victoria in march

Nov 23rd, 2013, 06:21 PM
  #1  
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victoria in march

My family holiday to Victoria in March is starting to take shape. with my wife, and 2 kids (8 and 6), I''ve put together the following schedule and questions for those in the know to comment on!

Saturday, 6am We land in Melbourne Airport (overnight flight from Malaysia)

We pick up our rental and drive to Wilson's promontory (It's too early to check in anywhere so I thought it would be best to start doing our "out of city" exploration.

Sunday Stay at the Prom

Monday Drive out of the Prom. And begin drive to Great Ocean Road. I'm still trying to figure out how to bypass Melbourne ; and cross thru a quicker way (bridge?ferry?) from Wilson prom to GRO. (I just seems there might be a way to cross the waters looking at the map). Overnight at in one of the towns..Lorne ?

Tuesday Continue drive to Port Campbell, Visit 12 Apostles and nearby sights. Overnight in the area. Port Camp bell ?

Wednesday Drive back to Melbourne. Take a quicker inland route, if any. Back in Melbourne by the evening. Start Melbourne stay. Return car rental

Thursday / Friday / Saturday - Explore Melburne

Saturday 8pm Fly out of Melbourne


Some questions :
1. Is there a way to get to GRO from Wilson Prom without having to drive all the way up to Melbourne ?
2. If we stay 2 nights at the GRO, which places/towns should we stay for the night ?
3. Is there a quicker inland route from 12 apostles back to Melbourne ?
4. Any quirky, unique, things to see and experience in M'bourne that are not part of the "usual" city tours ?


THanks !
Eric_Bal is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2013, 09:21 PM
  #2  
tt7
 
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1. Take the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff
http://www.searoad.com.au

2. Lorne, or probably better, Apollo Bay and then Port Campbell or perhaps Warrnambool.

3. Yes - take the A1.

4. Not knowing what is in the "usual" city tours, hard to say. Explore the lane ways, visit the museum at the MCG, see the Gas Brigades at the casino, take an early morning balloon ride, visit the Healesville Sanctuary, go watch the Formula One Grand Prix (March 13-16).
tt7 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 12:36 AM
  #3  
 
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A couple of things. If you have an overnight flight do you think you will be wide awake enough to tackle driving a strange car in a strange country? It's a fairly long drive to the Prom from Melbourne airport.

Also do you have accommodation booked at the Prom? It's very popular so if you don't have something already lined up, chances are you won't get in there but you could stay at one of the nearby towns, such as Yanakie which has lots of cabins etc.

In Melbourne you could go and see the Shot Tower which is built inside Melbourne Central, a shopping mall. Near the central atrium there is a huge gold fob watch which chimes on the hour and plays some music. It's been years since I've seen it but there are usually always people hanging around waiting to see it. I think your kids might like it.

Kay
KayF is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 07:47 AM
  #4  
 
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I agree with the previous poster expressing doubt about the wisdom of driving to the Prom on arrival. An overnight flight leaves you in an unsafe state of drowsiness even if you caffeinate and think you're tough...

Instead, reserve your car for pickup on Day Two, book a hotel for the first day and night and take ground transportation from the airport into the city center, somewhere near Flinders Street in the adjacent streets, drop your bags off (with a bit of luck they'll have a room for you already, they never promise but it happens), and go walking, that's the best cure for jetlag and sleep deprivation.

Walk to the Botanical Gardens and marvel at the various sections that correspond to the different climates and regional vegetations of all of Australia. Take a boat ride from down below Flinders Street Station and the bridge, check out the Ian Potter Center and its fantastic visitor info center, then go freshen up if the room wasn't available earlier, and head on down to St. Kilda for a bit of waterfront strolling, your hotel front desk will show you the nearest stop for public transportation.

As a turnaround stop after the GOR consider Port Fairy - it's kinda cute if you take the time to just stroll around, not expecting a Disneyland, just a nice old-timey little town.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 02:16 PM
  #5  
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Thank hyou all,very very helpful! I will follow your advice and NOT immediately drive off upon landing. Mihelhuebeli -- will do your Day 1 reco!



I Am thinking about doing a day trip to the Dandenongs

Should I take the bus/train to the puffing billy station and then do one whole day on the train (with return to MB at night) and explore the stops ? OR should I just take the car and explore on my own ?

