By Andrea Beattie
What Victoria lacks in size, it more than makes up for in natural beauty and stunning diversity. From white sand beaches to rugged mountain peaks and endless green hills, the garden state really does punch above its weight. There are numerous options when planning a self-drive campervan holiday from Melbourne, but we’ve selected three of the best touring routes to showcase Victoria’s best features. Campervan holidays have never been easier, thanks to Britz.
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Arguably one of the most beautiful touring routes in Australia, The Great Ocean Road is popular with campervan travellers. You’ll take in some seriously stunning scenery on this campervan adventure. From rugged coastlines dotted with shipwreck markers to pristine sandy beaches and vibrant green pastures, this three/four-day, 650km route shows off the best the Great Ocean Road has to offer.
On Day One, take a one-hour drive from Melbourne to Torquay, the start of the Great Ocean Road and home to famous surf beach, Bell’s Beach. Do some wildlife spotting on your way to Anglesea, where you can detour to the golf course to see resident kangaroos. Have fish and chips on the beach at Lorne, before heading to Apollo Bay and the Otway National Park for a treetop walk or visit to the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia. Camping and caravan park options in the Otway region and Apollo Bay are plentiful – from feature-packed holiday parks to quiet national park campsites.On Day Two, start the day’s 190km journey along the spectacular coastline to Port Campbell, home to the remarkable 12 Apostles. Keep an eye out for southern right and blue whales as you head west to Warrnambool and Port Fairy in time for dinner.
The route on Day Three and/or Four is up to you; after exploring Port Fairy (and maybe visiting the seal colony on Lady Julia Percy Island) double back to Melbourne along the coast staying overnight at your favourite spot; or take the inland route back from Warrnambool, taking in the region’s top breweries and restaurants. The 140km inland route via Colac boasts views from Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf before heading from Birregurra towards Winchelsea for an easy two-hour drive back to the Britz Melbourne branch.
Stretching from outer Melbourne’s Bass Coast to the easternmost point of Victoria, Gippsland is a feast for the senses. This five to six-day/880km campervan touring route will show you the best of Gippsland, from untouched beaches, inland lakes and abundant wildlife – all from the comfort of your rental Britz campervan.
On Day One, drive your vehicle two hours from Melbourne to Walhalla to explore the village’s national parks and historic gold mines and railway. Try delicious produce and wines from nearby farms and vineyards.
The next day, enjoy the scenery along the 200km drive to Lakes Entrance, with the option of stopping in at Paynesville or Raymond Island, home to 140 bird species. In Lakes Entrance, hire a boat, throw in a line or enjoy a sunset dinner at one of the town’s seafood restaurants. Park up your rented Britz campervan overnight in one of the recreation reserves or holiday parks.
On Day Three, head to one of the state’s oldest sea ports, Port Albert, about 180km southwest of Lakes Entrance. At the port, you can explore the jetty and wharf area and indulge in local seafood.
Day Four is a leisurely 100km drive to Tidal River in the famous Wilsons Promontory National Park. The campground is home to resident wombats, and there’s plenty of beach walks, natural attractions and stunning views to enjoy before sunset.
The next day, drive 110km drive northwest to Phillip Island via Fish Creek, or along the coastal road to Inverloch. Cape Woolamai is perfect for ocean views, and don’t miss the nightly Penguin Parade before driving the 140km back to Melbourne the following day.
VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY
In the heart of Victoria’s High Country, this four/five day, all-weather touring route takes in magnificent scenery from Melbourne to Omeo through Wangaratta to the Ovens Valley and past Mount Buffalo. If time permits, add on a few days and continue down to Bairnsdale, looping back to Melbourne.
On Day One, drive to Wangaratta, an easy 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne. From there, it’s 110km on the Great Alpine Road to Mount Buffalo National Park, making sure you stop at the famed Brown Brothers Epicurean Centre and Cellar Door and the Milawa Cheese Factory.
The next day begins with a morning of exploration around Mount Buffalo to see waterfalls, granite formations and views of the Australian Alps. From there, it’s a 40km drive to Bright, a beautiful town on the Ovens River. Stop for dinner at the fabulous Tomahawks before staying overnight.
Day Three is a show stopping 50km drive from Bright into the alpine region towards Mount Hotham. Enjoy the delightful former gold mining town of Harrietville before heading to Hotham which is as picture perfect in summer as it is in winter. Take in the spectacular views from Danny’s Lookout to Mount Feathertop, before heading 10km south to Dinner Plainfor horseback rides or sightseeing. From there, continue 55km on to the historic town of Omeo and stay overnight.
On the last day, you can either double back to Melbourne; take the alternate 135km route from Omeo to Bright past Falls Creek and Mount Beauty; or continue 121km along the Great Alpine Road to Bairnsdale before heading to Melbourne.