Victorian Goldfields & Phillip Island
8-Day Victorian Goldfields & Phillip Island
Price per person: $1395
See the best of Central Victoria & Philip Island. Tour historic Bendigo and Maldon, take a Murray River Paddlesteamer cruise in Echuca, watch the 'Blood on the Southern Cross' sound & lights show in Ballarat, see the world's smallest penguins in their natural habitat on Philip Island plus much more.
Departure Date: 06-Oct-2014
HighlightsSee the best that Central Victoria has to offer including the Goldfields region and historic towns of Bendigo, Ballarat, Maldon, Castlemaine and Echuca. The wealth of history and spectacular landscape make this region a must see destination.
Another of Victoria's popular attractions is Phillip Island. Known as the home of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, visitors also come to Phillip Island for its swimming and surf beaches, unique wildlife and the famous penguins which make their epic journey along the beach at sunset.
The first inhabitants of Phillip Island were the Aboriginal Bunurong tribe based around Western Port. They were not permanent residents but most likely visited during the mutton bird season to feast on the abundant eggs and young birds.
George Bass was the first European to visit Western Port on the 5th January 1798 after a voyage down the coast from Port Jackson in a 28ft whale boat. He named it Western Port because it was west of Port Jackson.
Sealers soon followed, harvesting the seals on the Bass Strait islands and Seal Rocks near the Nobbies.
The McHaffie brothers took out a lease of the whole of Phillip Island in 1842 and grazed sheep there. They lost all but 640 acres around the homestead when the island was opened up for closer settlement during 1868-69. Conditions were very harsh for the settlers and many left because of drought, failed crops and lack of water. Chicory was one of the first crops grown and proved suitable for the island’s climate (milder, less frosty weather than Melbourne), Chicory was grown here for over 100 years and the remaining chicory kilns with their pyramid shaped roofs are a Phillip Island icon.
All supplies and farm produce had to be transported by sea as the Koo Wee Rup swamp blocked access around the bay. Much of this cargo was carried by Captain John Lock who owned several trading ketches based at Rhyll.
The tourist industry started soon after subdivision with the first hotel 'The Isle of Wight' opening in 1870 and the nearby Phillip Island Hotel soon after. The first regular ferry service began in 1878 making access much easier for visitors. The small paddle steamer 'Eclipse' began running from Hastings to San Remo with stops at Cowes, Rhyll and Newhaven.
The guest house era began in the 1880s with the main period during the 1920s to the 1950s. Visitors during this time could hire a horse-drawn vehicle and visit one of the many scenic ocean beaches or the small village of Rhyll and dine on strawberries at the Strawberry Farm. Tourists went out to the southern side of the island in the evenings, not to visit the penguins, but to watch the return of thousands of mutton birds to their burrows on the cliff tops. Visits to watch the nightly return of the penguins at Summerland Beach began in the 1920s and soon overtook the mutton birds in popularity.
The first car ferry, the ex-Sydney ferry 'Killara' began running in1933 and the first bridge was opened in 1940, greatly increasing the number of tourists visiting here.
Motor racing, both car and bike began, in 1928 with the circuit around the island’s dirt roads. The Australian Grand Prix for racing cars was held for a number of years but the dust from the unsealed roads was a great problem and the major races moved elsewhere after 1938.
In 1952 the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club opened up a new circuit on private land adjacent to the South Coast. It went into decline in the 1960s until bought by Len Lukey who resurrected the circuit. Major reconstruction work was done on the track and buildings to stage the 1989 motorbike GP and it has since operated continuously.
The current bridge was opened in 1971. This allowed increased development as the old bridge was subject to strict load limits. Tourists on large buses had to walk across the bridge and trucks were limited to 6 tons maximum. Written by John Jansson
8 Day ‘ALL INCLUSIVE’ coach tour departing from Sydney and Canberra.
- Overnight in Deniliquin (1 night), Bendigo (3 nights), Phillip Island (1 night) & Albury (1 night)
- Visit Echuca and see the National Holden Motor Museum, Sharps Movie House & Penny Arcade, the Great Aussie Beer Shed and take a relaxing Murray River Paddlesteamer Cruise
- Take a guided surface tour at the Central Deborah Goldmine and Bendigo Chinese Joss House
- Enjoy a ride on the famous Vintage Talking Tram and see the historic buildings of Bendigo
- Tour Bendigo Pottery & enjoy a wine tasting at Balgownie Estate Vineyard
- Visit Woop Woop, a unique sculpture garden and gallery based on Australian colloquialisms and humour
- Explore the historic towns of Castlemaine and Maldon
- Take guided underground candlelight tour of Carman’s Tunnel Goldmine
- Tour Creswick Woollen Mills and see the alpacas
- Visit Ballarat for a guided town tour and enjoy free time to explore Ballarat at own leisure
- Enjoy a spectacular evening at Sovereign Hill – 'Blood on the Southern Cross' sound and light show
- Visit the Queen Victoria Markets and admire the Mornington Peninsula’s panoramic views
- Tour Panny’s World of Chocolates and take a scenic 'Bay & Cape' cruise from Rhyll, Phillip Island
- Relax and enjoy the Phillip Island Penguin Parade from your vantage point