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This safari journey in Australia offers spectacular scenery of both the coast and mountain variety, authentic Aboriginal history and artwork, and an immersion into the gold rush history of Ballarat. This is a luxury tour that will have you genuinely enthralled. This tour has a fantastic combination of coastlines, mountains, and history. Within this famous region known as the Great Southern Touring route lies amazing natural and historic experiences for you to discover.
You will be accommodated for three nights in Beacon Point Ocean View Villas, Royal Mail Hotel, and in the lodge at Sovereign Hill.
These wonderful self-contained villas will be used as your accommodation. Australian Natural Treasures Touring has chosen this property because they believe it enhances the experience of traveling the coastline.
Australian Natural Treasures Touring enjoys the reactions of the guests to being perched high above the Great Ocean Road with sweeping views of the coastline and waking to the sounds of the ocean in the morning.
Not only does it provide great ocean views but within the native forest setting are plenty of birds, koalas, wallabies, and other native animals. This is an amazing place to relax and unwind.
The Royal Mail Hotel is an icon of Australian hospitality. The hotel provides a luxurious oasis in a rugged rural environment. It has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the sensational food and wine being produced in regional Victoria.
The menu is inspired by the chefs extensive vegetable and herb garden and the abundance of high-quality local produce. The accommodation is very modern and comfortable. The views of Mount Sturgeon are inspiring enough to take one of the short walking trails in the crisp, clean, mountain air.
The guests on this small group tour are picked up from their city hotel or Federation Square and you quickly depart Melbourne for Geelong where you have time to stroll along the beautifully transformed waterfront. You will start your journey along the Great Ocean Road at Torquay, stopping at various places along the coast including Bells Beach and a place to observe eastern grey kangaroos in the wild.
This is one of many opportunities to see and hear about the unique and unusual animals in their native habitat. Your journey then begins traveling the very scenic, cliff-hugging section of the Great Ocean Road. While winding your way towards lunch in the seaside village of Lorne, you will stop to view sites such as the Memorial Arch and tell you of the intriguing story of this incredible road.
After lunch, you will cruise along the spectacular road, stopping at many scenic spots including Kennett River where you can see koalas and many colorful native birds in the wild. Travelling through Apollo Bay, you will go into the Great Otway National Park where Australian Natural Treasures Touring will take you on a one-kilometer guided walk through a cool temperate rainforest gully.
You will visit Apollo Bay before checking in your private self-contained villa 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. You will have dinner tonight at the very popular Apollo Bay Hotel, this restaurant has an extensive menu and utilizes great local produce.
Your second day starts with breakfast at the ‘locals favorite’ Bay Leaf Cafe. Great coffee, tea, and vast breakfast menu make this a perfect way to start another full day. Your journey starts with traveling through the Otway ranges and onto the Shipwreck Coast. Your first stop is at Castle Cove overlooking the Aire River valley. Your guide will introduce you to the strong Aboriginal heritage of the region with many tribes living prosperously around the coastline for thousands of years.
The same area continues to reveal a rich pre-historic past; evidence shows dinosaur habitation dating back 106 million years. The Twelve Apostles are icons of Australia’s natural beauty. You will arrive as the stacks are lit with the morning sun making them perfect for photos and crowd-free. 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).
You will then visit Loch Ard Gorge, the site of the most famous 19th-century Australian shipwreck. Australian Natural Treasures Touring will 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 the treasure chests.
After lunch in Port Campbell, you will 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 traveling the Great Ocean Road. Your journey then continues through 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.
You will then leave the coast and drive north towards the Grampians National Park. Your accommodation is at the foot of Mount 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.
Your third day starts with an incredibly scenic drive between the Serra and Mount William Ranges through Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians National Park. Your day includes a few short walks at Baroka Lookout, Reid’s Lookout, and McKenzie Falls as well as visits to ‘Brambuk’ Aboriginal cultural center and a rock art site ‘Bunjil’s Shelter’.
This is an incredibly beautiful area that is rich in flora, fauna, steep scarps, and amazing rock formations. The Aboriginal name for this region is ‘Gariwerd’ and it has great significance for the Aboriginal people of Victoria as well as containing 80% of the states Aboriginal rock art.
Your journey continues to the gold mining township of Ballarat, once one of the richest towns in the world. You will stay overnight at the lodge at Sovereign Hill, having lunch in the village before watching the sound and light extravaganza ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’. This is a fantastic 90-minute show telling the story of the Eureka rebellion of 1854 where miners and police clashed over excessive mining license fees.
The morning of your fourth day is spent exploring the village of Sovereign Hill including a visit to the gold museum and a guided mine tour. This award-winning recreation depicts Ballarat in 1854 in great detail. The shops lining the street are all working businesses, the hundreds of staff are in period costume and there is real gold to be found in the creek bed.
In the afternoon, you will visit Ballarat Wildlife Park, home to usual suspects as well as many unique Australian animals including Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, and other reptiles. You will return to Melbourne and be delivered to your hotel around 17:00.
Please note that Australian Natural Treasures Touring reserves the right to amend and alter itineraries and accommodation when necessary.
You will have the chance to visit the coastal town, Apollo Bay, the Loch Ard Gorge, and the gold mining township of Ballarat. You also have an excursion to watch sound and laser show.
Australia’s Great Ocean Road with its breathtaking scenery is not only one of the world’s best ocean drives, it is also the world’s largest war memorial having been constructed by soldiers returning from the First World War as a tribute to their mates who did not return.
As it hugs the cliffs you will marvel at the endless beaches and the color of the water. Come with Australian Natural Treasures Touring on your journey and you’ll reveal not just the history of the road but also the natural treasures that are hidden beside it such as koala habitats, spectacular bird life, ancient Gondwana Rainforests and of course the geological masterpiece of The Twelve Apostles coastline.
The Grampians National Park or ‘Gariwerd’ as the original custodians of the area new it, is a remarkable landscape of jagged mountain ranges. Vast cracking, tilting, and lifting has exposed the layers of the earth and features wonderful examples of high-quality sandstone.
The park is a wonderland for native flora and fauna. Given the chance to go off road the chance of some very private encounters with the most favorite native animals increases dramatically. Kangaroos, wallabies, emu, echidna, and many other iconic species can be found off the main roads.
You can enjoy a helicopter flight along the coastline of 'Shipwreck Coast' at an extra cost.
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