Apostles & Atolls
Prepare to have the extreme limits of your imagination expand tenfold on this 15-night tour. Start in the reinvigorated city of Adelaide with its arts scene explosion. Explore vineyards and wildlife parks before heading to the mini-Galapagos sanctuary of Kangaroo Island. Hop along the South Australia coast between quaint seaside villages, saltwater lagoons and petrified forests before driving one of the world’s epic coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road. See amazing rock formations before paying homage to the surf mecca of Bells Beach.
Fly to the pristine wilderness atoll of Tasmania taking in the sheer beauty of Cradle Mountain followed by coastal solitude in the Bay of Fires. Explore the breath-taking Freycinet National Park and the perfect white crescent of Wineglass Bay before enjoying a smorgasbord of geological wonders on the Tasman Peninsula or the brutal, wild beauty of Bruny Island. Finally head to the southerly capital of Hobart to enjoy sublime food, wine & arts.
- Flights: International flights from UK to Adelaide, returning from Melbourne. Internal return flights from Melbourne to Launceston, returning from Hobart
- Transport: Car hire from airport pick-up to airport drop-off
- Accommodation: 15 nights in characterful hotels or apartments
- Meals: Breakfasts where stated
- Trip Pack: Key family-friendly information about the country you are visiting with recommended activity links, places to eat and fun facts.
- The best of Adelaide – beautiful gardens, churches & arts festivals
- Visiting cellar doors & wildlife parks in the Barossa Valley or Adelaide Hills
- Spectacular wildlife and coastal activities on Kangaroo Island
- Seaside resorts, saltwater lagoons and National Parks of South Australia
- Breath-taking arches, grottoes and apostles on the Great Ocean Road
- City life in Melbourne – trams, coffee & art galleries
- Pristine wilderness at Cradle Mountain – lakeside hikes and wildlife sanctuaries
- Boulders, beaches and blowholes in the Bay of Fires
- Stunning Freycinet National Park – hike to Wineglass Bay
- Offshore islands such as Maria and Bruny and the Tasman Peninsula
- Eclectic art galleries, food markets and panoramic viewpoints in Hobart
- When can we go? All year round
- What type of tour is it? Self-drive
- Who is it suitable for? For coastal connoisseurs, lovers of nature, hiking enthusiasts, foodies and those that appreciate a little slice of solitude.
- What is the minimum age? We would recommend a minimum age of 6 years due to the active nature of the trip. Please check the recommended activities as the minimum ages will differ.
We publish ‘guideline prices’ for both the high and low season to give a reasonable estimate of what you might expect to pay per person based on a family of four (two adults, two children). To get an accurate price based on your estimated departure date and party size please contact us directly.
Guide Price: Jan to Dec - £2,673pp
Arrive in the beautiful city of Adelaide after your flight from the UK. Adelaide has recently emerged from beneath its cloak of obscurity to become a shining star in its own right. The city is a hop, skip & a jump from fabulous wine regions and pristine wilderness, such as Kangaroo Island. There has been a revival of its cafes culture with an infusion of multi-cultural flavours and an explosion of its arts scene giving the city an edgy, creative spark. The city centre boasts an embarrassment of elegant architecture and colonial glamour.
After touching down on the tarmac, pick up your hire car and spend the rest of the day relaxing and adjusting to life in reverse. Hire one of the free city bikes, pick up a picnic from the gastronomic Central Market and cycle to the little-known Adelaide-Himeji Japanese garden or the Botanic Gardens with its magnificent steel-and-glass arc conservatory. Then take a ride down the tram tracks to beachy Glenelg to enjoy the sunset. Buckle up, your Australian adventure is about to begin!
Fun Facts: The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is the largest Christmas parade in the southern hemisphere inspired by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. An estimated 400,000 people gathered along the parade route to watch the floats.
Optional Activities: Bike Riding
Today you can decide your own adventure. There are a couple of day trips that Wandering Tribe would highly recommend. The first is to one of Australia’s oldest wine districts, the Barossa Valley, where row upon row of rich emerald vines cascade up golden rolling hills. Charming bluestone cottages proudly dot the landscape and fields of yellow canola flowers brighten the dullest of days. Make a pilgrimage to where your local bottle of Jacob's Creek started life or visit one of the many family friendly vineyards in the region.
Alternatively, you could visit the Adelaide Hills where there's been a silent revolution led by young producers and artists showcasing the region's providence. These renegades are passionate advocates of traditional handcrafting techniques honouring terroir and authenticity. If you love food and wine, you are in for a real treat. You could also visit a local wildlife park to get up close and personal with iconic Australian animals or go mountain biking from Mount Lofty where you quite literally get dropped off at the top then follow a 28km run back down.
