Exploring the Great Southern Touring Route

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What is 842 kilometres long and winds through rainforests, beaches, world heritage sites and soaring mountains? Australia’s famous Great Southern Touring Route, a once (or twice) in-a-lifetime roadtrip beginning in Melbourne.

Melbourne
There’s no better starting point for a world-renowned drive than in a world-famous city. This special journey begins in Australia’s culture, coffee, food, fashion and sports capital Melbourne.

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Hepburn Springs

Hepburn Springs

After 800+ km of driving, the route wings by Hepburn Springs, a mineral rich hotspring with one of the world’s most relaxing natural spas. It’s the perfect reward for a road trip well done. After a long soak, dry yourself off take the 90-minute trip back Melbourne.

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Sovereign Hill

Ballarat

Next up is the goldmining town of Ballarat, just about 90 minutes by car. Sovereign Hill, is an homage to this region’s past and features a 25-acre former gold mining site, that includes period-dressed actors to give visitors a feeling of immersion into Australia’s goldrush history. For a unique experience, take a journey underground with an unforgettable mine tour.

The nearby Ballarat Wildlife Park, hits the checklist of all Australia wildlife: giant turtles, wombats, koalas, lizards, Tasmanian devils and, of course, kangaroos.

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The Grampians

The Grampians

Your next destination: the Grampians– a scenic mountain range, with dazzling views waterfalls that beg to be photographed. Inside these ranges are stunning Aboriginal rock paintings that connect visitors with Australia’s long history.

Next to the Grampians National Park is the tasty town of Halls Gap, which is known for its local food scene. Sheep milk cheeses, home-grown olives and refreshing craft beer are just a few of the town’s delicious items to consume.

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Port Fairy

Warrnambool and Port Fairy

Beyond the 12 Apostles, whale watching for migrating southern right whales in Warrnambool is worthy of a stop as is the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, where kangaroos, emus, koalas and native birds roam. History buffs will love the fishing spot of Port Fairy where 19th-century cottages and churches made of stone add character to this quaint town. We recommend a night at the Merrijig Inn, whose restaurant serves delectable tea-smoked salmon salad and a lovely seafood consommé.

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Gibson Steps

Gibson Steps and 12 Apostles

From Cape Otway, drive to the famed Gibson Steps: where a staircase down a cliff leads you to a scenic beach. From there, you can see two towering limestone stacks named Gog and Mago from seal level. Just a few few minutes’ away by car awaits the 12 Apostles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in these natural wonders on foot or on a helicopter ride that soars above the cliff-lined coast.

12 Apostles

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Cape Otway National Park

Apollo Bay and Cape Otway

Lorne’s beaches are waiting to be watched and the area’s surfers are waiting to be watched. A sandy stroll is a must. Further down the road, a pulled-pork burger at Wye General Store & Café awaits, followed by an adventure at nearby Kennett River where you can spot koalas in the wild, napping in the tops of trees

Can’t miss stops down the path include Apollo Bay, which is affectionately known as “Paradise by the Sea.” And Cape Otway, known for its walkable rainforest that reaches to the shores of the ocean. A visit to the Cape’s centuries old lighthouse leads to a picturesque coastal scene, perfect for the camera-totting traveller.

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