THanks

Eric
Eric_Bal is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 02:24 PM
  #6  
 
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I'd take the car, you can stop whenever and wherever. Look here:
http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions...ng-Ranges.aspx
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 02:11 AM
  #7  
 
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If you don't want to stay twice in Melbourne and don't want to drive immediately, you could consider taking a train on arrival in Melbourne to Warnambool and then hire a car and drive back along the coast either to Geelong or to Melbourne. Trains to Warnambool are not frequent but would be more relaxing - check the vline website for timetables.

It is a long drive between GOR and the Prom - my kids would loathe that so perhaps break up into two separate trips? If not, perhaps the ferry would break the journey for them. To be honest, I'd head either west or east but not both in an 8 days visit.
dreamon is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 07:10 AM
  #8  
 
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Ride Puffing Billy steam railroad in the Dandenong Range just east of Melbourne proper. It is easy to get to and a real treat for everyone young or young at heart. My wife and I loved it last February. Allow 1/2 day for this fun time and savor it. Get off at various places on the 15-mile trip by train. Paddle around the small lake and picnic under a tall tree. Read up on the internet or go to Youtube.com and watch videos of Puffing Bill Railroad. They have some good ones, done my amateurs, but they make you feel you are there.
GoldenSands2017 is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 07:41 AM
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Dreamon's idea of taking the train to Warrnambool and then renting a car there to drive the GOR back to Melbourne strikes me as an excellent one - but don't do it on the day of arrival after the overnight flight. You and your kids don't want to be sitting on anything that moves for another almost four hours.

Spend that first day and night in Melbourne, as previously suggested, and after a good night's sleep, on the second day, you have a convenient train at 12:39PM that gets you there by 4:14PM. That time table is valid right now - check again as it gets closer to your dates.

Then take a few days driving the GOR, stay the night somewhere nice, near Apollo Bay, and Lorne, go for a hike, check out the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the waterfalls, do the Triplet Falls Rainforest walk - make a real trip of it, there is much more to it than "the road" (which doesn't always follow the coast).
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 10:38 AM
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'there is much more to it than the road' - so true! Take your time, get out on some of the walking trails and you'll get much more out of a visit there.
dreamon is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 03:52 PM
  #11  
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Thank you all... and Michelhuebeli, will take your advice on keeping to this post. I'm taking dreamon's advice to just focus on one -- GOR. Will skip the Prom for another time. My updated plan (not yet considering Warrnambool option) is as follows :

Day 1, Sat Arrive at 6am. Hoefully, get lodging we can rest in the AM. Explore mbourne in the afternoon. City circle tram, Flinders station, and either Melbourne Museum of Science Museum.

Day 2 Sun Visit Healesville Sanctuary. Take public transportation.

Day 3 Mon Get rental and do GOR Day 1. Stop along the way based on your suggestions and end at Lorne for the night

Day 4 Tue GOR Day 2. Stop along the way based on your suggestions and end at P Campbell for the night

Day 5 Wed GOR Day 3. Eventually, take the inland route back to Mborne.
* I will review and assess versus Warrnambool option

Day 6 Thur Puffing Billy Day. Not yet sure : Car rental so we can explore Dandenongs or just take public transport and do the train ride with stops ?

Day 7 Fri Undecided. Sovereign Hill ? Just stay in Melbourne ?

Day 8 Sat Melbourne. Fly out at 8pm.


What do u guys think ?

Thanks

Eric
Eric_Bal is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 05:28 PM
  #12  
 
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I think you'll have a grand old time. Leave day 7 open, you're bound to come across something while you're there that will fill out that day nicely - you don't know what that will be until it jumps up and bites you, and that's just fine.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 06:51 PM
  #13  
tt7
 
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I composed a response the other day on the subject of whether or not to drive immediately after arriving - obviously, senility has set in and I forgot to press the Submit button (either that or it self-destructed).

Given that you're coming from Malaysia (and appear to be based in Singapore), you have a 3 hour time change, so no real jet lag to deal with. Given that Malaysia and Singapore both drive on the left, then no change there either. I would not be so easily put off from driving on arrival but that's obviously a personal decision.

For the GOR, the two main (scenic) parts are the stretch from Anglesea to Lorne and then to Apollo Bay and then, later on, the stretch to Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles and beyond.

