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Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

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Melbourne, Australia
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Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

Hi guys,

I'll be visiting Melbourne with my family (parents), who will be arriving in MEL on 2nd Nov at 7:30am.

The departure date will be 7th November 1:00am.

For the current moment, the trip is planned as following;

2nd Nov - Arrive in MEL, travel to accommodation in Hawthorn, check in and drop bags off.

- Take public transport to the city and spend the day exploring

- China town, Old Melbourne Gaol, Flinders Lane, Aquarium, Crown, etc.

3rd Nov - Hire car and drive to Dandenong Ranges, have breakfast, feed birds, spend the afternoon visiting different places in the Ranges.

- Start driving towards Philip Island during mid-afternoon to get there in time to see the Penguins.

- Return to Hawthorn to spend the night.

4th Nov - Drive to Mornington and spend the day there, fruit picking, visiting the maze etc.

- If time permits, might drive to Ballarat to do some sight seeing.

- Return to Hawthorn

5th Nov - Drive to GOR, visiting all the landmarks.

- Spend the night near GOR.

6th Nov - Have breakfast and take our time to return from GOR towards Mel.

- Arrive at airport at night to return rental car.

- Depart after midnight (7th Nov).


That's the general itinerary and was wondering if anyone could provide some input and advice on whether this trip planning is feasible for the duration of time allowed.

Also, for the trip to GOR, would it be worthwhile travelling all the way to Warrnambool since we are deciding to spend 1 night there, or would that be too far of a journey?

Another option would be to spend a night in Port Campbell, or somewhere along the GOR that isn't too far away from Melbourne city.

Additionally, are there any places that I should visit that I have left out from my list?

I haven't gone into detail in regards to what places I'd visit when I'm in Melbourne city but I have read around the forums and have a list of things to do. (Would there be time to squeeze in a visit to Healesville or Werribee park? My mum is really keen on seeing the animals.)

Thanks in advance!

Hervey Bay...
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1. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

4th - you will not be able to go to Mornigton and Ballarat in the one day. You need to pick one or the other. (Have you looked at how far apart they are on a map?) There is enough to do in both places that you could easily spend 3 days in each place. Putting that aside, you would spend several hours in the car driving firstly from Melb to the MP and then from MP to Ballarat an back to Melb. It's not feasiable at all.

I'm also a bit concerned about the 3rd. If you want to be at Dandenong earlier enough to have breakfast and then will be coming back to Melb after the penguins that is going to be a very long day. I imagine you'd want to be on the road by no latter than 8am and you won't be back till around midnight. If you were staying in Melbourne the next day, I'd be more for it, but it concerns me that you are then driving again a long way the next day. Something to think about.

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2. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

As per the post by Ktsnowowl, I totally agree that you are cramming too much into each day, last weekend we went and spent the day driving from Melbourne to Mornington, yes it is just a 2 hour drive down there, and we didnt leave as early in the morning as we should have but we did not get back to Melbourne till 11pm. and we did not stop at the maze or do any activities like fruit picking, just drove and saw the sights, tried to stop at different beach and ocean spots and were lucky enough to see the sun go down over Cape Schank where the light house is.

Also doing GOR for one day is a must do so keep that on your list,

I have not been to Phillip island yet (its on my to do list!!) but just in case you miss getting there, you can also see penguins in melbourne if you can head down to St Kilda beach one evening.

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3. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

5th November is a public holiday (Melbourne cup). Some people take the Monday off to. So this can mean that traffic in Melbourne can be lighter than usual on Monday, but there will be a lot of people coming back from their 4 day weekend on Tuesday. This holiday is only for Melbourne, I'm pretty sure it's a normal working week for the rest of Victoria. Going out of Melbourne on the 5th might mean a bit less traffic than normal. I agree with the previous comments re doing too much on the 4th.

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4. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

Hey guys, thanks for the replies!

From the advice provided, I'll probably miss the trip down to Ballarat due to it being too much of a rush.

However, I think the rest of the itinerary will remain the same.

RE: Where to stay when on the trip to GOR.

Do you think it's too rushed to drive all the way to Warrnambool and stay there for 1 night before travelling back to Melbourne the next day?

Or should I stay somewhere closer to Melbourne while on the trip to GOR (e.g. Port Campbell?).

Hervey Bay...
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5. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

"Do you think it's too rushed to drive all the way to Warrnambool and stay there for 1 night before travelling back to Melbourne the next day?"

In your first post you said you want to see all the landmarks. That's a pretty board statement. You can easily get to W'bool in day, it really depends on how often you want to stop and how long you stop for. Personally, I love W'bool and it will give you a wider variety of places and prices of where to stay. However, it will depend on the questions I've asked. Let us know where you are thinking of stopping and we can give you better advice.

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6. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.


Some places that I've listed down and is currently contemplating;

- 12 Apostles

- Loch & Gorge

- London Bridge

- Wreck Beach

- Gibson Steps

- Bay of Islands (I'm aware that this is in W'bool itself and am not sure if it's feasible to travel to W'bool and stay 1 night and back to Mel the next day)

- Mait's Rest

- Tower Hill (W'bool)

- GOR Wildlife Park

- Bay of Martyrs

Those are the places that I've been thinking of visiting - although I have a feeling that I will not be able to squeeze them all into a day trip.

