With two nights in 4-star accommodations plus five meals, free Wi-Fi, entrance fees and transportation between locations included, this small-group tour is an ideal way to explore the coast from Melbourne to Sydney!
Day 1: Melbourne – Lakes Entrance (L)
Departing from your Melbourne hotel with your guide, travel southeast along the South Gippsland Freeway by minivan or car. Your small-group tour will pass through the picturesque towns of Korumburra and Leongatha, and stop for a coffee break (own expense) in Koonwarra. Check out this contemporary, rural village that demonstrates sustainable living – from its organic food and wine to clothing, furniture and art.
Continue to Wilsons Promontory National Park, located at Australia’s southernmost point. The park covers more than 120,000 acres (50,000 hectares) and encompasses some of Victoria’s most beautiful beaches, including rugged offshore islands as well as shaded rainforest gullies and cloud-soaked mountain peaks.
From here, your guide will point out a remote lighthouse that illuminates the sea surrounding South Point – the continent’s southern tip. Admire the amazing views from Picnic Point Lookout and take a walk to Squeaky Beach – with its pristine waters and fine white sand – to find out how the beach got its name.
Next, head to the fascinating Tidal River, which swells with the tides and gets its dark color from the surrounding tea trees, and enjoy a light lunch. Afterward, stop to check out some wildlife unique to Australia, such as kangaroos, echidnas or wombats, on your way out of the park.
After a short break at the old port of Sale, take in more outstanding views around Gippsland Lakes, a network of large lakes, marshes and shallow lagoons in Gippsland Lakes National Park. Learn about the pelicans as you watch them dive into the water in Lakes Entrance, where Ninety Mile Beach meets the Southern Ocean.
Once you arrive at your hotel, you’ll have free time to explore or relax.
Overnight: Best Western Banjo Paterson Lakes Entrance (or similar) in Lakes Entrance
Day 2: Lakes Entrance – Batemans Bay (B, L)
After breakfast, your guide will take your small group on a drive along the Princess Highway (Highway 1), passing through Orbost, a small town near the coast of Bass Strait. When you reach Bemm River Scenic Reserve, enjoy a half-hour guided walk through the warm-climate rainforest, crossing two extension bridges and learning about local flora and fauna along the way.
Next, head across the border into New South Wales to the town of Eden, where you’ll dine on lunch with coffee at the wharf. Then, visit the Eden Killer Whale Museum to view the skeletal remains of legendary ‘Old Tom,’ an orca that reputedly guided whalers to their prey. The museum exhibits tell of the town’s Aboriginal history as well as its whaling, timber and fishing industries.
Continue north, taking in the gorgeous views as you pass through the picturesque town of Merimbula as well as Bournda National Park. You'll then head through Bega, where your small group will rejoin the Princess Highway for the scenic coastal drive past the town of Moruya. Take in more of the incredible scenery until you arrive in Batemans Bay, located about 170 miles (280 km) from Sydney on the Clyde River Estuary, relax for a leisurely evening amid splendid natural surroundings.
Overnight: Lincoln Downs (or similar) in Batemans Bay
Day 3: Batemans Bay – Sydney (B, L)
Enjoy breakfast with your group and then depart with your guide from Batemans Bay, passing through the district of Shoalhave as you follow the scenic route to Jervis Bay Marine Park. Here, take a stroll along the beach where clear waters and crystal-white sands provide a magnificent setting for the area’s diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
When you arrive in Huskisson, stop for a coffee break before continuing to the Coolangatta Estate Winery for lunch, followed by a tasting of delicious local wines. Admire the rambling vines of this picturesque vineyard at one of the first European settlements on Australia’s southeastern coast.
After lunch, continue to Kiama – meaning ‘where the sea makes a noise’ in the local indigenous language. Your guide will take your small group to watch spectacular plumes of water on display at the renowned blowhole, which happens when the tide runs from the southeast. Visit the local rock pool and keep an eye out for dolphins or whales!
Stop in town for a cup of coffee (own expense) and get back on the road for just 74 more miles (124 km) until you arrive in Sydney, where your guide will drop you off at your hotel.