OUR SUGGESTED SELF-DRIVE TRIP PLANNER FOR A 3 NIGHT STAY AT BELLEVUE:
DAY ONE: Arrival, Milking Cows and Native Wildlife Spotting
Following your afternoon arrival at Bellevue, come with us at 4pm to watch 600 cows being milked in a fully computerized rotary dairy. On the return trip to Bellevue at dusk, we do our best to spot kangaroos before dark. You can easily pick up some groceries at the local supermarket in Timboon (open till 8pm weekdays/6pm weekends) and enjoy preparing your own true-blue Aussie dinner.
DAY TWO: Animal Feeding, Cheese + Chocolates Tasting, 12 Apostles, Port Campbell
Walk up to the Top House at 8.30am to feed the farmstay animals (usually takes 2.5 to 3hrs). Then set off on a self-drive tour to Simpson (12 mins drive) to view the Ball & Chain and bulldozer that was used to clear thousands of acres of farmland in the 1950s. Grab some great fish + chips at the Simpson Takeaway Cafe, then head to the Great Ocean Road stopping off to sample chocolates and cheese at our Gourmet Trail producers including Apostle Whey Cheese and G.O.R.G.E Chocolates. When you reach the Great Ocean Road, turn right and start soaking up our famous Shipwreck Coastline with Loch Ard Gorge (Australia’s most famous shipwreck site) and of course The 12 Apostles. Enjoy dinner at one of Port Campbell township's many fantastic restaurants/cafes (or grab some takeaway and have dinner on the beachfront) before heading back to Bellevue.
DAY THREE: Peterborough and Warrnambool Whale Watching Loop
Join us again in the pet paddock at 8.30am for a shorter feeding session. Then head back down to the Great Ocean Road and turn off to towards Peterborough. Along the way you'll see more of the Shipwreck Coast's magnificent rock formations such as The Grotto and London Bridge. Pop into Peterborough township (where the 9-hole golf course hugs the cliff face and you have to hit over the sea!). Then continue driving past Curdies Inlet and the Bay of Islands (just on the outskirts of Peterborough). As you approach Warrnambool city, the Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery and Whale Watching Platforms will be on your left. Grab lunch in Warrnambool and visit the fascinating Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and see Australia's most valuable shipwreck artifact: the life-size porcelain Loch Ard Peacock statue, valued at $4million, which was salvaged from the wreck of the Loch Ard schooner in 1878 near Port Campbell; Tower Hill and the Wurn Gundidg Aboriginal Culture Centre (stocked with roaming emus, koalas and kangaroos). For the children there is a fantastic playground at Lake Pertobe in Warrnambool complete with ponds, mazes and flying foxes, before browsing the shops and restaurants in Warrnambool city. At sunset you can either attend the spectacular Sound + Light evening show at Flagstaff Hill, or come inland via Curdievale and their famous Boggy Creek Pub.
DAY FOUR: select from our easy day trips below.
DAY TRIPS (SELF-DRIVE) FROM BELLEVUE FARMSTAY
RAIL TRAIL LOOP (15mins from Bellevue)
Walk, ride or meander, there are 34 kilometres between Timboon and Camperdown to enjoy, dotted with original rails and sleepers to remind you of living history. Framed by open grassland and tree ferns, you can enjoy scenic views and quiet remnant forest. On the trail you can see native flora such as Gum trees, blackwoods, woolly tea trees, messmates, tree ferns and cherry ballart. While native wildlife includes koalas, kangaroos, birds, sugar glider possums and habitat for the Powerful Owl. The first section of the Rail Trail is an easy flat 3km walk which starts at the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery and ends at the National Trust listed Curdie’s River Trestle Bridge.
TIMBOON GOURMET TASTING + BERRY WORLD LOOP (15mins from Bellevue)
Timboon is a quaint timber town rich in history of pioneers, railways, timber and illicit whisky distillers. The rustic ambience of this family/pet/wifi friendly restaurant called ‘The Shed’ at the Timboon Railway Distillery serves mouth-watering local fare, including their award-winning Timboon Fine Ice Cream and a much-lauded, and free, whisky tasting room. They create a single malt whisky, distilled in a pot still, using malted barley as the only grain ingredient. They also offer a range of spirits including Coffee Cream, Chocolate Cream, Nocino, Apple Liqueur Strawberry Schnapps and a Vanilla Vodka. Open Daily 10am-4pm and Fri/Sat nights. (This is also the starting point of the Rail Trail). A little further along in Timboon is Berry Worlda pick-your-own berry fruit experience that specialises in the high flavour varieties of strawberries that you won't find in the supermarkets. You can also pick hybrid blackberries (which grow to twice the size of your normal blackberry) and a range of other berry fruits are being planted and will be available in the future. Berries are available from November to mid April. Strawberries have the longest season (from November to mid April) and the Blackberries are available around Christmas and New Year. The farm is open to the public Tuesdays through to Sunday from 10am-4pm.
WILDLIFE LOOP (30mins from Bellevue)
Get up-close and hand-feed the wallabies, kangaroos, emus, deer and dingoes at the Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park, a family-owned animal sanctuary and a natural self-sustaining farm. They also offer lunch of home-made pizzas, coffee and tea. Open 7 days 9am-6pm (8pm in summer). Then head into Port Campbell’s Visitor Information Centre to borrow some binoculars and ask them about viewing the penguins at dusk along the coast at London Bridge. This terrific centre also has a fantastic display of historical artefacts and items from the shipwrecked Loch Ard.
LAKES & CRATERS LOOP (20mins from Bellevue)
Volcanic peaks, craters lakes and charming historic towns await on this journey. Depart Bellevue for Cobden stops include: Camperdown, Lake Bullen Merri, Mt Leura, Lake Purrumbete (great for cycling) all featuring their distinctive stone walls handmade at the turn of the century. Invigorating walks, crafts, antiques, models/collectables for the kids (and kids at heart) and a Benedictine Abbey will be sure to entertain and enlighten. Anglers and lovers of scenery may want to take the additional side trip to Lake Purrumbete. Bird lovers and lovers of wildlife should consider side trips to Lake Bookar (north of the Princes Hwy) or Ralph Illidge Sanctuary (south west of Terang).
TREETOPS TO THE SHORE LOOP (30mins to 1 hour from Bellevue)
Experience, ancient rainforest, sweeping seascapes, Otway villages, Shipwreck History and wildlife in a full day loop. Depart Bellevue for Princetown. Suggested stops: Serpentine Wetland Walk, Princetown; Melba Gully, Lavers Hill; Castle Cove, Glenaire; Cape Otway Lightstation (the oldest in Australia); Apollo Bay Visitor Information Centre; Otway Fly Treetop walk (a gentle 1hr roundtrip walk on a canopy elevated 25m above the rainforest); Triplet and Little Aire Falls; Otway Historic Museum and Lounge (Otway NouriShed), Ferguson. Optional side trips include the Gable Lookout (gravel) and Johanna Beach (sealed). A pleasant alternative route on gravel is to take the Old Ocean Road from Princetown.