Price
$5485 per person
Duration
10 Days
Destination
More than 1

Victorian Adventure

• MELBOURNE • BENDIGO • BALLARAT • HALLS GAP •
• THE MURRAY RIVER ∙ CASTLEMAINE ∙ DAYLESFORD ∙ MALDON ∙ MARYBOROUGH ∙
• GEELONG AND THE BELLARINE PENINSULAR ∙ THE GRAMPIAN’S NATIONAL PARK ∙
  • Information
  • Itinerary
  • Gallery
  • Tour Map
  • Reviews
The dawn of the railway age in Victoria was perfectly timed, coming hot on the heels of the greatest gold rush in Australia’s history. The windfall from mining royalties was crucial in funding the construction of the country’s first main line railways. These branched out in the 1850s and ‘60s to reach the ‘Pot of Gold’, the Murray River, at Echuca in 1864. Here, the riverboat trade was also booming and the coming of the railway added another spoke to this already busy hub. Our special short adventure celebrates this golden age of rail and river transport in the colony of Victoria. It culminates in a kind of re-enactment of the famous ‘meeting of the whistles’ at the Port of Echuca, where steam train and steamboat connected in a hail of whistles echoing over the town and river – the sound that once reminded one and all of the prosperity and enterprise of their great state. Join us on a journey that showcases not only Victoria’s culturally rich cities and towns, but also its unique natural beauty, iconic gold-rush history, sublime local gastronomy and character-filled railways. We begin our journey by experiencing the efficient, modern regional rail service before embarking on steam-powered transport that takes us back in time, and then on to the state’s northern border. Here we experience the mighty Murray River aboard a quaint paddle steamer, where we enjoy a lunch cruise. Our next departure point is Bendigo staying in the grand old Shamrock Hotel and exploring the city at length. We visit Maryborough’s grand station which is also a monument to another age and then settle into Ballarat for a few nights to explore the region, including a visit to Daylesford for a private charter of the charming DERM Railway and time at Sovereign Hill. Victoria’s natural beauty is on show at the Grampians National Park and rides on Puffing Billy and Australia’s premier rail restaurant the ‘Q Train’ cap off a mighty trip around The Garden State.

Some Details

Departure Location
Melbourne, Victoria
Return Location
Melbourne, Victoria
Tour Leader(s)
Graeme Hind
Tour Date
17 Mar 2023 - 27 Mar 2023
17 Nov 2023 - 27 Nov 2023
Extras
Price: $5885 Single Supplement: $1045
Price includes
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in comfortable, centrally located hotels
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches and 6 dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides
  • Drinks included with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Luxury chartered coach travel throughout the tour
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, etc.
  • Excursions listed as optional and extra in the brochure
  • Meals and services not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Friday:

ARRIVE MELBOURNE

Arrive in Victoria’s vibrant capital and check-in to your hotel. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a celebratory welcome dinner with the group a short walk from the Hotel.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (D)

Day 2 • Saturday:

MELBOURNE – ECHUCA – BENDIGO

We depart Melbourne this morning, travelling by regional express train to Echuca. Watch the landscape whip past your window, passes Bendigo, Elmore and Rochester and arrives in time for us to board our Paddlesteamer for a gentle lunch while the steamer rolls down the Murray River from the historic Port of Echuca. In the afternoon we head back to the station for the afternoon journey to Bendigo. Here we’ll meet our coach and transfer to the elegant and historic Shamrock Hotel, where you have free time before joining together for dinner in the hotel.

