Drive Australia - The Great Southern Touring Route
Melbourne - Geelong - Great Ocean Road - The Grampians - Ballarat Goldfields
Driving The Great Southern Touring Route, Australia
Geelong & The Bellarine
Geelong has a lively waterfront precinct that is a hotspot for sailing and boating, shopping, sightseeing and dining. Visitors are also able to sample wines from the area, there are three regions – Moorabool Valley (north of Geelong), the Bellarine (east of the city) and the Surf Coast many of the wineries retain their small, family-owned heritage. The Bellarine Taste Trail features local wines, boutique beers, local produce, restaurants and fresh local seafood. For lovers of Golf, five of the top fifty rated public access courses in Australia are located in the region. Queenscliff is a charming historic seaside town with a variety of antique stores, boutiques, interior shops and unique book stores as well as great restaurants and cafés.
The Great Ocean Road – Torquay, The Great Otway National Park, The Twelve Apostles, Apollo Bay, Lorne and Port Fairy
From Torquay through to Port Fairy, the Great Ocean Road ribbons through a region of grand coastal scenery, lush rainforests, seaside villages and rich rural hinterland. Torquay is the spiritual home of Aussie surf culture and the Surf World Museum where you can explore more than 50 years of history of the Rip Curl Pro, an international professional surfing event held at Bells Beach.
Lorne is a cosmopolitan coastal village with a magnificent beach against a backdrop of the Great Otway National Park. This ancient pristine natural rainforest environment is over 103,000 hectares spanning the coast and hinterland from Torquay to Princetown includes spectacular stretches of scenic coastline. Apollo Bay is a great base to explore the region and is within a short drive to The Twelve Apostles, the Great Ocean Walk and the best waterfalls of the Otways. The Twelve Apostles are famous wave sculpted rock formations standing against the waves of the Southern Ocean. Visitors can view the apostles from the cliff top, from ground level on the beach or from a helicopter for a scenic birds eye view from above.
Tower Hill & Port Fairy
Koalas, Emus, Kangaroos and many species of water birds roam freely in Tower Hill State Game Reserve, which sits inside an extinct volcano formed some 30,000 years ago. This is a rare opportunity to see animals up close in their natural habitat. This, combined with tours to learn about Aboriginal history and cultural heritage provides a unique experience. Uncover history in every corner of the charming Port Fairy, a fishing village at the end of the Great Ocean Road where when the whales come in to mate and calve during the winter months.
The Grampians National Park
Four hundred million years of landscape sculpture and forty thousand years of Aboriginal culture have created a timeless, year round playground for nature-lovers. Famous for its mountainous and rugged scenery a million years in the making, the Grampians National Park has a number of spectacular scenic lookouts. See kangaroos, wallabies, emus, echidnas and a birds in their natural habitats. Here you can also sample spicy red wines and sparkling wines from the Victorian Pyrenees wine region.
Ballarat Goldfields & Wildlife Park
Ballarat has the world’s largest alluvial gold deposit and a striking heritage. Sovereign Hill is a recreated 1850s gold mining town where you can pan for gold, like stepping back in time to the gold rush during the 1850s . For the adventurous, there are underground mine tours with an inclined tramway ride. The Ballarat Wildlife Park is 32 acres of woodland with a collection of Australian native animals and reptiles chosen for their educational and conservation potential. The Reptile collection features over 200 snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles and frogs.
Suggested Great Southern Touring Route itineraries:5 Day Mornington, Port Campbell and Halls Gap