THE ROAD BETWEEN ADELAIDE AND MELBOURNE
Reverse this information if you are travelling from
Melbourne to Adelaide
Distance, around 1,450km. 900 miles) Time. 5 Days
YOU WILL SEE:
Leave Adelaide via Glen Osmond Road and climb through the Adelaide hills, past the turn-off to the Cleland Wildlife Park and the look-out at Mt. Lofty over the city, and follow the expressway to historic Hahndorf, off the road to the east. Hahndorf is a german settlement with all the trimmings and beautiful tree-lined streets.
Re-join the freeway east of town past the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm and head towards Murray Bridge. Shortly after Callington there is a turn off to the Monarto Zoo, a free range area with exotic wildlife including giraffe, lions and bison.
At Murray Bridge turn into the town and cross the Murray River on the old bridge in the main street, the first across this largest of Australian rivers. A short diversion south along the river from the town centre will take you to Dundee's where you can see crocodiles and walk through the butterfly house among these delicate creatures. Continue along the freeway towards Tailem Bend and on your right is Old Tailem Town, a recreated village with over 70 buildings and hands on activities for all the family. The project of one family it is a credit to them and, in my opinion, one of the highlights along the highway.
Just through Tailem Bend township, take Highway 1. south along the bend in the river towards Meningie, a small township on Lake Albert and the gateway to The Coorong National Park. Alternatively, you can follow the road from Dundee's along the other side of the river and cross by ferry into Tailem Bend or from Wellington further on, and rejoin the highway. These ferries provide a free service in many places along the Murray River where there are not yet bridges.
Whatever you do, don't miss Old Tailem Town 5 km. north of Tailem Bend.
Travel on to Meningie, 150km. from Adelaide, Tailem Bend is 100km. The Coorong National Park is a park which runs along the Coorong Inlet from just beyond Meningie for around 100km. Low scrubland and numerous sand hills make up the park renowned for its birdlife and fishing. There are several small towns around half way through the park where you can get petrol, snacks, and a cold beer.
The next stop is Kingston, and a giant lobster guards the entrance to the town. This is a lobster fishing town on the Southern Ocean and there are several things to see and do including a visit to the Cape Jaffa lighthouse on the foreshore.
Take the road ALT1. to Robe, about 56km. Kingston is 300km. from Adelaide.
Robe is a beautiful little seaside village with many historic old buildings and some beautiful beaches and spectacular coastal scenery. Its romantic atmosphere has encouraged me to include it on our 'Honeymoon Tour'.
Another 45km south is Beachport, a pretty seaside town with streets lined with Norfolk Pines and boasting South Australia's longest jetty.
I suggest you stay at one of these pretty towns for the night and enjoy the atmosphere and cameradie of the local hotels where you can get a good meal at a reasonable price and, in season, some of the best and freshest crayfish you could imagine.
After a hearty breakfast you are ready to move on through Millicent and the vast pine forests of the south east to Mount Gambier, the second largest rural city in South Australia. Here you will find the mysterious 'blue lake' which changes to a brilliant blue each summer, there a re sink holes and caves, a replica of the 'Lady Nelson' ship at the information centre, and many things to see and do before heading north again on John Riddock Dve towards Penola, 50km. from Mount Gambier.
Penola is where Mother Mary Mckillop spent much of her life and there is a presence everywhere.
Mother Mary is to become Australia's first Saint.
Just north of Penola are the Coonawarra Wineries. Fames for their quality and rooted in rich Terra Rosa soil, some of the best reds in Australia come from this region.
Enjoy a tasting here and move on 50km. to Naracoorte. Just south of Naracoorte is the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Limestone Caves. They are open daily for inspection and tours and worth a visit.
If you feel you are running short of time you can by-pass Naracoorte and turn north-east from just beyond the Coonawarra wineries to Edenhope via Langkoop. Otherwise, take the Edenhope/Horsham road, (The Wimmera Highway) from Naracoorte to Horsham.
As you approach Natimuk, west of Horsham, you will see to the north Mt. Arapiles, beside the road.
Mt. Arapiles is a popular maountain for climbers and many can usally be seen in the campgrounds at the base of the climb, or on the face. You can drive to the top of the mountain from a branch road at the turn-off and the view across the Wimmera Plains is spectacular. You might also see some of the climbers making their way up the sheer face towards you.
Continue on across the Wimmera River, through Natimuk and into Horsham.
Horsham is the Capital of the Wimmera region and has much to see.
There is a renoir in the Art Gallery and many nice picnic spots beside the river or in the Botanic Gardens.
Head east from Horsham towards The Grampians National Park and take any of the turn-offs south within the first 20 kilometres or so. You will pass through Wartook, Zumsteins and over the ranges into Halls Gap where there is an abundance of accommodation and services.
The kookaburras and white cockatoos will provide a backdrop of song as you settle in to your accommodation and explore the area around Halls Gap.
