SOUTH EAST SPLENDOR
Sydney ~ Melbourne (via Canberra)
This blockbuster drive takes you to relaxed seaside towns, national parks teeming with wildlife and long, solitary beaches where your feet are the only ones on the sand. This itinerary is not available for travel from June to September
DAY 1 SYDNEY - CANBERRA (300 kms) Pick up your MEDIUM SEDAN rental car at the Sydney City Depot or Sydney Airport Depot and commence your drive to Canberra. Join the Eastern Distributor via South Dowling Street in Central Sydney. This road becomes Southern Cross Drive and continues past the airport to join the M5 travelling west out of Sydney. If you collect your car at the airport, you can join the M5 via Airport Drive. The M5 becomes the South Western Freeway then the Hume Highway. Past Goulbourn, veer left onto the Federal Highway which takes you into Canberra. BERRIMA is just under half way between Sydney and Canberra and is well worth the 5-minute detour off the highway. There are signs for easy location and we suggest you take a lunch or coffee break in this historic township. Berrima is situated in the Southern Highlands and boasts Australias oldest gaol (construction began in 1834), now a minor offenders institution. It housed in its time a number of infamous bushrangers. There are many artists and artisans who live in Berrima, and it is the arts and crafts that they produce which attracts visitors just as much as the history of the town. The Berrima District Museum (in Market Street) is well worth a visit, plus there are antique stores to tempt collectors. CANBERRA is the Capital of Australia and is situated in the Australian Capital Territory, in the southern tablelands of New South Wales. Canberra has five sign-posted Tourist Drives, which take in most of the sights. The best way to gain appreciation of Canberra is to visit any of the lookouts on the surrounding hills. Telstra Tower, on Black Mountain, is 195 metres high and has viewing galleries and a revolving restaurant. On the summit of Mt. Pleasant are memorials to the Australian Artillery and Armoured Corps, while Red Hill overlooks Parliament House, southern Canberra and the Woden Valley. From Mt. Ainslie the visitor can see central Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin. The three most popular tourist attractions in Canberra are Parliament House, the War Memorial and the National Library.
Day 2 CANBERRA SNOWY MOUNTAINS (212 kms) Depart Canberra and travel south on the Monaro Highway to Cooma. Join the Snowy Mountains Highway at the roundabout and continue on to Kosciuszko Road through Berridale to Jindabyne Road. On leaving Jindabyne, take the Alpine Way through to Thredbo Village. COOMA: Originally settled in 1823, Cooma remained the centre of the Monaro grazing area until the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority (now Snowy Hydro) was established in 1949. Cooma today is the largest town in the Snowy Mountains and remains the headquarters of Snowy Hydro. The Mosaic Time Walk in Centennial Park depicts life in the Snowy Mountains from its origins through to the present time. The International Avenue of Flags also located in the park contains the flags of the nations represented by the men and women who worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme. A statue of the famous 'Man from Snowy River' immortalises Banjo Paterson's immortal mountain man. JINDABYNE: The original town of Jindabyne and its inhabitants were relocated in the 1960's when the Snowy River was dammed as part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, with only a handful of houses being moved to their new location. The remains of the old town lie submerged under Lake Jindabyne and can occasionally be glimpsed when lake levels are low. For great views over the lake at any time head for the Waste Point Lookout on the Kosciuszko Road. In winter Jindabyne is a base for skiers bound for the major resorts in Kosciuszko National Park and for the rest of the year it's a great place from which to go bushwalking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and canoeing, horse riding and kayaking. The lake provides superb opportunities for trout fishing and water sports. THREDBO VILLAGE: Thredbo, the closest resort to Mount Kosciuszko, is situated beside the Thredbo River at an altitude of 1370m. The Kosciuszko Express Chairlift operates all year round and the top station boasts Australia's highest restaurant, Eagles Nest. Thredbo is famous for its village atmosphere and great restaurants. Open all year round, Thredbo Village blends a unique mountain environment with cultural events and activities to suit all ages. Village facilities encompass a range of shops, a supermarket and various fashion and gift stores. There are restaurants and bars available to suit all tastes and budgets. The Thredbo Leisure Centre has a 50m pool, sports hall, gym and squash court.
DAY 3 SNOWY MOUNTAINS LAKES ENTRANCE (371 kms) Depart the Snowy Mountains via the towns of Berridale, Bombala and Orbost to arrive at your overnight accommodation in Lakes Entrance. BOMBALA was settled in 1850, lying 80kms south of Cooma. It is a charming town situated midway between the mountains and the south coast and it is the largest town in the eastern Monaro. Like that of other Monaro towns, Bombala's economy relies heavily on grazing and, to a lesser extent, the timber industry. Today, new industries are developing, including the production of lavender and products such as lavender jams, soaps and oils. Some of its interesting buildings include the Masonic Hall and Library Institute on Caveat Street, the Court House and several of the area's magnificent homesteads. The rivers around Bombala have some of the highest populations of platypus in New South Wales, with the area promoted as "Australia's platypus capital". A visit to the Platypus Sanctuary, just out of town, is well worth it. ORBOST: Surrounded by the rich river flats of the Snowy River, Orbost is a major cattle and agricultural district, with the surrounding mountains producing hardwood timber, most of which is milled locally. A good view of Orbost, the Snowy River and the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed from Grandview lookout, just south-west of Orbost in the small community of Newmerella. Forest Park is an attractive reserve within in the town centre, wedged between Nicholson Street and the Snowy River. It features a slab hut which was built in 1872 and is open to the public. Other attractions in Forest Park include the Orbost Exhibition Centre and gallery, as well as a number of rainforest walks which begin in the park. LAKES ENTRANCE is at the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes, Australia's largest inland water system. It is a popular holiday destination with wonderful beaches as well as a spectacular hinterland with mountains, rivers and forests. Wildlife in the area includes dolphins, water birds, kangaroos, wombats and koalas. The artificial entrance of the lakes to the ocean was completed in 1889, and there are still visible signs of the equipment used to bring logs and rocks from the inland for the construction. A short walk across the footbridge brings you to the Entrance and Bass Strait, with Ninety Mile Beach stretching away into the distance.
