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Great Southern Touring (Melbourne to Melbourne) 7 nights

8 days/7 nights Melbourne - Halls Gap - Port Fairy - Apollo Bay - Mornington Peninsula - Melbourne.

Price from £801 per person

An unforgettable self drive tour that includes 8 days Hertz Intermediate Automatic car rental, 7 nights ‘boutique’ accommodation, meals indicated and daily driving notes. Price includes car pick up from downtown depot - supplements may apply from airport.

Melbourne – Halls Gap – Port Fairy – Apollo Bay – Mornington Peninsula - Melbourne

Prices depend on seasonality and based on twin share accommodation.

DAY 1 MELBOURNE – HALLS GAP (NM)

Pick up your Hertz rental car at the Melbourne City Depot or Melbourne Airport Depot and commence your drive to the Grampians National Park.

BALLARAT – Gold was first discovered in the Ballarat area in 1851 and it is here that the world’s second biggest gold nugget was found. With a number of easy walking trails through the historic heart of Ballarat, take time to explore the famed Eureka Centre (where you can learn about Australia’s only armed rebellion) or take a leisurely stroll past the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Make time to stop by Sovereign Hill, which is an open-air museum, or historical park, situated in an early gold digging area. Here you can relive the charm of the gold rush era in authentic costume or pan for real gold.

ARARAT – For those who like the luxuries of civilisation but also like to take in the beauty of nature, Ararat is the perfect place visit. Ararat lies near the Grampians National Park and the rugged granite peaks of Langi Ghiran State Park and Mount Buangor State Park.

HALLS GAP – Sitting pretty at the foot of the Wonderland Range is the holiday town of Halls Gap, doorway to the Grampians. Halls Gap is also home to the excellent Brambuck (the national parks cultural centre), the one-stop shop for all your park information requirements. Circling the town is the Wonderland Forest Park, which is one of the most popular sections of the Grampians with its interesting and spectacular rock formations, canyons and viewpoints. A network of sealed and gravel roads from the town lead to other scenic drives and a wealth of walking trails. Lakes Bellfield, Lonsdale, Fyans, Wartook and Moora Moora are all within a short drive of the town.

OVERNIGHT: Dulc Cabins, Halls Gap (2 nights)

DAY 2 HALLS GAP, GRAMPIANS (NM)

Today will be at leisure for you to relax and explore the rugged beauty of the Grampians. A myriad of waterfalls, lakes, tall forests and captivating alpine-like landscapes make the Grampians National Park an entire world in itself. This diversity of natural splendour consists of four main ranges: Mt William, Serra, Mt Difficult and the Victoria Range. Together they form the serrated, undulating and canyoned array of one of the most outstanding natural protrusions in Australia and a very impressive finish to the Great Dividing Range.  The park has a good network of bushwalking trails and paths. To the west are two of the mostspectacular sights of the ranges: the rock formation known as the Balconies and the majestic MacKenzie Falls. Stretching north in an expansive arc from the Grampians Ranges, is one of the most diverse and enthralling sections of the Grampians Region. It encompasses the waterfalls and bushland of the northern Grampians, the sandy beginnings of the Australian outback and the wheat-swept farmland between Murtoa and Hopetoun.

DAY 3 GRAMPIANS – PORT FAIRY (NM)

Depart the Grampians, heading south on Grampians Road to Dunkeld. From here, make your way via Penshurst Road to Port Fairy.

DUNKELD – Dunkeld is a small rural town of some 450 people located at the foot of the Grampians and at the southern tip of Grampians National Park. The picturesque setting has drawn a number of artists over the years, including Louis Buvelot, Eugene von Guerard and Nicholas Chevalier who all rendered paintings of the district. The area is known principally for the production of superfine wool.

PORT FAIRY – The history of Port Fairy is beautifully present in every street of this charming old fishing village. But the quaint buildings, genteel pines and wide-open streets mask a rugged birth. In the early nineteenth century, the natural harbour at the mouth of the Moyne River became a favourite hunting port for Bass Strait sealers and whalers. An interesting and beautiful place to tour.

OVERNIGHT: Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel, Port Fairy

DAY 4 PORT FAIRY – APOLLO BAY (NM)

WARRNAMBOOL – Few places can lay claim to such a beautiful location as Warrnambool. Nestled into the rising contour of the coast amid green dairying countryside, the city overlooks the deep blue of the Southern Ocean. The only city on the rugged Shipwreck Coast, Warrnambool has had a long and colourful history linked with the sea.

Between late May and August each year, Southern Right Whales come from the Antarctic to the area known as Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery to give birth. This miraculous event can be witnessed from a viewing platform on the cliff top.

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD – Winding along the western coast of Victoria, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most spectacular drives and perhaps one of the world's most scenic. The road hugs the coastline for much of the route, revealing lovely coastal scenery, as well as the inland splendour of the Otway Ranges. On your drive, take advantage of the many opportunities for bushwalking, swimming, fishing and whale watching.

