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Great Southern Touring Route: History & Culture

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Featuring the iconic Great Ocean Road

Embark on this epic four-day road trip through South West Victoria. Dive straight into the Aboriginal dream time as you experience four days of incredible food, wine, wildlife and history.

Travel

4 days


Route

Melbourne to Melbourne

789km


Best Time of the Year

November to April

Highlights

  • Ballarat
  • Halls Gap
  • Worn Gundidj
  • Port Fairy
  • 12 Apostles
  • Otway National Park

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4

Visit Victoria Content Hub

Day 1
Melbourne to Halls Gap

Distance 257km - Driving Time 3 hours 30 minutes

Begin your journey just an hour out of Melbourne, travel along the Western Highway to the historic City of Ballarat. Your first stop on this trip is a visit to the living museum of Sovereign Hill - step back in time and experience the gold rush that gripped Australia in the 1850s and meet the characters that lived in it. After your morning working hard and panning for gold, grab some lunch and try out the incredible local food and wine of this town.

After indulging over lunch, it's time to immerse yourself in more culture. Head to the heritage streets and visit the Art Gallery of Ballarat and marvel at the incredible artworks, with a mix of classic, indigenous and modern.

Spend your afternoon driving to Halls Gap, making sure to stop at the award-winning Pyrenees wine region on your way through. Next up, check out the local indigenous cultural centre at Brambuk and discover information about the first inhabitants of the region.

To end your day, head to Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park and enjoy a homemade dinner whilst admiring the blanket of stars above you. Make sure you say hello to the hundreds of Eastern-grey kangaroos who occupy this park too!

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Day 2
Halls Gap to Port Campbell

Distance 247km - Driving Time 3 hours 30 minutes

After waking up to the birdsong of the local wildlife at Halls Gap, enjoy a coffee whilst soaking in the view, before heading out for a morning hike through Grampians National Park. Witness fern-filled gorges, rock faces with streams, and spectacular peaks. After your morning adrenaline rush, head to the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld to enjoy some food. Next up, head to the Hamilton Art Gallery to observe a rare collection of gouache and watercolour landscapes as well as their other incredible exhibitions.

Spend some time at Worn Gundidj (Tower Hill), a 33,000-year-old dormant volcano that has become a haven for Australia's iconic wildlife. Join an indigenous guide on a tour and grow your cultural knowledge whilst looking out for free-roaming koalas, emus, kangaroos, and wallabies.

On your way to Port Campbell, make a stop to stretch your legs at Port Fairy to browse the pretty piers and boutiques dotted along the water's edge.

Head to Warrnambool for the afternoon, if you are here between May and September, keep an eye out for Humpback or Southern Right Whales making their way from Antarctica. If you are seeking more history, head to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village to hear stories of hundreds of ships lost at sea. Or, if you're looking for some relaxation and rejuvenation, head to Deep Blue Hot Spring and spend some time soaking.

On to Port Cambell, a quaint seaside town for the afternoon. Home to the iconic 12 Apostles, viewing the sunset here is a must-do! Grab some fish and chips and head to the 12 Apostles to take in the best views of the remaining 8 pillars, before heading to the BIG4 Caravan Park, Port Campbell.

Day 3
Port Campbell to Lorne

Distance 142km - Driving Time 2 hours

This morning head back to the 12 Apostles and descend the Gibson Steps. This will give you a different view of the apostles from the beach whilst you soak up the last of the scenery before heading off to Apollo Bay. On the way, be sure to stop at Cape Otway Lighthouse and keep an eye out for sleeping koalas in the gumtrees. Explore the lighthouse by climbing up the spiral stairs to the viewing platform at the very top. Here you will experience the spectacular views and learn about the local history.

After grabbing a coffee at the lighthouse café, jump back into the camper and drive to Apollo Bay. Get stuck straight into an epic lunch at Apollo Bay Fisherman's Co-op for some of the freshest fish and chips around!

Wind down for the afternoon with a 75-minute guided tour through the incredible Otways with Wildlife Wonders, before continuing your journey along the Great Ocean Road coastline. Finally, arriving at Lorne, unwind for the evening with a dinner at a hip Melbourne export restaurant before heading to Lorne Caravan Park for the night.

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Day 4
Lorne to Melbourne

Distance 139km - Driving Time 2 hours

Start your last morning with a coffee and a leisurely walk along the beach before heading on to Queenscliff. On your way, be sure to stop at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery for some sweet refreshments and the Australian National Surf Museum. For lunch, try out Jack Rabbit Winery and enjoy the incredible food and wine pairings in front of some incomparable panoramic ocean views.

After a delicious lunch, head to Narana to experience another epic indigenous and wildlife experience before walking along the dazzling waterfront of Geelong.

Find a cosy spot for the afternoon to enjoy your last moments of this road trip before heading back to Melbourne.