Fun Facts: The Barossa Valley was named by a surveyor called Colonel William Light in 1837. It was meant to be named Barrosa (after the town in Spain) but a mistake was made and it ended up being spelt Barossa.
Optional Activities: Wine tasting, wildlife park, mountain biking, chocolate factory tour, fruit picking, horse riding
Today is the start of your road trip. Drive South from Adelaide and hop on a ferry to the mini Galapagos and wildlife sanctuary of Kangaroo Island. Here lives an embarrassing wealth of wildlife; grey kangaroos, fur seals, dolphins, echidnas, koalas to name a few. Stuck in a bit of a time warp, this is an island that sings to its own tune. There are artisan producers of honey, yoghurt and cheese, fabulous local oysters and excellent fish and chips. Koalas doze in gum trees, goannas patrol the scrubland and a thousand-strong colony of Australian sea lions spend the day ‘Arf, arf’ ing happily away!
You have two days here to experience a whole host of memorable activities. Try sandboarding at Little Sahara, swim with dolphins, tramp through woodland, gaze at bizarre natural sculptures like the Remarkable Rocks, ride quad bikes over wild terrain, drop into Admirals Arch and climb up an old timey lighthouse or kayak in isolation around the pure white sands of Emu Bay. Unless, of course, you are joined by a kangaroo bouncing merrily along.
Catch an afternoon ferry back across to the mainland on Day 4 and perhaps take a detour to one of South Australia’s best kept secrets, Blowhole Beach. Spend the evening in Victor Harbor, nestled on the wide, sandy arc of Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Catch the horse-drawn tram out along the causeway to Granite Island with its huge lichen-covered boulders and dusk tours of the Little Penguin colonies.
Fun Facts: Flinders Chase National Park was established in 1919, “as a bit of a sanctuary for those suffering from ‘brain fag’”, according to the park’s founding father Samuel Dixon.
Optional Activities: Sand boarding, quad biking, swimming with dolphins, kayaking
You have time this morning to explore Victor Harbor. Catch the Cockle Steam Train that winds its way down the coast; if you visit between June and October you’ll also be able to see southern right whales in their breeding sanctuary at Encounter Bay.
Then it is time to hit the road! For the next few days expect spectacular beaches, lush wine country and crater lakes. Your drive today will take you from Victor Harbor to Robe. On the way stop at Meningie Lions Jubilee Park and enjoy a picnic under the shade of a gum tree before taking in Coorong National Park, a 130km stretch of saltwater lagoons protected from the Southern Ocean by sweeping sand dunes and teeming with birdlife. Cruise or kayak the serene backwaters and spot cranes, pelicans, ibis & galahs or any of the other 240 bird species that live here.
Finish your journey for today in the historic seaside resort town of Robe. Set amid stunning beaches, rugged cliffs and tranquil lakes, Robe oozes character with its museums, cottages and historic walking trails. Try the famous local crayfish or savour succulent Robe barramundi and Atlantic salmon.
Fun Facts: During the Victorian gold rushes around 1857, over 16,000 Chinese people landed at Robe to travel overland to the goldfields. The immigrants then walked the 200 miles to Ballarat and Bendigo.
Optional Activities: Steam train, Coorong discovery cruise
Part of the morning is free to enjoy the coastal delights of Robe. Take a surfing lesson, a 4WD tour of Little Dip Conservation Park or a guided mountain bike tour along the coast.
Afterwards drive just over an hour along the coast to Mount Gambier which sits on the edge of an extinct volcano. The town’s ‘Blue Lake’ is a spectacular sight - one of four crater lakes formed after an eruption, the lake is a vibrant, cobalt blue from December through to March, and a gunmetal grey for the rest of the year. No Instagram filters required here! We would also recommend a visit to the utterly unique Umpherston Sinkhole (AKA The Sunken Garden) where each evening at dusk it entertains a whole host of furry possum visitors..
From Mount Gambier head East once more towards Port Fairy. We recommend taking the coastal route through the beautiful Lower Glenelg National Park and onto Cape Bridgewater. If time allows you can hike to see seals, blowholes and a petrified limestone forest or take a surf boat tour if the call of the ocean is beckoning.
Spend the night in the picturesque seaside town and old whaling station of Port Fairy (and possibly home to the namesake ‘tooth’, ‘sugar plum’ and ‘tinker bell’).
Fun Facts:Once a cave, the Umpherston sinkhole formed when the roof of the chamber collapsed and the rich topsoil forms the perfect environment for the sunken garden. Originally nurtured by James Umpherston in the mid 1860’s, the sinkhole comes alive with possums at dusk as they venture into the floodlit gardens to feed.