PORT CAMPBELL – This small crayfishing village is situated near the major attractions of the Great Ocean Road: Loch Ard Gorge; Thunder Cave; The Arch; London Bridge; The Grotto; and the Twelve Apostles (and these are just the major ones!). The mighty Twelve Apostles are world-recognised icons of the Great Ocean Road. These giant rock stacks soar from the swirling waters of the Southern Ocean, formed over millions of years of strong wind and waves crashing into the limestone cliffs. Sunrise and sunset offer particularly impressive views as the Twelve Apostles change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to a brilliant sandy yellow under full sun. Many ships met their end along the coastline of what is now the Port Campbell National Park. The most famous is the Loch Ard which was wrecked in 1878 claiming the lives of 52 people. The Loch Ard Gorge is on the stretch of road from Princetown to Port Campbell, along with a number of other notable clusters of islands off the coastline such as the Blow Hole, Mutton Bird Island and Elephant Rock. London Bridge is another formation which was once a double arch resembling London Bridge, but it collapsed in 1990, and is now a detached landmass.

APOLLO BAY is a scenic little fishing port nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Otway Ranges. Apollo Bay offers a range of superb restaurants and cafes, art galleries, a fabulous seaside golf course, and interesting museums. A steep and narrow road will take you to Mariners Lookout east of town, where a short walk leads to spectacular views of the township and the coastline.

OVERNIGHT: Captains at the Bay, Apollo Bay (2 nights)

DAY 5 APOLLO BAY (NM)

Today you may like to take a morning stroll on the beach and watch the fisherman haul in their crayfish pots or follow the track to Mariners Falls. Stop at the nearby Department of Environment Boardwalk, and enjoy a stroll through the lush rainforest of Otway National Park, or nearby Cape Otway’s treacherous stretch of coast. The cape is the most southerly point on the Great Ocean Road and only a short drive from Apollo Bay. Sitting on the point of the cape (atop 100 metre high cliffs) is one of Australia's oldest lighthouses. Guided tours are available.

DAY 6 APOLLO BAY – MORNINGTON PENINSULA (NM)

LORNE – Long renowned for its natural scenic values, Lorne is a highly pleasant and very fashionable seaside resort which straggles around several kilometres of fine coastline at Louttit Bay. Rearing up behind Lorne are the eucalypt-clad slopes of the Otway Ranges which literally reach to the sea. They are an element of the scenic and leafy Angahook-Lorne State Park which spans the hinterland from Aireys Inlet to the settlement of Kennett River.

TORQUAY – Boasting long stretches of golden sandy beaches and great waves, the village of Torquay is Victoria’s surfing capital, and a major holiday resort town. The nearby Bells Beach, a renowned world surf title venue offers waves that can surge to five meters high.

QUEENSCLIFF is one of those delightful seaside resorts which is both a popular beachside destination and a sophisticated retreat characterised by elegant hotels, guesthouses, galleries, some substantial public buildings, chic restaurants, cafes, a fine golf course, ferries, wide streets faced by terraced houses and both bay and surf beaches.

MORNINGTON PENINSULA is arguably Melbourne's best kept secret. Some of the highlights of the area include Art and craft markets, antique stores, coastal and bush walks, and koala and penguin reserves enabling viewing in a natural environment. Famous for producing some of Australia’s finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot, this diverse region boasts more than 170 vineyards and 50 cellar doors to explore. Sip your way around beautiful Red Hill, Merricks, Moorooduc, and Hastings and explore the first class wineries, “Chef’s Hat Award” winning restaurants and fresh gourmet produce outlets.

OVERNIGHT: Woodman Estate, Moorooduc (2 nights)

DAY 7 MORNINGTON PENINSULA

Today will be at your leisure to explore the many fascinating attractions that abound on this scenic peninsula. Take a walk on the Peninsula’s wilder side at rugged Cape Schank or go horse riding on St Andrews Beach. Picnic and barbeque areas are dotted throughout the parks and foreshore, while lush gardens, tranquil national parks and fascinating historic homesteads offer memorable walks. Each trail offers its own unique experience whether you are walking, cycling or discovering it by horseback. The stunning and prolific birdlife in the 25,000 plus hectares of National Park and surrounding bushland should not be missed. Maybe visit Peninsula Hot Springs, the first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into the pools and private baths providing the idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Peninsula Hot Springs makes it possible to bathe in the naturally healing waters of mineral rich thermal pools.

DAY 8 MORNINGTON PENINSULA – MELBOURNE (NM)

Leaving Mornington today, join the Nepean Highway and travel north past the town Frankston for the final leg of your journey to Melbourne. Return your vehicle to the Melbourne Airport depot or Melbourne city Hertz Depot.