Summary run from Melbourne to UluruJune 23 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C
Now let's remember some of the many highlights of our awesome 12 day run from Melbourne to Uluru…
We began our adventure in Australia’s cultural capital - the wonderful city of Melbourne. After a short welcome meeting we headed out to the alleyway restaurant “Max on Hardwell” so everyone could get their first taste of Aussie cuisine, featuring a couple of first tastes of kangaroo. That night a few of the group headed out to enjoy Melbourne by night at the underground bar “Beneath Drivers Lane”, featuring some live music.
The following day we regrouped in reception for a quick bag load before you all headed out on a city tour with the lovely Sue. Her local knowledge introduced you to the city's laneways that are packed with lovely shops, quirky street art and exquisite cafes and restaurants, and showcase the contrasting architecture that define what was once the richest city in the world. Of course, complete with getting to know the important coffee culture of the city. After the tour everyone had a few hours to rediscover the laneways and explore the city at their own pace. That afternoon it was time to begin our journey towards the Mornington Peninsula, stopping along the way to admire Brighton’s beachfront cabins and the spectacular view up at Arthur’s Seat. We then checked into the Bay Motel Safety Beach where the lovely owner Frank introduced us to our home for the next two nights. That night we had another family dinner night at L’Aqua Restaurant. After dinner we headed to the supermarket to stock up on some brekkie supplies for the following morning.
The next day we headed out to explore the spectacular coastline and wine region of the Mornington Peninsula. We began with a visit to Cape Schanck, and I explained the very scary DROP BEARS that exist in Australia. The rain died down upon our arrival and we spent some time wandering the beautiful trails along the coast and the volcanic landscape and around the lighthouse. We then headed to the Green Olive to get a taste of the local cuisine. After some tasty meals and a wander around the farm we headed to a Trofeo Estate Winery. That night everyone had a free evening to enjoy dinner or sunset over the sea in our beautiful location. With Mark, Allison, Sue, Nadja and Nicole opting to visit the luxurious Peninsula Hot Springs.
The next day we were up early to catch the Sorrento Ferry towards the Great Ocean Road (I handed out some ANZAC biscuits to treat you all for being up so early). We had some delicious brekkie wraps and coffee on board and spotted some gorgeous dolphins before starting our beautiful coastal drive. Our first stop of the day was Lorne, where everyone had a quick look at the Information Centre that displays the hardship of the returned soldiers that constructed the worlds longest war memorial. Then we headed to Kennett River, a secret spot known to house quick a thriving koala population. Although the fuzzy koalas were hiding from us we did manage to enjoy admiring some Australian King Parrots, Galahs, Cockatoos and Rosellas. We then continued on to the lovely town of Apollo Bay for our lunch stop. After lunch we headed to the inland portion of the Road, delving into the Great Otway National Park. After some bad “fungi/fun guy” jokes, you were free to get away from my terrible jokes and enjoy a beautiful stroll through the rainforest at Maits Rest Rainforest walk, including a visit to the “Fertility Tree". We then hopped back on board to begin our drive to the “Shipwreck” section of coast. The rugged cliffs that have seen over 500 wrecks were magnificent and we stopped to admire the 12 Apostles (despite there not being 12) and then Loch Ard Gorge, where the Australian “romantic” shipwreck story took place. We then headed further on to admire the London Arc (formerly the London Bridge), and the Australian version of The Bay of Islands. We were lucky enough to spot some echidnas on the drive! Then it was on to Port Campbell, our coastal home for the night. We enjoyed a delicious meal at the Port Campbell Pub before resting for the night at the ocean-view Port Campbell Motel for the next days adventures.
The following morning we headed out for brekkie at Grass Roots cafe. Everyone had the opportunity to enjoy Australia’s most loved eating-out meal of the day featuring eggs and bacon or fresh fruity muesli. After we were fed and caffeinated we stopped in the dairy town of Warrnambool to pick up picnic supplies. Then is was on to the beautiful crater, Tower Hill, to get up close and personal with some beautiful Aussie wildlife, including some sleepy koalas, a wallaby, a sleeping snake and a few cheeky Emu’s. We enjoyed a lovely stroll before picnicking in the crater - struggling to protect our food from the very overconfident large birds that wanted to join in. Then it was on to the Grampians. First everyone visited the Brambuk cultural centre and then we stopping to admire the mob of kangaroos on the town’s oval. We then headed up the mountains to admire the stunning Mackenzie Falls and the beautiful Balcony lookout. We then checked in to Halls Gap Comfort Inn to relax a little before dinner at our hotel.
