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Australia’s southeast coast is one of the world’s most stunning and this 7-nights self-drive itinerary will bring you to explore it and more. You’ll start in artsy Adelaide and embark on an exciting day trip to meet the animals on Kangaroo Island or swim with wind dolphins. Discover the saltwater lagoons in Coorong National Park and walk around a stunning blue crater lake. Hitting the Great Ocean Road, soak up breath-taking views of precipitous cliffs, idyllic beaches and remarkable rock formations like Twelve Apostles that rise out of the crashing waves. Before concluding in Melbourne, watch Phillip Island’s famous “penguin parade.”
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At a Glance
- 7 nights of hand-picked high quality hotel accommodation
- Rental car throughout the trip
- Wine and food tasting tour on the Mornington Peninsula
- 24/7 support from our expert staff
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Adelaide: Arrival into Adelaide
Begin our holiday in the capital of South Australia. Adelaide has become a popular spot in recent years, with a creative vibe, fantastic food scene and wide range of cultural and historical attractions. It also offers picturesque parks and a beautiful botanic garden, ideal for stretching your legs after a long flight. Adelaide Botanic Garden is notable for its bicentennial conservatory which is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest single span conservatory. If you want to relax on the beach, Henley Beach is a top pick with its pristine white sands. You’ll find plenty of multicultural restaurants to sample, along with a thriving café culture too.
Day 2 Adelaide: Embark on Your Ideal Day Trip
Depending on your interests, you’ll have several choices for a day trip. You might take a cruise from historic Glenelg to watch and swim with wild dolphins in their own natural playground. Or head to Kangaroo Island, one of the Australia’s top destinations for viewing the native wildlife. It’s not only home to kangaroos and other marsupials like wombats, wallabies and koalas, but penguins, fur seals, whales and dolphins. It’s also one of the few places in the world where you can walk among endangered sea lions via a wooden boardwalk that winds through the sand. Or, take a wine tour through Barossa Valley.
Day 3 Mount Gambier: Explore Coorong National Park
Leaving Adelaide head to Coorong National Park with its unspoiled white sand beaches and saltwater lagoons which stretch for over 80 miles. Visitors come to enjoy its tranquillity and sheer diversity as an important wetland supporting many significant and endangered animals and plants. Enjoy birdwatching while walking the trails, kayak through the waterways, and see the piles of ancient middens left by the indigenous Ngarrindjeri people. Your destination this evening is Mount Gambier, in the heart of the Limestone Coast, known for its crater lakes and volcanic landscape. From Centenary Tower you’ll get the best panoramic view of the city and the coast.
Day 4 Port Fairy: Blue Lake Hike + Drive to Port Fairy
One of the highlights in Mount Gambier is the Blue Lake. In early November its typical blue shade mysteriously transforms to an intense turquoise hue almost overnight. It remains that way through late February, and then gradually changes back until November rolls around again. There is a 2.25-mile path that circles it which you can walk around enjoying various viewing points before visiting one of the magnificent limestone show caves. Continue to Port Fairy, an early 19th-century fishing village, lined with well-preserved colonial buildings. If you’re here in the winter, walk to the port and watch for breaching southern right whales.
Day 5 Apollo Bay: Travel the Great Ocean Road
Today you’ll hit the Great Ocean Road, known as one of the world’s most stunningly scenic drives. It passes through Port Campbell National Park, a place you’ll definitely want to stop. Gaze out at the sheer cliffs dipping down to beautiful beaches and crashing cobalt waves, with remarkable rock formations like the famous Twelve Apostles, the London Bridge, and the Arch. Between June and August, it’s also an ideal place to watch for the southern right whales who come to the coast to breed, birth and nurse their young. Continue to Apollo Bay, one of the most picturesque stops along the road.
Day 6 Mornington Peninsula: Bells Beach + Food/Wine Tasting Tour
As you continue your journey, stop at Bells beach, about 90 minutes from Apollo Bay. One of the world’s surfing meccas, it offers some of Australia’s best breaks. Ride the waves, or just enjoy the view and watching the surfers from the bluffs. Afterward, you’ll catch the ferry to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. Upon your arrival, you’ll surely have worked up an appetite, perfect for a food and wine tasting tour. This region is home to more than 50 wineries and many outstanding restaurants serving the finest local products like cheese, olives and fruit. Conclude by relaxing at Peninsula Hot Springs.
Day 7 Melbourne: Discover the World’s Smallest Penguins & More on Phillip Island
You’re less than a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, so we highly recommend circling Western Point Bay to visit Phillip Island, linked to the mainland by bridge. At its north side, you can watch for a wide range of birds like herons, black swans, spoonbills and ibis, and then head to the Koala Conservation Center. Here you can get up close to marsupials like koalas and wallabies and see the largest fur seal colony in the country. Stick around to watch the “penguin parade” at dusk, with thousands for fairy penguins returning from the sea to their burrows before heading to your accommodation in Melbourne.
Day 8 Departure Day
On your final day, enjoy a bit of Melbourne before catching your flight. This cultural capital boasts one of the best gastronomic scenes in Australia, with everything from fantastic street foods and unique high-end food trucks to fine dining. If you’re limited on time, we recommend sipping delicious gourmet coffee in one of the trendy cafes that attract the city’s fashionistas for an energy boost and an authentic look at daily life.
What's not Included
- Your international flights – please contact your travel expert if you require assistance with flights
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
Let’s get started making this itinerary yours.
Speak to experienced Destinations Experts about designing this itinerary around your budget and trip preferences
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The Best Guides
What makes our trips extraordinary is the unique immersive experiences we include. We pride ourselves in our black book of sought after expert guides, game rangers and local contacts who believe in our philosophy, unforgettable.
From the moment you book your trip, we are on hand 24/7 to assist you throughout your journey. With regional offices around the world, we have ground logistics teams on hand to help you every step of the way.
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