The vibrant city atmosphere blends beautifully with the adventures that await just outside Melbourne’s city center. Tour the lanes and arcades of one of the world’s most livable cities before retreating to Lake House, a Luxury Lodge of Australia. Self-drive your way along the Great Ocean Road while making stops at local icons like the Twelve Apostles. Victoria holds something special for any type of traveler.
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary.
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole – and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24-hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24-hours) traveling east.
Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city (after Sydney), but is second to none when it comes to fashion, festivals and sport. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, the city itself is laid out in a large rectangle. She boasts a lively, cosmopolitan pulse, sitting on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about three miles from the bay. Visitors come for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Residents stay for its cultural diversity, passion for the arts and enviable sports calendar.
The first port of call is Churchill Island to visit the historic working farm that gives a glimpse into a day in the lives of the first settlers on this remote island. A visit to the Koala Conservation Centre guarantees a close-up encounter with these furry little fellas in their natural habitat. We often see wallabies and echidnas in the wild at the centre as well.
A stop is made at the boardwalk to view The Nobbies, where you can appreciate the full force of the ocean and maybe spot a few penguin nests. In summer months only, a stop is also made in Cowes for a stroll along the pier and time for dinner (own expense). Arrive at the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre with time to shop, have a coffee and meander down to the viewing platform to see the amusing arrival of the little penguins coming in on the surf to make their way across the beach to their sand dune burrows.
Lanes & Arcades Walking Tour
Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about? Or wasted time trying to find that cool local café you were told of, then ended up missing everything? Melbourne’s arcades and laneways hide many of these answers. Join this indulgent morning walk through Melbourne’s beautiful back streets, and become orientated in the life of the city that locals love. Discover local designers and specialty retailers that often are only found in the city. Some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture, and historical tales are found in these walkways, there is something for everyone, locals and visitors alike. Morning tea is included as well as lunch with a glass of wine.
Self-Drive to Daylesford
Take one hot bath, mix in some exotic oils. Soak for 20 minutes. Add icy cold sparkling wine on the side, perhaps a massage and then finish with a superb meal, some more fine wine and a promise of great shopping – that’s my recipe for the perfect weekend or day away. If it’s also yours, you should head for Daylesford, 80 minutes drive from Melbourne.
Daylesford is a village in the heart of Victoria’s spa country just 67 miles north west of Melbourne. For more than a century, people have flocked to Daylesford, Hepburn Springs and the surrounding spa country in search of rest and reinvigoration. Every massage, facial and mineral spa is infused with the region’s tranquil atmosphere. Daylesford reflects the character of its Victorian-era heritage, when people traveled to ‘take the waters’ of the mineral springs and spas. Today, visitors come to sample the rejuvenating mineral waters, stay in luxury accommodation, explore craft and antique shops, go boating on the lake, or just relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the fine dining.
This morning depart from Daylesford on your way to Apollo Bay. A great stop on the way is Ballarat, an old gold mining town, and the perfect place to stop for lunch before you end your drive at the coastal town, Apollo Bay.
Great Ocean Road
Travel the Great Ocean Road and beyond and experience one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. See the towering 12 Apostles, iconic surf breaks and misty waterfalls. Discover a diverse array of things to see and do in the region, from outdoor activities such as surfing, scuba diving and sea kayaking to arts, cultural and heritage attractions. Admire the stunning coastline on the Great Ocean Walk, get up close to native wildlife at Tower Hill, and explore surf towns and seaside villages. Enjoy fine dining up and down the coast and stock up at local winemakers, dairy farms and fresh provedores along the way.
At your leisure depart Apollo Bay and continue along the Great Ocean Road, traveling through the Otway National Park, the town of Glenaire and Wattle Hill towards Port Campbell, the home of the Twelve Apostles. Witness the rugged splendor of the famous 12 Apostles, magnificent rock stacks that rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean on Victoria’s dramatic coastline.
Limestone cliffs – Created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs.
The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. View the 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset as they change color from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.
This day is at your leisure to explore Apollo Bay.
Nowhere in the country, indeed the Southern Hemisphere, is there an entertainment complex with the excitement and style of Crown. At the glittering heart of Melbourne’s world-class Crown Entertainment Complex is the luxurious Crown Towers Hotel. With a reputation for beautiful parks and gardens, wonderful shopping, spectacular special events and a rich tapestry of art and culinary fare, Melbourne is truly one of the world’s most exciting cities. The five-star Crown Towers hotel is ideally located on the banks of the Yarra River which is a short stroll from the vibrant central business district and arts precinct.
This morning, you will return your rental car and make your way to the airport for your flight back to the USA.