• Witness the penguins come home at sunset on Phillip Island
• Hike along The Great Ocean Road & See the Twelve Apostles
• Watch koalas in the trees at your spectacular eco-lodge
• Play in the sand and surf at Bells Beach-- Australia's famous beach
• Stay in an eco-friendly hotel in the vibrant city of Melbourne
Overview - 4 Days/ 3 Nights
Small World Journeys invites you to discover Melbourne and The Great Ocean Road. Visit Phillip Island and its wildlife sanctuary, a veritable playground for seals and penguins. Hike along the most spectacular coasts in the world – the Great Ocean Road — and see the cliffs and famous beaches for which Australia is known.
Stay in an eco-lodge surrounded by parklands, where koalas sleep in the trees, and nature is at its finest. Visit tiny seaside villages, meet the locals who call this place home, and then end your time in Melbourne – a grand city with a thriving arts culture.
Day 1: Arrival, Phillip Island National Park, Penguin Parade
You are transferred from the Melbourne International Airport to your accommodation in the heart of the city. Your hotel is one of Melbourne's newest boutique apartment hotels and is one of the few environmentally friendly rated hotels in Melbourne's central business district. The hotel is also close to most of the city's major attractions and entertainment area. Here you can enjoy the library, complimentary espresso, and relaxation room with automated massage chairs.
In the afternoon, join a guided excursion to Phillip Island. Every evening at dusk hundreds of little penguins come home to Phillip Island from the sea, making their way across the beach and waddling to their sand dune burrows for the night. Witness this spectacular "Penguin Parade" from a front-row viewing point on the sand in the company of a ranger guide. Before the sun sets, you will also visit The Nobbies – a lookout point from which you can view a massive group of fur seals, which is also the closest seal colony to a major city in Australia. Watch the seal's transformation from ungainly land creatures to swift, sleek marine dwellers twisting and rolling in the clear waters.
You also get up close and personal with the friendly residents of Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, and learn about the conservation of these amazing animals from your guide. This sanctuary showcases the famous and endangered faces of Australia's nocturnal wildlife, including the southern bettong, eastern quolls and rare fluffy gliders. You are returned to your Melbourne hotel tonight.
Accommodation: Alto Hotel on Bourke
Day 2: Southern Coast & Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road southwest of Melbourne is considered one of the world's most scenic drives. Sagas of the sea especially abound also on a 180km-long shore sector called "The Shipwreck Coast". Today in a small group you see the grand architecture where the ocean has carved mighty arches, caverns and coves from limestone and sandstone, as well as gentle bays and estuaries. Explore temperate rainforests and quaint fishing villages as you wind your way along this magnificent stretch of roadway.
This afternoon you are transferred to your eco-lodge, located within the grounds of The Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology, and just off the Great Ocean Road and the Great Ocean Walk. The eco-lodge is built from sustainable materials, operates entirely on solar power and uses only rainwater. Chefs create magnificent feasts from fresh regional produce, much of it grown in the eco-lodge's own kitchen garden. Bedrooms are private and peaceful, compete with a crisp clean linen, timeless antiques, fluffy towels and an assortment of locally made natural soaps and shampoos.
Accommodation: The Great Ocean Eco-Lodge
Day 3:Free Time, Optional Activities and Koala Observation
Today at your eco-lodge venture out into the bush with researchers to help save endangered species, explore the Great Ocean Walk or simply relax and watch the koalas in the trees.
The ocean at Cape Otway is cool and refreshing and there are some very special sheltered inlets which are just perfect for paddling and swimming.
Other options include a yoga session with an instructor, surf board hire or surfing lessons, spa treatments & massage, mountain bike hire or guided tour, canoeing on Lake Elizabeth, the “Otway Fly” raised canopy walkway, sea kayaking and seal spotting.
Return to your lodge tonight and you may choose to join in a family-style dinner and a twilight walk led by dedicated ecologists through the grounds of The Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology to observe koalas and other uniquely Australian wildlife.
Accommodation:The Great Ocean Eco-Lodge
Day 4: Great Ocean Road, The Twelve Apostles, Return to Melbourne
Today you enjoy the last part of the Great Ocean Road. You visit Port Campbell, a sleepy seaside town famous for its crayfish, sheltered by cliffs and Norfolk Pines. You step down to the beach at Gibson Steps, gateway to the 12 Apostles, where you will be dwarfed by the high cliff line and these enormous offshore stacks. Buffeted by wild seas and fierce winds, the coastline around Port Campbell has been sculpted over millions of years to form a series of striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean. Known as the Twelve Apostles, they are a spectacular natural attraction and an Australian icon.
