Experience the very best the compact state of Victoria has to offer on this Great Southern Touring Route trip. Walk in the towering rainforests of the Otway Ranges, along the spectacularly sculpted Great Ocean Road and in the rugged Grampians National Park. Cap it off with a visit to Sovereign Hill.
The lush vegetation, ancient fern gullies and cascading waterfalls of the Otways form the understorey for massive mountain ash trees – the world’s tallest flowering plant. You’ll feel dwarfed! See the forest from up high on the Otway Fly elevated walk.
Emerge from the towering forests to the wild beaches and precipitous coastline of the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Bay of Islands.
Approach the Grampians from the south for breathtaking views as one jagged mountain range appears then many, many more appear to soar upwards from the surrounding plains. Here you’ll do several hikes as well as learn about Australia’s indigenous culture, meet Aboriginal people and see a fine example of rock art.
En route back to Melbourne, sample some Great Western wines and tour the underground cellars.
The finale is a visit Sovereign Hill for a living history experience of Australia’s Gold Rush era.
This is the best tour for seeing heaps of native animals and birds in the wild. Koalas, kangaroos and emus are easy to spot in this area.
This is a privately guided trip and can be started on any day of the year, subject to availability. The trip is priced for a minimum of two people booking together but we can also operate the trip for solo travellers for an additional cost.
This is a circuit trip from Melbourne. You can choose to be picked up from Melbourne airport or a CBD accommodation.
This is a private trip so your guide will be able to adjust the walking to suit your level of fitness, experience and interest. Generally, the walking in the Great Ocean Road area is mostly easy with some moderate options. The Grampians offers everything from easy to challenging hikes.
For more detailed information including daily walk distances and times please download our Fact Sheet below.
Comfortable motel in Apollo Bay, coastal motel in Port Campbell and resort motel in Halls Gap in the Grampians.
Guiding, all transport from Melbourne, 4 nights accommodation, 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners, entry to the Otway Fly, entry and sound & light show at Brambuk, entry to Sovereign Hill, National Park fees, insulated lunch bag, maps, map case & info pack.
Alcohol, meals not listed in itinerary, drinks with meals (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast)
This trip is available all year round. September to November is fabulous for hiking with great wildflowers. The summer months can be warm to hot and it cools down for beautiful autumn weather by March. The winter months of July & August can be cool and sometimes wet.
See the Bureau of Meteorology’s information about average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.
Try the fresh local fish on the Great Ocean Road. The Grampians is famous for it’s wines and it also offers opportunities to try local kangaroo and venison.
Departs Melbourne airport or CBD at 10.00am. Travel to the start of the Great Ocean Road, stopping for a short beach walk at Point Addis.
On to Lorne where we’ll hike through majestic mountain ash forest on the Waterfalls Circuit Walk (4 hours, easy walking). These trees are the tallest flowering plants in the world.
We’ll also visit Erskine Falls before travelling along one of the most scenic sections of the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay.
Accommodation: B&B in Apollo Bay
Continue through the Otway Ranges section of the Great Ocean Road, stopping for a rainforest walk at Maits Rest (30 mins, easy). Onwards through Lavers Hill to the Otway Fly, a raised platform walk through the treetops (1hr, moderate).
Next stop is the 12 Apostles. We’ll descend Gibsons Steps and walk on the beach amongst these giant limestone outcrops before exploring the system of boardwalks and viewing platforms.
Our final walk for today is at the fascinating geological formations of Loch Ard Gorge where you’ll learn the amazing tale of survival of the Loch Ard shipwreck. Evocatively named places indicate the turmoil that hardy pioneers of the area endured, including the crews of over 150 ships that have been shipwrecked along this rugged coast (2hrs, easy).
There will also be time for a helicopter flight (extra cost).
Accommodation: Motel in Port Campbell.
After one final glance at this magnificent coastline at the Bay of Islands, we continue on to Tower Hill for some wildlife viewing. We usually see kangaroos, emus and koalas here. They are in the wild, attracted to this special place due to the forest cover and reliable water supply in the extinct volcanic crater lakes.
Time to head inland to Dunkeld in the Southern Grampians National Park. These ranges are 100km long and offer outstanding hiking. We’ll do an afternoon walk up one of the peaks in this area; there are several to choose from (2-4hrs, varies from moderate to challenging).
Finish the day with a very scenic drive to Halls Gap in the central heart of the Grampians.
Accommodation: Resort motel in Halls Gap for 2 nights.
Today you’ll enjoy a circuit day hike in the Wonderland Range. See unique rock formations at Venus Baths, the Grand Canyon, Silent Street and Echo Cave. The ultimate aim is the Pinnacle, with its birds-eye view over the Halls Gap valley and miles of ranges in all directions.
There are options available to make this walk moderate or challenging and range from 3-6hrs.
There will also be a late afternoon visit to Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre where you will learn about the indigenous people of the area, see their bush foods and watch a sound and light show depicting the beginning of the world. There’s also a bush tucker café where you can try some native foods.
Accommodation: Resort motel in Halls Gap
Today is jam packed with lots to see and do, beginning with a visit to Bunjil’s Shelter to see an Aboriginal cave painting.
Next stop is the winery village of Great Western where we’ll do a tour of the underground cellars at Bests Winery and you can taste some fine wines.
From here we’ll continue to Ballarat, Victoria’s third largest city, founded in 1851 during the gold rush days.
We’ll visit Sovereign Hill, a massive outdoor museum that re-creates Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold. Thousands of international adventurers rushed here in search of fortune.
Then it’s a 1.5hr drive to Melbourne where your tour finishes at around 6.00pm (this can be flexible if you need to catch a flight).