The journey from Melbourne to Adelaide passes through a variety of landscapes, from dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches to lush rainforest and a diversity of Australian wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, emus, seals and sea lions.
From dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches to lush rainforests and a diversity of Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, emus, seals and sealions.
Leaving Melbourne your journey heads west to Geelong, then Torquay, the surf capital of Australia and the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Clinging to the edge of the Southern Ocean, the road passes through cosmopolitan Lorne and the unspoilt fishing village of Apollo Bay to the lush forests of the Great Otway National Park.
Spend two nights at the Great Otway Ecolodge is a magnificent, multi award-winning environmentally-sustainable guest house within the grounds of The Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology. Your hosts, Lizzie and Shayne, run a 24 hour wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre so always have kangaroos and koalas on site although native wildlife is abundant in the grounds and your hosts will take you on interpretive bush walks.
The lodge is also a great base to explore the region itself or join parts of the Great Ocean Walk (you can be dropped you off at different points of the walk and picked you up the end of the day). The lodge has only 5 cosy bedrooms and serves fresh regional produce, much of it grown in the Ecolodge's own garden, matched perfectly with local wines.
Before heading off we recommend joining a dawn canoe tour on Lake Elizabeth, a remote mountain lake, to see the elusive platypus, a great opportunity to see these extraordinary creatures in their natural habitat.
The Twelve Apostles are one of the great sights along the Great Ocean Road, the majestic limestone stacks rising up from the ocean They can be viewed by helicopter or from the many clifftop platforms. Carry on through the charming fishing village of Port Fairy where you’ll leave the road and drive through the lush farmland of the Western District to the Grampians.
The Grampians National Park has dramatic landscapes with soaring mountain peaks, deep valleys, roaring waterfalls and ancient aboriginal rock art, plus a range of guided walks and other activities including a chance to see nocturnal animals such as owls, possums and koalas. More than 200 bird species live in the Grampians and kangaroos are thick on the ground.
You’ll spend 2 nights at Boroka Downs, a cluster 5 self contained luxurious residences located close to Halls Gap, surrounded by wilderness with stunning views and plenty of kangaroos to keep you company.
Drive back to the coast stopping in Portland, the birthplace of Victoria and home to a large seal colony. However, the real natural highlight is the opportunity to see Blue Whales, the area being one of the few in the world where these huge creatures can be seen from the land. They migrate to the area to feed on the abundant swarms of krill which are nourished by the "Bonney Upwelling", generally arriving in December and remaining off Portland until May. You can also, uniquely, see then from the sky, by helicopter (book a morning flights and the price includes a lobster lunch enjoyed on one of the remote beaches along the limestone coast.
Once into South Australia you’ll pass through Mount Gambier, built on the site of an extinct volcano and surrounded by ancient crater lakes including the Blue Lake.
Continue around the coast to Beachport, a tranquil lobster-fishing township which at the height of summer becomes a bustling holiday spot, and on to Robe, a picturesque village beside a lovely sheltered harbour. Indulge in fresh seafood and take a swim or a long walk along stunning 17km Long Beach - found just on the northern outskirts of Robe.
You’ll stay at one of the Robe Lifestyle Properties, a collection of charming beachfront self catering cottages.
From Robe, the tranquil beauty of Coorong National Park beckons. The shallow lagoons that make up the Coorong host permanent and migratory bird populations. Its also the point where Australia’s most famous river, the Murray enters the ocean.
The Coorong is also rich in the Aboriginal history and at the Coorong Wilderness Lodge, where you’ll spend the night, the Ngarrindjeri people share their culture, and show guests the local wildlife and flora, including bush tucker. The lodge has a variety of accommodation from camping to comfortable double en-suite rooms.
After passing through the wildlife haven of the Coorong National Park, there is a chance to see even more wildlife, Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest island, can be reached by ferry from Cape Jervis (45 mins to Penneshaw), with a chance of sighting dolphins and whales.
Over a third of the islands is preserved for wildlife. Beaches, cliffs, shipwrecks, lighthouses and marine parks are all features of the 540-kilometre coastline. The island’s isolation has ensured an abundance of wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, sea lions, penguins, echidnas and native bird life.
On one of your days we recommend joining a small group 4WD tour to see the best the island has to offer. You’ll visit the Lathami Conservation Park, look for wallabies which are almost extinct on the mainland, and a species of kangaroo found only on Kangaroo Island, and try to spot snoozing koalas in the tall Eucalyptus trees. At Seal Bay Conservation Park you’ll walk with your guide among Australian sea lions on a beautiful sandy beach. Watch pups nursing or playing in the surf, see old bulls bearing the scars of territorial disputes and learn about their unique breeding biology.
Spend 2 nights at Stranraer, a family run 1920s farmhouse with a wraparound veranda and a spread of 5000 acres. It’s very traditional in style, with open fires in all four bedrooms and lots of little comforting touches. You may want to splash out and consider upgrading to the new luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge, located on the islands south coast, with stunning views of the ocean, perfect location for all the sites of KI, extravagant but worth every penny.
The last leg of the trip, from Kangaroo Island into cosmopolitan Adelaide, is a comfortable 111 kilometers through the Fleurieu Peninsula with its stunning beaches and Mclaren Vale which has more than 75 wineries.
Includes 9 days all inclusive full-size car hire, 8 nights accommodation including breakfast, apart from Coorong Wilderness Lodge which is room only.