Adventures Down Under: Tasmania and Southern Australia

Destination: Victoria, Tasmania

| Activities: Hiking with one day of kayaking

Australia is a land of wonders; from beautiful white sand beaches, to lush tropical rainforests, and animals you can only find in this country. On this adventure you will explore two different states Victoria and Tasmania. You will get to experience two international capitals and hike on lodge to lodge treks through two very diverse ecosystems. In Victoria, you will explore the quirky and colorful capital of Melbourne. Walk through graffitied laneways, taste the best flat white of your life, and immerse yourself in indigenous culture and food. Our lodge to lodge hike is along the world-famous Great Ocean Road; breathtaking coastal scenery, abundant wildlife, and the Twelve Apostles. While in the more remote state of Tasmania, we will get a taste of the good life. In funky Hobart, we visit the intriguing Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), kayaking the waterfront, and explore historic Hobart. On the Three Capes Walk, we will be trekking high above the trees for magnificent views of both the land and the sea. Spend the nights at the only private lodges in Tasman National Park enjoying the peace and serenity.
Maximum group size: 14
NOTE: DEPOSITS FOR THIS TRIP ARE NON REFUNDABLE

Highlights

  • Experiencing two different and distinct lodge to lodge treks
  • Seeing native Australian animals in their natural habitat
  • Beautiful coastal views of the Tasman Sea
  • Visiting the world renown MONA art museum in Hobart
  • Hiking in the gorgeous Great Otway National Park
  • Learning about aboriginal culture and history in Victoria and Tasmania

Departures and Prices

February 18 to March 02, 2024
$9695.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • Local, Australian guides.
  • Thirteen nights in shared accommodation
  • All meals, and some wine, as described on the itinerary.
  • All transportation and luggage transfers within Australia, including internal flight from Melbourne to Hobart.
  • All entrance fees and activities as described in the itinerary.

Not included: alcoholic beverages not on itinerary, lunch on day 8, dinner on day 1 & 7, transportation to and from Australia, guide gratuities and trip insurance (mandatory).

Trip Documents

Trip Info

This trip is designed for women in very good physical condition who enjoy hiking and other activities and want to explore Australia. Hiking is generally 3 - 7 hours on sandy beaches, rocky paths, and occasionally uneven footing. The kayaking is suitable for novices. A rating of 3 requires aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. For this trip you should be working out at the upper end of these ranges. Rating: 1 2 [3] 4 5





NOTE: For this trip, emergency/evacuation/medical insurance is required. This insurance can be added as an option after you have chosen your base insurance, and before the final payment section: https://www.travelexinsurance.com/?location=06-0331&go=bp

This trip is designed as an exploration of the natural beauty and diversity of Australia's national parks and distinct culture. We will be trekking two different 4-day, 3-night supported lodge to lodge trails. We will be hiking anywhere from 4-10 miles a day through beautiful temperate rainforests on hard and sandy beaches, dirt trails, and on trails overlooking the ocean. Our luggage will be transported for us from lodge to lodge via a luggage transfer service, so you will only carry what you need for a day hike in your pack! A few days will be spent doing cultural activities like a cooking class, kayaking, aboriginal plant identification and medicinal use walk, and visiting the world famous MONA art museum. This is a great trip for someone who loves exploring and hiking in the outdoors, and who also wants to have a unique cultural experience in Australia!

Most of our accommodations are locally owned small lodges or hotels, with private bathrooms. The lodges on the Three Capes Lodge walk are private luxury lodges, owned by the walking company we work with, so we will be the only people staying there. These lodges have a focus on simple and sustainable modern design, with huge patios overlooking the surrounding vistas, and plenty of room for stargazing on clear nights. Our nights in Melbourne and Hobart will be spent in large, modern hotels

