With two nights in 4-star hotels plus five meals, free Wi-Fi, entrance fees and transportation included, this small-group tour is the best way to get to Adelaide from Melbourne, exploring the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians along the way.
Day 1: Melbourne – Warrnambool (L)
Upon pickup by your guide from your hotel in Melbourne, head by comfortable minivan or car southwest toward Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city, and get ready to explore one of the world’s best coastal drives – the Great Ocean Road.
This Australian National Heritage-listed highway covers 151 miles (243 km) and provides many amazing photo opportunities of the sights, from surfers to local wildlife including kangaroos and koalas!
Stop in the town of Apollo Bay for a light lunch and then continue along the highway with your small group, crossing into Otway Ranges National Park where you’ll enjoy a guided rainforest walk. The 32,000-acre (13,000-hectare) forest is habitat for ancient trees, small marsupials and many species of birds.
Back at the coast, enjoy a view of the gorgeous 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.
Overnight: Country Comfort (or similar) in Warrnambool
Day 2: Warrnambool – Halls Gap (B, L)
After enjoying a complete breakfast, leave Warrnambool with your small group toward Tower Hill Reserve, site of an extinct volcano. Here, you may see emus and other Australian wildlife before continuing your drive north.
Next, discover the magic of the Grampians (also known as Gariwerd) – rugged sandstone mountains located in one of Victoria’s most beautiful national parks and rising above plains inhabited by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people for 25,000 years. Visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre to hear the Gariwerd creation story, and learn about the strong bond between the land and its traditional caretakers.
After lunch, explore 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 below; 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.
Spend a leisurely evening after arriving at your accommodation.
Overnight: Kookaburra Lodge (or similar) in Halls Gap
Day 3: Halls Gap – Adelaide (B, L)
After breakfast in Halls Gap, observe grazing kangaroos, and then head north with your small group past Horsham. Continue to the town of Naracoorte – meaning ‘place of running water’ – once a vital stopover during the Gold Rush in Victoria. Your guide will tell you about the thousands of miners, including more than 7,000 Chinese, who stopped here on their way to and from the gold mines.
When you’ve enjoyed a light lunch, explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed caves in nearby Naracoorte Caves National Park with your guide. Discovered in the 1870s, the limestone caves are renowned for their remarkable fossils of giant kangaroos, wombats and koalas! As you pass along the walkway, admire the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites that decorate the cave walls.
Finally, your guide will take you for a brief visit of Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest German settlement, before dropping you off at your hotel in Adelaide.