Overview

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

View iconic wildlife in the wild on this journey around Victoria. See wombats in Wilsons Promontory, penguins and seals at Phillip Island, dolphins off the Mornington Peninsula, and of course kangaroos, emus and koalas as you travel along the Great Ocean Road. Keep your eyes open for other cuties, such as the echidna, platypus and tiger quolls as you go. This touring route is about 1300 km/800 miles and 20 hours drive time. Allow 7 to 8 days.

Day 1

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory
About
225 km/140 miles, 3 hours

Make your way to Wilsons Promontory via tiny towns Meeniyan and Fish Creek. Pick up picnic and BBQ supplies here, then head to Tidal River for your Wilderness Retreat accommodation. Stop at the old airfield to see kangaroos and emus, then walk from Tidal River to Squeaky Beach and back (1 hour each direction), via Pillar Point, for stunning coastal views. Take a wander around the campground to see the resident wombats, and to the beach to see the rock formations lining Tidal River's path to the ocean. Longer walks abound; ask at the Visitor Centre for advice on the best walks for your fitness level.

Day 2

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Wilsons Promontory to Phillip Island
About
150 km/95 miles, 2 hours

In the morning, head for Phillip Island and take a walk at Pyramid Rock or Cape Woolamai for spectacular ocean views to Bass Strait. Head out on the water and get up close to the thousands of Australian fur seals at Seal Rocks and take a drive around the Summerland Peninsula, spotting Cape Baron geese and wallabies alongside stunning clifftop views. Take in the Ultimate Adventure Tour at the Penguin Parade at sunset.

Day 3

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Phillip Island to Mornington Peninsula
About 150 km/95 miles; 2 hours

After an early morning walk (those first footprints in the sand are yours), depart for the Mornington Peninsula and arrive at Sorrento Pier for a swim with the dolphins with Polperro Dolphin Swims (October – April). Alternatively, hire a snorkel and mask from Bayplay and view the weedy sea-dragons under Flinders Pier. Or, stick to the land and take a walk along the clifftops as part of the Mornington Peninsula Walk, more than 100 kilometres of beach and coastal walking trails.

Day 4

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Mornington Peninsula to Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road
About 175 km/110 miles, 3.5 hours

In the morning, take the Searoad Ferry to Queenscliff, watching for dolphins and seals during your 40-minute crossing, then meander through the villages of the Bellarine Peninsula en route to the Great Ocean Road. Be sure to arrive at the Great Ocean Ecolodge at Cape Otway in time for the afternoon walk with owners Shayne and Lizzie to see the resident kangaroo mob, koalas and tiger quolls, and hear about their amazing conservation efforts. In the evening, take the opportunity to feed the sugar gliders and potoroos.

Days 5 & 6

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Great Ocean Road

Spend two nights at Cape Otway. Take the opportunity to walk some of the Great Ocean Walk, one of Australia's great walks, or travel inland to Forrest and paddle with platypuses on Lake Elizabeth at sunrise or sunset.

Day 7

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Great Ocean Road
About 170 km/95 miles, 2.5 hours

No trip to the Great Ocean Road would be complete without seeing the 12 Apostles, but be sure to get there before the crowds, and head down to beach level – Gibson Steps and Loch Ard Gorge provide the opportunity to get your feet wet and view this stunning coastline from a different perspective. Then, as you continue along the Great Ocean Road, stop in at the Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands for more amazing coastal stacks.

Visit Tower Hill, an extinct volcano crater filled with free-roaming wildlife, from emus to koalas to wallabies and kangaroos, as well as the occasional echidna. Take a walk with Worn Gundidj, the local Aboriginal cooperative, or follow the signs for a self-guided tour of the lava flows. Overnight in Port Fairy and check out the muttonbird migration through summer.

Day 8

Iconic Wildlife Touring Route

Great Ocean Road to Grampians
About 150 km/95 miles, 2 hours

Head north to the Grampians in the morning. Check in at the Brambuk Centre for tips on which walks to do in the National Park. MacKenzie Falls is always spectacular, as are the walks around the Pinnacle and Reed Lookout. Kangaroos and emus are in abundance in the Grampians, along with sulphur-crested cockatoos, long-billed corellas, crimson lorikeets and honeyeaters. It's a birdlover's paradise. Stay overnight and take one last look at the glorious night skies before heading back to Melbourne.

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