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8 days in Melbourne and nearby in March

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Hi, I'm planning a 9 day trip to Melbourne with my wife and 2 kids below 10. Would like to get perspective/opinions from you guys as I'm not sure about traveling time!

Day 1 - Arrive in Melbourne airport (is there only one?). Pick up car rental and begin Great Ocean Road Drive. Brunch somewhere but eventually end up in Apollo's Bay to stay the night.
Day 2 - COntinue drive, spend some time in Otway (any recos?), 12 Apostles and the rest of Port Cambell. Stay overnight somenear -- still Campbell ?

Day 3 - Not too how and where but plan is to turn back to Melbourne but inland .. instead of by the coast . Not sure if I should target being back in Melbourne for the night.

Day 4 - From Melbourne, off to Wilson's Promontory . Not sure whether to head straight there or go visit Philips island first. Stay overnight at the W. Prom.

Day 5 - One ore day at Wilson's or other sights nearby. Overnight still somewhere there.

Day 6 Head back to Melbourne. Explore Melbourne.

Day 7 Melbourne

Day 8 Melbourne

Day 9 Fly out


Thanks for the tips!!

Eric

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    If you fly in from overseas (the US?) then you land at Tullamarine airport (the others are regional only, Avalon near Geelong, and Essendon and Moorabbin).

    I strongly advise against starting the Great Ocean Road trip that day. You'll be wiped after the l-o-o-o-n-g flight, your family will be wiped and likely to get grumpy, you'll have to deal with traffic on the unaccustomed side of the road - and you won't be in a state to drive safely and to appreciate the beauty of the drive. You'll be sorry you started out before you get out of Geelong, long before it gets nice - the first hour or two are suburban freeway travel.

    So chill out and freshen up at a hotel in town, go walk your jetlag off in the fabulous Botanical garden (one section for each of Australia's various climates), check out the nearby river, maybe hop on a boat for a relaxing few moments, and check out the Flinders Street area, go down to St. Kilda by the waterfront, and fall into bed at an early hour.

    You have to try and stay awake all day even though you won't have had a decent sleep in a long time - if you sleep during the day, you'll be "turned around".

    The next day pick up your car from a city rental location (or maybe right at your hotel?), and off you go. You can then do what you meant to do, but one night in Apollo Bay will do fine, you have so few days altogether, the next day you might as well turn back inland after you've stopped by the few apostles that haven't yet fallen into the sea...

    The road is still called GOR but it doesn't follow the ocean when it approaches Warrnambool so you might as well head north, at least once you're past the London Bridge, towards Teran and Camperdown to catch the fast highway back to Melbourne

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    I agree with starting a day later. Although short in kilometres the road to Geelong and to the coast just seems to take ages!

    There are heaps of free things to do in Melbourne city. To get your bearings ride the city circle tram AND the circle bus. They go to different places. This will fill in a couple of hours, without you having to do anything.

    The State library and the Ian Potter Gallery have great Australian exhibits. The Old Treasury building is now a museum and very good and next to the treasury gardens which are lovely.

    Near Port Campbell is Melba Gully, part of the Great Otway National Park. If you have not seen glow worms before or like seeing them, go at night and they are all along the gullies.

    From Port Campbell, visit the Bay of Islands then head inland to Colac, Terang (with a g) and Camperdown, as said above, and come back that way. The area is covered with extinct volcanoes.The last eruption being about 5 000 years ago. Red Rock winery is very nice and near a great lookout.

    Phillip Island is worth a look, the scenery is great and the crowds will have gone by March. The Penguin Parade will still be busy. It always is.

    Wilson's Prom is of course a delight. The northern section is VERY different to the southern section. Do be sure to do a walk in both sections.

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