The ultimate Great Ocean Road drive
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most famous drives for a reason and it celebrated its centenary last year. Get up close and personal with the thriving flora, fauna and habitat the region has to offer on one of many wildlife walks. Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve offers visitors a naturally diverse experience of the Australian bush where some of the country’s most iconic native birds and animals live. Take one of five self-guided walks and learn about the Aboriginal Heritage of the area at the Worn Gundidj Visitor Centre.
To the back of Lorne, visitors can immerse themselves in some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery in the Great Otway National Park, walking through tall trees, ancient plant life and lush ferns. Walk among giant tree ferns at Maits Rest or experience the full beauty of the rainforest with Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, offering a breath-taking birds-eye view of the rainforest on the Treetop Walk or soaring through the leafy treetops on the Zipline Tour.
Road trippers can combine the spectacular scenery of the rugged Grampians mountain range with western Victoria’s rich pastoral heritage, beautiful nature reserves and sublime food and wine experiences on this inspiring touring route. Begin the trip in picturesque Dunkeld and revel in the stunning views of the Grampians’ Piccaninny, Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt. Spend the night at Royal Mail Hotel and indulge the senses with dinner at its two hatted restaurant, Wickens. Pick up a casual treat from the renowned Dunkeld Old Bakery. A visit to Five Ducks Farm will reward sweet-tooths with hand-made duck egg custard ice cream.
Home to some of the most awe-inspiring wilderness, from gentle walks to multi-day adventures, visitors can test their stamina with a hike through the Grand Canyon up to The Pinnacle. For something a bit less strenuous, wander out to spectacular Mackenzie Falls. The Balconies, located just 30 minutes from Reed Lookout is a must visit for sweeping views of the region. For an unforgettable hiking experience, the first stage of the Grampians Peaks Trail has opened with a three-day, two-night trek through some of the park’s most stunning scenery. Rugged mountain peaks, rocky gullies and breathtaking panoramic views dominate on this route.
Make the most of what the region has to offer and book at least few night’s stay. Experience glamping under the endless stars at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park or stay at nature retreat, Aquila Eco Lodges, set in its own secluded area, surrounded by dense bushland and wildlife, it’s perfect for couples. Tuck into woodfired pizza at new Italian eatery, Raccolto, washed down with a vino at Grampians Wine Cellars.
The South Gippsland coast drive provides the opportunity to discover the lush hills of the hinterland to dreamy coastline, the region offers gourmet eats and incredible wine. On route from Melbourne, visitors should make their way towards the small village of Loch. Set amongst the verdant hills of the Strzelecki Ranges, the picture-perfect town is like something out of a fairy-tale.
Meeniyan over the past few years has seen foodies, cafe owners and restaurateurs flock to the area marking the town a worthwhile base for exploring the South Gippsland region. Check into the stunning property that is Ross Farm that looks over two acres of open space, with uninterrupted views across the Tarwin Valley.
From there, head to Wilsons Promontory for the award winning Pennicott Wilderness Journeys yellow amphibious boat ecotour. Witness iconic South Point, the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and discover a rugged and raw coast like no other. Marvel at the prehistoric boulders of Mount Oberon situated behind the white quartz sands of Norman Beach before uncovering the iconic granite monolith that is Skull Rock. Sculpted by waves and surrounded by crystal blue waters, Skull Rock’s eerie facade becomes even more mysterious as more and more skull shapes reveal themselves the closer it gets.
Whether it’s food and wine, family time, or feeling at one with nature that’s in order, the Murray region’s mild weather makes road trips enjoyable all year round. Coast through national parks and soak up the peaceful atmosphere of the floodplains and dense stands of river red gums alive with native wildlife and learn about the region’s rich heritage at fascinating historical sites.
Celebrate the rich heritage of Victoria’s Wimmera and Mallee region with a journey along some of Australia’s largest outdoor gallery, the 200-kilometre Silo Art Trail. Start at Rupanyup and cruise from town to town and witness this innovative art project that sees renowned street artists from Australia and across the globe transform wheat silos into giant works of art.
For nature enthusiasts, Lake Tyrell is a must. The 120,000-year-old lake is regarded as one of the best places in Australia for star navigation, with the dark and endless skies providing the perfect environment to view the dazzling spectacles of the southern hemispheres constellations. Explore the world famous Mungo National Park, where it’s not hard to be awestruck by the ancient dunes known as the Great Walls of China and discover the park’s incredible indigenous heritage. For a truly unique experience, make prickly pals with the most Insta-ntly likeable cactus garden in the country. Cactus Country in Strathmerton is home to more than 10,000 varieties of cacti and succulents and has more than 20,000 Instagram followers.
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