Day 01 Arrive into Sydney
Start the day with breakfast at Bills, before starting your tour of famous Sydney icons - the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour before stopping for lunch at the Sydney Fish market. Spend the afternoon exploring Sydney's coastal life on a cruise, sail or jet boat, not forgetting a walk on the famous Bondi to Bronte Walk. Weekend markets are a must, if you are in town.
Day 02 Sydney to Wollongong
Start your coastal drive in Royal National park ,the second oldest national park in the world. Follow the Grand pacific Drive into Wollongong where you can stop for lunch and reside for the night.
Things to see and do:
Royal National Park
Located on the Southern Fringe of Sydney, the Royal National Park offers spectacular scenery from sub tropical rainforests and sandstone heath lands to dramatic coastal cliffs and unspoilt beaches. Drop into the visitors centre at Audley for helpful information and annual pass sales.
Stop at Bald Hill to watch hang-gliders and para-gliders in action, and take in the magnificent views.
Located at Bald Hill is the Lawrence Hargrave Memorial, dedicated to the Australia’s pioneer of flight and Australia’s greatest contributor to the early science of Aeronautics. In 1894, Lawrence Hargrave paved the way for man to fly at Stanwell Park. He succeeded in lifting himself to a height of sixteen feet above the ground using four box kites.
Symbio Wildlife Park
Just five minutes drive from Bald Hill is an animal encounter at Symbio Wildlife Park. You won’t get any closer to Australia’s native wildlife. Cuddle koalas, see wombats up close and hand feed the kangaroos as some of Australia’s beautiful wildlife joins you on your tour in natural bushland. The crocodile enclosure is relatively new and is constantly upgraded from year to year. With over 1000 animals Symbio has Australian native, farmyard and exotic animals, picnic areas, BBQ's, coffee shop, souvenirs, kiosk, and even a swimming pool.
Sea Cliff Bridge
Take in the splendour of the Sea Cliff Bridge, the newly constructed 665 metre over-the-ocean bridge. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the pedestrian walkway; a great photo opportunity (there are limited parking lots at the southern end of the bridge). The Bridge and its surrounding environment inspire the best of both amateur and professional photographers. It was opened on 11 December 2005, at a total cost of A$49 million and was an instant hit with local residents and visitors alike. It has pedestrian and cycle way access its entire length and spectacular views!
Only 10 minutes from the Sea Cliff Bridge is Austinmer Beach, one of the best beaches along the coast. Sample a homemade gelato from the Austi Beach Café.
Another 15 minutes drive South takes you into Wollongong. Enjoy the 360 degree views from Flagstaff Hill and enjoy a walk around Belmore Basin.
City of Wollongong
Strikingly tucked between the mountains and the sea, Wollongong is located only 80 kilometres South of Sydney; the third largest city in NSW. With activities such as skydiving and beer tasting, Wollongong has been re-invented to appeal to the adventurous as well as a fantastic selection of dining, accommodation and activities for families and the romantic. It boasts excellent lookouts, national parks and surfing beaches and is shaping up to be a destination of fine food and wine set amongst a backdrop of crystal white sands and blue skies.
Check in at Ibis Wollongong/ Rydges Wollongong/ Quest Wollongong/ Best Western City Sands.
Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk
Located in Knights Hill, an hour's drive west from Wollongong, the Illawarra Fly is a 500 metre long, 25 metre high elevated tree top walk ascending at a gentle grade and suitable for visitors of all mobilities. Nestled amongst the temperate rainforest of the Southern Highlands the treetop walk takes you along the picturesque Illawarra escarpment and offers inspiring views from Shellharbour to Bass Point, Lake Illawarra and the South Pacific Ocean.
Five Islands Brewery
Enjoy ‘Happy Hour’ or dinner at Five Islands Brewery. 10 local beers, no chemicals or preservatives, various food options. The Brewery consists of a 50 seat lounge area serving Modern Australian Cuisine, the Sixth Island Bar where a large selection of Bar Food is available, the brewery itself and the huge outside terrace is only 50 metres from the beach.
Day 03 Wollongong to Jervis Bay to Murramarang
Jervis Bay is well-known for its national parks and the pod of dolphins that live in the bay year-round. It is popular with scuba divers and snorkellers, who explore the underwater caves. If you are in the areas between June and November, look out for migrating whales off the coast.
Dolphin Watch Cruises (www.dolphinwatch.com.au)
Enjoy an afternoon on a leisurely cruise past secluded white-sand beaches spotting dolphins in the pristine waters of Jervis Bay. With 16 years of experience, Dolphin Watch Cruises is Jervis Bay's largest dolphin and whale watching business. The vessel, Tekin III is a 17 metre triple deck Catamaran offering 5 viewing decks!