Overnight: Shamrock Hotel, Bendigo (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Sunday:

BENDIGO – CASTLEMAINE – MALDON – BENDIGO

We depart Bendigo early this morning, travelling by coach to the quaint goldfield town of Castlemaine. On arrival visit Buda House, a classic, beautifully preserved Victoria Goldfields Villa set on 8 acres of tranquil gardens, here we take some time to explore before heading down to the railway station. We’ll embark on a steam-hauled tour on the Victorian Goldfields Railway along the old branch line. Explore Maldon, an iconic gold rush town awarded the ‘most intact townscape’ by the National Trust, before heading back to Castlemaine in the mid-afternoon. Your first-class ticket allows you to ride in the wonderful parlour cars with access to the bar for some refreshments along the way if you so desire.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are free to explore the city at your leisure, with a Talking Tram ticket allowing you to hop on and hop off at will. We will get festive and have an early dinner at the popular Railway Hotel before heading back to Bendigo.

Overnight: Shamrock Hotel, Bendigo (B, D)

Day 4 • Monday:

BENDIGO

This morning we begin our tour of the city of Bendigo, an iconic gold rush town rich with an intriguing history and unique character. You can explore the city’s attractions on your own using a Talking Tram pass. Following this we’ll resume our tour of the city on the old tram on a tour that showcases the main sights and attractions of Bendigo, finishing at the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Here you have the option to enjoy a surface tour. Alternately, don a hard-hat and grab a miners’ lamp and descend 61m below the surface of Bendigo to walk in the footsteps of past miners on a guided tour.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are free to explore the city at your leisure, with your two-day Talking Tram ticket allowing you to hop on and hop off at will. Sights to explore include Bendigo Pottery, the Chinese Dragon Museum, the stunning Bendigo Art Gallery and the old Joss House.

Your evening is free to enjoy the many dining options around the city.

Overnight: Shamrock Hotel, Bendigo (B)

Day 5 • Tuesday:

BENDIGO – MARYBOROUGH – BALLARAT

This morning you can enjoy a free morning and late check-out. You can explore the city’s attractions on our own using your Talking Tram passes.

In the early afternoon we re-group and head down the road with our coach once again to the city of Maryborough where we take a break and explore the old railway station, one of Australia’s grandest regional Victoria era buildings. Here, after a break, we board a local V-Line train for a short cross-country run to the fair city of Ballarat, our base for the next 2 nights.

We check into the wonderful Craig’s Royal Hotel in the centre of the city and enjoy some free time to freshen up and relax before heading out to a local restaurant.

Overnight: Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat (B, D)

Day 6 • Wednesday:

BALLARAT – DAYLESFORD – BALLARAT

Today we’ll depart Ballarat by coach and travel to Daylesford, a little town in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. Here we’ll take a privately chartered trip on the historic DERM Railway. After some time at leisure, we’ll board the railway for the 1.5hr scenic round trip. Afterwards, we’ll continue by coach for the return trip back to Ballarat.

On arrival, we head to Sovereign Hill.

Sovereign Hill is a living museum presenting the story of Ballarat as a gold rush boomtown. Gold was discovered here in 1851, triggering the greatest alluvial gold rush the world has ever known. The sleepy pastoral settlement of Ballarat grew rapidly into a fine provincial city built on the wealth derived from its gold. The Outdoor Museum enjoys international renown as a living museum featuring rare trades, working machinery, exhibits, and costumed interpreters.

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the city or perhaps take an optional side trip to the Eureka Centre, home to the Eureka Flag and museum dedicated to the story of the colonial days on the goldfields.

In the evening we regroup for dinner in the grand dining hall of our historic hotel.

Overnight: Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat (B, D)

Day 7 • Thursday:

BALLARAT – HALL’S GAP

After a morning at leisure, we’ll visit the Ballarat Tramway Museum for a look at their impressive collection of vintage trams. They were once the city’s main form of public transport, and all of them are at least 100 years old. Enjoy a privately chartered run on the quaint Ballarat 4-wheel tram and learn of the days when they dominated the city. Back in town you have some free time to enjoy lunch on your own and visit the excellent regional gallery and gold exchange.

In the afternoon we’ll travel by coach to Hall’s Gap via Dunkeld to view the scenic southern half of the Grampian’s National Park before settling into our accommodation for the evening. Dinner is hosted in the restaurant with views over the hills beyond.

