Be captivated by the many splendid sights and activities as you travel with friends to one of Australia’s most popular flower festivals. Ballarat’s world-renowned Begonias provide a brilliant floral display and interwoven with other flowers, the sight will leave you in awe. Step back in time at Sovereign Hill and experience the excitement of the gold rush days. Also included is a leisurely cruise on a Murray River Paddlesteamer at Echuca and a delightful drive through the Daylesford region in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, have a camera ready to capture all this natural beauty. Enjoy two days of marvellous sightseeing in the Melbourne region and there’s even a free day for shopping, visiting or sightseeing. Travel through Gippsland to Lakes Entrance. Enjoy the dramatic changing scenery and the many charming little villages along the Great Alpine Road through the high country to Albury. You won’t want to miss the many natural and cultural wonders on this tour!
Departing: Thursday, 5th March
Fitness Level: M – Moderate
Meals: B = Breakfast, M = Morning Tea, L = Lunch, A = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner
DAY 1 HERVEY BAY – GOONDIWINDI D
Thursday, 5th March: An early start for passengers joining between Hervey Bay and Caloundra. Brisbane and Gold Coast passengers board at Roma Street Transit Centre. Travel west to Toowoomba for lunch, then on to the border town of Goondiwindi. Stay Jolly Swagman Motor Inn
DAY 2 GOONDIWINDI – DUBBO BMLD
Friday, 6th March: Leaving Goondiwindi we turn right onto the Newell Highway at the Wobbly Boot Hotel in Boggabilla. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at Gilgandra then arrive in Dubbo mid-afternoon for some free time to explore. Stay Golden West Motor Inn
DAY 3 DUBBO – GRIFFITH BLD
Saturday, 7th March: Start our day with a two hour guided tour of Taronga Western Plains Zoo, followed by some free time to wander or purchase morning tea. Stop at Forbes for lunch then continue on to Griffith. Stay Kidman Wayside Inn
DAY 4 GRIFFITH – BALLARAT BMLD
Sunday, 8th March: Continuing through the Riverina district we stop at Deniliquin to visit the excellent Peppin Heritage Centre. The Centre is housed in Deniliquin’s first public school which has been transformed into a regional museum telling the story of the early pioneers who created the famous Peppin Merino. Next, on to lunch in the river town of Echuca. Enjoy a lunch cruise on the ‘Mighty Murray’ onboard an iconic paddle steamer before a delightful drive through the spa town of Daylesford at the foot of the Great Dividing Range to Ballarat. Two night stay Bell Tower Inn
DAY 5 BALLARAT BEGONIA FESTIVAL BD
Monday, 9th March: The Ballarat Begonia Festival’s focal point is Ballarat’s world-renowned Tuberous Begonias with their vibrant colours and magnificent blooms. Some free time this morning to enjoy the festival and view the street parade. The festival, in its 67th year, will be jam-packed with entertainment, free activities and all the fun of the fair. In the afternoon visit Sovereign Hill which is a historic open-air museum that brings to life the excitement of Australia’s great 1850’s gold rushes.
DAY 6 BALLARAT – MELBOURNE BLD
Tuesday, 10th March: Travel to Melbourne for three amazing nights. First, enjoy some free time at the internationally renowned Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance. Sprawling beside the Yarra River, the beautifully designed gardens feature a global selection of plantings and specifically endemic Australian flora. Within the gardens is the Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial to the sacrifice of our service men and women. Next, it’s on to Belgrave for a ‘Steam & Cuisine Luncheon’ aboard the Puffing Billy Train. Three night stay Oaks on Collins
DAY 7 MELBOURNE FREE DAY BD
Wednesday, 11th March: A free day in Melbourne to explore the city at leisure.
DAY 8 MELBOURNE SIGHTSEEING BMLD
Thursday, 12th March: Today we head into the Dandenong Ranges, visiting William Ricketts Sanctuary, a place of beauty and tranquillity, with its natural setting and the mystical sculptures half hidden amongst the ferns. Continue on to Olinda, in the heart of the stunning Dandenong Ranges, to enjoy a delicious German smorgasbord lunch at the Bavarian-styled Cuckoo Restaurant. With the staff dressed in traditional Bavarian costume and with live entertainment, music and a floor show, cowbell rings & some pretty fancy yodelling, it’s sure to be a fun-filled visit. Reluctantly, we move on to the Blue Lotus Water Garden, Australia’s largest water garden featuring thousands of rare lotus blooms and water lilies. Return to our motel.
DAY 9 MELBOURNE – LAKES ENTRANCE BMLD
Friday, 13th March: After a hearty breakfast it’s off to the beautiful Gippsland Lakes District. Travel into the Latrobe Valley to Old Gippstown in Moe. Step back in time to the 1850’s at this heritage park. Stroll along the streets with authentic old buildings, horse-drawn carriages, agricultural machinery and a general store. After lunch at the Moe RSL, continue our travels to Lakes Entrance. Two night stay Bellevue on the Lakes
DAY 10 LAKES ENTRANCE CRUISING BLD
Saturday, 14th March: A little sightseeing tour is in order this morning before boarding the ML Stormbird for a four hour cruise into Lake King, then around the shores of Metung for lunch at the Metung Hotel. Enjoy some free time in Metung before the return journey to Lakes Entrance.
DAY 11 LAKES ENTRANCE – ALBURY BMD
Sunday, 15th March: Travel the Great Alpine Road to Omeo with its beautiful hilltop vistas on the edge of the Snowy Mountains. Enjoy some free time to explore this pioneering mountain town. Stop at beautiful Bright for lunch and free time, then make our way to the Australian Pumpkin Seed Company before continuing on to Albury. Stay Quality Resort Siesta
DAY 12 ALBURY – BATHURST BMLD
Monday, 16th March: Follow the Hume Highway to Gundagai for morning tea and a visit to the Dog on the Tuckerbox, then on to Cowra Japanese Gardens for lunch and time to explore the beautiful gardens. After lunch, visit the National Motor Racing Museum in Bathurst, followed by an exciting drive around the Mt Panorama Circuit with your coach captain at the helm. Stay Quality Hotel Bathurst
DAY 13 BATHURST – ARMIDALE BMLD
Tuesday, 17th March: Leaving Bathurst, make our way to Mudgee’s Honey Haven for morning tea and a mead tasting. After a delicious picnic lunch at Coolah, one of several towns to claim bragging rights as home to the legendary Black Stump, continue on to Armidale. Stay All Seasons Motel Armidale
DAY 14 ARMIDALE – HOME BM
Wednesday, 18th March: Departing Armidale continue north on the New England Highway to Tenterfield where we pause for morning tea. Cross the border back into Queensland arriving in Toowoomba for lunch. Arrival in Brisbane mid-afternoon and the Wide Bay early evening.
Adult: $4998 pp
Pensioner: $4970 pp
Past Passenger: $4956 pp
Single Supplement: $1423 pp
Final Payment Due: 20th January 2020
Bookings Close on Thursday March 5th, 2020