Great Southern Touring Route
Port Fairy to Halls Gap
158 km/98 miles, about 2.5 hours
Spend the morning exploring charming fishing village Port Fairy. Wander along the river, visit the beaches, or follow one of the historic walking trails to see old whalers' cottages and grand public buildings. For more wildlife, take a cruise out to the seal colony just offshore on Lady Julia Percy Island.
From Port Fairy, make the easy drive 90 kilometres north to Dunkeld (about an hour's drive), gateway to the southern Grampians. Popular with wildlife watchers, outdoor adventurers and history buffs, the Grampians is a series of rugged sandstone mountain ranges and forests rich with wildlife and home to significant Aboriginal rock art sites.
The stunning twin peaks of mounts Sturgeon and Abrupt provide a glorious backdrop for Dunkeld, and inspiration for much of the art in the galleries. Wander through the galleries and museum or be inspired by fine food with a sumptuous lunch at the award-winning Royal Mail Hotel.
If you're feeling fit and energetic, tackle a challenging but rewarding climb to the summit of Mount Sturgeon or Mount Abrupt for panoramic views of the surrounding ranges and volcanic plains. Both hikes take around three hours return, require good levels of fitness and suitable walking attire, and promise camera-worthy rewards.
Leaving Dunkeld, take the scenic Grampians Road right through the national park to Halls Gap, an excellent base for exploring the ranges. If you're the outdoorsy type you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities: hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing and abseiling, fishing and more. Whatever your activity of choice, keep your camera poised for wildlife – the park is home to a profusion of native animals and birds, including kangaroos, koalas, emus and wedge-tailed eagles – and wildflowers.
Spend the night in luxury and book secluded boutique accommodation at Boroka Downs or one of DULC's 'eco-funky' contemporary cabins, nestled in bushland.