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Great Ocean Road (Melbourne to Adelaide Self Drive) 7 nights

8 days/7 nights Melbourne - Cape Otway - Port Fairy - Coonawarra - Robe - Kangaroo Island Optional Extension - Adelaide.

Price from £462 per person

A fascinating self drive Australia tour that includes 8 days car rental with Hertz Australia, together with 7 nights ‘boutique’ accommodation, meals indicated and daily driving notes. Price includes car pick up from downtown depot - supplements may apply from airport.

Melbourne – Cape Otway – Port Fairy – Coonawarra – Robe – Adelaide

Kangaroo Island optional extension

Prices depend on seasonality and based on twin share accommodation.

DAY 1 MELBOURNE – CAPE OTWAY (NM)

Pick up your HERTZ INTERMEDIATE AUTOMATIC rental car at the Melbourne City Depot or Melbourne Airport Depot and commence your drive to Apollo Bay. Depart Melbourne on the Princes Freeway and travel to Geelong. Join the Surf Coast Highway to the pretty coastal resort town of Torquay. Here you meet the famed Great Ocean Road which will offer many stunning sights during your Melbourne to Adelaide self-drive experience. From Torquay you may wish to make a short detour to the coast (approximately 20km return) to enjoy magnificent views over Bells Beach, one of Australia's leading surfing ‘meccas’. Travel past the scenic coastal resort towns of Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay to arrive at Cape Otway.

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD – Winding along the western coast of Victoria, the Great Ocean Road is oneof Australia's most spectacular drives and perhaps one of the world's most scenic. The road hugs the coastline for much of the route, revealing lovely coastal scenery, as well as the inland splendour of the Otway Ranges. On your drive, take advantage of the many opportunities for bushwalking, swimming, fishing and whale watching.

TORQUAY – Boasting long stretches of golden sandy beaches and great waves, the village of Torquay is Victoria’s surfing capital, and a major holiday resort town. The nearby Bells Beach, a renowned world surf title venue offers waves that can surge to five meters high.

APOLLO BAY is a scenic little fishing port nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Otway Ranges. Apollo Bay offers a range of superb restaurants and cafes, art galleries, a fabulous seaside golf course, and interesting museums. In particular, the Bass Strait Shell Museum features a huge display of shells from all around the world and information on shipwrecks that have occurred off this perilous coastline.  A steep and narrow road will take you to Mariners Lookout east of town, where a short walk leads to spectacular views of the township and the coastline.

OVERNIGHT: Great Ocean Ecolodge at Conservation Ecolodge,  Cape Otway

DAY 2 CAPE OTWAY – PORT FAIRY (NM)

This morning, you may wish to stop at the nearby Department of Environment Boardwalk, and enjoy a stroll through the lush rainforest of Otway National Park, or nearby Cape Otway’s treacherous stretch of coast. The cape is the most southerly point on the Great Ocean Road. Sitting on the point of the cape (atop 100 metre high cliffs) is one of Australia's oldest lighthouses. Guided tours are available. Depart Cape Otway later this morning and travel along the Great Ocean Road through the town of Port Campbell and the Port Campbell National Park. Just before the town of Warnambool, the Great Ocean Road ends and you join the Princes Highway for the short drive on to Port Fairy.

PORT CAMPBELL – This small crayfishing village is situated near the major attractions of the Great Ocean Road: Loch Ard Gorge; Thunder Cave; The Arch; London Bridge; The Grotto; and the Twelve Apostles (and these are just the major ones!). The mighty Twelve Apostles are world-recognised icons of the Great Ocean Road and travelling from Melbourne to Adelaide by self-drive tour provides the opportunity to enjoy their splendours in your own time. These giant rock stacks soar from the swirling waters of the Southern Ocean, formed over millions of years of strong wind and waves crashing into the limestone cliffs. Sunrise and sunset offer particularly impressive views as the Twelve Apostles change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to a brilliant sandy yellow under full sun. Many ships met their end along the coastline of what is now the Port Campbell National Park. The most famous is the Loch Ard which was wrecked in 1878 claiming the lives of 52 people. The Loch Ard Gorge is on the stretch of road from Princetown to Port Campbell, along with a number of other notable clusters of islands off the coastline such as the Blow Hole, Mutton Bird Island and Elephant Rock. London Bridge is another formation which was once a double arch resembling London Bridge, but it collapsed in 1990, and is now a detached landmass.

