14 days ex Melbourne
The southeast corner of Australia has a fantastic diversity of natural attractions. From the beaches of Torquay to the lush rainforests of
Otway National Park, the rugged sandstone cliffs of Port Campbell and the inland Grampians National Park. We hike, bike and kayak
through this natural wonderland while learning more about the flora and fauna of the areas we pass through. We also have the chance to
get to know some of the local characters who make a living off the land as we spend some time in little visited Murtoa.
|Day 1 Melbourne/Torquay
After arrival at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport we transfer to Torquay. The drive (100km) will take around 2 hours
so you can start getting to know your fellow travelers as we leave the city behind and make our way to the start of the
Great Ocean Road. Construction of the road started in 1919 as a memorial to soldiers who lost their lives in the
First World War and was built by soldiers who survived and returned to Australia looking for work. It is one of the
most scenic coastal drives in Australia.
Torquay is a town dedicated to surfing. Nearby Bell’s Beach is home to the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition
and many of Australia’s surf brands have their headquarters in the laid back town. We head to one of the many
beaches and take a surf lesson before a welcome dinner on the beach – Torquay style!
Day 2 Torquay
We take to our bikes (20km) and explore some of the surrounding area at a nice slow pace to warm up our legs for
the days ahead. In the afternoon we take a lesson in surf swimming, learning how to tackle currents and waves
from an expert local. We also do some surf kayaking for a different view of this stunning coastline.
Day 3 Wye River Beach House
A spectacular ride along the Great Ocean Road (70km) takes us to Wye River. On the way we stop off at Bell’s
Beach, the surfing mecca for experienced wave riders and home to the annual Rip Curl Pro which draws pro
surfers here every Easter. Our beginner surf lessons and surf swimming lessons haven’t prepared us for this
infamous break but we take a rest and watch the experienced surfers ride the dangerous waves. This evening we
take an evening swim and have a game of beach cricket, a great Aussie tradition.
Day 4 Johanna
Picking up mountain bikes for a morning ride we head off for some off-road action. The course is designed for
beginners though if you have done some mountain biking before we can cater for all levels of experience. In the
afternoon we take a walk through the Otway rain forest, one of the area’s most spectacular and unspoiled
landscapes. The lush temperate rain forest which extends almost all the way to the rugged coastline is some of the
last pockets of this vegetation in southern Australia and the park was protected after a campaign by the local
community who wanted to preserve this precious ecosystem.
Day 5 Halls Gap
This morning we take a walk along the coast then hop on a horse for a relaxing ride along the beach. There is also
a chance to do some coasteering, a new sport that lets you explore the amazing coastline from water level.
Continuing our ride along the Great Ocean Road we visit the spectacular 12 Apostles and Loch Ard gorge, two of
the Great Ocean Road's most famous attractions. The towering sandstone cliffs are buffeted by strong southerly
swells which come uninterrupted all the way from the South Pole.
On our was inland to Hall’s Gap and the Grampians National Park (transfer by car) we make a stop at one of the
wineries in the area to taste some of their produce. The evening’s accommodation is in log cabins and dinner is an
outdoor barbeque amongst eucalyptus trees and resident kangaroo families.
Day 6 Halls Gap
A morning walk with a local expert teaches us about the natural history, flora and fauna of the Grampians national
park. Made up of a series of sandstone ridges this area has been home to the native aboriginal people for
thousands of years. Learn more about their history and culture as we explore the landscape and discover some of
the many rock art sites hidden away in caves and overhangs. In the evening we take a night walk to spot some of
the shy nocturnal animals who call this area home.
Day 7 Halls Gap
Options for today include rock climbing, trail running or some more cycling. There are also other outdoor adventure
options and the Grampians National Park is popular with holiday makers who come here to explore this natural
Day 8 Murtoa
Waking early we walk to a viewpoint to see the sun come up over the national park. We then get on our bikes and
ride to Murtoa, a lovely rural town in the heart of Australia’s main wheat growing area. On the way we stop at a local
farm to meet some of the local characters who call this rugged corner of Australia home. Learn how to catch
yabbies (freshwater crayfish) and learn how to cook them up in an interactive cooking lesson in a family home in
Day 9 Murtoa
We take a ride through the rural area and get an introduction to the area’s history, geography and current issues.
Like many areas in Australia there I a shortage of water here and we visit the local high school to learn about water
conservation and alternative energy sources being used by the school to help make the buildings more
environmentally friendly. In the afternoon have a swim or swimming lessons in the local river or join the locals for
some tennis, cricket or football.
Day 10 Murtoa
We take a walk out into the Australian bush and if the weather permits there is the option to camp out. During the
day we can do a mini bi/triathalon and visit another farm to learn more about life on the land.
Day 11 Melbourne
We transfer back to Melbourne for some free time in the city before our final night dinner. In the cosmopolitan state
capital there are plenty of dining options and plenty of places to have a few drinks afterwards.
Day 12 Depart
Today is departure day, there are no activities planned.