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Great Southern Touring Route

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Campervan Driving Routes Australia

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.

Travel

5 days


Route

Melbourne to Melbourne

808km


Best Time of the Year

Any time of year

Highlights

  • Great Ocean Road
  • Twelve Apostles
  • Bells Beach
  • Grampians National Park
  • The Otways

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5

Day 1
Melbourne to Ballarat

Distance 117km - Driving Time 1.5 hours

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

Distance 135km - Driving Time 1.5 hours

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

Distance 277km - Driving Time 2 hours

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

Distance 144km - Driving Time 2 hours

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

Distance 135km - Driving Time 2 hours

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.

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