Days 9 - 11: Melbourne
Distance: approx 350 km / 217 miles
Today is one of the highlights of the trip, the Great Ocean Road. Carved out along the State of Victoria's southern coast, the Great Ocean Road was constructed by returned servicemen following the end of the First World War and is one of the most iconic ocean drives in the world, with breathtaking views capped off by the ever photogenic Twelve Apostles.
Then it’s onto Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, which is perhaps best known for its fine parks and gardens, gracious tree-lined streets, historic bluestone buildings and international restaurants. The city has a population of over 3,000,000 making it Australia's second largest city and is home to some of Australia's most famous sporting events.
Tonight we board a historic Tramcar and enjoy a delightful dinner as we cruise through the scenic streets of Melbourne. Enjoy a seasonal menu accompanied by quality Australian wines or a selection of beverages from the fully stocked bar. These glossy, burgundy restaurants on wheels offer a culinary delight and showcase a little piece of Victoria’s history.
Days 12 - 13: Albury
Distance: approx 326 km / 202 miles
Depart Melbourne and travel north to historic Beechworth, formerly one of Australia's early gold mining boomtowns. It was also the scene of the trial of Australia's most notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, in the 1870s. The town prides itself in its beautiful historic buildings, 32 of which are classified by the National Trust. You might like to visit the Burke Memorial Museum, which is packed with relics from the early gold rush days and the Kelly era.
Our home for the next two nights is a resort-style holiday park beside Lake Hume. You can swim, fish or hire a boat at the lake or perhaps enjoy the on-site pool and tennis court. Alternatively why not explore some of Victoria’s local history. Your options include the charming gold rush town of Beechworth or reliving Ned Kelly’s last stand in Glenrowan. For the wine enthusiasts amongst you there is the option to enjoy wine tastings in the Rutherglen Wine Region.
Days 14 - 15: Canberra
Distance: approx 449 km / 279 miles
Make a stop this morning in Corryong, famous as the final resting place of Jack Riley, considered by many to be the inspiration for the hero in Banjo Paterson's poem 'The Man from Snowy River'. Visit Jack Riley's grave at the Corryong Cemetery or learn more about the legend at The Man from Snowy River Folk Museum.
You could also make a stop in Thredbo, an alpine village and ski resort in the Snowy Mountains of south-eastern Australia. The Kosciuszko Express chairlift provides access to ski runs and offers panoramic mountain views year-round. The Mount Kosciuszko summit walk leads to the top of Australia’s highest peak. Wildflowers dot the mountains in spring and summer whilst the trout-filled Thredbo River winds through the village.
Canberra is Australia's National Capital. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, a huge man-made lake named after the city's designer, American architect Walter Burley Griffin. The city features very modern buildings, Australia's new Parliament House (opened by the Queen in 1988), the Australian War Memorial and an interesting array of foreign embassies and diplomatic residences. Canberra is home to nearly 80 embassies and high commissions and most of them can be found in the suburb of Yarralumla, where you can take a leisurely drive and see traditional and modern architecture from many countries. Highlights include the spectacular traditional design of the Chinese Embassy and the long-house style of the High Commission of Papua New Guinea. Look for the Mexican Embassy’s giant shingle roof and the United States Embassy built in a modified Georgian style.
From mid September to mid October you can visit Canberra’s annual flower festival; Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of spring is set to delight the green thumb, the floral aficionado or the backyard gardener with 30 days of blooms, food and entertainment.
Days 16 - 18: Sydney
Distance: approx 286 km / 178 miles
Sydney, capital of New South Wales, was founded in 1788 and is not only Australia's oldest city but also its largest with a population of just over 4 million. It sits astride Port Jackson, one of the most beautiful deep water harbours in the world boasting the famous Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, as well as a fine array of restaurants, theatres, shopping complexes and some of Australia's best surfing beaches.
During your stay in Sydney we have included a Harbour Lunch Cruise so you can see many sights of the city from the water. The rest of your time is at leisure to explore the city. Perhaps visit Bondi Beach, The Rocks or the Opera House. Or for those who are feeling a little braver, there's a bridge climb on the world famous Harbour Bridge.