Local beaches along the way are famous for their white powdery sand and turquoise waters and Hyams Beach is reputed to have the whitest sand in the world.
Crooked River Winery (www.crookedriverwines.com)
Travel from Kiama to Crooked River Winery in Gerringong (10min). Crooked River Winery is one of the best wineries on the South Coast. Enjoy the opportunity to sample some locally produced wines with a spectacular backdrop of the rolling hills and the ocean.
Huskisson is the gateway town for exploring Jervis Bay. Further along the route, Mollymook is a popular seaside holiday spot for its golf courses and family beaches.
Ulladulla is a larger centre and a well-known deep-sea fishing area. Discover the local history on the ‘One Track For All' walk along the northern headland. Stop at Morton National Park and climb the steep Pigeon House Mountain for 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, the Budawang Mountains and the Clyde River. On hot days take a cooling dip at Pebbly Beach amidst the resident kangaroos.
The rugged coastline at Murramarang National Park (west to it lies Morton National Park) offers accommodation on the beachfront. Detour 10 minutes off the highway and discover the lake and beaches at beautiful South Durras.
Overnight: Echo Murramarang Resort
Day 04 Murramarang to Canberra
Detour to Canberra, starting with the National Capital Exhibition (www.nationalcapital.gov.au) which tells the story of how Canberra became the capital of Australia. Through interactive displays, the Exhibition illustrates Canberra's vital role as a symbol of Federation. It features the people, events, history and design which contributed to the development of this unique, modern, fully planned capital city. Take a picture of yourself with the famous Captain Cook Memorail jet in the background.
Visit Parliament house and join a free tour. The lively debates at 2 pm when Parliament is sitting, attracts wide interest and proceedings may be observed from the public galleries. Have lunch at one of the many cafes in the city centre, like Anise which is an award winning modern Australian cusine restaurant, or Boat House By The Lake, set on the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. You might want to walk off lunch shopping at the Canberra Centre or the recently opened DFO outlet shops. Or, you might want to head to the Old Parliament House (www.oph.gov.au), where you can wander the halls of yesteryear in this beautiful and iconic 1920s building that was the home of the Australian Parliament for 61 years. Stand where former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced his government’s dismissal in 1975, check out Bob Hawke’s modest prime ministerial suite and see the tiny office space of a backbencher. The excellent exhibitions program and adjacent Rose Gardens make a visit to Old Parliament House an absolute must and you can also compare and contrast between the two Parliament houses.
In the late afternoon, head to the Australian War Memorial (www.awm.gov.au) to catch the closing ceremony held daily at 4.50 pm with the haunting tones of a piper or bugler playing the Last Post. Return to hotel for a short rest before dinner. There are over 300 restaurants in Canberra, so download a copy of Goumet Guide from www.visitcanberra.com.au.
Day 05 Canberra
Start the morning with a hot air balloon tour and see Canberra city from above (www.balloonaloft.com). End your balloon tour with a nice breakfast at one of the local hotels.
Head to Questacon for those with families for interesting and interactive science exhibits (www.questacon.edu.au) or proceed to the National Museum of Australia (www.nma.gov.au) and join a guided tour which appeals to a wide range of audiences. A visit here is like taking a snapshot of the Australian culture. Take a ride on the rotating theatre exhibit, be enthralled by the stories of unique Australians who’ve earned their place in history, and leave your own story on videotape in the Eternity Gallery. Use an Aboriginal grinding stone and smell the aromas of different bush foods in the emotive First Australians Gallery. See famous Australian icons from Phar Lap’s heart to an early FJ Holden and Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s Wimbledon trophies. The vibrant, stunning and symbolic architecture of this building sets it apart from the natural landscape of surrounding region.
Have lunch at the café in the complex or visit Cockington Green Gardens (www.cockingtongreen.com.au) a 20 minutes drive from the city to see intricate miniture buildings. In the Rose Room, don't miss the 'Waverley', a 34 room dollhouse! End you fairy tale tour with lunch at the one of the cafes at Gold Creek Village area, returning to the city in the late afternoon, driving through the embassy row to see if you can identify the various flags and countries they represent. Make a visit Canberra Glassworks, where you can take an introductory glass course from glass artists, or just watch artists at work. Catch the sunset with a drive up Mt Ainslie and get a birds eye view of Canberra city at dusk. If you're hankering for some Asian food tonight, try the beef rendang at Abell's Kopi Tiam in Manuka, or one of the Chinese restaurants in Dickson.
Overnight in Canberra
Day 06 Canberra
Get ready for a day with nature. Start your morning with breakfast at the Hudson’s Cafe at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Walk among over 99,000 native plants from across Australia and see many endangered species or drive to one of the nature reserves and parks.
