Great Ocean Road & Grampians Adventure


Spot native wildlife, marvel at extraordinary coastal vistas and learn more about First Nations culture on this 6-day road trip along Victoria’s southern coastline. From taking the famous Pinnacle Walk to the summit of Hanging Rock to visiting a local conservation centre in Apollo Bay to learning about the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape with a Gunditijmara guide – this trip combines culture, nature and adventure. Following much of the Great Southern Touring Route, you’ll start in Melbourne and follow the coast to the 12 Apostles along The Great Ocean Road and discover the diverse landscapes and history of Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park before taking the iconic Overland train across the border to Adelaide. With an experienced local guide who knows all the best spots and a small group of like-minded adventurers – this is sure to be a road trip to remember.

6 days, from

$1,810

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: PZSG
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Australia
Accommodation: Hotel (5 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Train
Included Meals:

  • 2 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Hike the beautiful Pinnacle Walk to the summit of Hanging Rock and discover sweeping views and interesting rock formations made famous by the Peter Weir film ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’.

  • Visit a social enterprise – Wildlife Wonders – and join a conservationist guide to discover the lush fern gullies, eucalypt woodlands and spectacular ocean views of the Otways region.

  • Explore Budj Bim Cultural Landscape with a Gunditijmara guide to learn about First Nations culture first-hand, discover the unique volcanic landscape and dig into a bush tucker grazing plate.

  • Tick driving the Great Ocean Road, marvelling at the 12 Apostles and hiking through Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park off your bucket list, because this road trip does it all.

  • Follow much of the Great Southern Touring Route, known as one of Australia’s best road trips, before boarding the Overland train to Adelaide.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Melbourne / Daylesford / Ballarat

Your adventure begins in Melbourne (Narrm in the language of the Wurundjeri people, who are the traditional owners of the land on which Melbourne is now located). Melbourne is the effortlessly hip, unofficial foodie capital of Australia. Here, you can wander some of the trendiest art galleries, marvel at museums and sip countless cups of some of the finest-brewed specialty coffee on the planet. We recommend you arrive a few extra days before your adventure starts if you want to experience all this city has to offer. Today, you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers bright and early for an 8 am Welcome Meeting before we hit the road and start our journey along the Great Southern Touring Route – AKA Australia’s finest road trip. Our first stop today is Hanging Rock Reserve, where you’ll embark on the famous Pinnacle Walk to the summit. This area was shaped by a volcanic eruption some 6 million years ago and is an important landmark for three First Nations groups – the Woi Wurrung (Wurundjeri), the Djaara and the Taungurung. Keep your eye out for local wildlife like kangaroos, wallabies and echidnas on your walk before taking in the views from the summit. From here, you’ll drive to Daylesford for lunch and if your trip departs on a Sunday, you’ll have time to explore the Daylesford Sunday Market. Uniquely, only fresh produce sourced within a 50-kilometre radius can be sold at this market. After some time in Daylesford, continue to the historic goldfield town of Ballarat where you’ll stay tonight. Perhaps visit Sovereign Hill or the Art Gallery of Ballarat, with the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Day 2: Great Ocean Road / Apollo Bay

After breakfast this morning, you’ll say goodbye to Ballarat and head south toward Apollo Bay. You’ll get your first taste of the spectacular Great Ocean Road today as we hit the coastline in Angelsea and follow the scenic highway along to Apollo Bay. The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most famed coastal drives, as you wind by striking windswept cliffs with views across the Southern Ocean, you’ll quickly see why. Once you reach Apollo Bay, you’ll enjoy a special experience at Wildlife Wonders – a social enterprise operated by the Conservation Ecology Centre working to develop and deliver solutions to the most urgent conservation challenges in the Otways region. Apollo Bay is on the doorstep of the Otway National Park, an ecosystem of lush rainforests, ancient plant life, waterfalls and secluded beaches – to name just a few. Join Wildlife Wonders guided walk through the magical Otways bushland where you'll discover lush fern gullies, eucalypt woodlands and spectacular ocean vistas. Learn the secrets of the bush from your conservationist guide and spot local wildlife like koalas and wallabies and, if you’re lucky, a potoroo or bandicoot. Wildlife Wonders invest 100% of profits into vital research and conservation projects to save local threatened species. After this heart-warming visit, you’ll make your way to your accommodation and enjoy free time in this chilled-out beachside town this afternoon.

