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The Great Southern Touring Route

Art Green & Matilda Rice

We certainly hit the ground running in Melbourne, stopping briefly to admire the incredible city views from our suite at the Crown Metropol before jumping on a tram and heading to the incredible Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. With meat disguised as fruit and a wine list as thick as a novel, it was like nothing we had experienced before.

Walking tours to uncover Melbourne's best

More wining and dining followed the next day when we joined 1,600 other people for a unique, delicious lunch in the middle of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix race track for the World’s Longest Lunch, as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. That evening we took a walking tour of some of Melbourne’s coolest bars.

Walking tours are a great way to really experience what this beautiful city is all about. We followed up our night walking tour the following day with a Hidden Secrets walking tour, which took us to some of Melbourne's many laneways, cafes, and beautiful old buildings.

From the city to a coastal icon

It was time to swap the city for the Great Ocean Road, a three-hour coastal drive through quaint seaside towns to the 12 Apostles. We buckled ourselves into a helicopter and flew over the spectacular towering limestone structures. Back in the car, we continued along the Great Ocean Road to the historic town of Port Fairy. We wished we had more than one night in this beautiful, historic little town.

The following morning we were up early and off to Warrnambool (possibly the most Australian sounding place in Victoria) to visit an island where a pair of dogs guard a penguin colony from foxes. It sounds like something out of a movie, right? Well, they actually did make a movie about it in 2015 – called Oddball.

Getting to know the local characters

We then headed off to the Great Ocean Eco Lodge, where we saw koalas, kangaroos and the endangered tiger quoll. The amazing researchers at the Eco Lodge are trying to find solutions to help some of Australia’s native wildlife survive.

We loved spending time with Australia’s native wildlife, so we ventured to Lake Elizabeth in search of some platypuses. The lake is a15-minute hike through bush, and we Kiwis spent the majority of the time looking out for snakes. At dusk we started paddling our canoe around the lake in silence, and sure enough, out came the platypuses – funny little furry critters with wide bills, unlike anything else on the planet. It was a beautiful end to what was an unbelievably Australian day. 

A fashionable last hurrah in the city

It was back to the city for our final day. We donned our most fashionable attire for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival runway show. This was a side of Melbourne that we hadn't seen, and it sure lived up to expectation – sitting alongside the beautiful people in an elegant ballroom and watching more beautiful people (although slightly skinnier) walk and flaunt. We felt slightly out of place but excited to feel part of this world for 30 minutes.

We watched the sun go down and gave a toast Melbourne from the Qantas first class lounge. That in itself was an experience – being treated like kings and enjoying a delicious three-course meal before boarding our plane back home. Thanks Melbourne, you’re awesome.

You can follow Art's Instagram here: www.instagram.com/art_green

You can follow Matilda's Instagram here: www.instagram.com/matootles

Art & Matilda's top picks

Melbourne Street Art

Street Art - discovering Melbourne's hidden gems. #Melbourne @art_green#Melbourne #visitmelbourne

Great Ocean Road

Spent the day exploring the Great Ocean Road. Stopped for a swim at Loch Ard Gorge - truly amazing. @matootles#selfiearm # greatoceanroad #visitmelbourne

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Melbourne highlights

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Explore the region

Great Ocean Road

Nature and wildlife

Wonder at beautiful natural attractions, ancient rainforests and abundant local wildlife.

Food and wine

Taste your way around the Great Ocean Road region enjoying gourmet food and cool climate wines.


Relax and unwind in the seaside town of Lorne, with its Mediterranean feel and charming scenery.


Dose up on surf culture at Torquay, home to Bells Beach and birthplace of Rip Curl and Quicksilver.

Art and culture

Stroll through historic towns and discover arts, culture and museums linked to the coastal scenery.

Port Fairy

Uncover history in every corner of this charming fishing village at the end of the Great Ocean Road.


Surf the west coast from the famed breaks of Bells Beach to the wild waves beyond Discovery Bay.

Family activities

Pack the car and drive the Great Ocean Road and find a range of fun activities for the whole family.

Beaches and coastlines

Paddle, swim or surf in the waves or take a relaxing stroll on some of Australia's best beaches.


Wonder at the beauty and the terror of the Shipwreck Coast in vibrant, historic Warrnambool.


Swim, surf, and relax at the beach or find a riverside picnic spot at this quaint seaside town.





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Drive one of the world's most scenic coastal routes on the famous Great Ocean Road extending from Torquay to Allansford with spectacular cliff views.

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Spend a few nights away and see the entire region in all its natural beauty. Journey along the road and beyond and stay in quaint seaside villages.