You will have lunch with the group before to go back to Melbourne in the afternoon.
Your day ends back in Melbourne, and you can continue your adventures in the city or hop on a plane to another destination in Australia.
Included: Breakfast, Lunch
- Transfer from Melbourne International Airport
- All activities as described in the itinerary
- All transportation to activities
- 1 night central Melbourne eco-friendly hotel (standard double room with ensuite)
- 2 nights Great Ocean Road eco-lodge (standard double with ensuite)
- All breakfasts and one lunch
- Emergency in-country support 24 hours a day
- National Park taxes
- Comprehensive travel notes, maps, background and logistical information
- Climate Care™ carbon-offsetting for a carbon-neutral trip
What's not Included:
- Airfare to Melbourne and travel insurance
- Some meals
- Transfer back to Melbourne airport
- Personal expenses (phone, internet, laundry, etc.)
We reserve the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons. Activities and accommodation cannot be guaranteed until a deposit is received. Payment is due 60 days before departure, or upon booking if it is within 60 days.
Other Destinations in Australia, Pre or Post Trip:
Once I arrive at the Melbourne airport - what next?
We will arrange a transfer from the airport to your hotel. Details will be provided in your final itinerary.
What is the weather like in Melbourne?
Melbourne enjoys manageable summers, glorious springs, mild autumns and crisp winters.
With its variable climate, Melbourne is warm to hot in summer (December to February), mild in autumn (March to May), cold and damp in winter (June to August), and cool in spring (September to November).
Melbourne's warmest months are generally January and February, which are often dry and prone to hot spells, although some respite is provided by the cooling sea breezes of Port Phillip Bay. June and July are the coldest months, while October is the wettest. The annual average rainfall for Melbourne is around 600mm, which is substantially less rain than Sydney receives.
What should I bring with me?
We will provide you with a suggested packing list in your Confirmation Packet.
How do I arrange airfare?
We do not arrange airfare in house, however we do work closely with several travel agents.
In Australia, we recommend:
Kim Salter, our Melbourne-based travel agent. Contact Kim at email@example.com or call + 61 0433 324 455 or toll free within Australia 1 300 640 821.
In the US, we recommend:
Sandra Marron at Millennium Travel California. Contact Sandra at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-888-700- 2182.
Do I need a visa to visit Australia?
All visitors to Australia need a visa, with the exception of visitors from New Zealand. An Australian entry visa, commonly known as an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) will let you spend up to three months in Australia. In most countries it is easily obtained by the travel agent who issues your ticket, and should be free of charge. You can also get an ETA on line by visiting www.eta.immi.gov.au. There is no need for you to visit an Australian diplomatic office to submit an application, and you do not need a stamp or label in your passport. Upon check in at the airport, the airline agent will be able to confirm your ETA electronically. All visitors will also need a passport, valid for at least six months after the planned return date.
Why should I travel with Small World Journeys?
LOCAL SUPPORT & KNOWLEDGE
Our office is in Cairns – this means we are right around the corner for 24-hour support, to answer your questions, or if you have an emergency in the middle of the trip.
Local knowledge means we know the restaurant owners who catch their own fish (and then deliciously prepare it for you!), where to buy the real indigenous-made souvenirs, and where the mobs of people will be on the morning of the eclipse (hint: we’re not going there.)
Being an “eco” tour operator means more to us than just offering walks outdoors. It means we pay to offset the carbon emissions from your trip, give a percentage of profits to local environmental and community organizations, plant trees, recycle, and participate in Rainforest Rescue’s Adopt-a-Square program. See 10 Reasons Why We’re Eco for more on what we do for our environment and community.
HUNDREDS OF HAPPY GUESTS
We could tell you that we provide highly professional customer service, respond attentively and consistently exceed our guests’ expectations. But don’t believe us! Read some of our testimonials or ask us for references from past guests who are willing to tell you all about their experience with Small World Journeys.
You get a Small World Journeys water bottle, a cloth carry bag, a regional field guide, and a 5 square metre of Daintree rainforest adopted in your name, plus a certificate detailing where your rainforest square is located. Plus you get an unforgettable trip too.
Once you book your trip, we will send out a Confirmation Packet to you with detailed information that should answer most of your questions. In addition, you can feel free to email us anytime at: email@example.com