WARRNAMBOOL – Few places can lay claim to such a beautiful location as Warrnambool. Nestled into the rising contour of the coast amid green dairying countryside, the city overlooks the deep blue of the Southern Ocean. The only city on the rugged Shipwreck Coast, Warrnambool has had a long and colourful history linked with the sea. Between late May and August each year, Southern Right Whales come from the Antarctic to the area known as Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery to give birth. This miraculous event can be witnessed from a viewing platform on the cliff top.

PORT FAIRY – The history of Port Fairy is beautifully present in every street of this charming old fishing village. But the quaint buildings, genteel pines and wide-open streets mask a rugged birth. In the early nineteenth century, the natural harbour at the mouth of the Moyne River became a favourite hunting port for Bass Strait sealers and whalers. An interesting and beautiful place to tour.

OVERNIGHT: Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel, Port Fairy

DAY 3 PORT FAIRY – COONAWARRA (NM)

PORTLAND. - Founded a year earlier then Port Fairy, in 1834, this busy deep-water port is the oldest permanent settlement in Victoria. To the southwest are the spectacular seascapes of Cape Nelson and the blowholes and petrified forest of Cape Bridgewater.

MT. GAMBIER is located southeast of Adelaide on the slopes of an extinct volcano. Mt. Gambier has two famous attractions, the Blue Lake and the Cave in the centre of the city. As a consequence the town is known as "Blue Lake City" or the "City around a Cave". The lake is famous for its change of colour from winter grey to intense blue in November each year. It remains blue until late March, and aside from its beauty, is the City's source of domestic water.

COONAWARRA is renowned as one of Australia's finest wine regions and is particularly known for producing world class red wines especially Cabernet Sauvignon. Its secret lies in a magical marriage of rich red terra rossa soil, limestone, pure underground water and a long cool ripening season for the grapes. More than 24 Coonawarra wineries have cellar door sales outlets, mostly open seven days a week (except Christmas Day) and you will be warmly welcomed for tastings, providing a delightful excuse to stop on your Melbourne to Adelaide self-drive journey.

OVERNIGHT: Merlot & Verdelho, Penola

DAY 4 COONAWARRA – ROBE (NM)

PENOLA - Take a Walk with History in Penola, the ideal way to visit the historic and heritage sites within the town. Beginning at the John Riddoch Centre, this walk takes in the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre and School House, Petticoat Lane, historic buildings, cottages and churches. Then journey onto the Victorian Mansion, Yallum Park, one of the best preserved homes in the country.

ROBE is situated on Guichen Bay, about 350km south east of Adelaide. Nicolas Baudin, a French explorer first viewed the bay in 1802. The township of Robe was later settled in 1802 and Guichen Bay was named in honour of Admiral de Guichen. Surveying by Governor Robe in April 1846 resulted in the county of Robe being roclaimed. Pastoral pioneers legalised their claims and the first sale of building allotments took place in Adelaide. As a visitor to the town you can still immerse yourself in Robe’s seafaring history – full of extraordinary events and wonderful sites. There are over 84 historic buildings and sites. Special care has been taken to restore most of the original buildings. By walking the streets and visiting these buildings one can relive Robe’s pioneering history.

OVERNIGHT: Anns Place, Robe

DAY 5 ROBE – ADELAIDE (NM)

KINGSTON is a seaside resort and fishing town. This is the beginning of "Lobster Country" which explains the "Big Lobster" at the entrance to town. Fishing is popular and there is safe swimming at nearby Wyomi and Pinks beaches. Cape Jaffa dating from the 1860's was re-erected at Kingston in the 1970's and is under the care of the National Trust. There are many fine old buildings in Kingston, including the Post Office, the Colonial Tea Rooms and Gallery, the Court House and the original Gaol.