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Welcome to Australia! After arriving in Melbourne, you will be met by a private shuttle and taken to our hotel. Many flights arrive in Melbourne in the early afternoon, so you will have a few hours to rest and relax today. Enjoy dinner on your own today, in preparation for our morning’s orientation. After dinner, you can choose to head to bed or explore the river walkway and quirky laneways and alleys of Melbourne!
Overnight: Travelodge Melbourne Docklands or similar
DAY 2
Today you will have the morning to sleep off your jet lag. We will meet at 10:00AM for our group meeting and orientation. Meet your AGC guide and fellow travelers, and get an introduction to our trip. We will all head together to a group lunch before heading to our Koorie Heritage Trust indigenous walking tour. Koorie/Koori/Gurri is a generic term used by contemporary Aboriginal people and communities of Victoria and Southern New South Wales to identify and differentiate themselves from Aboriginal groups from other parts of Australia. With an experienced Koorie guide, you will learn how the land on which Melbourne is located has changed over time, and about the significance of the Birrarung Wilam to the local Kulin peoples. You will gain a deeper and more meaningful understanding of this incredible location; an important gathering place for the Kulin Nation and one of Melbourne’s most popular meeting hubs. We will connect this walking tour with a visit to the award winning Royal Botanical Gardens. We will learn about native plants and flowers, and hopefully will remember all of them when we start our Great Ocean Walk! For dinner, we take to the streets - literally! Melbourne’s colorful alleyways have drawn crowds for decades, and the chefs have taken notice. Some of the country’s best restaurants are found inside these tiny and eclectic nooks and alleyways, and we will sample some of the local cuisine tonight.
Overnight: Travelodge Melbourne Docklands or similar (B, L, D)
DAY 3
After brekky (we have officially started using Australian slang!) at the hotel, we have a city walking tour. There is so much to discover about this historical town, and we learn all of the city's secret arcades and laneways. Stopping at cafes, hidden nooks, and off the beaten path locations, we are sure to find something new around every corner. After a group lunch, we will take a fascinating look into Australia's native food and people through a cooking class celebrating local food and ingredients. We will sleep well tonight in anticipation of starting our first trek!
Overnight: Travelodge Melbourne Docklands or similar (B, L, D)
DAY 4
We will depart Melbourne after breakfast to embark on the Great Ocean Walk, traveling on the world-famous Great Ocean Road that starts near Bells Beach. Today we will hike from Blanket Bay to Parker Inlet along cliff tops and through coastal forest. We may even spot koalas and kangaroos while enjoying our packed lunch! If we have time, we will walk to the Cape Otway Lighthouse via Crayfish Bay. This lighthouse has been in operation continuously longer than any other lighthouse in Australia. We will settle into our cozy accommodations for the next two nights, before heading to dinner at a local restaurant.
Walking: 6 miles, 3-4 hours, moderate hiking
Overnight: Cape Otway (B, L, D)
DAY 5
After a delicious breakfast at our Cape Otway accommodations, we will start our trek from Cape Otway Lighthouse to Johanna Beach. Today, the majority of our hike will be in the temperate rainforest, through beech and blackwood forests. We take a step off the track down to the pretty Rainbow Falls, where a spring cascades down to the rocky coastal platforms below. We continue to follow along the cliff tops, spying wind sculpted sand dunes and those beautiful coastal views. Passing through the Aire River estuary and wetlands, we have the opportunity to spy native birds like the galah, cockatoos, and the infamous song of the kookaburra. After our trail lunch with amazing coastal views, we will walk from Castle Cove towards Johanna Beach. The views back to the lighthouse from Castle Cove are some of the best on the walk! Following the track through the forest, we soon emerge on to Johanna Beach, voted as one of the best beaches in Australia. A well-deserved dinner awaits us.
Walking: 10 miles, 5-6 hours, moderate to challenging hiking
Overnight: Cape Otway (B, L, D)
DAY 6
We begin the day with a walk on a secret beach few tourists know about. Milanesia Beach is known for its beauty and its dinosaur tracks! Dinosaurs roamed this area of Australia 105 million years ago, and there are plenty of fossils to see on this beach if you have a keen eye. After some beach walking, we will climb the hills to continue our trek along the cliff tops, with views all the way back to Cape Otway Lighthouse. Time permitting we continue to Moonlight Head and a visit to the Gables. The Gables Lookout is perched on one of the highest sea cliffs in mainland Australia. In June and September this is a whale migration corridor, and the lookout is a perfect spot to spot pods as they pass. The high sea cliffs, breathtaking views, coastal forests, and native fauna all work in concert to make this one of the most worthwhile days of walking you’ll find anywhere in Australia.
