Tours

Spirit
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Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, ACT and NSW

Tour departs: 22 February 2017
Tour length: 15 Days

Overview

A new tour for 2017 which follows along the same lines as our ever popular Great Murray River Run tour. We have again teamed up with Jock and his crew to cruise the lakes and rivers of the East Gippsland region which extends from Lakes Entrance to Sale and is the largest inland waterway system in Australia. Accommodated ashore by night and cruising by day, we are able to experience the fascinating and diverse wetland scenery and birdlife of the area from the water. We start the tour in exciting Melbourne and post-cruise, we coach up through from Sale to the coastal town of Eden and then via the Snowy Mountain town of Cooma to Canberra. On to the beautiful Blue Mountains before arriving in Sydney. An easy paced close-to-home tour limited to just 26 people.

 

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Melbourne including the Dandenong Ranges
  • Coastal Eden and Cooma, gateway to the Snowy Mountains
  • Canberra for 2 nights
  • Katoomba and the breath-taking Blue Mountains
  • Sydney for 3 nights including luncheon harbour cruise and dinner at the Opera House

 

GIPPSLAND LAKES & RIVERS CRUISE:

We spend 4 full days cruising the lakes and rivers of this well known Victorian tourist and boating destination aboard “Spirit II”. The toilet-equipped vessel with comfortable saloon accommodation as well as outdoor viewing offers a unique opportunity to experience the fascinating and diverse wetland scenery and birdlife of the area from the water.  Overnight accommodation is at comfortable motor inns.

 

Itinerary

Wednesday 22 February

Home – Melbourne

Today we join flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Melbourne. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 2-night stay.


Thursday 23 February

Melbourne (B,D)

You may have been to Melbourne before but just sit back and enjoy a leisurely sightseeing tour this morning. See Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s Cottage, Parliament House, Queen Victoria Market, Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance, views of Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River. The afternoon is at leisure and this evening, we enjoy dinner together.


Friday 24 February

Melbourne – Lake’s Entrance (B,D)

Departing Melbourne this morning, we leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind us and travel southeast of the city to the Dandenong Ranges with its secret fern glades, towering forests and eclectic villages. Our destination is the township of Belgrave where the historic “Puffing Billy” railway awaits us. The narrow gauge steam railway dates back to 1900 but the line was closed in 1953 due to major slip. It was reopened in 1965 and extended over the next 30 years to Gembrook.  Sit back and enjoy this piece of history and some wonderful scenery during our 25km journey.

On arrival Gembrook, we rejoin our coach for the journey through to the historic Gippsland Lakes region and Lake’s Entrance for an overnight stay before we commence cruising tomorrow.


Saturday 25 February

Cruising Gippsland Lakes & Rivers Region (B,L,D)

We meet up with our cruise crew this morning as we depart Lakes Entrance and cruise along the southern end of Rigby Island via the Hopetoun channel, and then pass beside Fraser Island through the Rigby Channel. Proceeding west, we travel by Nungurner and enter Bancroft Bay where we take a short cruise up Chinaman’s Creek before arriving in the holiday town of Metung. This is a very attractive area with many boats moored and we go ashore and enjoy lunch at the local “pub”.  Our afternoon cruise will cover many highlights including crossing over Lake King and a cruise up the Mitchell River.  We also view the longest silt “jetties” in the world that separate Jones Bay from Lake King.  As we approach the city of Bairnsdale, the Mitchell River banks become very attractive and are dotted with large homes and private jetties. A coach will be waiting at the town wharf to transfer us to Paynesville where we will be based for 3 nights.


Sunday 26 February

Cruising Gippsland Lakes & Rivers Region (B,L,D)

We transfer by coach back to the wharf for a day cruising this section of the “lakes”.  We return down the Mitchell River and across Jones Bay to the Nicholson River where we travel upstream a few kilometres to the small town of the same name with lunch at the local “pub”. The Princes Highway blocks our path here. After lunch, we return to Lake King and proceed up our third river for the day – the Tambo.  The exact source of the name Tambo is unknown but thought to be aboriginal and connected to fish and we can navigate the river as far as Johnsonville.  Then it’s back across Lake King, this time directly to Paynesville to view the canal development in the area before “docking” right in front of our motel.


Monday 27 February

Cruising Gippsland Lakes & Rivers Region (B,L,D)

We start another day packed with highlights and cruise through the short McMilllan Strait with views of both Paynesville and Raymond Island.  As we pass by Montague Point, we enter our second major lake – Lake Victoria.   We head south towards Bass Strait, although we are protected by the Ninety-Mile Beach and remain securely in the “lake system”.  We travel through the Grange Channel by Barton Island and into the Bunga Arm, a long waterway that runs between the Boole Poole Peninsula and the sandhills of the beach.  At Steamer Landing, we walk ashore to view Ninety-Mile Beach and Bass Strait.  The Pelican Rookery on Crescent Island is visible as we cruise to Point Wilson and Sperm Whale Head, then across Lake Victoria to Wattle Bay where a bbq lunch will be served. During the afternoon, we head west along Lake Victoria to Loch Sport, situated right in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park. We take time to go ashore before continuing along Lake Victoria to its western end at Holland’s Landing.  The coach will be waiting to transfer us back to our accommodation at Paynesville.