Optional Activities: Surf lesson, mountain bike tour, Cape Bridgewater boat cruise.
Today is the day you get to visit those iconic Great Ocean Road landmarks. Start early as you are in for a whole day of jaw-dropping vistas but please no rushing, take your time and enjoy the views. Your first stop should be Tower Hill Reserve, which sits inside an extinct volcano. Learn about Aboriginal history from the guides at Worn Gundidj Visitor Centre including lessons on native food and medicines and boomerang throwing.
The Great Ocean Road along the southern coast of Victoria is one of the world’s most epic drives. The relentless waves of the Southern Ocean have moulded the sandstone rock into mind-blowing shapes. First stop at the Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs, then onto The Grotto (a pretty cool sinkhole) before taking in the London Arch (formerly bridge) and The Arch (always an arch!). Next is our personal favourite the Lord Arch Gorge, with its lively blowholes, jagged cliffs, stunning beach and fascinating shipwreck trails. The Gorge was named after an English ship that was wrecked near Mutton Bird Island, with only two teenage survivors.
Just a few minutes down the coast are the towering lime stacks of the Twelve Apostles (only eight remaining). You might be thinking what’s all the fuss about, just a few rocks jutting out of the ocean? But expect to be left awe-struck. Hike the main trail south from the Visitor Centre with its sealed paths and numerous viewing areas. Take a picnic, look, breathe and enjoy. We also recommend taking the Gibson Steps to get a different perspective (low tide only).
Next head into the Otways National Park to immerse yourself in an ancient land. Walk amongst giant trees and discover ferny gullies, magnificent waterfalls and tranquil lakes. Take a rainforest boardwalk hike or the 1-hour return loop to the mesmerising Triplet Falls. Next take a rest stop at Apollo Bay for fabulous Genovese coffee before the final picturesque drive to Lorne which will be your base for the night.
Fun Facts: The arch closest to the shoreline of London Bridge collapsed unexpectedly on 15 January 1990, leaving two tourists stranded on the outer part until they were rescued by a helicopter three hours later. What a story to tell around the dinner table!
Optional Activities: Guided tour of Tower Hill Reserve
Lorne is a characterful seaside resort that oozes charm with great cafes, unique shops, boutiques and galleries. It is less than a 2-hour drive from here into Melbourne but there are plenty of highlights along the way. Your first stop should be the world-famous Bells Beach that featured in the 1966 documentary film The Endless Summer and of course Point Break. Then onto Torquay where you could visit the Australian National Surfing Museum which includes the Surfing Hall of Fame.
The rest of the day will be free for you to enjoy Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world for the seventh year running. There are so many things for families to enjoy here. Ride a free City Centre Tram which covers all of the essential stops, explore Flinders Street Station with its characteristic dome and series of analogue clocks, walk the Eureka Skydeck, grab a famous Melbourne coffee (Melbourne boasts the highest density of cafes per capita in the world and it’s often said that “the Yarra River runs brown”), wander around the cultural hub that is the National Gallery of Victoria, take a stroll on the Banks of the Yarra River and enjoy dinner in Chinatown.
Spend the night in this vibrant, cosmopolitan city.
Fun Facts: The Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway commemorates the 3,000 World War I returned soldiers who built the road between 1918 and 1932. The road itself is a memorial to those who died during the war.
Tasmania, is a wind-lashed, wave-carved atoll, whose gigantic cliffs mark the last frontier before the icy grasps of Antarctica take hold. This is landscape of brutal beauty. It contains some of the world’s most pristine wilderness reserves; ancient mossy rainforests dripping emerald green, whisky-tinted rivers, achingly beautiful white beaches, golden button-grass moorlands, glacier-sculpted mountain peaks and boundless untamed horizons that make you feel truly alive. Recent years have seen it shrug off its twee image. Modern Tasmania is a country of invention and progressive infrastructure. There are chic hotels, art galleries (such as the controversial MONA), excellent wines, gourmet food and exquisite seafood. For kids this is the ultimate place to connect with nature (and they will probably get to eat fish & chips at least once a day too). Bonus!
This morning you will board a flight from Melbourne to Launceston in Tasmania. From here journey towards Cradle Mountain passing rolling hills and historic towns along a ‘tasting trail’ of Tasmania. Pick up a raspberry liquer, taste bush pepper and wild wasabi cheese or sample a craft beer. Visit Mole Creek caves where glow worms light your way before eventually arriving at Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park which will be your base for the next two nights. This area is arguably the jewel of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage area, and undeniably one of Australia's most visually beautiful national parks. From the jagged peaks of Cradle Mountain to the mirrored waters of Crater Lake, this is a wilderness experience that stirs the soul. Settle into your accommodation and savour the tranquility.