Walking: 10 miles, 6 - 7 hours, moderate hiking
Overnight Port Campbell (B, L, D)
DAY 7
We begin our final day of the Great Ocean Walk trekking through a grove of blooming native casuarina trees. With bright red flowers surrounding us, we wind our way down to Wreck Beach where the remains of two shipwrecks can be seen. As we walk, we will pass hundred year old ship anchors, chains, and other interesting debris. Meandering through our final leg of the trek, we pass Devil’s Kitchen and the wetlands of Gellibrand River. We may have the opportunity to see the endangered Australian Bittern and the Royal Spoonbill. After 4 full days of adventure, we arrive at the famous Twelve Apostles- one of the most iconic natural formations in Australia! These rock stacks were once a part of the cliffline, but due to time and erosion, they separated from the mainland, leaving behind gorgeous arches and formidable pinnacles of limestone rock. Unfortunately, only a few of these rock stacks remain. To see them up close, we will walk down Gibson’s steps to views of Gog and Magog, two of the 12 Apostles right up close. Unfortunately, we bid adieu to Victoria, and hello to Tasmania after a quick flight across the Bass Strait! We check into our Hobart hotel, and rest up for our Tasmanian adventure.
Walking: 9 miles, 5 - 6 hours, easy hiking
Overnight Hobart Movenpick (B, L)
DAY 8
Welcome to Tasmania! Breakfast will be in Hobart at the hotel this morning where you will meet your Tasmanian guides for the remainder of the tour. We start the second leg of our adventure in a new Australian state. Tasmania is known for its lush vegetation, fabulous cheese and wine, and wild and untouched natural areas. Let’s dive in! The morning is yours to sightsee, do laundry, or just sip coffee and people watch on the wharf. Hobart is Tasmania’s lively capital that retains an old town salty-air feel. Historic walks around the harbor and Salamanca district, world class wineries and distilleries, boutique artisan stores and art galleries. Your local guides can offer many suggestions. After lunch on your own, we will reconvene for a Battery Point walking tour. Battery Point was settled in the earliest days of Hobart Town in the early 1800’s, and has retained the winding streets, colonial architecture and historical ambiance that make it one of the most fascinating historic precincts in all of Australia. For dinner, we will head to a local restaurant showcasing local Tasmnaian cuisine.
Overnight: Hobart Movenpick (B, D)
DAY 9
Nestled between a river and a mountain, Hobart has one of the most picturesque harbors in the world. Join a 2.5-hour city paddle and we’ll take you behind the scenes of the vibrant, working waterfront to discover the true heart of Hobart. Glide past prestigious homes perched along the edge of Hobart’s oldest suburb, marvel at Hobart’s wooden tall sailing ships, keep an eye out for Sammy the resident seal, hope for a pod of dolphins, peer through crystal-clear water at native sea stars, and take photos of Hobart from a rarely seen perspective. In the afternoon we will visit the MONA art gallery via ferry from Hobart waterfront. David Walsh built the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) to house his eclectic collection of ancient, modern and contemporary art. Located on the banks of the Derwent a short ferry trip from Hobart, MONA is Australia’s largest private museum with three levels. This is a must do experience when in Hobart. Our entrance to the museum also includes a wine tasting of the MONA vineyard wines along with our lunch. That night, we have dinner at a local restaurant along with our Three Capes walk overview and orientation. During the Three Capes Lodge Walk, we will be carrying some items like a travel quilt, our changes of clothes, and our toiletries from one lodge to the next (2 lodges in 4 days) in 50L packs provided for you. During orientation, you will learn how to pack your pack, and what to pack! We will fall asleep with smiles while thinking about our second lodge trek!
Overnight: Hobart Movenpick (B, L, D)
DAY 10
