour to nearby Hepburn Springs, named for its naturally occurring mineral springs. Taste the different mineral waters from old-fashioned pumps in the Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Reserve, or soak it up – literally – with a pampering spa at Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. Fully rejuvenated, make the short drive back to Melbourne – and start planning your next trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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