The next day we began the long journey towards my home city - ADELAIDE. After brekkie at the hotel we stopped at the GIANT KOALA (insert over enthusiasm for large objects here). After some quick selfies and our two German ladies trying to get a cheeky quick coffee we then headed towards “Victoria's tidiest town 2015” (AND 2016): Horsham, for a morning coffee. We then visited the Pink Lake, one of the very beautiful pink-hued salt lakes, before continuing on to South Australia. We proudly entered the state that never received convicts and soon were admiring the beautiful albino kangaroo’s and enjoying meat pies and iced coffees in the home town of former beer-drinking Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Then it was on to Coonalpyn to admire the beautiful town silo’s before a final stop in my own hometown of Stirling. We then made it to Adelaide where you checked into The Adelaide Sage Hotel. That afternoon everyone had some time to explore the historic North Terrace, the Art Gallery of South Australia, The South Australian Museum, The State Library, The River Torrens and the beautiful botanical gardens. Some of the group got to taste some great Aussie cuisine at the ‘Tasting Australia’ event.
The following day we started our journey into the Clare Valley, one of South Australia’s premier wine regions. We made our way to Mocandunda winery where you had the chance to taste some delicious wines and local produce platters with some beautiful views overlooking the region. We then made a stop in Clare to stock up on snacks and fly nets before our adventure began to get rural. Then we began the long, beautiful drive into the Flinders Ranges. That night we discovered our beautiful home for the next two nights, Rawnsley Park Station. We checked into our beautiful cabins before enjoying dinner at the Woolshed.
The next day after a delicious hot brekkie it was on to Wilpena Pound, the 800-million-year old natural amphitheatre that showcases spectacular Australian fauna and flora. I took you out on a gorgeous bush walk to discover this beautiful location and I think everyone would have began to realise the raw beauty of this part of the country, as well as the fascinating traits of Eucalyptus trees and the geology of the area. That afternoon everyone had the opportunity to explore the ranges at their own pace, admiring the iconic national landscape that the indigenous people, early explorers and modern scientists have had so many adventures and discoveries across. That night we enjoyed another meal together in the Woolshed.
The next day we were all up before the rise of dawn to begin one of our more epic travel days. We drove through the outback landscape that began to transform into desert, of course completing many rounds of trivia along the way. We stopped at a couple of typical Aussie Servo’s, including Pimba, and Glendambo where we ate our delicious pre-made wraps. We made it to Cooper Pedy. You then all enjoyed a tour of the Opal mine where you learnt about the fascinating history of Australia’s thriving Opal industry and had the opportunity to purchase you own Australian gemstones. During your tour I got a little dusty changing one of our bus tyres but got everything done with time to take you to to a surprise visit to the kangaroo orphanage. Terry greeted us at Josephines Gallery where everyone first had the chance to admire some indigenous art and hear the very talented Tommy Crow play the didgeridoo before we were meeting some of the longer-term residents and feeding them some snacks. Then we met one of the younger patients. I think everyone learnt so much from the amazing Terry and our hearts were filled after some time with Clyde. We then enjoyed pizza night at Johns Pizza (Australia’s 5th best pizza bar according to TripAdvisor) before checking into Cooper Pedy Comfort Inn, another old Opal Mine turned underground hotel.
The following day after an underground brekkie we began our journey to the heart of Australia’s red centre. We spent the morning trivia-ing as we made our way further along the Start Highway. At the border we stopped to have a proper good bye to South Australia. Back on the road I began to discuss the beautiful place we were approaching along with the incredible Anangu people that have called it home for such a long time. We eventually got our first glimpses of the 348m high Uluru and checked into The Outback Pioneer Hotel in Yulara. Everyone had a free evening to enjoy the area, with Amy heading off to admire the stunning Field of Lights.
Bright and early the following day we were on our way to the sunrise spot to get some closer glimpses of Uluru. We admiring the sun sneaking across the horizon and the colours of Uluru come to life. We then headed back to the Outback Hotel for a fantastic brekkie buffet feast. We then made our way back towards Uluru to enjoy the cultural Mala Walk, where the wonderful Mala Creation Story took place. Despite the crowds we managed to to weave our way around the other groups and admire the beauty of the rock. We then made our way to the Culture Centre to learn more about the Anangu perspective of the area and enjoy some scientific displays on the fauna and flora of the area. Then it was back to Yulara for some free time during the heat of the day. Many people spent the afternoon helicoptering, pool-side relaxing and SKYDIVING (Congratulations Mark). That night it was time to toast the end of our incredible adventure together. With platters and sparkling wine, we cheer’s-ed to so many wonderful moments shared together before while we admired nature put on a show and end another beautiful day on this beautiful planet.
I think I can say with confidence that the 12 days we shared between Melbourne and Uluru created some moments and memories that will never be forgotten!
All my love wonderful people,
Katrina KnappRead more