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Victoria - if you were doing the following where would you stay?

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#1 seayork2002

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:05 PM

We are spending about a week or so in Victoria (driving from Sydney) in summer

We are going to Puffing Billy, Ballarat, Melbourne for the day and a bit of the great ocean road (was going to be Geelong to Twelve Apostles and back in one day) with a few relax days in between.

We were going to pick Geelong but now not sure and don't really want to stay in Melbourne as we want more of a caravan park than a hotel.

Any suggestions please to be able to do the above?
thanks in advance

#2 Fossy

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:21 PM

Those places are very geographically spread.  One central point will see you spending hours and hours driving every day.  

Maybe a couple of shorter stays in a few different locations? 2 nights Lorne, 2 nights ballarat then 3 nights Melbourne perhaps?

#3 rosie28

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:24 PM

They’re such geographically spread places that it’s hard to say. Geelong to Puffing Billy is a hike, especially on public transport but it is doable. Geelong to Melbourne and Geelong to Ballarat are also doable. Will you have a car? I’d probably stay in Geelong for the Great Ocean Road bit and then in Melbourne itself for Ballarat and Puffing Billy.

Though I’d tend towards staying somewhere on the GOR itself. Nicer than Geelong and will shorten the car ride.

#4 seayork2002

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:26 PM

sorry should have said yes we will have a car

#5 AllyK81

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:35 PM

That is a lot of driving. I'd suggest you don't pick a central point but spend a night or two in each place.

Better yet I'd narrow down your list of destinations.

The apostles is a huge drive in a day. Puffing Billy is pretty boring and not worth the trip unless you are really mad for steam trains.

The caravan parks at Lorne and Anglesea are both nice enough.

#6 lucky 2

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:44 PM

Better be quick, a lot caravan park guests book 6-12 months in advance to secure a place in a sought after location.
Perhaps get a map of Victoria and pick some spots that match where you want to go and move around.
We can give more specific information when you've narrowed down the options.
I'm exhausted thinking about the driving you'd do if you stayed in only one location.

#7 chicken_bits

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:47 PM

I'd be skipping Puffing Billy and sticking to the west. Geelong is a pretty central spot for the GOR, Goldfields and CBD.

#8 suzyr

Posted 26 August 2019 - 02:31 PM

We live in Ballarat.  You are going to be doing a lot of driving and not much stopping if you intend doing all this in a week.  You  could stay in Ballarat and do Ballarat and Geelong in a week and still not see everything.  I would either allow more time or cut down on the places you want to go.

#9 EsmeLennox

Posted 26 August 2019 - 02:55 PM

Keep in mind that the GOR will be crazy busy at that time of year, too. It’s often not pleasant driving. I’d be inclined to go to Ballarat for a couple of days. From there drive to Warrnambool and make your way around the GOR and back to Geelong over a 3-4 days, doing overnight stops. Then, you could maybe squeeze Puffing Billy in...but it might be a stretch.

Edited by EsmeLennox, 26 August 2019 - 02:57 PM.

#10 Wahwah

Posted 26 August 2019 - 03:33 PM

Agree with others...not sure Puffing Billy is really worth the effort if you are staying in the west. And in the height of summer on total fire ban days there can be interruptions to the service.

We have to book at least 6 months in advance to get accommodation down near the Great Ocean Road over summer. And you won't want to be driving anywhere near Lorne when the Falls Festival or the Pier to Pub are on in late December / January. The traffic is ridiculous and you can be sitting in traffic for ages in the middle of nowhere. So better to go inland to Colac from Geelong, and then drive south to the GOR.

Barwon Heads / Ocean Grove could be an option, but again, hard to find accomm if you leave it too late.

#11 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 26 August 2019 - 03:49 PM

Nowhere is central to all that really.

I’d do 1 night in the dandenongs, around Belgrave and do puffing billy and have Devonshire teas etc. Then drive to the city and spend a night seeing Melbourne, then a night or two in Ballarat, then drive to and along the great ocean road a bit, a night or two along the way, then head inland and drive back home. Or maybe to the great ocean road first then Ballarat on your way home.