Overnight: Comfort Inn Country Plaza, Halls Gap (B, D)

Day 8 • Friday:

HALLS GAP – ARARAT – MELBOURNE

This morning take time to smell the roses of the Aussie bush in this dramatic setting before taking a special coach trip deep into the heart of the spectacular Grampians National Park. Known for its rugged sandstone mountains, dramatic cliffs and plummeting waterfalls, you’ll see why it deserves its reputation as one of Victoria’s greatest natural wonders. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before taking a short cross-country coach ride to Ararat where we’ll board our train bound for Melbourne.

Arrive back in Melbourne in time to relax at the hotel before enjoying a banquet in the hotel’s restaurant.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (B, L)

Day 9 • Saturday:

MELBOURNE – PUFFING BILLY – MELBOURNE

After breakfast, we head back to Southern Cross Station to take a metro train to Belgrave, the departure point for the legendary Puffing Billy, Australia’s most popular heritage railway situated in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. Originally built in the early 1900’s as a low-cost 2’6” gauge line to service the local communities and timber industry, it was closed in stages in the 1950’s before being saved by dedicated volunteers and rail fans who strived to restore the line and the rolling Stock. Since the 1960’s it has been serving a huge role as one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions. Here you’ll get to experience a steam-hauled trip along the length of the character-filled narrow-gauge line.  There will be opportunities to visit the new Lakeside Centre or Menzies Creek museum as part of your excursion ticket.

Return to Melbourne in the late afternoon for an evening at leisure.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (B, L)

Day 10 • Sunday:

MELBOURNE – BELLARINE – MELBOURNE

This morning after a gentle start to the day we head down to the Docklands to catch a ferry to Queenscliff for our date with the Q Train.

Here we will be met by our hosts for the short transfer to Drysdale, our departure point for the Q Train, Australia’s premier rail restaurant. The award-winning rolling restaurant travels along the historic Bellarine Railway between Drysdale and Queenscliff in restored carriages from the former Queensland Railways Sunlander train. The rural and coastal scenery rolls by while you dine on fresh local produce, a fitting finale to our journey across Victoria.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (B, L)

Day 11 • Monday:

DEPARTURE

This morning your tour concludes after breakfast in the hotel.

The dawn of the railway age in Victoria was perfectly timed, coming hot on the heels of the greatest gold rush in Australia’s history. The windfall from mining royalties was crucial in funding the construction of the country’s first main line railways. These branched out in the 1850s and ‘60s to reach the ‘Pot of Gold’, the Murray River, at Echuca in 1864. Here, the riverboat trade was also booming and the coming of the railway added another spoke to this already busy hub. Our special short adventure celebrates this golden age of rail and river transport in the colony of Victoria. It culminates in a kind of re-enactment of the famous ‘meeting of the whistles’ at the Port of Echuca, where steam train and steamboat connected in a hail of whistles echoing over the town and river – the sound that once reminded one and all of the prosperity and enterprise of their great state. Join us on a journey that showcases not only Victoria’s culturally rich cities and towns, but also its unique natural beauty, iconic gold-rush history, sublime local gastronomy and character-filled railways. We begin our journey by experiencing the efficient, modern regional rail service before embarking on steam-powered transport that takes us back in time, and then on to the state’s northern border. Here we experience the mighty Murray River aboard a quaint paddle steamer, where we enjoy a lunch cruise. Our next departure point is Bendigo staying in the grand old Shamrock Hotel and exploring the city at length. We visit Maryborough’s grand station which is also a monument to another age and then settle into Ballarat for a few nights to explore the region, including a visit to Daylesford for a private charter of the charming DERM Railway and time at Sovereign Hill. Victoria’s natural beauty is on show at the Grampians National Park and rides on Puffing Billy and Australia’s premier rail restaurant the ‘Q Train’ cap off a mighty trip around The Garden State.

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      Victorian Railway Adventure

      Price
      $5485 per person
      Duration
      10 Days
      Destination
      More than 1

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