3rd November 2017: On her most recent trip, our Bath Australia Specialist, Olivia, shares with us her highlights of just some of the amazing things she got up to during her tour of Southern Australia.
It was a crisp sunny morning as we arrived in Melbourne. Excited, yet quite tired, our first stop of the trip was St Kilda, a bay side suburb of Melbourne. It was here we had lunch over-looking the gloriously clear sea.
A short drive and we were in the centre of Melbourne 'the most liveable city in the world' and with its bustling streets awash with skyscrapers and filled with bespoke bars and coffee shops, it’s not hard to see why.
After checking in at the Melbourne Short Stay Apartments, we headed to Eureka Skydeck situated in the Eureka Tower which offers amazing views of the city. Not only this, the tower offers the unique slightly scary experience called ‘The Edge’ which sees brave individuals enter a glass-bottomed box suspended above the city.
After an early start, we were off to Fed Square to meet our guide for the Hidden Secrets Tour. This tour is a great way to get to know the ‘real Melbourne’ and discover the locals gems. Lunch was just off the main street, down one of the many alleyways where you’re really spoilt for choice for places to eat and drink.
Seals & Penguins
Next, was a trip to Phillip Island and an eco-boat cruise out to the rocks, the natural habitat for seal colonies here. During this trip I saw hundreds of seals jumping in an out of the sea, I saw huge male seals and tiny fluffy pups; it’s really incredible to watch. The boat we were on stops for quite a long time so you get to have a good look and even take some photos.
Known for its selection of craft beers, we had dinner that evening at the Rusty Water Brewery before moving to the water’s edge to catch a glimpse of the hugely popular penguin parade. As we sat along the water, we scanned the sea looking for the little penguins arrival, and, to our surprise, as the sun was setting, little groups of the playful birds emerged from the sea and headed in land to their burrows. A true sight to behold!
Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Park
Halfway into my trip, I started my day with a trip to Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, a beautiful location spread across 10 hectares of bush-land. Here you can see much of Australia’s native animals including koalas, kangaroos and dingoes. The views at my next location were beautiful, the stunning 'Montaltos Vineyard' where I enjoyed amazing food completed by the vineyard’s own wine.
Who would have thought I’d fly over the state forest to the highest point of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in a cable car next on my trip? Well I did! Our next stop was the Arthurs Seat Eagle on our drive round the coast and were rewarded with glorious views of the surrounding forests.
My journey continued with a visit to the Peninsula Hot Springs, the first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria. Set in a beautiful wooded area, visitors can bathe in natural hot springs nestled in the beautiful hillside.
The Great Ocean Road
Our accommodation for the night was Flinders Hotel in Flinders; the start of the Great Ocean Road. A luxurious yet boutique styled hotel was completed by views of the surrounding rolling hills and famous wineries. The rooms here are sleek in design, comfortable and many offer views of the hotel’s private gardens. With a chilled-out atmosphere, this hotel provides weary travellers with the ultimate relaxation experience.
The next day, my trip continued with an early ferry for a 45 minute journey across the bay to get to the coastal town of Torquay - and the start of the Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is a 243km stretch of road constructed between 1919 and 1932 by soldiers who had returned from World War I and is dedicated to those who lost their lives.
The Great Ocean Road provides a link between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. During my time travelling along this road, not only did I get the opportunity to stop at lovely seaside villages, I was also treated to some breath-taking views. The pinnacle of which, was the spectacular 12 Apostles.
Just a short hour’s drive from here, we had arrived at Warrnambool and our accommodation for the night, Lady Bay Resort, which is set in a tranquil location and looks over the nearby bay.
A delicious breakfast overlooking the beach at Warrnambool provided a welcome start to today as we headed to the next stop; Tower Hill Nature Reserve . Situated in a dormant volcano, the nature reserve is a great place for a walk and a chance to spot the local wildlife.
About an hour’s drive and we were at McKenzie Falls, a reasonably steep walk down gets you to the base of the falls where you can enjoy the view and dip your feet in the cool water.
Our final day started with breakfast at Harvest, a delightful family run cafe in the heart of the Grampians. I really didn’t want to come home… My journey to the airport was made slightly less gloomy as we stopped en route at Seppelts Wines where we sampled local wines and toured its magnificent wine cellars. Not only this, we spent our remaining time at Sovereign Hill, an amazing place built to replicate the ‘gold rush’ era.
Here, you can immerse yourself completely by dressing up in traditional clothing and taking a photo or two, panning for gold as well as watching and learning more about blacksmiths as you watch them smelt gold. It really is a fun day out for the whole family and is just one hour away from Melbourne.
When touring or self-driving through Australia you get the opportunity to explore those more hidden and special places. On this occasion, my trip was filled with activities which can be enjoyed by all the family. From wildlife watching, to hiking, to sitting back and taking a drive along the Great Ocean Road, Australia makes for not only a great trip, but the opportunity to see and take part in new adventures which are sure to help you make lasting memories for years to come. I can't recommend a trip here enough!