With an overnight stay in a 4-star hotel plus breakfast and lunch, free Wi-Fi, entrance fees and transportation between locations included, this small-group tour is a great way to explore Australia's Great Ocean Road and the Grampians!
Day 1: Melbourne – Warrnambool (L)
After pickup at your Melbourne hotel by your guide, join your small-group tour in a comfortable minivan or car and head southwest toward Geelong, the second largest city in Victoria. From here, you’ll embark upon the Great Ocean Road – one of the world’s most famous coastal drives.
This 151-mile (243-km) stretch of road, now an Australian National Heritage-listed highway, offers multiple opportunities to take amazing photos of the sights and local wildlife such as koalas and kangaroos!
After stopping for a light lunch in the town of Apollo Bay, continue along the highway with your small group and cross into Otway Ranges National Park. Here, take a guided rainforest walk in the 32,000-acre (13,000-hectare) forest – habitat for ancient trees, small marsupials and many species of birds.
Back at the coast, enjoy a gorgeous view of the Twelve Apostles, a series of eroded limestone stack formations located off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. See London Bridge and the Bay of Islands, as well as Loch Ard Gorge – one of the most famous shipwreck sites along Australia’s southern coast.
After checking in to your hotel, relax for a leisurely evening in Warrnambool, where whale sightings are common!
Overnight: Country Comfort (or similar) in Warrnambool
Day 2: Warrnambool – Melbourne (B, L)
After enjoying a complete breakfast, leave Warrnambool with your small group toward Tower Hill Reserve, site of an extinct volcano. Here, you might see emus and other Australian wildlife before continuing your drive north.
Next, discover the magic of the Grampians National Park (also known as Gariwerd, in the aboriginal language), where rugged sandstone mountains rise above plains that have been inhabited by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people for 25,000 years. Here, you'll visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre, located in Halls Gap and learn about the Gariwerd creation story and the strong bond between the land and its traditional caretakers.
After lunch, explore the Grampians National Park with your guide and enjoy the magnificent views. From Boroka Lookout, view the Mt William Ranges and the town of Halls Gap; from Reed Lookout, enjoy sweeping vistas of Victoria Valley and the Sierra Range.
If you’d like, take a 40-minute walk with your guide to The Balconies, named for the iconic sandstone rocks that jut from the cliff face. If you have a good level of fitness required to climb up and down stairs on a steep trail, head to the base of MacKenzie Falls, where a year-round cascade descends over cliffs into a deep pool.
Finally, start your return drive, including a short stop in the city of Ballarat – a major Gold Rush trading post – before your guide drops you off at your Melbourne hotel around 7:30pm.