Take a First Nations guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape site.. Explore Mount Richmond National Park and keep an eye out for emus, kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and wallabies.. Climb to the mouth of the Tarragal Caves, a network of ancient limestone caves within the Discovery Bay Coastal Park.. Enjoy a private dinner at the Cape Nelson Lighthouse with your fellow travellers and local leader.
Discover the dramatic scenery of Victoria’s South West, from rocky sea cliffs to remote bushland, on this 5-day walking trip of the region. White sandy beaches littered with shells, petrified forests, limestone caves and the beautifully secluded Cape Nelson lighthouse are some of the highlights you can expect to encounter. Not to mention the wildlife – from emus, koalas, kangaroos and seal colonies, as well as a staggering variety of seasonal orchids and wildflowers which enhance the forest floor. Your local leader will help you uncover all the natural wonders of one of the states’ most underrated regions.
Breakfast Included: 4 Lunches Included: 4 Dinner Included: 4
Melbourne - Portland
Welcome to Melbourne! Your day will start bright and early as you’ll meet your local leader and group at 7.15 am at the Melbourne Arts Centre. From here, you’ll spend the morning driving to Port Fairy with a few stops along the way. Grab lunch and stretch your legs in Port Fairy and enjoy the town’s charming ambience. After lunch, you’ll continue driving to Lake Condah, the traditional land of the Gunditjmara people. Here you’ll take a two and a half-hour guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape site, which is older than Egypt’s pyramids. You’ll arrive in Portland around 5 pm to check into your beautifully renovated historic hotel in the heart of town, before enjoying dinner with your fellow travellers and local leader.
Mount Richmond National Park - Bridgewater Lakes
After breakfast this morning, you’ll be heading out to explore Mount Richmond National Park, known to the Gunditjmara as Benwerrin, meaning ‘Long Hill’. The park was established in 1960 and is home to around 450 plant species and vibrant bird-life including emus, Crimson rosellas, Gang-gang cockatoos, thornbills, robins and currawongs. Today’s walk will total 17 kilometres. Beginning with an uphill climb to enjoy views from the summit, the path will widen onto flat open trails allowing for easy hiking (just make sure you keep a look out for kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and wallabies). You’ll then cross Bridgewater Lakes Road to enter a small section of quiet secluded bushland. From here the trail takes you high over farmland with great views over the Bridgewater freshwater lake system through to the blue-green water of Discovery Bay.
Bridgewater Lakes - Cape Bridgewater
Today, after breakfast, you’ll start your 18 kilometre walking day with a short climb to the mouth of Tarragal Caves, a network of ancient limestone caves within the Discovery Bay Coastal Park. From here a gentle walk through sand hills will bring you to the beginning of a day of sensational cliff-top walking, two large seal colonies, a surreal petrified forest, ocean blowholes, kangaroos, pristine lakes and remote rugged coastline. At lunchtime you’ll eat surrounded by a moonscape of petrified trees, then continue exploring the glorious coastline, including a stop at the aptly named ‘Perilous Parapet’. You’ll also encounter Australian and New Zealand fur seals who interestingly refuse to mingle even though they live in close proximity to each other. Today will end with a well-earned private dinner at the Cape Nelson Lighthouse before returning to your accommodation.
Cape Bridgewater to Cape Nelson Lighthouse
This morning after breakfast you’ll set off on a 23 kilometre walking day from Cape Bridgewater along Shelly Beach. The coastline is alive with birdlife including Pied Oystercatchers, Sandpipers, Hooded Plovers, Terns and Pacific gulls. The mostly pristine beach is subject to small patches of debris bought in by strong tides and coastal storms, so bring a bag if you’d like to collect up any rubbish along the way. The sand can be a little soft in places but the walking is pleasant and it’s possible to take your shoes off and appreciate ‘grounding’ with the earth. You’ll then leave the beach and climb a sturdy wooden stairway to the top of the cliffs for spectacular views over the Southern Ocean. After a pretty grove of coastal Tea Trees, the trail becomes more rugged as you’ll tackle the final stretch back to the Cape Nelson Lighthouse.
Point Danger Coastal Reserve - Melbourne
This morning after breakfast you’ll drive to Australia’s only mainland gannet colony at Point Danger Coastal Reserve just a few kilometres from Portland. These striking birds can have a wingspan of up to two metres and dive fully submerged into the ocean in search of prey. After this, you’ll begin the journey back to Melbourne, with a stop on the way for lunch and other breaks, before arriving back in the late afternoon, where your trip comes to an end.