Great Southern Loop
Duration: 6 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £489pp
Day 1 Melbourne/Apollo Bay: Ease into your road trip with a leisurely drive from Melbourne to Torquay, which marks the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Here, you can explore some of Australia’s best-known surf beaches or, if you prefer, stop at Anglesea for a detour to the golf course, famous for the kangaroos lounging under the trees that surround the greens. Head on to Lorne, which is a perfect lunch spot before following the Great Ocean Road into the lush Otway National Park where, if you wish, you could take a tour of the Cape Otway lighthouse. The final leg of today’s journey brings you to Apollo Bay which has a host of welcoming eateries.
Day 2 Apollo Bay/Warrnambool: Back on the Great Ocean Road, ensure your camera is to hand for the spectacular coastline leading to Port Campbell and its famous Twelve Apostles. Stop and descend the Gibson Steps for a walk on the wild beach for a ground-level view of these magnificent rock stacks that rise up from the Southern Ocean. Continue west to Warrnambool.
Day 3 Warrnambool: If visiting from June to September we recommended visiting Logans Beach where you may spot southern right whales from the expansive viewing platform. Other options in Warrnambool include numerous walking trails; the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve where native wildlife abounds; discover the area’s rich maritime past at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village; or, perhaps enjoy a stroll around the Botanic Gardens.
Day 4 Warrnambool/Halls Gap: Travel north and perhaps make a stop at Dunkeld, the gateway to the southern Grampians. Wander through the galleries and museum or perhaps tackle the challenging, but rewarding, climb to the summits of Mount Sturgeon or Mount Abrupt for panoramic views. Drive onwards, following the scenic Grampians Road right through the national park to Halls Gap, an excellent base for exploring the ranges.
Day 5 Halls Gap: If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities with hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing, abseiling, fishing and more all on offer. The Grampians are also home to a profusion of native animals and birds, so keep your camera handy. The region also has 80% of Victoria’s Aboriginal rock art sites and boasts one of its largest waterfalls - MacKenzie Falls.
Day 6 Halls Gap/Ballarat: An optional stopping off point is Brambuk Cultural Centre to delve into Aboriginal history and culture. As you travel along the Western Highway, you can admire the imposing Mt Ghiran and explore beautiful Langhi Ghiran State Park, home to significant art sites. Upon arrival in Ballarat, step out to enjoy the burgeoning food and wine scene.
Day 7 Ballarat/Melbourne: Spend a few hours in Ballarat’s heritage precinct and unearth the city’s rich gold mining history and magnificent architecture on a self-guided heritage walk. Dig deeper into the region’s past, with a visit to the open-air gold rush museum Sovereign Hill, where you can even try your luck panning for gold. All too soon it’s time to head back to Melbourne, but en route perhaps stop for a leisurely lunch in Daylesford whilst taking in the lake views. Another possible detour is to Hepburn Springs where you can taste the waters or even soak them up with a pampering spa at Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. Fully rejuvenated, make the short drive back to Melbourne where your tour concludes.
Accommodation: 3*PLUS Captain's at the Bay, Apollo Bay; 3*PLUS Lady Bay Resort, Warrnambool; 3* D'Altons Resort, Halls Gap; 3*PLUS Sovereign Hill, Ballarat.
Meals: Room only. Breakfast on days 2 & 7.
Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value includes 7 days group B car hire and accommodation as outlined.