Beyond Melbourne

5 nights self-drive tour

Price from: £489pp

Day 1 Melbourne/Yarra Valley: Drive out of Melbourne and into the stunning Yarra Valley, viewing the vineyards along the way. Time your arrival to allow for a leisurely lunch at one of the award-winning wineries where you can sample the very best regional or international cuisine on offer together with a glass of world class wine. Later, you may like to get close to native Australian wildlife at the ever-popular Healesville Sanctuary.

Day 2 Yarra Valley/Phillip Island: Today’s drive south takes you through the Dandeong Ranges, a verdant realm of towering trees, scenic winding roads and quaint hilltop villages. If time allows, take a ride on Puffing Billy, a century-old steam train which runs from Belgrave to Gembrook; browse eclectic boutiques and visit a quaint tearoom in Sassafras; or take a stroll in Sherbrooke Forest. Continue your drive to Phillip Island, which is packed with coastal wildlife experiences, cultural events as well as a growing food and wine scene.

Day 3 Phillip Island: At leisure. There is plenty to see and do, perhaps visit the Koala Conservation Centre, take a wildlife cruise or buckle up and take a lap around the grand prix circuit. Don’t miss The Nobbies, a magnificent headland where coastal views seem to stretch forever and can be soaked up from the boardwalks and lookout points. Just offshore from The Nobbies are Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest Australian Fur Seal colony; wildlife cruises to see the seals and birdlife are available. At sunset, head to Summerland Beach for the nightly Penguin Parade, when the comical Little Penguin colony return ashore; watching them waddle across the beach to their sand dune burrows is a magical experience!

Day 4 Phillip Island/Mornington Peninsula: Follow the curve of the coastline as you drive towards the Mornington Peninsula, which combines the best of Europe’s coastal living with traditional Aussie charm. Explore the galleries, spas and cafés in breezy seaside villages, spend time on the beach, visit a fragrant lavender farm or escape to the hinterland for gourmet delights at boutique wineries. Being part of a declared UNESCO biosphere reserve with marine national parks on the doorstep, the Mornington Peninsula is also a unique spot to dive, snorkel or kayak.

Day 5 Mornington Peninsula/Geelong: Drive to Sorrento to catch the Searoad Ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff. Continue by road to Geelong, a cosmopolitan city, ever-evolving foodie destination and gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula. Follow the Bellarine Taste Trail and treat your tastebuds with stops at wineries, farmgates, restaurants or cafés to savour regional flavours. Wander down the historic streetscape, explore the Geelong Gallery, catch a wave at popular Thirteenth Beach or play golf at one of the area’s premier courses.

Day 6 Geelong/Melbourne: Spend further time by the beach, browse the Geelong Vintage Market or, take a break at one of the many eateries in Little Malop and James Street. The drive back to Melbourne takes around an hour and your tour concludes as you drop off your car.

What you need to know

Departures: Daily

Accommodation: 4*PLUS  Yerring Gorge Cottages, Yarra Valley; 4* Ramada Resort, Phillip Island; 4* Flinders Hotel, Mornington Peninsula; 4* Rydges, Geelong.

Meals: Room only. Continental breakfast on days 2 & 5.

Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes 6 days group B car hire, accommodation as outlined, Penguin Parade on day 2 and ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff.

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Beyond Melbourne

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