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The epic road trip adventure

Three hikers, two males and female having a conversation near Budj Bim

Geelong to Portland - Distance: 330km via Colac and Warrnambool

There is so much to see and do on this trip through Victoria’s south-west, so allow yourself plenty of time.

This is a shorter touring option but there is so much to see and do, so allow yourself plenty of time to explore.

Victoria's volcanic plains stretch from Melbourne’s west into south-eastern South Australia.

Geelong is Victoria’s second-largest city, sprawling around the shores of Corio Bay. It’s a stone’s throw from the Geelong wine region, the Bellarine Peninsula gourmet food purveyors, the Surf Coast, the Great Ocean Road and the Great Otway National Park.

Don’t forget to see the Ramsar-recognised Lake Connewarre Wildlife Reserve. Here, you'll find some of the most diverse displays of birds and wildlife in Australia.

Head west from Geelong through Winchelsea and Birregurra (a burgeoning gourmet food destination) to Colac.

Colac gets its name from its natural lake. Lake Colac is part of a series of lakes near Lake Corangamite - Victoria’s largest natural body of water Australia’s largest permanent salty lake,

This is an internationally significant wetland system that supports an array of ducks, swans and other birds.

The lake was formed by volcanic lava flows that created another fascinating feature in the district, known as the Stony Rises, west of Colac.

The Princes Hwy winds through these craggy basalt flows and past the Floating Island Flora and Fauna Reserve. This series of islands made of peat on Lake Pirron Yallock supports scrub, grasses, reeds and some trees.

Further west is Camperdown, a farming community with a grand main street, a clock tower and Mount Leura. This dormant volcano lookout shows visitors the huge number of similar peaks in the area.

From here, it’s an easy drive to the Shipwreck Coast. See the stunning Twelve Apostles and other formations in the Port Campbell National Park, the Great Otway National Park and the city of Warrnambool. There, you can see penguins each morning and night.

Visit the Logan’s Beach whale-spotting lookout where pods of whales swim from June to October.

Just west of Warrnambool, at Koroit, is one of Victoria’s natural treasures – the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.

Emus, kangaroos and an array of birds and animals live in the ancient volcanic caldera. Tower Hill has twin crater lakes, thick bushland, visible layers of volcanic ash and rich indigenous history.

Less than half an hour away, just past picturesque Port Fairy, is the incredible Budj Bim National Park. The Gunditjmara people constructed stone shelters and a sophisticated stone aquaculture system to trap and catch eels. This unique indigenous landscape is World Heritage-listed.

The park includes another stunning crater lake at Budj Bim, once known as Mount Eccles. There are walking trails through the volcanic grasslands and rock features.

Head back to the Princes Hwy for a look at the wind generation plant on the coastal dunes at Codrington. Then, head west to the historic deep-water port city of Portland.

A short distance from town is Cape Bridgewater. The cape is home to Victoria’s highest cliffs courtesy of the region’s volcanic history. It's where the Henty brothers became the first European settlers in Victoria. You’ll find walking trails, lookouts, beaches, a petrified forest and you can watch seals frolicking in the wild seas.

Use Portland as a base to head to the Grampians. Go west along the Discovery Bay coast, the Cobboboonee National Park and the gorges and forests of the Glenelg River.

Before you go remember to: 

  • download the VicEmergency app and tune into the local emergency broadcasters
  • keep 1.5 metres from anyone you don’t live with
  • carry a fitted face mask to wear in large retail premises or if you’re in a crowd
  • get tested and isolate at your accommodation if possible if you have any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while you’re away
  • book ahead or have a plan B in case your destination is at capacity
  • never leave a campfire unattended, and always extinguish them with water rather than soil
  • shop local and support our Victorian businesses and producers, and
  • keep up-to-date on public health information at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 01 April 2021

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