Great Southern Touring Route

Great Southern Touring Route - Campervan Driving Routes Australia

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Start: Melbourne
Finish: Melbourne
Duration: 5 days

The Great Southern Touring Route offers the best of Australia’s beaches, coastline, forests, countryside, history and heritage - all in a flexible, compact, driving package. Located in the South Eastern state of Victoria, the route starts at the state’s capital, Melbourne. The circular route can be taken in any direction or with side tours. The total distance is around 800 kilometres, depending on side trips. Good standard inland and coastal roads allow for many touring variations.

By travelling along the route, visitors will discover the excitement and heritage of the gold rush in the Goldfields and Ballarat; marvel at the grandeur of the Grampians mountain range and National Park; the majesty of the iconic Twelve Apostles and experience one of the world’s greatest drives along the Great Ocean Road between Geelong and Warrnambool.

The region features unique Australian wild fauna such as kangaroos on golf courses, koalas in gum trees, emus on volcanic plains, kookaburras in unexpected places, whale calves close to shore and dolphins surfing breaks.

Distances:

  • Day 1
    Melbourne to Ballarat - 117 km
  • In Ballarat, strike gold at Sovereign Hill and experience the gold fever yesteryear - brought to life in this outdoor museum. Go wild at the Ballarat Wildlife Park and enjoy close contact with Australian native animals. Feed the free-roaming kangaroos. Watch crocodile and Tasmanian Devil feedings, participate in koala and wombat photo opportunities. Explore the Eureka Centre. Stands at the very site of one of the most significant events in Australia's history - The Eureka Rebellion, December 1854. Visit the oldest regional gallery in Australia, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, established in 1884 and boasting one of the nation's most significant collections. At night, experience the spectacular sound and light show, Blood on the Southern Cross at Sovereign Hill. Overnight: Ballarat.
  • Day 2
    Ballarat to Grampians - 135 km
  • On the way to the Grampians NP, take a self-guided tour of the wine regions of Ballarat, the Pyrenees and Grampians and learn the intimate secrets of some of Australia's best cool-climate wines along the Great Grape Touring Route. In Ararat, Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre re-lives the journey and story of gold prospectors from Southern China, their discovery of Australia's largest alluvial goldfield at Ararat - mid 1800s. After arriving in the Grampians take a stroll around Halls Gap or enjoy one of the many walks in the Grampians NP. See kangaroos & koalas, visit the Boroka and Reids lookouts and MacKenzie Falls. Brambuk brings to life the history and culture of aboriginal life in Victoria. For the more adventurous, the Grampians provides rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, guided walks, canoeing and kayaking. Overnight: Halls Gap/Dunkeld.
  • Day 3
    Grampians to Port Campbell - 277 km
  • Depart the Grampians region and travel along the scenic route through the bushland of the Grampians to the township of Dunkeld, then onto the Great Ocean Road. Along the way, Tower Hill offers the opportunity to intimately observe Australian wildlife including koalas, kangaroos and emus in a dormant volcano and get an Aboriginal perspective on native animals, bush existence and culture with Worn Gundidj. Visit Warrnambool's Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum, a recreated 19th century seaport where you can explore the maritime history of the Shipwreck Coast. Drive the spectacular Great Ocean Road. Nature's beauty is revealed in the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. At Loch Ard Gorge visitors are treated to a beautiful vista of towering cliffs, sparkling blue-green sea and a small, sandy beach. The drama of one of the most tragic shipwrecks was played out at this very spot more than 125 years ago, giving a name to the gorge. Discover stunning coastal scenery and rock formations, including the world famous Twelve Apostles. These giant rock stacks soar from the swirling waters and are a central feature of the Port Campbell National Park. Another way to experience this truly awe inspiring scenery is on one of Great Ocean Road Helicopters scenic helicopter flights. With commentary on the history of the coast, unparalleled viewing and breathtaking photographic opportunities, these flights are an experience of a lifetime. Overnight: Port Campbell
  • Day 4
    Port Campbell to Lorne - 144 km
  • Continuing onto Apollo Bay, visit Cape Otway Lightstation and climb to the top of mainland Australia's oldest lighthouse (1848). Explore the Otway Fly Tree Top walk through the rainforest. Experience the beauty and excitement 25 metres above the forest floor. Take a walk on the Great Ocean Walk. The walk links Apollo Bay to Glenample, adjacent to the Twelve Apostles passing through the Great Otway and Port Campbell NP. The walk travels through the regions most spectacular scenery. Arrive at Apollo Bay. Set into the picturesque foothills of the Great Otway NP, the village boasts long sandy beaches and deep-blue sea. Experience the beauty of the Great Otway NP with its mighty fern gullies and beautiful waterfalls in a lush temperate rainforest. Depart Apollo Bay and continue the coastal journey along the Great Ocean Road, to Lorne. Overnight: Lorne
  • Day 5
    Lorne to Melbourne - 135 km
  • Before departing Lorne a visit to Erskine Falls is a must. A short walk allows visitors to experience the amazing cascade of water that rushes through the surrounding rainforest. From Lorne the Great Ocean Road continues through Aireys Inlet, Anglesea and Torquay. Visit Narana Creations and view the beauty of Aboriginal culture coming into Geelong. Arrive at Geelong. Walk along the waterfront to sea-bathing complex of Eastern Beach. Don't miss the bollards, the colourful way Geelong has chosen to tell its story using recycled timbers from the old port. Visit the National Wool Museum to see working machinery and comprehensive galleries covering the story of wool story and textiles. Depart: Geelong for Melbourne.

1 Mile = 1.6 km

Highlights:

  • The Twelve Apostles
  • Located on the Great Ocean Road shoreline, these giant limestone stacks have been eroded over the centuries form the cliffs by nature. They are breathtaking anytime of the year, with spectacular sunsets. Easily accessible, there is a visitors' centre with safe parking for your car or motorhome.
  • The Great Ocean Road
  • Regarded by travel experts as on of the top driving journeys of a lifetime. The road clings to the rugged coastline for most of they way, as well as climbing through the stunning Great Otway National Park. It also features historic villages, seaside resorts, beaches and plenty of lookouts to stop and breath in the fresh sea air. Being one of the world's most famous coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road is also the world's biggest war memorials. It was built mostly by pick and shovel by 3000 returne soldiers and sailors in honour of their comrades who died in World War I
  • Grampians National Park
  • A stunning geological formation in the west of Victoria. The Grampians mountain range rises up from one of the largest volcanic plains in the world. The 170,000 hectare National Park is home to waterfalls, one third of Victoria's native plants, a rich Aboriginal history and offer a wide range of walks and lookouts with lots of spectacular photo opportunities.
  • The Spa Experience
  • The chance for the ultimate indulgence. Drink the natural mineral waters where they come out of the ground or visit one of the luxury spa facilities in the region for a massage or full beauty treatment. You can also take a break from cooking in your camper with many restaurants along the way, mostly centred around Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
  • Between Lorne and Apollo Bay is considered by many to be the most picturesque section of the Great Ocean Road.
  • The most famous section of the Great Ocean Road featuring an amazing collection of rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles
  • Bells Beach - Ocean and beach views from lookout platforms at Bells Beach Surfing Reserve. Access from Torquay via Bells Boulevard, or the Great Ocean Road.
  • Cape Patton Lookout - Spectacular views east towards Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek. Off the Great Ocean Road, east of Apollo Bay
  • Grampians National Park - Reeds Lookout, the Balconies, Boroka Lookout, MacKeAUie Falls
  • The Otways- some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery can be found in the Otway Ranges behind Lorne and Apollo Bay