6 DAYS - 5 NIGHTS
Melbourne to Great Ocean Road
Distance: 114 kilometres
Take Highway One west from the city to reach Werribee Open Range Zoo for morning safari and wildlife hangouts. Back on the road for 30 minutes and you’re lunching on the dazzling Geelong Waterfront, deciding whether to visit Geelong's famous bollards or National Wool Museum before taking the Surf Coast Highway to Torquay, the spiritual home of Aussie surfing culture.
On the way, call into Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre to delve into Dreamtime stories, boomerang throwing, ancient artefacts and bush tucker flavours. In Torquay, dive into surfing heritage at the Australian National Surfing Museum then dip your toes in at iconic Bells Beach.
Great Ocean Road
O/night: Warrnambool/Port Fairy
Distance: Approx 267 kilometres
You’re officially roadtripping west along the Great Ocean Road’s remarkable coastline. Today, witness historic Cape Otway Lightstation, the mighty Twelve Apostles (best seen from a helicopter) and a windswept sunset at the Bay of Islands.
Detour into Great Otway National Park for rainforest magic at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures or whiz along to Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. Overnight in Warrnambool at Lady Bay Resort, Best Western Tudor Motor Inn, Best Western Olde Maritime Motor Inn, Best Western Colonial Village Motel or drive on to picture-perfect Port Fairy and a room at historic Merrijig Inn.
Great Ocean Road to Grampians
Depart: Warrnambool/Port Fairy
O/night: Halls Gap/Dunkeld
Distance: Approx 158 kilometres
Motor north through fertile farmland, sidetracking to ogle Hamilton Gallery’s art collection and sample Pinot Noir at Pierrepoint Wines. Head on to Halls Gap and experience a didgeridoo workshop or rock art tour via Brambuk – The National Park and Cultural Centre.
The Grampians National Park is vast and mysterious. Walk bush trails to spot wildlife, waterfalls and astonishing views from lofty lookouts. Tonight you’re “glamping” Aussie outback style in a luxury tent at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
Grampians to Ballarat
Depart: Halls Gap/Dunkeld
Distance: Approx 152 kilometres
Tour west through some of Australia’s finest vineyard-speckled wine country. Unearth cellar door mastery at Fallen Giants, Blue Pyrenees Estate, Seppelt Great Western or Mount Langi Ghiran.
See and hear Ballarat’s gold rush heritage come alive at Sovereign Hill as you pan for gold and ride a stagecoach by day. By night, witness the amazing sound and light show spectacular AURA. Continue the history theme with a Royal Suite stay at Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat’s iconic boutique hotel since 1865.
Ballarat to Spa Country
Distance: 43 kilometres
Make a morning vigil to Ballarat Wildlife Park to hand-feed roaming kangaroos and meet Victoria’s only Komodo Dragon. Road cruise into a day of indulgence in spa country, dropping into Creswick Woollen Mills en route to discover fascinating wool history.
Set your dial to pamper: drink in bubbling mineral waters at Hepburn Springs, and relax into a massage or beauty treatment at Peppers Mineral Springs Spa. Let the luxury last: stay overnight at Daylesford’s tranquil Lake House.
Spa Country to Melbourne
Distance: 112 kilometres
Make the most of your stay with a masterclass experience at Lake House Cooking School or a meander along Daylesford’s main street, a wondrous collection of specialty shops, second-hand bookstores and antiques and collectables. Make your journey back to Melbourne, cruising the highway through lovely undulating bush and farmland.
Conclude your Great Southern Touring Route road trip by staying at Best Western Airport Motel & Convention Centre.