This Journey will bring you through spectacular natural landscapes, introduce you to adorable indigenous animals, and provide you several opportunities to savor rich, locally produced wines. But the most incredible thing you will go home with is a plethora of new friendships that you will have cultivated on this 22-day adventure through Australia!
Home Hospitality provided by the Friendship Force clubs of Mount Barker and Blue Mountains & Nepean.
Live With a Local
- This Journey will introduce ambassadors to the culture and sites of Australia, as they learn about lifestyles in another part of the world and make new friends.
- In Blue Mountains: Welcome to country by an Indigenous Representative, tour of our local Cultural Centre, viewing of a film “The Edge” about our amazing area.
- Historic houses and gardens in our local area.
- Learn about our countries early history and visit some sites.
- Go on a guided bush walk.
- Scenic World - a local attraction.
- Jenolan Caves - an incredible limestone cave system.
- Many local geographic landmarks, some of which are prehistoric.
- The “City of The Blue Mountains” is in a World Heritage National Park, with 26 villages dotted along the Great Western Highway, with a population of 79,000.
The Mt. Barker club provided a variety of activities from entertainment from a historical local artist of the area, botanical garden, wildlife park, local modern medical facility to shopping and just plain enjoying my hosts' stories about their family who lives in the area. - Ambassador from 2017
Mt. Barker and Blue Mountains & Nepean, Australia
22 Days / 21 Nights Program and Itinerary:
March 19, 2018 – April 9, 2018
Coordinator: Pam Vestal, FF Santa Barbara
All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.
Hosts meet ambassadors at Adelaide airport
Visit historic Hahndorf and artist Hans Heysen’s studio & home
Cycle/walk Amy Gillett Rail Trail
Koala cuddle at Gorge Wildlife Park
Free Day with Hosts
South Coast/ Southern Vales/Barossa Valley
Visit local industry e.g., cheese-maker, winery, olive oil, micro-brewery
Adelaide City visit
Historic Tour of Mount Barker
Hosts transport to Adelaide airport
Travel from Mount Barker to Cape Jervis to catch the morning ferry to the wilderness of Kangaroo Island, a paradise for animal lovers, bird watchers, photographers, artists. This is an absolutely must visit while in South Australia.
Eucalyptus Distillery – Emu Ridge: the only commercial Eucalyptus Distillery in South
Australia. Learn about the distillery process and browse their extensive shop of oils, creams, sweets, and gifts.
The seals are waiting for us basking in the sun at Seal Bay. Enjoy a guided tour with a very knowledgeable park ranger, and get up close to these beautiful mammals for amazing photographs.
Birds of Prey Show at Raptor Domain: Listen to the successful bird rehabilitation stories of Dave and Leeza Erwin during the free-flight bird presentation.
It is time to make our way to our accommodation for a delicious dinner and a peaceful night.
Flinders Chase National Park: One of the most iconic features are the Remarkable Rocks, a cluster of granite boulders with golden orange lichen. Walk around them, through them and take plenty of photographs before we head to Admirals Arch. Massive natural forces have formed this incredible and unusual landmark here. Observe a colony of New Zealand fur seals from the viewing platform and boardwalk around Admiral’s Arch.
Vivonne Bay: a long sandy beach with a picturesque wooden jetty and beautiful turquoise water below.
Bay of Shoals winery: Indulge in some cooler climate wines overlooking the magnificent ocean scenery. Bay of Shoals cheeky pelican label has become widely known and there is some great art work on display too.
We finish the day with first class wildlife entertainment. The Pelican Man provides a lively and informative talk while the pelicans are being fed. It is comical and entertaining for all ages, and if you love pelicans, you will love the Pelican Man!
Take the ferry back to the mainland and travel on to Victor Harbor, a popular coastal town. Take in the views of Encounter Bay and Granite Island from the old Whaler’s Lookout.
South Australia is home to many different wine regions, and today we stop for a taste in Langhorne Creek. Bremerton Wines is located in a restored 1866 stone barn and, apart from delicious wines, you can try other local produce on offer.
Back on the bus, we are heading further east along the coastal road to Meningie. Stretch your legs at the foreshore of Lake Albert before driving to Salt Creek.
Enjoy a short bird-viewing walk and hope to see some of the many bird species that call the Coorong National Park their home. We arrive in the historic town of Robe early evening and finish a great day with a delicious dinner.
We leave Robe at 8.30 am and travel to Mount Gambier. We will show you a couple of features which made this town a popular tourist destination. The Blue Lake is a large crater lake in
an extinct volcano and changes colour throughout the year. It is not only the lake that attracts so many visitors; Mount Gambier is like “Swiss Cheese” beneath the ground, with a myriad of caves and sinkholes in the soft limestone ground. Discover the beautiful terraces, ferns, and curtains of ivy in the Umperston Sinkhole, along with great photo opportunities from down below and from above.
We continue our Journey to Tower Hill Reserve, nestled inside a dormant volcano. It is a beautiful haven for koalas, emus, and kangaroos, and also a great location for lunch.