In order to maximize the time available, I would do the GOR first. It's about 125 kms / 1.5 hours from Melbourne airport to Anglesea (a large part of it freeway) and then another 25 kms / 0.5 hours to Lorne. Lorne to Apollo Bay is about 45 kms / 1 hour. However, given the number of times you'll probably want to stop, particularly on the Lorne to Apollo Bay part, the stretch from Anglesea to Lorne to Apollo Bay will probably take twice as long as that (or longer, depending on the traffic). I would think about making it to Anglesea for a breakfast stop and then on to Lorne for lunch and then to Apollo Bay for the night. With enough breaks and stops along the way, it'll be mid-afternoon (and check-in time) by the time you get to Apollo Bay.

On day 2, you could make it from Apollo Bay to Warnambool and back to Melbourne (via the A1 to Geelong) but it would make for a long day. Depending on how often and where you stop on the way and whether you go, as suggested for example, to the Cape Otway Lighthouse, probably better to stay overnight in Port Campbell / Warnambool / Port Fairy.

If you want to go to Sovereign Hill, I would do it on the way back from Warnambool. Warnambool to Melbourne via Ballarat is about 300 kms / 3.5 hours. If you go straight back to Melbourne then you later end up driving back west to go to Ballarat and Sovereign Hill.

Alternatively, if you want to go to the Healesville Sanctuary (northeast of Melbourne) and Puffing Billy (east), one way to do it would be, rather then returning to Melbourne from Ballarat, to head from Ballarat to Healesville, and stay the night there. Take the M8 from Ballarat and then pick up the M80 ring road around the north of Melbourne and then on to Healesville and the Yarra Valley. Warnambool to Ballarat is about 180 kms / 2.5 hours and Ballarat to Healesville is about 170 kms / 2 hours. Spend 2 nights in Healesville (or somewhere in the Yarra Valley) and spend day 4 at the Healesville Sanctuary and around the Yarra Valley.

Day 5, head south from Healesville to Belgrave and Puffing Billy (45 kms / 45 mins). After the day there, head back to Melbourne for the night (and return the car in the city - you don't need or want it in Melbourne). You then have days 6 and 7 in Melbourne, before flying out in the evening of day 8.

Hopefully the above has managed to suitably confuse the planning .....
tt7 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 01:11 AM
  #14  
 
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Eric, I think your plan sounds fine. Not sure about transport to healesville. Check ptv.vic.gov.au. Transport generally more limited on weekends.

Tt7 has some good ideas but I think drive times are skimpy - bit of low flying! Melbourne suffers badly from peak hour congestion but you should avoid most of that with your schedule.

On Saturday you might enjoy vic market.

Enjoy!
dreamon is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 01:52 AM
  #15  
tt7
 
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Which drive times do you believe are "skimpy"? Melbourne, like any major city, can suffer from congestion but most of the driving on this trip is nowhere near central Melbourne and its immediate environs.
tt7 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 03:36 AM
  #16  
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Thannk you to all o f you!! ALl your inputs have been a great help! I will now proceed with finding places to stay! Any recommendations on car rentals ??

Thanks!
Eric_Bal is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 07:49 AM
  #17  
 
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About the jetlag thing: For some people it's the crossing of time zones that they think disorients them. But when you get right down to it, usually it's the disruption of sleeping patterns, sleep deprivation, that does it. Even within the same time zone, a trip like Santiago (Chile) to New York, through the night arriving early morning, causes people to stumble off the plane like zombies, at least those who are unfortunate in that they can't bring themselves to sleep on a plane. Even at home, most people aren't worth much after a sleepless night.

So Eric is wise to refrain from putting his family and himself at risk on arrival - even with the advantage of being used to driving on the left.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 08:33 PM
  #18  
 
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We have used Hertz all over the world and would recommend them. They may not be the cheapest but who wants hassles on their holiday. Other car hire companies have given us problems but so far, Hertz have been great.

I'm not sure how much you travel but with a 6am arrival I would suggest going to your hotel and checking in. Leave your bags there if the room is not ready. Either way, I would not lay down and have a sleep. Go straight back out and have a walk in the fresh air and breakfast, maybe in Degraves St which is a narrow street near Flinders St Station full of open air cafes. Then have an explore outside until at least mid afternoon. By that stage you might be drooping with fatigue but then you can go back to the hotel and sleep until morning if you like. If you sleep when you first arrive, it will be harder to regulate your body clock. That works for us anyway.

Kay
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