One of the best ways to experience the coast between Adelaide and Melbourne is to get out of the car and explore by foot. The driving between locations is spectacular but some of the best beaches can only be accessed by foot on the Great Ocean Walk. The same applies to some of the highest peaks and lookouts in the Grampians. Similarly, if you are interested in wildlife, you might prefer to swim with dolphins on Kangaroo Island or kayak amongst the birds on the Coorong.
Explore the beaches and wineries of the Fleurieu Peninsula on your way down to Cape Jervis where you’ll catch the ferry (45 mins) to Kangaroo Island. This largely untouched island is home to much of Australia’s wildlife including koalas, Kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, platypus, echidnas and seals. During your stay we recommend a visit to Seal Bay Conservation Park, where you can watch the sea lions, jostle and play in the surf from the beach, and also Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, both dramatic seascapes shaped by the elements and located in Flinders Chase National Park.
With 540 kms of coastline and more than half the island still covered in native bush, there are some fantastic walks to enjoy. Try and spend time on one of the island’s unspoilt beaches: Vivone Beach has been names as the ‘best beach in Australia’, however Pennington Beach, Stokes Bay, Snellings Beach or Hansons Bay are just as spectacular. Little Sahara, in the middle of the island, is a series of white sand dunes and a great spot for a spot of sandboarding. Kangaroo Island Marine Tours offer fantastic opportunities to see the island’s abundant birdlife from the sea including penguins, sea eagles, albatross, pelicans and many more - and if you are game you can swim with the dolphins.
Overnight at the Ozone Seafront Hotel, located in the centre of Kingscote, an ideal base for exploring the island.
Close the Cape Jervis is Deep Creek Conservation Park, a collection of walking trails (including the famous Heyson Trail), waterfalls and wildlife that’s definitely worth a break in your journey to Coorong. The peninsula is also perfect for fishing, diving snorkeling and sailing but one of the real highlights is the amazing birdlife in Coorong National Park where you can take a canoe for a close up encounter.
You’ll overnight at Beach Huts B&B, a collection of brightly coloured seaside themed rooms located about 5 minutes from the beach in Middleton with a fantastic restaurant. An ideal base from which to explore the south coast.
Continue north towards the historic town of Penola and the world-famous Coonawarra wine district, particularly renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon, with more than 20 cellar door outlets to visit.
Naracoorte World Heritage Fossil Site and the Wonambi Fossil Centre is on your way; learn the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, marvel at the amazing spaces of Cathedral Cave and see colonies of bent-wing bats while the more adventurous can squeeze through remote parts of the cave systems on an adventure caving tour.
Overnight at Padthaway Homestead, built in 1882 and located in the heart of the Padthaway Wine Region.
The Port Campbell National Park is the home of the famous Shipwreck Coast including the Twelve Apostles, one of the most iconic and photographed rock formations in Australia. You can drive yourself, stopping off at the many viewing platforms along the way; however we recommend a small group half day tour to explore some of the lesser known coastal formations.
You’ll walk on the beach at Loch Ard Gorge and learn about the tragic history and hazards of the Shipwreck Coast to early shipping, see the Twelve Apostles and view the little penguin breeding colony. Walk down the Gibson’s Steps onto one of the most spectacular beaches, with sixty metre vertical cliffs and one kilometre of sandy beach.
As you drive away from this dramatic part of the coast the road takes a gentle detour through the Great Otway National Park. We recommend two more short sidetrips, to see the tops of some of Australia’s tallest trees at the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, and the 360 degree view from the Cape Otway Lightstation on your way to Apollo Bay.
You’ll stay at the Beacon Point Ocean View, in 1 and 2 bedroom villas with spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding countryside - each with a separate kitchen, living space and outdoor BBQ.
Discover grand and rugged mountain ranges, spectacular wildflower displays, a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities (bushwalking, rock climbing, fishing, canoeing….) and a wealth of Aboriginal rock art sites in the Grampians National Park.
The Grampians are a series of five spectacular sandstone ridges running north to south with steep and craggy slopes on the eastern side and gentler slopes to the west. They are the result of earth movements lifting and tilting the hard sandstones creating an impressive landscape of peaks and valleys. There are lookouts with stunning panoramic views as well as a number of picturesque waterfalls.
You’ll spend 2 nights at Boroka Downs, 5 self contained luxurious residences located close to Halls Gap, surrounded by wilderness with stunning views and plenty of Kangaroos to keep you company.
Opened in 2006, the Great Ocean Walk spans 104 kms of one of the world’s most spectacular coastlines as well as encompassing the forests of the Otways and providing amazing opportunities to see native Australian wildlife. Our itinerary is a reduced version (although we can offer a 6 day walk if you have time) that takes in the highlights of the walk.
On day 1 (8 km / 4 hours walking) you’ll drive down from the Grampians and meet the 'Bothfeet' group at the lodge before spending an afternoon discovering the Parker River Estuary and Cape Otway itself where you’ll visit the lightstation and enjoy a coastal panorama from the top of the lighthouse itself.
On day 2 (11km, 6 hours walking) you’ll experience the wilder side of the Great Ocean Walk, following a winding path that leads through forest of predominately Manna Gum and Stringybarks to beautiful Milanesia Beach.
On day 3 (11 km, 5 hours walking) you’ll rejoin the Great Ocean Walk on a lovely coastal path that meanders through heath land, wildflowers and grasstrees before dropping onto Johanna beach. The last 2km are beach walking, with the Southern Ocean crashing only metres away from each footstep. After lunch you’ll transfer to Princetown to take the final 5km stroll to the famous 12 Apostles pillars before returning to your car so you can drive back to Melbourne. You may prefer to add an extra night in Apollo Bay which we can easily arrange for you.
Your evenings will be spent at Bothfeet’s 4 star lodge including dinner and breakfast every day.
9 days all inclusive full-size car hire, 8 nights accommodation including breakfast, apart from Ozone which is room only and Bothfeet walking lodge which includes all meals and guiding.