Tuesday 28 February

Cruising Gippsland Lakes & Rivers Region (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we return by coach to our boat at Holland’s Landing.  It is here that we leave Lake Victoria and travel through McLennans Strait, a narrow channel that takes us into our third and final lake – Lake Wellington. We travel over the large expanse of this lake and enter the Avon River which we can navigate ten kilometres upstream before returning to Lake Wellington and entering the Perry River, a popular bird watching area. Lunch today is a picnic on board after which we cross to Lakes Wellington’s western shore for the last time and enter the La Trobe River. We pass the Dowd Morass State Game Reserve and after nearly thirty kilometres of river travel arrive at the historic Swing Bridge.  This is the oldest surviving swing bridge in Australia (1883) and today it will be opened for our boat.  The bridge is at the junction of the La Trobe and Thomson Rivers and we travel along the Thomson before reaching the old inland port of Sale. On arrival, we transfer the short distance to our motel for an overnight stay.


Wednesday 01 March

Sale to Eden (B,D)

After breakfast we farewell our boat crew and join our coach for the journey through to Eden. We pass through Bairnsdale which we have already seen on our cruise journey and head north to the town of Orbost. Situated on the Snowy River and surrounded by rich river flats, it is an important service centre for the surrounding major cattle and agricultural district service. On through the small towns of Cann River, Wingan River and Genoa before crossing the border into New South Wales. We travel through state forests on to our overnight stop at Eden where the sapphire-blue waters of Twofold Bay and the secluded coastal wilderness charms visitors. This afternoon, we visit the Eden Killer Whale Museum that showcases Eden’s fascinating whaling history.


Thursday 02 March

Eden to Canberra (B,D)

Let’s start the day with a stroll along beautiful Pembula Beach, a 6km stretch of beautiful white sand just a little north of Eden. On to Bega, an historic town surrounded by rich dairy country with a long history of cheese-making. We turn on to the Snowy Mountain Highway which takes us through to Cooma, known as the Gateway to the Snowy Mountains, a convenient base for visitors in both summer and winter alike. We visit the Snowy Hydro Visitor Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that showcases the amazing story of the Snowy Mountain Scheme from the early days of construction to the role it plays today in the continuing development and growth of Australia. From there, it’s a short ride to the nation’s capital, Canberra, where we have a 2-night stay.


Friday 03 March

Canberra (B)

This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Canberra. We see the important monuments and buildings such as the National Library, High Court, Carillon Bell Tower, the Captain Cook Memorial, and The Lodge, official residence of the Australian Prime Minister. Guided tours are included of Parliament House with its innovative buildings and rooftop gardens, and also the Australian War Memorial. There is free time this afternoon for independent sightseeing or just relaxing – maybe visit the National Museum and/or the National Portrait Gallery.


Saturday 04 March

Canberra to Katoomba (B,D)

Before leaving Canberra this morning, we make a stop at the Mt Ainslie Lookout for wonderful views of the capital.  We continue our journey past “Lake” George through to Goulburn which developed into a centre for the wool industry and in 1863 became Australia’s first inland city. Then on to Berrima, widely recognized today as the best preserved example of a Georgian Village on the mainland. The final leg of our day’s journey sees us in the outer southern suburbs of Sydney before we turn towards the beautiful Blue Mountains region and our overnight stay at its heart in Katoomba.


Sunday 05 March

Katoomba to Sydney (B,D)

This morning we visit Scenic World, renowned for providing the ultimate Blue Mountains adventure –  from native birdlife and fresh air, to breathtaking views of the World Heritage-listed region including the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and Jamison Valley. You can journey on the world’s steepest incline railway, glide between clifftops on the glass-floored Skyway suspended 270 metres in the air, descend into the ancient Jamison Valley by Cableway, explore Jurassic rainforest along all or part of the 2.4 kilometres walkway – the longest boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere. In the afternoon, we visit Featherdale Wildlife Park, home to one of Australia’s most comprehensive collections of native wildlife including Koala, Wallabies and Kanagaroos, Emus, an amazingly diverse range of birds, 40 species of reptiles in the Reptilian Pavilion and even a salt water crocodile. Thereafter we make our way through the outer suburbs to downtown Sydney for a 3-night stay.


Monday 06 March

Sydney (B,L)

Today, we enjoy a relaxing luncheon cruise on Sydney Harbour. Sit back and enjoy a buffet lunch as we cruise past the iconic sites including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. An informative commentary is provided as the various landmarks are pointed out. Enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch with something for everyone’s tastes.


Tuesday 07 March

Sydney (B,D)

We have the day free in Sydney – your chance to do what you want to do. If you haven’t been to Sydney before or for a while, you might like to take the hop-on-hop-off bus, or visit one of the many museums or galleries, or indulge in some retail therapy. This evening, for something special to end the tour, we will enjoy dinner together at the Bennelong Restaurant at the Sydney Opera House.


Wednesday 08 March

Sydney – Home (B)

Time to say our farewells as we are transferred to Sydney Airport in time to join flights to Auckland, wellington and Christchurch


 

 

 

Map

 

Prices

Tour Costs

Sharing twin or double accommodation: $6,750
Supplement for single accommodation: $1,550

Costs Include
  • Economy class air travel from the tours international departure point.
  • Prepaid airport/government security charges/taxes and fuel surcharges (as at 01/09/16).
  • First Class hotel accommodation in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney & comfortable motor inns and country hotels elsewhere
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • First Class air conditioned coach transportation for all touring
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Baggage handling of one suitcase per person
  • Gratuities and tips to local guides, coach drivers and cruise staff
  • Fully escorted by a Maher Tours Leader.
Costs Exclude
  • Any meals and sightseeing tours not specifically mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance (assistance and advice will be offered)
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, room service, drinks, telephone charges etc

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By Phone: 1800 358-741 | By Email: info@mahertours.com.au