9. 2 Day Great Ocean Road Small Group Tour
Guests on this small group tour are picked up from their city hotel or Federation Square and quickly depart Melbourne via the West Gate Bridge. Travel through the vast volcanic plains en route to Geelon, where you have time to stroll along the beautifully transformed waterfront. Start your journey along the Great Ocean Road at Torquay, stopping at various places along the coast including Bells Beach and the scenic morning tea location.
Your focus then turns to Australian native wildlife as you observe Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the wild. This is one of many opportunities to see and hear about Australia's unique and unusual animals in their native habitat. Your journey then begins along the very scenic, cliff-hugging section of the Great Ocean Road. While winding your way along you stop to view sites such as the 'Memorial Arch' and hear about the intriguing story of this incredible road.
Lorne is the largest of the seaside resorts. With its abundance of cafes and restaurants, it is the perfect place for a lunch break. You may even find time to have a swim or do some shopping.
After lunch you cruise along the spectacular road, stopping at many scenic spots, including Kennett River where you can see koalas and many colorful native birds in the wild. Traveling through Apollo Bay, you go into the Great Otway National Park. Enjoy a 1-km guided walk through a cool temperate rainforest gully to see the world's tallest flowering plants, prehistoric trees and ferns, and unique features such as 'yabbie chimneys'. Visit Apollo Bay before checking in to Beacon Point Ocean View Villas. Your private self-contained villa is set high on a hill overlooking the Southern Ocean. This amazing setting is a great place to relax and unwind for a couple of hours. You'll have dinner tonight at the the award-winning Chris's Restaurant, next door to your accommodation, where the only thing that matches the food are the views.
Your second day starts with breakfast at the locals favorite Bay Leaf Cafe. Great coffee, tea, and a vast breakfast menu make this a perfect way to start another full day. Your journey starts with you traveling through the Otway ranges and onto the so-called 'Shipwreck Coast'. Your first stop is at Castle Cove overlooking the Aire river valley. Your guide will introduce you to the strong Aboriginal heritage of the region, where many tribes prospered around the coastline for thousands of years. In the same area, millions of years ago, when Australia was part of the great southern land, Gondwana, dinosaurs roamed the land. A unique find along the coast in 1987 uncovered important clues into the world's prehistoric past.
The 12 Apostles are icons of Australia's natural beauty. You'll arrive as the stacks are lit with the morning sun, making them perfect for photos and crowd-free. This is a bonus for taking a 2-day trip as the stacks are silhouettes in the afternoon and overcrowded. After hearing of the creation of the stacks and holding some of the limestone rock you can explore the boardwalks or brave a helicopter flight along the coastline at your own expense. You'll then visit 'Loch Ard Gorge', the site of the most famous 19th-century Australian shipwreck. You'll hear the entire story, from the calm voyage, to the tragic wreck, to the courageous survivors and their ultimate fate. While hearing the tale you will be able to see and hold some original artifacts, photos, and documents from the 'Loch Ard' contained in treasure chests.
Port Campbell is your lunch stop for today. This small fishing village of just 350 is set in a beautiful natural port and has some wonderful cafes and restaurants for food and views. After lunch you'll travel to a lesser-known but highly impressive area of the Great Ocean Road west of Port Campbell. This section includes London Bridge, the Bay of Islands, the Bay of Martyrs, and Boat Bay before your journey turns inland and travels through open farmland towards Melbourne, arriving there around 18:00.