Scenic’s 11-day Victorian Discovery small-group coach tour is a round trip from Melbourne that includes visiting Lorne, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Daylesford, Bendigo and Echuca. The tour debuts on May 28 and costs from $4795 a person twin-share. More: scenic.com.au. holds Eva’s mother and sister, buried in coffins fashioned from piano cases salvaged from the wreck. Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill devotes plenty of space to the Loch Ard story; the centrepiece of its display is a magnificent earthenware peacock that stands 1.4m tall and is valued at $4.5 million.
The gorge is near the Twelve Apostles visitor centre; we park and cross under the Great Ocean Road to a clifftop lookout. No matter how many times you’ve seen postcards of these sea stacks, it doesn’t compare to standing before the limestone pillars and the neighbouring sheer cliffs, soaking up their grandeur. The formations are such a drawcard that the soundtrack includes the buzz of sightseeing helicopters.
In Warrnambool, we’re based at Quality Suites Deep Blue Hotel & Spa, a few minutes’ stroll from a view over Middle Island. I rise early to see the island from shore; flocks of seabirds take off and land on sandbars as waves ebb and flow. Back at the hotel, in keeping with the tour’s name, I make an unexpected Victorian discovery: guests can wallow in hot springs within the depths of the 80-room property.
The tour also includes another (literal) Eureka moment. The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka, built on the site of Ballarat’s 1854 Eureka Stockade, houses the Eureka flag.
What’s left of this fragile, hand-stitched textile treasure featuring the Southern Cross is housed behind glass and given its own gallery, complete with the evocative sound of squawking magpies. Somehow birds — from peacocks to penguins, seabirds to chickens — just keep poking their beaks into this journey.
Katrina Lobley was a guest of Scenic.