#12 Let-it-go

Posted 26 August 2019 - 03:49 PM

We loved Barwon Heads and found a gorgeous Airbnb in busy January.  I just checked my old emails, I booked in late August!

#13 AllyK81

Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:28 PM

I missed the bit about it being summer!

We have a beach house at Aireys Inlet. Usually Lorne is a 15 minute drive. It can take up to 45 minutes in the peak of summer.

The whole bellarine and surf coast is super busy that time of year.

If your budget allows, just do a chopper ride out to the apostles from Torquay!

#14 seayork2002

Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:29 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies,  I will go through this with DH tonight

#15 Etta

Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:54 PM

There is a steam train at Queenscliff (35 mins from Geelong). If you base yourself at Geelong you can do all these things if you give PB a miss. Having said that, it is doable from Geelong on public transport if you want to have a break from driving. There is a Big4 at Queenscliff and another one nearby at Marcus Hill/Bellarine. They are expensive but everything is at this time of the year. But this puts GOR within striking distance.

I would do a few nights at Geelong/Bellarine then do GOR to Warrnambool or Portland. Spend a night there then dirve back inland to Ballarat. Then you are set up for the drive home as you are already heading north.

You could even spend a night at Echuca on the way home.

#16 Contrebasse

Posted 26 August 2019 - 06:18 PM

Are you driving Sydney-Melbourne, or flying and then renting a car?

#17 trillian42

Posted 26 August 2019 - 06:24 PM

There is a Big 4 in (fairly) inner Melbourne. Not specifically recommending it (or not) but it’s a reasonable location and you could get into the city on the train from there.


Agree with all that those locations are pretty spread out, and along the coast will be heavily booked and possibly with minimum week stay (for caravan parks or anything like a holiday house). Airbnb might be a bit more flexible.

#18 Magnolia2

Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:03 PM

Another suggestion would be to come down the ‘inland route’ to the GOR, skipping Lorne (very busy at that time of year). You can head down from Melb/Geelong through Winchelsea and Forrest, and you end up hitting the GOR at Skenes Creek, which is about 8 mins from Apollo Bay. Lots of accommodation options there, and a much shorter drive to the Shipwreck Coast. I’d recommend a visit to Loch Ard Gorge - it’s more atmospheric than the 12 Apostles, I reckon!

As for the ‘spectacular’ bit of the Great Ocean Road, it’s probably at its best between Lorne and Apollo Bay. If you were keen for a taste of it, you can still come down the inland route into Skenes Creek, but take a left hand turn towards Wongarra and you’ll literally see the postcard view almost immediately. (And if you’re heading in that direction, another 5 mins down the road from Skenes Creek, and about 15 from Apollo Bay, is a lovely set of apartments called Whitecrest. We’ve stayed there and the view is just beautiful - and you’re not near the tourist throngs, but not far away from the towns by car).

#19 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:19 PM

Puffing Billy is not worth the drive from those other locations! I wouldn't bother.

#20 Sunandicecream

Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:48 PM

Don’t stay in actual Geelong - head slightly west. Eg queensliff etc.

#21 Froyo

Posted 26 August 2019 - 08:28 PM

You definitely need to focus on one region.

#22 lucky 2

Posted 27 August 2019 - 01:05 PM

The positive for puffing Billy would be the lushness of the Dandenongs, it's nice, as is healsville sanctuary.
It depends on time, priorities, interests etc

#23 casime

Posted 27 August 2019 - 05:29 PM

If you absolutely must stay in just in one place, then Kilmore Caravan Park.  It would be about two hours to Puffing Billy, Ballarat and Geelong, and about an hour to Melbourne.  I haven't stayed there, but lots of the dog people swear by it when travelling to the dog shows.

#24 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 27 August 2019 - 06:45 PM

In Summer you run the risk of a fire danger day stopping Puffing Billy in any case. It still runs but not with the steam engine.

#25 Chocolate Addict

Posted 27 August 2019 - 07:05 PM

Some of the Big 4s near Geelong are amazing. Definitely look at that, or there is even Werribee South. It is only an hour and a bit to Ballarat and 50 minutes to Geelong.

Look at the Bellarine version of Puffing billy too, It is actually just called Bellarine scenic train.

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