MURRAY BRIDGE is an important rural riverside town as well as being a popular tourist retreat. The first bridge was built in 1879 and in 1886 the railway passed through. In 1906 the swamps were drained and land irrigated, allowing for farming of pigs, dairy cattle, fruit and vegetables. The new bridge, just south of town, was built in 1979.

Return your vehicle to the Adelaide Airport depot or Adelaide city Hertz Depot.

KANGAROO ISLAND EXTENSION

DAY 5 ROBE – MIDDLETON (NM)

Depart Robe and make your way along the South East Coast past Kingston and on through the wetland area of the Coorong. Continue to Middleton for your overnight accommodation.

MIDDLETON is a popular spot for surfers and fisherman due to its spectacular beach. The town's name is believed to have been derived from 'Middle Town' - the town half way between Goolwa and Port Elliot on the railway line, which opened in May 1854. When the single track railway was built it was necessary to provide loop lines for the carriages to pass. It was from one such loop and siding that the township developed.

OVERNIGHT: Beach Huts Middelton, Middleton

DAY 6 MIDDLETON – KANGAROO ISLAND

Depart Middleton early this morning as you will need to be in Cape Jervis in time to catch the 10:00am ferry service to Kangaroo Island. The crossing takes approximately 45 minutes. Once you leave the ferry in Penneshaw, take time to check out this quaint, Cornish like village.

PENNESHAW is a pretty coastal village on the north east Dudley Peninsula of Kangaroo Island, with spectacular views of the South Australian mainland. Walk along the coast into Baudin Conservation Park and see wallabies sheltering under the bushes to escape the heat. Other activities include boat fishing or swimming off one of the safest beaches on the island. At night, head out to see Penneshaw's colony of Little Penguins – tours are conducted nightly from the Penguin Interpretive Centre.

AMERICAN RIVER nestles on the hillside in native bushland, offering superb views of Eastern Cove and the mainland. The bushland surrounding the village is habitat to the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo, which are often seen in the area. The Kangaroo Island oyster industry is based here, with the wharf being a hive of activity during the season. Oysters are available, seasonally. Pelican Lagoon, the inner bay, is a natural fish nursery and is protected as an Aquatic Reserve. The islands within the lagoon are important bird-breeding habitats. Black Swans, Cape Barren Geese, Australian Pelicans and other birdsmake the area an excellent bird-watching destination.

OVERNIGHT: The Open House, Parndana (2 nights)

DAY 7 KANGAROO ISLAND

Today is at leisure to explore everything Kangaroo Island has to offer.

SEAL BAY CONSERVATION PARK: At Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, you can join one of the regular guided tours to see the endangered Australian Sea-lions in their natural environment of coastal vegetation, dunes and beach. Wander along the 800-metre boardwalk which meanders through the limestone cliffs and dunes to viewing platforms where you can observe the sea-lions surfing the waves or sunning themselves on the beach while you enjoy the stunning coastal scenery.

FLINDERS CHASE NATIONAL PARK is a must see for any visitor to the island. The impressive Remarkable Rocks form what appear to be a cluster of precariously balanced granite boulders. This stunning work of nature has been shaped by the erosive forces of wind, sea spray and rain over some 500 million years. The golden orange lichen covering some of the rocks offers visitors wonderful photo opportunities at different times of the day. Interpretation signs share the story of how these intriguing rocks were formed with a viewing platform providing a vantage point for disabled access. The Admiral’s Arch is a remnant of an ancient cave that was broken by ocean waves and transformed into a natural bridge. Stalactites are still hanging off the top of the arch as the evidence of its unusual history. The arch presents a geological significance and designated as a geological monument.

DAY 8 KANGAROO ISLAND – ADELAIDE

Return to Penneshaw today in time to catch the 10:30 am ferry to Cape Jervis. On arrival at Cape Jervis, head east on Flinders Street/B23 and join Main South Road into Adelaide.

Return your vehicle to the Adelaide Airport depot or Adelaide city Hertz Depot