Forty-five minutes’ drive from the city is Tidbinbilla Park, which offers walking trails, ranger-guided activities, Australian animals in their natural habitat, delightful wildflowers during spring and rich indigenous and pioneer heritage. Learn about the captive breeding programs for the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby and the northern corroboree frog, and go koala spotting in the koala enclosure.
At the nearby wetlands enclosure, see platypus’ duck-diving and flocks of magpie geese at the water’s edge. The kids will love the Nature Discovery Playground. Venture into Namadgi National Park in Tharwa, at the northern end of the Australian Alps. You can have a picnic or bushwalk on the numerous marked trails, experience native flora and fauna - you’ll never see so many kangaroos at once! - and enjoy spectacular wildflowers in spring.
The Indigenous rock art and Aboriginal shelters are easily accessible. For more information, pick up a copy of Get Out There - A guide to the Australian Capital Territory’s parks and reserves from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre.
In the afternoon, you may want to do a winery visit and lunch at one of the many winery cafes. Most wineries are less than an hour’s drive from Canberra city. The tranquil rural countryside around the ACT is home to 140 vineyards with nearly 40 boutique cellar doors. The wineries are small and intimate providing an original interactive visitor experience. Visitors are often served by the winemaker providing an opportunity to learn first hand the passion and expertise required to create authentic, hand crafted cool climate wines.
You may also want to try the delightful Pialligo Village, just five minutes’ drive from the city centre with many treasures in store. This little pocket of gorgeous country life thrives with its winery, orchards, gift stores, cafes, restaurants and nurseries. Autumn is the perfect time to visit Pialligo for fruit picking with apples, pears, quinces and late stone fruit at its best. But, any time of year you could easily spend an afternoon strolling through the many gift shops and garden centres that line Pialligo’s main street.
For a family friendly attraction, bring the kids to the National Zoo and Aquarium (www.nationalzoo.com.au). See tigons, giraffes, cheetahs, bears, monkeys, the shark tank and much more on the kids’ tour at Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium. Kids also love getting up close to our native wildlife, and can even pat kangaroos and emus. For adults and bigger kids, hand feed lions and tigers and let a bear lick honey from your hands or pat a cheetah on the Meet-a-Cheetah tour.
In the evening, after dinner, check out some of the night spots. Tucked away in the city and surrounding suburbs are lots of traditional pubs, stylish cocktail lounges and pumping clubs offering live music, beer gardens and live sport, as well as cinemas and performing arts. You can find them in the City and Braddon, around Garema Place and nearby City Walk, in Kingston and Manuka - popular with the young and in Dickson, Lyneham and O’Connor, a mini Chinatown area with two great bars.
Day 07 Canberra to Batemans Bay
Take a 150-kilometre side trip from Canberra to Batemans Bay. In the picturesque village of Bungendore see contemporary furniture and giftware at Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, antique stores and gift shops. Along the way, stop off in historic Braidwood to see beautiful churches, pubs and antique stores in restored colonial-era buildings. Batemans Bay is a bustling holiday township, known for its seafood, particularly oysters, which have a reputation for being some of Australia's best.
Enjoy fresh seafood at one of the excellent restaurants in Batemans Bay, overlooking the Clyde River.
Overnight at Batemans Bay or backtrack a little for overnight accommodation at Echo Point Murramarang Resort which offers accommodation on the beachfront.
Day 08 Batemans Bay to Eden
Visit Mogo just South of Batemans Bay for boutique shops, cafes and Old Mogo Town, a re-creation of a working 19th century goldmining village. You must visit Mogo Zoo, and see the endangered species, including Australia's only white lion cubs, snowleopards, red pandas, Syrian brown bears and ring-tailed lemurs in action at Mogo Zoo . Your next stop is narooma, an Aboriginal name meaning "clear blue water" , and the waters around the town have become popular with fishing enthusiast. While at Narooma, take a boat trip to see penguins, fur seals and a huge variety of seabirds in their natural environment on Montague Island Nature Reserve.
Stop at historic Central Tilba, the National Trust-listed working village where you can see a wood turner, cobbler, baker and leather maker at work.
Stop by Bega Cheese Heritage Centre (www.begacheese.com.au) then proceed to Umbarra Cultural Centra at Wallaga Lake for hands on activities such as boomerang and spear throwing, ochre painting, shelter building, Dreamtime stories, open fire cooking of bush tucker and the opportunity to purchase locally made artefacts, paintings, didgeridoos and other arts and crafts.
Eden is an old whaling town and features the Killer Whale Museum (02 6496 2094, www.killerwhalemuseum.com.au). The town's whaling industry has been abandoned and today, whales are only watched. Find out more about the whaling industry, shipwrecks, fishing and navigation at the Killer Whale Museum.