Fun Facts: The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was a unique marsupial with a striped back and sharp teeth. It looked like a cross between a large weasel and a black-eyed feral dog. This native ‘tiger’ once roamed Tasmania, but in 1888, the government issued a bounty and by 1936, the creature had been hunted to extinction. Many believe though that it still roams free in the Tasmanian wilderness.
Optional Activities: Cave tour
Today is all about exploration, discovering alpine heaths, mountain peaks, icy streams and pristine lakes. At the start of the day visit the Cradle Mountain Interpretation Centre to learn about the history of the area. You could also follow the 10-minute Rainforest Walk which meanders through pencil pine forest and myrtle rainforests before arriving at Pencil Pine Falls.
For families with active children we would highly recommend hiking the Dove Lake Circuit (6km). This is a fairly easy going, gravel and duckboard track which hugs the shoreline below the jagged peak of Cradle Mountain which depending on the weather can appear brooding, inviting or downright invisible. Along the way, see scrubby button-grass, sandy beaches, cascading streams and an enchanted Ballroom Forest. Spot wombats, wallabies, quolls and (if you are lucky) platypus, echidnas and wild Tassie devils. This trail will probably be one of the highlights of your entire trip.
For thrill-seekers, there’s also the chance to climb, jump, abseil and swim through Cradle Mountain's canyons. Don a wetsuit and a hard-hat and slither, abseil and parkour your way through the ancient crevices.
Finish your day by taking an after dark feeding tour at the nearby Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary.
Fun Facts: Cradle Mountain was named due to its resemblance to a gold mining cradle. It has four named summits; Cradle Mountain, Smithies Peak, Weindorfers Tower & Little Horn.
Optional Activities: Canyoning, Tasmanian Devil feeding tour
Today travel to Bicheno via the Bay of Fires Conservation Area. The Bay of Fires are a string of stunning white beaches, punctuated by crystal clear lagoons and rocky headlands, which stretch 50km from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north. Huge boulders draped in iconic orange lichen form the perfect contrast against piercing blue skies and silica white sand. Hear yellow-tailed black cockatoos wail from the tree tops whilst banjo frogs strum out a tune. There are endless opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking or alternatively take a boat tour to discover secret bays. Relax for a bite to eat in the charming village of Binalong Bay. The nearby Humbug Point Nature Recreation Area includes beautiful spots like Skeleton Bay, Grants Point and Elephant Head.
Afterwards head south towards Bicheno which will be your base for the next two nights. Just before you reach Bicheno we would recommend stopping at the Douglas-Apsley National Park with its rocky peaks, eucalypt forest, gushing waterfalls and a river gorge with deep swimming holes just begging to be dived in. It is just a 10-minute hike to the Apsley River Waterhole. Next, check out the impressive Bicheno Blowhole before perhaps joining a Fairy Penguin tour at dusk to see these amazing creatures up close.
Fun Facts: The name ‘Bay of Fires’ came from the explorer, Captain Tobias Furneaux, who in 1773, witnesses numerous fires along the bay from the safety of his ship. These were probably from the numerous Aboriginal tribes that resided here at that time.
Optional Activities: Eco-boat tour, penguin tour
A short drive down the coast from Bicheno is The Freycinet, a 20-mile-long peninsula jutting into the Tasman Sea. It is home to Tasmania’s most famous vista, the aptly named Wineglass Bay, with its goblet-shaped beach and shimmering, azure waters bound by high, pink granite outcrops known as the Hazards. This is perhaps the most perfect crescent of white sand you will ever see, bordered by turquoise waters on one side and dense bushland on the other. It is also splendidly isolated; to reap the rewards of this view you have to hike. Depending on the enthusiasm of your miniature brood you have various hiking options – 1.5 hour return to Wineglass Bay Lookout, 2.5 hour return to Wineglass Beach or 4.5 hours for the Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach circuit. Along the way you may see a white-bellied Sea eagle gliding overhead or an Australasian gannet diving for food in the sea. The local potoroos may also keep you company.
There are also hikes suited to shorter legs. The stunning sheltered cove of Little Gravelly Beach is just a 30-minute return or a similar time to the Saltwater Lagoon abound with graceful black swans. This area is also a spectacular place for sea kayaking if your arm muscles are up to the job. Half day trips around the coastline would make a fabulous family adventure.
Fun Facts: The Potoroo is a critically endangered marsupial. They feast upon plants and small insects that live around them and are sometimes called a rat kangaroo.
