Depart Melbourne over the West Gate Bridge and join the Princes Freeway headed for Geelong. Stop along the way at Werribee Park Mansion, Point Cook National Aviation Museum, Serendip Sanctuary and the town of Lara. In Geelong, popular attractions include the National Wool Museum and the Eastern Beach Baths Complex before continuing along the Bellarine Peninsula to Port Lonsdale and Queenscliff. Enjoy the grand 19th Century architecture, the largest preserved military fort in Australia and amazing views of Port Phillip Bay from Point Lonsdale's 'Rip' Lookout. Onto Torquay, you'll find the surf world museum, Bells Beach and the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Along the way to Apollo Bay, discover the coastal resort towns of Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne and the Angahook-Lorne State Park as well as the stunning waterfalls and rainforest of the Otway National Park.
Continuing on along the Great Ocean Road, stop in at Maits Rest for a self-guided rainforest walk among the Mountain Ash and a little further on, to Cape Otway. Enjoy the 13km stretch of winging road through thick forest canopies and past scenic coastal views. Joining back up with the main road, pass Lavers Hill, the limestone cliffs of Shipwreck Coast and the natural monuments of Port Campbell National Park including iconic attractions Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and the Twelve Apostles. Continuing on to Warrnambool you'll be delighted with views of the Southern Right Whales from May to September before the short drive to Port Fairy puts you in one of the earliest fishing ports in Victoria surrounded by bluestone and limestone buildings dating back as far as the 1800s.
Retrace your steps back to Warrnambool and turnoff at Penshurst headed for the scenic drive of Dunkeld through the Grampians National Park to Halls Gap. There's plenty of glorious bushwalking and a chance to discover some of the unique native wildlife. Mt Victoria Lookout, Reids Lookout, the Balconies and Mackenzie Falls are all must see natural attractions as well as the amazing collection of Aboriginal cave art and Brambuk Living Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Leaving Halls Gap, visit the little village on the outskirts of the National Park for access to the Lake Fyans tourist route which you can follow to Ararat, then it's a direct route on the Western Highway to Ballarat. A fascinating living memorial dedicated to the Victorian 1800s goldrush period you'll discover gardens, statues, preserved buildings, Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Wildlife and Reptile Park and the living museum of Sovereign Hill.
Follow the Western Freeway back towards Melbourne taking in the Lerderderg Gorge State Park and Brisbane Ranges National Park along the way for stunning walking tracks, panoramic views and amazing gorge formations.
Drive Time: Approx. 3 hours
Drive Time: Approx. 2 hours 30 minutes
Drive Time: Approx. 2 hours
Drive Time: Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes
Drive Time: Approx. 1 hour 10 minutes