We start the day with a drive through the beautiful Tasmanian bush, winding our way to Stewarts Bay. Upon arrival at Stewarts Bay we will make our way down to the jetty where a private boat will be waiting to depart for our short trip across to Denman’s Cove. Cruising with views back to Port Arthur, we can spy seals and dolphins, along with some of the highest dolerite cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere come into view, an indication of the dramatic views to come. A short wade ashore (remember your shorts today!) from the boat signals your arrival at Denman’s Cove. At the beach, we’ll fuel you with local produce for lunch, in preparation for a gentle walk through coastal woodland to the rocky refuge of Surveyors Cove. At this point, if the Southern Ocean begs, head for a dip before a gradual incline up to the lodge. Crescent Lodge is perched high, with far stretching views across Crescent Bay to Cape Raoul, with guest rooms spilling into the gully. Settle in with a warm shower as your guides-come-chefs prepare a three-course feast of local fare. Post dinner, take your Tassie pinot to a quiet deck for your own private sunset .
Hiking: 3-4 miles, 2-3 hours
Overnight: Crescent Lodge (B,L,D)
DAY 11
Wake to the silence of Crescent Lodge and wander down to the stunning dining room for a hearty breakfast to start the day. From here, head due south with views across Safety Cove and Maingon Bay to Bruny Island. Today is summit day! Climbing Arthurs Peak, 1,000ft above sea level, is worth the oceanic vista. In these parts, White Bellied Sea Eagles soar in the thermal currents, so be sure to look skyward. Lunch isn’t far away, an easy downhill descent to south-facing cliffs where pelagic seabirds are plentiful - albatross, petrels and gannets. Here, there’s nothing but water between you and Antarctica. Following lunch, skirt the edge of Tornado Ridge before heading south toward Cape Pillar Lodge, your base for the next two nights. Your pace might quicken in the knowledge there is a massage, facial or relaxation bath on offer at Cape Pillar Lodge.
Hiking: 6-7 miles, 5 hours, moderate
Overnight: Cape Pillar Lodge (B,L,D)
DAY 12
This is the most adventurous day of your journey, and our day with only day packs! Today you’ll walk through silver gum forest (Eucalyptus Tenuiramis), a species endemic to the area, out to the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. There’s little wonder Cape Pillar has been afforded other names – Hurricane Heath and Desolation Gully. A side trip to The Blade is a must, with staggering views across to Tasman Island. Lunch is served at Chasm Lookout – with Tasman Island’s weathered lighthouse in sight. It’s then a direct return journey home to Cape Pillar Lodge where the relaxation pavilion, three-course goodness and ocean views await. Unlace your boots, and relax with the sea breeze on your toes. Those with a penchant for pampering can forego today’s walk and spend the day at Cape Pillar Lodge. Enjoy one of our relaxing treatments ranging from 30 to 60 minutes and immerse yourself in the enchanting surroundings.
Hiking: 11 miles, 6 - 7 hours, moderate
Overnight: Cape Pillar Lodge (B,L,D)
DAY 13
Time to bid farewell to Cape Pillar's safe forest haven. From here you’ll cross Retakunna Creek (local indigenous dialect for creaking trees) en route to a patch of rainforest. Breathe it in – lush mosses, ferns and vibrant greens. Next mission is the peninsula’s highest peak, Mount Fortescue, climbing some 1,600ft above sea level. Enjoy lunch with leafy-framed ocean views overlooking The Monument. Take the side trip and enjoy the majesty of Cape Hauy - or simply remain with the group for a final cliff-walk descent onto the cool white sands of Fortescue Bay. This is your chance to drop the pack and sink your toes in pristine sands or perhaps take a celebratory dive into the crystal clear waves. We will then travel back to Hobart around 5:45PM After checking into your Hobart hotel we will celebrate our Australian adventure with a glass of celebratory bubbles and final dinner.
Hiking: 8 miles, 6 hours, moderate. Cape Hauy side trip optional - an extra 2 hours
Overnight: Hobart (B, L, D)
DAY 14
You can depart Hobart any time today to continue your Australian adventure, or head home after 2 amazing weeks in this country. (B)

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  1. Where do we eat?

    Most breakfasts and dinners will be in restaurants where you can order off the menu. Most lunches will be hikers lunch with the guides putting out lunch and you serving yourself.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, your guides can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and they cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
  4. Can you tell me more about the trail conditions and fitness required for this trip?

    This trip is designed for women in very good physical condition who enjoy hiking and other activities and want to explore Australia. Hiking is generally 2 - 7 hours on dirt trails, rocky paths, sandy beaches and occasionally uneven footing. You will be rewarded with speculator coastal views.
    The kayaking is suitable for novices.
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