DAY 4 LAKES ENTRANCE - FOSTER (230 kms) This morning may be spent exploring the scenic Lakes District. This afternoon depart Lakes Entrance via the Princes Highway to Sale where you will take the South Gippsland Highway and travel via Longford, Woodside, Welshpool, and onto Foster. SALE is situated on the Melbourne side of the Lakes Entrance and is the operations centre for the nearby Bass Strait Oil Fields. The Sale Canal and port can be found just off the main highway at Cullen Park. Further along the canal is the swing bridge, built across the Latrobe River in 1883. The bridge provided a route across the river to Port Albert, the main port of entry to Gippsland in the mid-1800s. There are many features of interest in this old town, including the ornate St. Pauls Cathedral which was originally built in 1885; Bishops Court, resident of the Bishop of Gippsland, constructed in 1885; and the Our Lady of Sion Convent, built in 1892-1902. From Sale there are roads leading to the southern end of Ninety-Mile Beach. A detour to this area would add approximately 80kms to your drive. FOSTER is the gateway to one of Victorias most popular seaside national parks, Wilsons Promontory National Park. There are numerous vantage points where this majestic land can be viewed, including Foster North Lookout on the South Gippsland Highway, Mt. Nicoll Lookout off the Foster- Fish Creek road is also a superb site, offering uninterrupted views as far as Corner Inlet and Waratah Bay. WILSONS PROMONTORY NATIONAL PARK a natural reserve of almost mythic proportions, the Prom became Australias first national park in 1905 and despite ongoing efforts by special interests, remains one of the worlds most unspoiled biologically rich regions. This diversity of flora creates habitats for a plethora of native marsupials and bird life. Wilson Prom consists of 49,000 hectares of parkland and an additional 8,300 marine hectares of the mesmerising granite coastline. The promontory is a huge mass of granite, which juts out to form the southernmost tip of the Victorian coastline. The huge granite rocks and pristine unspoilt beaches combine with the extensive mountain range to make this a very attractive and popular national park. Surrounded on three sides by sea, a number of marine parks and reserves also stretch along the coastline and the area has long been a favourite for fishing and boating. There are many walking trails in the park leading to secluded sandy beaches, or you can hike to the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and visit the lighthouse there.
DAY 5 WILSONS PROMONTORY Enjoy a full day at your leisure exploring this stunning area.
DAY 6 FOSTER - PHILLIP ISLAND (100 kms) Depart Foster via the South Gippsland Highway to the town of Leongatha, where you join the Bass Highway and travel via the towns of Inverloch and Wonthaggi to San Remo. Here you leave the mainland and travel across a bridge to Phillip Island. INVERLOCH is a popular seaside town and fishing port. The Shell Museum houses one of the worlds largest private shell collections as well as a large reference library. Shells and handcrafts can also be purchased here. There are now many wineries being established in South Gippsland including the Lyre Bird Hill Winery and the Bass Phillip Winery. WONTHAGGI is best known for the black coal, which was discovered here in 1824. A portion of the State Coal Mine, which was closed in 1968, can be viewed today with information available at the Orientation Centre at the East Area Mine. PHILLIP ISLAND is the home of the Fairy Penguins. At dusk, they emerge from the surf, completely ignoring the thousands of curious onlookers. The island has a major wildlife reserve where you can see koalas, fur seals, pelicans, mutton-birds and various other sea birds. At the Australian Dairy Centre, Phillip Island, there is a museum explaining the history of the dairying industry, and a cheese factory with a sales section and tastings.
DAY 7 PHILLIP ISLAND - MELBOURNE (140 kms) Depart Phillip Island via the Bass Highway through the town of Cranbourne. Continue to the town of Lyndhurst, where you join the Princes Highway to arrive at Melbourne. An alternative scenic route to take is to travel via the Bass Highway to the town of Koo-wee-rup, where you turn left and continue to the Mornington Peninsula. Here you travel south again to visit the scenic coastal resort towns of Sorrento and Portsea. Departing the Mornington Peninsula, join the Nepean Highway and travel north via the town of Frankston to reach Melbourne. This detour would add approximately 3 hours to your journey back to Melbourne. MORNINGTON PENINSULA is arguably Melbourne's best kept secret. Some of the highlights of the area include Art and craft markets, antique stores, coastal and bush walks, koala and penguin reserves enabling viewing in a natural environment. The region has much of Victoria's earliest history, excellent golf courses, great restaurants and one of Australia's finest wine producing regions. There are a number of good vineyards to explore such as Dromana Estate and Main Ridge Estate. SORRENTO / PORTSEA Attractions in Sorrento include the Marine Aquarium on St Albans Way where visitors can see the seals being fed, or take a cruise on Port Phillip Bay and swim with dolphins and seals. Sorrento Beach, along the Nepean Highway, is ideal for swimming in the safe waters while the back beach with its tall imposing cliffs, larges waves and strong currents, is favoured by surfers. Return your vehicle to the Melbourne Airport depot or Melbourne city.
Call 1-800-221-2474 9AM - 6PM Mon-Fri Eastern Time or (516) 248-2042 outside USA/Canada Although we have provided as much information as possible on our website, we are happy to answer your questions directly on the phone. Sometimes, it is just easier to speak to one of us. We are awaiting your call. Call (800) 221 - 2474 or email