Day 09 Eden to Gipsy Point
From Eden, cross the border to Victoria, to Mallacoota and Gipsy Point. Hire a boat and tie up one of the barbloecue jetties in the magnificent Croajingolong National Park. Continue east along the Princes Highway to Nowa Nowa then inland to Buchan, where you can see the stunning limestone formations of Buchan Caves and view native animals in the Caves Reserve.
Day 10 Mallacoota to Metung
DISTANCE: 227KM, APPROX. TRAVEL TIME: 2HR 50MIN
The town of Mallacoota is a coastal village surrounded by the Croajingolong National Park, recognised by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, with a diverse ecosystem featuring over 1,000 native plants and more than 300 bird species. In Bass Strait, you can spot seals and dolphins at play.
Aside from its natural attractions, Croajingolong is also a great place for sports like fishing, kayaking, boating, sailing and cycling. Feed the sea eagles on a morning boat trip from Gipsy Point. Travel South to Cape Conran Coastal Park for a picnic lunch, which is a grat place for camping, bushwalking and home to many kangaroos, koalas and emus.
Continue towards Lake Entrance where, as the name suggests, the Gippsland Lakes meet the sea. Cast a line at ocean beaches, rivers and public jetties, or let someone else do the hard work and buy fresh seafood when the daily catch arrives on trawlers or enjoy a meal at local restaurants where that fresh seafood is always on the menu. Lakes Entrance is located on one of Victoria’s most remarkable beaches - the Ninety Mile Beach - which stretches as far west as Yarram. Head to this long stretch of sand to find a secluded spot, or the patrolled swimming and a range of water activities around tourist centres. Arrive into stylish town of Metung in time for a late afternoon sail or motor yacht cruise around Australia's largest inland waterway.
Overnight: Metung (Lakes Entrance)
Day 11 Metung to Wilsons Promontory
DISTANCE: 288KM, APPROX. TRAVEL TIME: 3HR 40MIN
Take an early breakfast and hit the road to Yarram for lunch on the way to Wilsons Promontory National Park where wildlife abounds. Wilsons Promontory is one of the nation’s most picturesque national parks and the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland.
Tidal River offers a range of accommodation from cabins, camping huts and lodges and is the starting point for many of the park's walks. Spend the rest of the day following the many walking tracks through eucalypt forests and wildflowers to secluded coves, stunning white sand beaches and granite mountains. The underwater scenery is just as spectacular, with huge granite formations set among multi-hued seaweed and colourful fish. Stay overnight in Tidal River or in the nearby township of Foster.
Overnight: Tidal River or Foster
Day 12 Wilsons Promontory to Phillip Island
DISTANCE: 182KM, APPROX. TRAVEL TIME: 2HR 40MIN
Stop for coffee and a treat at quirky Fish Creek, a tiny township alive with arts, crafts, books and cafes. Or stop at one of the great restaurants in Inverlock for lunch. Cross the bridge to Phillip Island and you are in another world, there's so much to see and do. Don't miss the nightly magical procession of little penguins returning from sea to their burrows at Summerland beach.
Overnight: Phillip Island
Day 13 Phillip Island to Melbourne
DISTANCE: 140KM, APPROX. TRAVEL TIME: 1HR 50MIN
Phillip Island boasts of a natural playground, teeming with wildlife and adventure with plenty of things to see and do in the region. A favourite destination for lovers of Australian wildlife, other than being home to the Little Penguins that parade up Summerland Beach each night, there are also Australian fur seals cavorting around the Nobbies which can be viewed up close on a 2hr seal watching cruise and a large population of koalas that can be viewed at close range from treetop boardwalks at Koala Conservation Centre.
Don't miss the daily pelican feeding at San Remo at 12noon and have traditional Aussie fish and chips for lunch. For nature lovers, explore the tranquil wetlands and the imposing granite cliffs and golden beaches of Cape Woolamai, breeding ground of the short-tailed shearwater. Waves roll in on one side of the island, while the other side offers protected bay beaches that suited water sports of all sorts.
To add to a dash of adventure, one can enjoy a go-kart ride around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit or an exhilarating helicopter ride over the island. Not to be missed is the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory to enter into its amazing world of chocolates, a tempting treat that everyone finds it hard to resist!
For the young at heart, a trip to Amaze N Things to embark into a world of optical illusion, puzzles and mazes will help to stimulate their minds through interactive fun and play. After a fun-filled day in Phillip Island, return to the cosmopolitan and chic Melbourne or for those who has time to spare.
Day 14 MELBOURNE
Explore the lovely city of Melbourne before heading home.
For more information: