Tour ID: 10062205
We leave Melbourne and head west along the Western Highway then after passing through the rolling hills and abundant farmland we reach the historic gold mining town of Ararat for a walk and refreshments. Leaving Ararat you’ll notice the hills getting steeper and then the spectacular eastern escarpment of the Grampians loom in the distance.
We pass through the little town of Moyston which is the “home of Australian football”. Your guide will explain to you the fascinating history and indigenous origins of Australian football – Australia’s own sporting code. Leaving Moyston we head into the Grampians National Park.
Engaging 4 wheel drive, we negotiate a steep rocky road and pass beside Mt. William; the tallest peak in the park. This is where you start watching for wildlife! We turn onto the main road in the park and make a stop at the Brambuk Cultural Centre where you can learn more about the first people of this culturally significant part of Australia. We stop for lunch in Halls Gap which is the main town inside the national park.
After lunch we drive up to Reid’s lookout for a fabulous view of the Serra Range, the Victoria Valley and the distant Victoria Range. This vantage point is in the centre of the national park and gives you a bird’s eye view of the impressive landscapes. Next we return to the dirt road as it plummets via a series of hairpin bends into the Victoria Valley. This is the valley that runs between the two main mountain ranges and is home to kangaroos, wallabies, emus, echidnas, snakes, lizards and beautiful birds. We follow this road south taking the opportunity to stop whenever we see wildlife.
After lots of wildlife spotting we reach the town of Dunkeld where we check you into the famous Royal Mail Hotel. The Royal Mail boasts one the country’s most awarded restaurants where you will eat tonight. Climbing back into our bus we take you to visit a very special part of the tour. Travelling with us you have access to see some of Australia’s rarest and most endangered animals in a captive breeding program. Feather Tail Gliders, Tiger Quolls, Bandicoots and other animals are being raised here for re- release into the wild. Orphan baby kangaroos and possums are also often raised here by the dedicated carers. You’ll get to feed and touch these wonderful rare Australians. At days end we go back to the Royal Mail where you can mix with the local in the bar and then enjoy a superb dining experience in the restaurant before enjoying and great night’s sleep in the beautifully appointed rooms.
Eating a sumptuous breakfast in the dining room looking out at Mt Sturgeon as the morning mist rises is the perfect start to a day that will remain long in your memory. Today we travel through the most remote part of the national park where you will understand why we use our specially built 4x4 vehicle as we negotiate sandy tracks and creek crossings and all the while being amazed by the wildlife that lives in this quiet and less visited area. This area is also known as a place where Wedge Tail Eagles can be seen. The “Wedgie” is the largest eagle in Australia and also the second largest in the world. An encounter with one of these birds is breathtaking!
On the eastern extremity of the park we are now with walking distance to two rock art sites that are thousands of years old. This was a place that held great importance to our first people who would come together in their various clans to socialize, trade food and implements and arrange marriages between clans. Firstly we hike 1.3 kms into the site which is known for the hand stencils of men, women and little children of the Jardwadjali people on the wall of an ancient overhang. Imagine standing in the same place that children stood thousands of years ago on a night when by flickering fire light they left their enduring marks on the rock wall. The hand stencils are the way the people expressed their connection to their country. They mean “we are here in this place.” The second hike is 1 km up a slope to another impressive overhang adorned with over 2,500 motifs of mysterious “tally marks”, ghost like human figures and depictions of animals dating back around 10,000 years. Once a meeting place of Jardwadjali people, this is truly an awesome location.
Returning to our vehicle we enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Australian bush with kookaburras and cockatoos providing the soundtrack. Depending on the time of year, we the take either the high road over the Victoria Range or the long road around the range all the while watching out for wildlife. Both roads are remote and spectacularly Australian with the red sand and rugged timeworn cliffs all around us.
We return Halls Gap and begin our journey back to Melbourne stopping along the way in Great Western where we celebrate our journey together with a tasting of some the premier sparkling and white wines produced in Australia at Seppelt’s Great Western Vineyard.
You’ll return to Melbourne between 5 and 6 pm with a head
full of treasured memories from Melbourne’s Outback.
4 star accommodation
2 course dinner
8:30 AM Tue, Thu
18.00 on day 2
Courtesy Melbourne CBD pick up.
Thank you for booking our Rock Art and Wildlife tour! Please ensure you bring just one overnight bag as luggage. There are some walks of different distance and nature but all require closed walking shoes. Please also bring a light jacket even in summer periods. Thank you.
Children are paying adult rates.
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