The start of the Great Ocean Road is not far at all, and on route we stop at Allansford Cheese World. But it is not only the cheese that brings us here. You can view a great collection of butter stamps, milk bottles, cheese hoops and a range of early milking machine accessories in the museum part of this factory. Top it off with browsing through the souvenir shop, or perhaps buy your favourite cheese for later on.
Drive to the Bay of Islands and London Bridge, the first impressive parts of the Great Ocean Road Drive. London Bridge was once connected to the mainland and is now one of the most photographed icons along the coast. Short and easy walks give access to the viewing areas.
Our final destination is Port Campbell, where we check in at our accommodation before dinner.
Enjoy a full day of breathtaking scenery, with a coastline of giant cliffs, idyllic coves, wide beaches, and sandstone pillars.
Start with a walking trail to the Razorback Lookout and follow with a walk and steps down to Loch Ard Gorge, exploring the area’s natural treasures. Interpretive signs along these walks reveal the fascinating stories about history, geology, and natural features, allowing you to walk at your own pace.
It is time for lunch, and we travel inland to the Timboon Railway Distillery. Taste some of the local produce like single malt whisky, coffee liqueur, or the famous Timboon fine ice cream after lunch.
Once replenished, we travel back to the coast and to the Gibson Steps Lookout. Take the steps down to the beach below and be amazed by the 70 meter high vertical cliff line and the sheer scale of the two offshore stacks, Gog and Magog. If the many stairs are not your cup of tea, enjoy the stunning views from the well-positioned viewing platform above.
A great way to see the Great Ocean Road is from a bird’s eye view. You have the option to hop aboard a scenic helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell, 2 Mile Bay, The Arch, and London Bridge. Enjoy an informative commentary on the unique rock formations and history of the Shipwreck Coast by the experienced pilots. The Twelve Apostles are the world-renowned breathtaking and famous offshore stacks along the Great Ocean Road.
Check out the Visitor Centre and take in the beautiful and easy boardwalk to various lookout points. We stay for sunset and watch the rock colours changing every minute.
Our last day has arrived, and to make the most of our day and route ahead, we leave our accommodation by 7.30 am.
Our first stop takes us to the seaside township of Apollo Bay. Enjoy a cuppa before we travel a short scenic drive to Kennett River, where we can see koalas and many colourful birds in the wild. With a bit of luck, you will have King Parrots sitting on your hand. It is fantastic to watch them up close and certainly a great photo opportunity.
For lunch, we stop in Lorne and, if time permits, you can stroll along the picturesque jetty. We make our way to our final photo stop, the Memorial Arch of the Great Ocean Road. The Memorial Arch is a tribute to the World War One servicemen who built this incredible
road with a length of 243 kilometres.
Our beautiful tour is coming to an end as we arrive at the Melbourne Avalon airport for your flight to Sydney.
Ambassadors catch the 10:18 am train from Central Railway Station and alight at Wentworth Falls at 12:07 pm, where they are met by their hosts and taken to Wentworth Falls Lake for a BBQ Welcome Lunch and Welcome to Country.
At 6 pm, all congregate at The Grandview Hotel, Wentworth Falls for dinner (at own cost). Tonight is a two-for-one-price menu.
Proceed to hosts home.
Katoomba Day. Meet at Scenic World at 9:00 am for tour.
At 11:30 am, depart for the Wentworth Falls Pie shop for lunch.
At 1:30 pm, we leave for the Three Sisters for a photo opportunity, and at 2:30 pm proceed to The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.
Dinner at home with hosts.
Jenolan Caves day.
Dinner in local groups.
Free day for hosts to show their ambassadors their local areas.
At 6 pm, meet at the Winmalee Church Hall for pizza, ice cream, and games night. A short movie “The Edge” will be screened.
Today we will go on a car rally to view historical sites and gardens, where hopefully the start of fall colours will be in display.
Next is a picnic lunch in a beautiful garden, followed by a tour the historic Mount Wilson Bath House.
Tonight is the ambassadors’ opportunity to take their hosts to dinner.
Sunday Brunch at various members homes.
Walk off brunch with a chance to do the Charles Darwin Walk and view the fabulous Wentworth Falls up close.
This morning is free to do last minute washing and packing before meeting at Everglades for our farewell lunch.
Dinner at home with hosts.
Morning departure, depending on ambassadors on-going travel arrangements.
$2865 USDPrice Includes: FFI and host fees, land tour cost per person, fee for Jenolan Caves with Blue Mountain club, Opera House Tour, Harbour Tour, approximate cost of airfare from Melbourne to Sydney (where land tour ends), approximate cost of hotels in Sydney, contingency, and administrative fees.
Know before you go
- Meals in Sydney and meals with host clubs not covered in the fee.
- Depending on the ambassadors traveling, our program can be easy to active, with all ambassadors able to participate in all or part of the program. Some alternatives can be offered if activity level is too hard.
- At this time of year, the weather can be variable from warm or cool to cold. Early April is usually pleasant. It would be wise to bring comfortable walking shoes, wet-weather gear, and a coat.
- Price is subject to change and based on the exchange rate between the USD and AUD on the day of transfer and final payment.
- Final recruiting will be completed by the 1st week in December.
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.