Day 3: Great Ocean Road / Warrnambool

Today, you really find out why this stretch of road is known as Australia’s finest road trip. Travel from Apollo Bay all the way to Warrnambool, with plenty of scenic stops along the way. Enjoy the dramatic scenery The Great Ocean Road is so well known for – one moment you’ll be marvelling at dramatic cliffs and the surging oceans below and the next you’ll be surrounded by native bushland. There's plenty of lookouts and white powdery beach walks (if the weather permits) to break up the drive today. Plus, the pièce de résistance of today’s adventures – some time to discover the rugged splendour of the 12 Apostles. Created by the constant erosion from ocean swells and swirling winds that began some 10-20 million years ago, the incredible rock stacks now rise majestically up to 45 metres out of the ocean below. It’s a sight to behold and one you won’t forget any time soon. This evening, you’ll continue to Warrnambool where you might like to join your fellow travellers for dinner and discuss the inspiring sights you witnessed today.

Day 4: Budj Bim / Grampians National Park

Buckle up for another day on the great open road as we set our sights for our first stop in Budj Bim. This area is located within Gunditjmara Country and is full of culture and incredible volcanic landscapes. You’ll learn more about the history, bushland and wildlife of this area on a walking tour with a Gunditjmara cultural guide. Your guide will give you an overview of the Gunditjmara creation story and point out the extensive marine and birdlife on Tae Rak (Lake Condah). The lake is made up of 1,700 hectares of significant wetlands and stony rises right next to the historic lava flows of Budj Bim National Park. The Gunditjmara people have sustained life here for tens of thousands of years and created what is considered one of Australia’s earliest and largest aquaculture ventures. You’ll gain incredible insight into the history of the Gunditjmara people and how these landscapes were shaped by ancient volcanic movements. After your guided walk, enjoy a grazing board at the Tae Rak Aquaculture Centre & Café for lunch. Try all-Australian ingredients like grilled kooyang (eel), grilled macadamia nuts, pickled vegetables, kangaroo, emu and other local bush foods. With a belly full of bush tucker, hit the road to Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park where you’ll have time to explore in the afternoon and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 5: Grampians National Park

Be sure to fuel up on breakfast today because you’ve got a day full of exploring the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park ahead. You can expect to see majestic waterfalls, rugged sandstone ridges, mountain vistas and magnificent rock art sites on your walks today. Traditionally known as Gariwerd, this region is home to the largest number of rock art paintings and shelters in Southern Australia. Today’s walks will feature these sites and likely introduce you to local wildlife like kangaroos, wallabies, emus and native birds. To top it off, you’ll stop to enjoy a packed picnic lunch in a scenic spot today. With a number of walking trails to choose from, your leader will pick the best, considering weather and track conditions and group ability. This evening, kick your feet up and relax after a full day of walking. Perhaps, meet up with your group for a final dinner together and reflect on the highlights of your great southern adventure.

Day 6: Stawell / Adelaide

Enjoy one final group breakfast with your fellow travellers before a short drive to Stawell. Here, you’ll visit Bunjil’s Cave, a significant cultural site in Australia and one of the most prominent rock-art sites in southern Victoria. In local First Nations culture, Bunjil was the main Dreaming Being of south-eastern Australia. It’s believed that he produced the natural features of the landscapes, from the rolling mountains to the peaceful open ranges. He also gave each tribe their country and created the laws, customs and rights. After time to explore this significant site and learn more about First Nations history, your leader will bid you farewell, and your group will board The Overland train from Stawell unaccompanied en route to Adelaide (Tandanya in the language of The Kaurna people, who are the traditional owners of the land on which Adelaide is now located). Operating for more than 130 years, this train is the pick for many travelling between Melbourne and Adelaide. You can expect relaxing views of wheat and sheep paddocks and snack on treats from the onboard café (although we recommend grabbing some extra snacks in Stawell before your board as well). Have your cameras at the ready before you reach the Murray Bridge and you’ll then be treated to views of lush landscape as you descend through the Adelaide Hills into South Australia’s capital, where your adventure will come to an end. If you’d like to spend extra time in Adelaide, please let us know and we can arrange extra accommodation for you (subject to availability).