Optional Activities: Sea kayaking
This morning, journey south towards Hobart. Along the way stop at an organic farm with a fabulous café overlooking rows of berries and spectacular views across Great Oyster Bay. A little further south lies an offshore island providing amazing opportunities for mountain biking. It is just a 30-minute ferry ride across to car free Maria Island. You can hire bikes suitable for all family members when you get there and spend a glorious couple of hours spotting fur seals, dolphins, albatross, wombats, kangaroo, cape barren geese and of course whales during migration season. Add in World Heritage convict history, the Painted & Fossil Cliffs, giant sea caves, spring-fed waterfalls, towering limestone cliffs, pure white sandy beaches and you have a pretty special spot.
Back on the mainland, it is just an hour to the capital, Hobart which will be the base for your final three nights. Along the way, stop in picturesque Richmond with its 19th century stone buildings and artisan craft boutiques and then call at a local cellar door to enjoy a glass of vintage bubbles while the old winery dog curls at your feet.
Fun Facts: Although Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for at least 35,000 years, Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to “discover” Tasmania. He named it “Anthony Van Diemen’s Land” after the sponsor of the exploration. Despite this official name usage of the alternative ‘Tasmania’ gradually grew, and on January 1, 1856, it was officially renamed Tasmania.
Optional Activities: Mountain biking, Maria Island ferry, Maria Island sea cruise
There’s something soothingly familiar about this tidy Anglophilic city, with its rows of Georgian buildings and town squares with pedestaled statues of British luminaries gazing stonily out to sea. Despite this solid layer of tradition, recent years have seen the addition of a Kensington vibe with an explosion of culinary talent, fine dining restaurants, swish hotels, swanky bars and an eclectic mix of galleries. Hobart is doubtless an exciting city to visit in 2018.
Enjoy a whole day exploring this city. In the morning head out to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens with its beautiful conservatory and lily ponds or up to the Mount Wellington Lookout, towering 1271 metres above the city with a ridiculously stunning view. Back at sea level enjoy the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery with exhibitions on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, then take a stroll around nearby Constitution Dock, and admire the beautiful yachts. If today is Saturday, then your next stop should be the Salamanca Markets with over 300 stalls showcasing fresh Tasmania produce and handmade crafts. Try the quintessentially Tasmanian curried scallop pie or the myrtle salmon sausages. Eat, shop and conquer.
In the afternoon you could catch the ferry down the Derwent River to visit the much-critiqued subterranean art gallery of MONA (Museum of Old and New Arts). MONA is infamous for its dark and gory overtones but the friendly MONA staff are well equipped to show you areas on the map to avoid (there are definitely adults only exhibits). Families can enjoy the Sidney Nolan masterpiece Snake, the Madonna room and a musical outdoor trampoline. If you fancy something more active, a waterfront kayaking trip will blow the cobwebs away. In the evening book a night tour of the local wildlife sanctuary and help feed the nocturnal animals their breakfast.
Fun Facts: The city is named after Robert Hobart, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies at the time of its settlement in 1804.
Optional Activities: Waterfront kayaking, gallery tours
Your final day in Tasmania could be spent relaxing in Hobart or there are a couple of fabulous day trip options just a short hop from the city.
Journey south east from Hobart and you will stumble upon the Tasman Peninsular. It’s wild and rugged often bearing the full force of the Roaring Forties resulting in a smorgasbord of geological wonders from the Tasman’s Arch and Devil’s Kitchen to the world’s best example of tessellated pavement. On the peninsular also sits the Port Arthur Historic Site, the amazing UNESCO World Heritage–listed convict site which is well worth a visit for its eerie beauty. Afterwards take a short tour of a boutique chocolate factory which will no doubt go down a storm with the kids.
Alternatively, directly south of Hobart is one of our favourite spots, the magical Bruny Island. Almost two islands joined by a narrow, sandy isthmus called the ‘Neck’, it has spectacular wildlife (fairy penguins, echidnas, albino wallabies) and contrasting landscapes; wild ocean rains in the south, dry and scrubby in the north. There are isolated coastal communities, surf beaches and native forests and walking tracks within the South Bruny National Park that encompass all that is good about Tasmania.
Optional Activities: Chocolate factory tour, Bruny Island ferry
Head to Hobart airport for your short flight back to Melbourne and your slightly longer flight back to the UK. Leave with amazing memories of a truly special family holiday.
Wandering Tribe has travelled to all of the destinations that we feature and we like nothing better than talking about them. If you would like further information about these tours or a tailor-made quote then please contact us on 07392 742333. Alternatively you can fill in the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.