The coastal route between Australia’s two great cities, Sydney and Melbourne, is one of the world’s greatest drives, famed for its spectacularly varied scenery. One moment you could be spotting whales from verdant clifftops and the next sharing a golden beach with a kangaroo. You’ll begin with the urbane sensibilities of Sydney before heading south past waterfalls and 60-metre-high blowholes to stay in a luxury tented camp at Jervis Bay. Explore the region’s intertwining waterways by canoe and relax on the white-sand beaches before continuing to Tilba Tilba, a charming village unchanged since its 19th-century gold-rush heyday. Then, sweep through the kangaroo beaches, mountainous hinterland, wildlife-filled national parks and koala-dotted islands of Victoria to end with the characterful laneways of Melbourne.
Days 1-2: Depart UK
Depart the UK to fly to Australia and begin your tailor-made journey. Arrive in Sydney on day three.
Days 3-4: Sydney
Arrive in Sydney and make your way to your chosen hotel. Your second day is free to explore this wonderful city with its host of attractions. Explore the boutiques, cafes and restaurants of the Rocks, wander through the beautiful botanical gardens, join a harbour cruise or head to the beaches of Bondi and Manly, the options are endless.
Stay: Rendezvous Sydney (Standard) or Amora Hotel Jamison (Superior)
Days 5-6: Jervis Bay
Leave Sydney behind and travel south on the Princes Highway to the town of Kiama, famed for its coastal blowhole, which shoots water up to 60m into the air. Continuing south, worthwhile stops include the historic town of Berry and the inland waterfall, Minnamurra Falls. You can chose to stay at Dolphin Sands, a charming B&B in Huskinsson or Paperbark Camp, a luxury bush camp on the banks of Currambene Creek, close to Jervis Bay, where you'll sleep in deluxe tents and dine in a treetop restaurant. The Jervis Bay area is reputed to have the clearest water and whitest beaches in all Australia and is ripe for exploration – bikes and canoes are free to hire from Paperbark Camp. Dinner is included at Paperbark Camp only
Stay: Dolphin Sands B&B (Superior) or Paperbark Camp (Superior)
Day 7: Tilba Tilba
Depart Jervis Bay and continue south through Batemans Bay to Tilba Tilba, a beautifully restored period village at the base of imposing Mt Dromedary. Spend the night at The Bryn at Tilba, a charming B&B offering spacious rooms and delicious country breakfasts.
Day 8: Gipsy Point
Today you'll cross into the state of Victoria on your way to Gipsy Point, where you can picnic with kangaroos and look out for sea eagles. There's plenty to do en route, like heading inland to taste the cheeses of Bega or oysters of Pambula, as well as whale-watching tours from the town of Eden. Accommodation tonight is in a spacious apartment at Gipsy Point Lakeside, with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of the World Biosphere Reserve, Croajingolong National Park.
Day 9: Lakes Entrance
Follow the coast to Lakes Entrance, on the shores of Australia's largest inland water system, the Gippsland Lakes, close to Ninety Mile Beach and a spectacular hinterland full of mountain and forest walks.
Stay: Comfort Inn & Suites (Standard) or Waverley House Cottages (Superior)
Days 10-11: Wilson's Promontory
Wilson's Promontory National Park is a vast and spectacular wilderness area stretching down to Australia's southernmost point. It's home to a huge array of wildlife that can often be spotted from the walking trails that thread the reserve. Spend two nights at Wilson's Promontory Wilderness Retreats.
Day 12: Phillip Island
The wildlife wonders continue today as you cross to Phillip Island, home to koalas, kangaroos and varied marine life, including little penguins that emerge each evening at dusk from the surf, completely ignoring the tourists that gather to watch their parade.
Stay: The Waves Apartments (Standard) or Oak Tree Lodge (Superior)
Day 13: Melbourne
Finish this spectacular drive in the city of Melbourne, where you can explore the myriad attractions of Australia's sporting, fashion and dining capital.
Stay: Batman on Collins (Standard) or The Lindrum (Superior)
Days 14-15: Depart for UK
Return your hire car to the airport and board your onward, overnight flight, arriving home on day 15.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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