4 DAYS - 3 NIGHTS
Melbourne to Great Ocean Road
Distance: 114 kilometres
A 30-minute Princes Highway drive and you arrive at Werribee Open Range Zoo in time for an open-air African safari adventure. Motor on to Geelong’s glittering waterfront and explore the Bollards Trail before a view-laden lunch on the restaurant strip. Take the Surf Coast Highway to Torquay, the spiritual home of Australian Surfing and onto Anglesea.
Great Ocean Road to Grampians
O/night: Halls Gap/Dunkeld
Distance: Approx 398 kilometres
Tour the coast-hugging road from Anglesea to Apollo Bay. Treat yourself to a thrilling helicopter flight over the dramatic Twelve Apostles and coastline with 12 Apostles Helicopters, before driving on to Warrnambool.
Spend a few hours exploring either the sea-faring magic of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum. Motor north through farmland to Halls Gap and settle in to splendid bush retreat accommodation at D’Altons Studios or Grampians Getaway Resort.
Grampians to Ballarat
Depart: Halls Gap/Dunkeld
Distance: Approx 152 kilometres
The vast Grampians National Park seems heaven-sent for early-risers. Hike trails for lofty scenery, wildlife glimpses and Australian bushland. Linger over amazing views and a bistro lunch on Halls Gap Hotel’s verandah. En route to Ballarat, travel through vineyard-dotted wine country, calling into Best’s Wines, Grampians Estate,
Mount Langi Ghiran or Pomonal Estate to sample local vintages.
Ballarat Wildlife Park is home to dozens of native animals including more than 100 free-roaming kangaroos you can wander amongst. Come evening, enjoy dinner, drinks and priority seating with a VIP package to Sovereign Hill’s new evening sound-and-light spectacular AURA. Spend an indulgent night at the Mecure Ballarat Hotel or the luxurious Hotel Vera.
Ballarat to Melbourne
Distance: 113 kilometres
Take a morning to explore the many cultural layers of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, and admire the stunning architecture of Lydiard Street. The Ballarat Botanical Gardens fringe the western shores of Lake Wendouree, a stroll-worthy oasis in the centre of town. Perfect for picnicking, birdwatching and riding the vintage electric tramway.
Meander your way back to Melbourne, sidetracking from the highway to explore and relax in spa country at Daylesford and Hepburn Springs - where you can ‘take to
the waters’ at Peppers Mineral Spa.