Tagalong Tour to Grampians and Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road & South West Victoria Tagalong 7th Feb to 20th Mar 2022

1st June 2021

Hello Tagalongers and future Tagalongers,

We hope you are all well and in good health.

We have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to safely continue with our Tagalong projects again. After much consideration and prodding from past Tagalongers we have decided to go ahead with this one early in 2022. We should all of been vaccinated against Covid by then and think the chances of border closures will be unlikely. The governments are beginning to think along the lines of closing the borders only to the unvaccinated and allowing vaccinated people to continue to travel over borders should another lockdown occur. With full vaccination planned for the general population by the end of December this year hopefully this will be the case.

Before committing to this Tagalong please be aware that refund of deposits on accommodation and tours is extremely hard to negotiate should we need to cancel so please ensure that your travel insurance will cover you should you need to cancel. The Club will only refund what we can negotiate from the suppliers and will not be able to refund otherwise. Having said that though, be assured that only the very minimum will be paid as deposits to hold the bookings with the balance being payable on the day of arrival or as late as we can negotiate.

We have been working behind the scenes again to create yet another adventure for you for early next year. From the 7th of February 2022 to the 20th of March 2022, (42 days), we hope to be taking you on yet another adventure of a lifetime, this time touring The Grampians, Western Victoria, and The Great Ocean Road. The weather will still be warm at this time of year so we can enjoy late happy hours and the days and nights will be very pleasant. As you know, over the last five years we have been slowly working our way around Australia and this Tag Along is a continuation of that journey.

The attached itinerary (subject to change) is what we have planned. We will meet at the beautiful historical town of Bendigo to start this tour. This town is awash with well-maintained Victorian era buildings the likes of which you will not find anywhere else in Australia. After a few days here we go on to the goldmining town of Ballarat and spend two days exploring Sovereign Hill, depicting the 1850’s gold rush era.

From the gold mining towns, we go to The Grampians for 6 nights. There is so much to see here that it will take us the full six days to explore and appreciate the magnificence of this famous National Park. The views from the lookouts here are the best you will see anywhere in Australia. We are planning this week to suit all levels of fitness with most lookouts and attractions very close to the car park areas. A separate day is set aside where we split up in two groups to allow the fitter ones to do some hiking and longer walks for the day if they wish while the rest of us have a leisurely picnic morning tea and lunch while driving around the various lookouts and art sites.

We then drive west to Horsham and then over the SA border to Naracoorte. From here and south to Mt Gambier and to the Indian Ocean the country is all old limestone deposits. Hence the Limestone Coast. The area is famous for some of the best caves in the world and the Naracoorte Caves are one of the only two World Heritage listed sites in Australia that are part of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites.  Riversleigh in northwestern Queensland is the other. Naracoorte and Riversleigh reveal the evolutionary history of Australia’s unique mammals over much of the past 25 million years. This is a must see for any traveller to this area and we spend a whole day exploring the caves here. The Coonawarra wine region is right in the middle of all this. Red soil on top of limestone is perfect growing conditions for wine grapes apparently. And of course, we will fit in a day wine tour of this famous wine district as well.

During our stay at Mt Gambier, we will visit the famous Umpherston Sinkhole pictured here and Blue Lake both ancient limestone structures. Princess Margaret Rose Cave, 30klm south of Mt Gambier, is arguably the most decorated cave per square metre in Australia.

After leaving Mt Gambier we will travel east following the coastline to Barwon Heads just south of Geelong. The second half of this road east of Warrnambool is what is known as The Great Ocean Road. We will spend plenty of time exploring all the pretty coastal villages and towns along this coastline for the next 18 days of the Tag Along, including of course the famous Apostles and the Great Otway National Park and Ranges. There is a treetop walk and falls to see in this park also. At Portland, the local Rotary Club has offered to give us a personal bus tour of the large shipping port here. The port specialises in bulk commodities, particularly agricultural, forestry (wood chip) and mining products as well as aluminium and fertiliser. It is one of Victoria’s major ports.

Port Campbell will be our base to view The Apostles over several days. There is a magnificent coastline of cliffs and lookouts to see from here as well. There will be time to get sunset and sunrise shots of The Apostles as well.

We will have a lot to see along this wonderful coastline and we have planned it so there is plenty of time to relax, slow down, and just appreciate this great country of ours. We have allocated 5 days of this tour to be a rest day to do as you wish and are only staying at 11 Caravan Parks for the whole tour, so we spend on average 4 nights at each stop. Total driving distance is 1,084km so the average between caravan parks is just over 100km. So even the travelling day with the caravan can be relaxed with plenty of time to explore while moving to our new caravan park. It is a very compact tour packed with many things to experience and see. Now that we have moved out of The Kimberley’s and WA for these Tagalong tours, our travel distances will be much shorter from now on.

The cost of this tour including everything on the itinerary will be $2,000 per person twin share or $2,800 for a single traveller. If you cannot do the entire tour, we can work out a cost for any number of days you may be able to attend. You can start and finish at any stage of the tour. You can even travel by car and stay in the caravan park accommodation if you wish. Unfortunately, no pets will be allowed on the tour as we will be spending a great deal of time in National Parks. This time we plan to advertise this Tag Along to a wider audience, so if you have good friends who would fit in with us and would love to join us, please let us know and share this information with them.

As usual we can only accept a limited number on these tours, so please email me ASAP of your intentions as your position will be secured in order of email responses. I will then email you an agreement. We will then need your deposit of $500 per person and the signed agreement returned by 31st July 2021. Balance of payment will be due by 30th November 2021. Please use the following Banking details.

Rotary e-Club of NextGen, Bendigo Bank:  BSB: 633 000      Account: 149 722 829

NZ Friends – Swift code for Bendigo Bank is: BENDAU3B

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any one of the co-ordinators above either by phone or email.

Follow our travels on Facebook at eclub tagalong or use this link in your browser:  Facebook link eclub tagalong.

You can view a map of the tour here:  Wikicamp link to view map of the tour in your browser.

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please respond to this email and we can remove you from our mailing list.

Kind regards

Heather and Ian, Graeme and Pam and Sheryl and Angelo.

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