After breakfast it is time to explore the Grampians. There are several lookouts which you can drive to offering magnificent views over the ranges. Long and short walks take you to many scenic spots and you can visit Lake Bellfield, see kangaroos and koalas, and call in to the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Leaving Halls Gap towards Dunkeld along Grampians Road, some 15km. south, you will see the turn-off on the left to Mt. William, about 15km. along a bitumen road. Drive to the top, there are some wonderful views and photographic opportunities.
It is 69km from Halls Gap to Dunkeld where you drive 2km. west of town to turn south onto the Penshurst Rd. At Penshurst you can either travel south through town and reach Warrnambool via Koroit, or turn east and travel via Caramut.
Warrnambool is a major city on the Princes Highway and is near the western end of the Great Ocean Road. In winter, from May to October, whales can often be seen here from the look-out at Logans Beach. There are many things to see and an information centre has maps and guides to help you find them.
From Warrnambool you head east about 12km. to the Great Ocean Road. This 200km. long road passes through some of Australia's most spectacular coastline and rainforest, to Geelong.
Just after the turn-off is the Allansford Cheese Word where you can sample locally produced cheese and see wines and other produce.
The next stop is Peterborough, some 56km further where the road joins the coast and the Port Campbell National Park. This park contains the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, The Grotto and dozens of well known features. At its centre is Port Campbell, a small fishing port with a wonderful atmosphere.
Leaving the park you climb through the Otway National Park forest to Laver Hill on top of the Otway Ranges before descending through the rain-forest to Apollo Bay. Along the way you will pass Melba Gully State Park and Maits Rest Walk, both rainforest walks, and the turn-off to the Cape Otway Lighthouse (18km) well worth a visit.
There are also many waterfalls in the area and Turtons Track, which is a dirt road through the rainforest from Beech Forest to the Apollo Bay-Colac Rd, are enjoyable detours.
For a fully detailed synopsis of the Great Ocean Road see our Great Ocean Road Site
Stay the night in Apollo Bay at Marengo and you are ready to begin day 4 along the remainder of the Great Ocean Road and through Geelong to the romantic township of Daylesford.
The rest of the Great Ocean Road from Apollo Bay to Torquay hugs the coast and is cut into the cliff face of the Otway Ranges. This is the section of road built mainly by returned servicemen after the war to provide employment.
You will pass through Wye and Kennett Rivers, the pretty resort town of Lorne, Aireys Inlet with its lighthouse and historic bark hut, Anglesea, where kangaroos abound on the local golf course, past the turn-off to the international surfing beach of Bells Beach and into Torquay before heading north to Geelong.
Geelong is Victroia's second largest city with a population nearing 200,000 and is situated on Corio Bay.
To the east the Bellarine Peninsula reaches out into Port Phillip Bay and a ferry crosses the heads to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne. If you don't want to visit Ballarat this is another way of reaching Melbourne and seeing a little more of the countryside and some nice little seaside villages.
We are going to leave Geelng along the Midland Highway however and drive the 86 kilometres to Ballarat, one of Australia's most interesting and historic towns.
In the 1850's gold was discovered here and it remains the largest source of gold ever mined. It was also the scene of Australia's only civil war, when miners on the goldfields took up a defensive position on Eureka Hill in protest against excessive fees for mining licenses on the diggings. The story of Eureka is told in many places around the town. There is also a castle to visit, a well appointed art gallery, and many other things to see and do.
The magnificent buildings, statuary and botanic gardens are a delight to explore.
I would suggest staying overnight in Ballarat and taking in the laser lightshow re-enactment at Sovereign Hill, a reconstructed version of Ballarat as it was in the decade 1850/60.
Leave Ballarat and continue north along the Midland Highway, through Creswick to the 'Springmount Pottery', for a look at some local craft. A little further on is the 'Tangled Maze', a maze made entirely of plants and creepers just off the road to the north. You can have a round of mini golf and enjoy a coffee in the cafe here before continuing on to Daylesford.
Dylesford is one of Victoria's prettiest towns, set among rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range the population swells by thousands at weekends as visitors come from Melbourne to explore the galleries and craft shops and to see the 'Convent Gallery', a remarkable gallery established in the old convent overlooking the township.
Just north-west of Daylesford is Hepburn Springs, a source of natural spring water which has therapeutic qualities and there is a Spa Centre where you can bathe in the waters, get a massage, or buy mineral water.
From here you return through Daylesford to join the main freeway to Melbourne at Ballan. You are about 70km from Melbourne at this point and you have explored much of the road between Adelaide and Melbourne and taken in a large slice of the character and lifestyle of southern Australia.
A list of places to stay and visit is below.
Estimated Costs only.
If you would like us to book and confirm accommodation prices please contact us.
You can download a PDF file of this tour with more detail from our download page.
|Day 1||Robe or Beachport||$85.00 double|
|Day 2.||Halls Gap||$85.00 double|
|Day 3.||Apollo Bay||$85.00 double|
|Day 4.||Ballarat||$85.00 double||Car Hire and Petrol|
|Car Rental:||5 days||$800||Meals and refreshments|
|Lunch and Dinner||5 days||$300||Entry to Attractions|
|Entrance Fees||5 days||$250||Total for trip (2008):||$1,990.00|