9th March – 22nd March
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 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 Paddle Steamer 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 Monaro Highway through the high country to Albury. You won’t want to miss the many natural and cultural wonders on this tour!
DAY 1 HERVEY BAY – GOONDIWINDI D
Thursday, 9th 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 BLD
Friday, 10th 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 – NARRANDERA BLD
Saturday, 11th March: This morning see the zoo come to life at dawn with an early morning walk. Starting at dawn, when the animals awaken, this leisurely-guided walking experience is a unique chance to come face-to-face with some of the world’s exotic and endangered species. After returning to our motel for breakfast, continue our journey to Forbes for lunch then on to Narrandera. Stay Gateway Motor Inn.
DAY 4 NARRANDERA – BALLARAT BD
Sunday, 12th March: Continuing through the Riverina district we stop at Deniliquin to visit the Peppin Heritage Centre, then on to lunch in the river town of Echuca. After lunch, enjoy a cruise on the ‘Mighty Murray’ on 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, 13th 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 will be jam packed with entertainment, free activities and all the fun of the fair. In the afternoon visit Sovereign Hill which is an historic open air museum that brings to life the excitement of Australia’s great 1850’s gold rushes.
DAY 6 BALLARAT – MELBOURNE BLD
Tuesday, 14th March: Farewelling Ballarat, travel to Melbourne for three amazing nights. First, enjoy some free time at the internationally renowned Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance. One of the finest botanic gardens in the world, the Royal Botanic Gardens are one of Melbourne’s most glorious attractions. 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, 15th March: A free day in Melbourne to explore the city at leisure.
DAY 8 MELBOURNE SIGHTSEEING BLD
Thursday, 16th 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, cow bell 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 BLD
Friday, 17th 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 we continue our travels to Lakes Entrance. Two night stay Best Western Banjo Paterson Motor Inn.
DAY 10 LAKES ENTRANCE CRUISING BLD
Saturday, 18th 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 BD
Sunday, 19th 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. Visit the AM Pearson Historical Park and Justice Precinct to see the town’s original courthouse, post office and gaol built of logs, or perhaps browse the German Cuckoo Clock Shop. Stop at beautiful Bright for lunch and free time, then make our way to Albury via Yackandandah. Stay Quality Resort Siesta.
DAY 12 ALBURY – BATHURST BLD
Monday, 20th March: Follow the Hume Highway to Gundagai for morning tea and a visit to the Dog on the Tuckerbox, then on to Crookwell for a picnic lunch. After lunch make our way to Abercrombie Caves for a leisurely guided tour. Stay Quality Hotel Bathurst.
DAY 13 BATHURST – ARMIDALE BLD
Tuesday, 21st March: Leaving Bathurst, make our way to the historic gold mining town of Hill End, where in 1872 the discovery of a lifetime was made – the world’s largest gold specimen named “The Beyers and Holtermann Nugget”. After exploring the town’s historic sights continue on for lunch at Coolah, one of several towns to claim bragging rights as home to the legendary Black Stump, then continue on to Armidale. Stay All Seasons Motel Armidale.
DAY 14 ARMIDALE – HOME B
Wednesday, 22nd 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: $4426 pp
Pensioner: $4398 pp
Past Passenger: $4384 pp
Single Supplement: $1243 pp
Final Payment Due: 23rd January, 2017
Bookings Close on Sunday March 6th, 2016