We are a family (2A2C) planning a 2-week DIY trip to Victoria state, by driving where required. It's our first trip to down under. Arriving Melbourne (Melb) by air on Monday morning (28/Oct) and leaving Melb on Friday night (8/Nov). We're in the middle of our planning, so, we have some info, but not much yet. Only air-ticket have been booked.
We hope to :
a. see and feel the nature (greenery, flower, river, ocean, rock)
b. eat fresh food (vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat)
c. visit unique OZ markets
d. pluck and eat fruits in the orchard (wine/winery can skip)
e. stay in the farm
f. have close encounter with animal (koala bear, sheep, kangaroo, penguin)
To achieve the above, our shortlisted places are :
West of Melb
ii. Ballarat (mine)
Within & around Melb :
vi. Phillip Island (penguin)
East of Melb :
vii. Healesville (zoo)
x. Yarra Valley
So, our questions are :
1. how to arrange the sequence ? E.g. East->city->west of Melb ?
2. is it possible to avoid the crowd, congestion, surcharges of Melbourne Cup Carnival (2, 5, 7 & 9 Nov races) while we spend 3-4 days/nights over the weekend (1-4/Nov) in city ?
3. any of our planned itinerary has berries orchard and flower (e.g. lavendar) field/farm along the way ?
4. cut 3 days/nights to visit Tasmania instead ?
Thank you in advance.