If I start traveling to GOR on Tuesday morning and spend the night in W'bool, and start traveling back in the morning (Wednesday) towards MEL and stopping at some of these landmarks on the way back, will I realistically be able to visit all the places? (My flight leaving MEL is 11;55pm Wednesday).

7. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

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Hervey Bay...
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8. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

Ok, few things here

1) this will be a long post, apologies in advance, but hey, you asked.

2) what it looks like to me is that you've picked a number of places off a website but haven't given much thought about actually getting to them and the condition of the roads that take you to them.(Don't worry, pretty much everyone does this). What I mean by this is that it appears you haven't put them all into Google Maps for example and then used the 'get directions' function to see how long it actually takes to travel.

3) I have now done this for you and its an awful lot of driving. This concerns me given the huge amount of driving you are already doing this holiday. I hope you are not the only person driving all week. I appreciate its a holiday for your parents and you want to fit in as much as possible but you are doing a lot! I hope you are all fit and mobile people.

4) Moving on to the itinerary itself:

i) Hawthorn to Maits Rest is 2 hours 40min. That's if the traffic is good. I would highly recommend a pit stop (grab a drink, a snack, the toilet) in either Apollo Bay or Airey's Inlet. Give the driver a little rest for 20 mins.

I'm assuming you are going to Maits Rest for the rainforest walk. You will want to allow 1-1.5 hours for this.

ii) Wreck Beach is about 1 hour 10 mins from Maits Rest. Probably a good time to grab some lunch. How long you'll spend there is up to you.

iii) Now you could go to the GOR Wildlife Park here but I would not. Do it on the return trip.

iv) It's about 30 mins from Wreck Beach to the 12 Apostles.

I wouldn't see the Gibson Steps here, I'd leave them for the way home.

v) It's then about 5 mins to Loch Ard Gorge.

How long you spend at iv) and v) could vary from 10mins to an hour in total. You will need to think about navigating the tourist buses and if you want no one but your family in your photos, might need to wait a few minutes for that perfect photo op.

vi) Here I would considerate time of day. Bay of Martyrs is meant to be best at sunset. So depending on the time of day (you will have Googled the time the sun will set in advance) you should either check into a hotel in Port Campbell and drive the 10 mins to the bay or go straight to the bay from Loch Ard Gorge, about 25 mins, and then go to you hotel in Port Campbell.

I note I did say go to W'bool before but now I know how much you want to fit in, I retract that. Also its only 10 mins from the bay to Port Campbell, whereas it is 45 mins from the bay to W'bool and personally, I think you will all be tired, especially the person who has had to drive and concentrate on very narrow and odd shaped roads all day.

Google Maps estimates that you will do at least 5 hours driving that day, which is a lot, especially given the concentration required on the GOR.

As you can now see, it's a long day! So choose something close to the hotel for dinner and go to bed early.

vii) Day 2 I'd drive straight to Tower Hill and drive through it first.

viii) Then I'd allow an hour or so in W'bool at the most. You don't specifically mention anything but I recommend the whale sanctuary for a look and also Thunder Point for a great view and a walk.

ix) You can then drive to the Gibson Steps and the the GOR Wildlife Park, which is 5 mins away. Have lunch here.

x) then it's back to wherever you are dropping your car off. I again recommend a pit stop around Anglesea.

Your flight leaves at 11:55pm so I would want to be at the airport by 9:55pm at the latest. If you are dropping the car off at the airport, allow and extra 30mins just in case there are any issues with it, lets say 9:15pm to be on the safe side.

If you are dropping it off elsewhere you need to allow time to get from the GOR wildlife park, back through Geelong (take the Geelong ring road, don't go through Geelong) to wherever the car place is.

Either way, allow LOTS of time to get back. Whatever you think is enough, add another 30mins. Traffic on the Geelong ring road should be ok, but if you then get on to the western ring road that can be a car park during peak hour, as can the Tullamarine Freeway from Melrose Drive all the way to the airport. Don't think that because you have a late flight you have heaps of time and can go off the times on Google. You need to take into account traffic.

Google says its 3 hours from the GOR wildlife park to the airport. With a pit stop, dinner and traffic, I'd want to be getting to leave the wildlife park by 4:30pm. If you are taking the car elsewhere, then you'lll need to leave earlier.

Finally, a disclaimer, this is how I would do what you have suggested, but I have no idea how long you want to spend at each place and if you will be pulling over (where you legally can) to take photos. This may add to your trip and you may want to consider not going to W'bool. You will already see plenty of beaches, parks, flora and fauna.

I hope this helps and remember Google Maps and the Get Directions function are your best friends for a trip like this.

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9. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

Wow ktsnowowl

That's a really in depth response and I greatly appreciate your advice and opinion on my itinerary.

I'll definitely take the long driving hours into consideration, although I'll have to re-plan to see how long we will spend at each location as you mention.

Thank you once again for your helpful information and I hope that others that are seeking for itinerary help in regards to a GOR trip can refer to this thread for your helpful post.


Hervey Bay...
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10. Re: Melbourne holiday planning - advice needed for GOR.

No worries.

I don't mean to discourage you from doing it all. I have no idea if you drive long distances often and I completely understand wanting to see and do as much as possible. However the GOR isn't any easy drive and what you don't want to end up doing is having your parents spend half their holiday in the car and also cramming in so much that you pretty much get to a place have a quick look, take a couple of photos and rush off to the next place. Make sure you actually have time to explore and experience places.

Good luck with the planning and post again if you have more questions