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Tour C: Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra MS1 (3 days/2 nights)

Route: Gippsland, the Snowy Mountains, Avalanche Homestead, Canberra, Sydney

Day 1: Melbourne to Mountain Lodge. (L,D)

Departing Melbourne at 9.00 a.m. in your luxury 4WD vehicle you travel east along the gourmet trail into the rich dairying and cattle region of Gippsland. You visit a country bakery (just imagine the aroma of that freshly baked country bread) and inspect a cheese factory where you can sample the delights of the local cheeses. All this is simply an appetiser to lunch at the Tarago Restaurant or a traditional Aussie pub.

After lunch the road rises through the Victorian alpine country. Here you will see the Giant Mountain Ash, one of Australia's largest trees.

In the late afternoon you arrive at Mountain Lodge where you will stop overnight. You have a chance to go for a bush walk, try trout fishing in Icy Creek or one of the well stocked dams, or perhaps a set or two of tennis is your preferred choice. .Tonight you will experience a genuine Aussie BBQ dinner, after which you may choose to join your guide on a short walk to view one of Australia's most endearing animals, the wombat, in its native setting.

Day 2: Mountain Lodge to Avalanche Homestead via Buchan Caves and Mountain National Parks. (B,L,D)

Travelling towards the Victorian high country, you reach the Buchan Caves, renowned for their limestone formations where you explore the beauty of the Royal or Fairy Caves. Your journey then takes you up into the Snowy Mountains; immortalised in verse, song and film. No other place more typifies the grandeur of the Australian bush than does this magnificent Australian landscape, much of which is now listed as national parks. It was here that the legend of the rugged Australian bushman was created - not from fiction, but from real life.

After lunch, you travel to Cooma, gateway to the Snowy Mountain Hydroelectric Scheme, one of the world's great engineering feats, before driving on to Avalanche Homestead where you will stay overnight..

Avalanche Homestead has been designed especially to enable visitors to experience life on a working Australian sheep and cattle property. Set high in the southeastern ranges, Avalanche Homestead offers VIP accommodation and dining. At dusk a 4WD safari takes you spotlighting deep in the Australian bush where you will see some unique Australian animals and birds in their native habitat, including kangaroos and owls. On your return to Avalanche Homestead join your hosts for a convivial candlelight dinner with quality Australian wines.

Day 3: Avalanche Homestead to Sydney via Canberra, Wollongong and the Illawarra coast. (B,L)

After breakfast it's a 45 km drive north to Canberra, the national capital of Australia. Canberra was designed in the early 1900s by Chicago architect Walter Burly Griffin and today retains much of the unique layout he created.

Your personal tour of Canberra includes world renowned Australian War Memorial, the architecturally striking national Parliament House, the internationally acclaimed Australian National Gallery and a tour of foreign embassies, many of which are designed in the traditional architecture of their home countries.

Your late morning journey through the Southern Tablelands with its rolling hills and rich grazing land brings you to the port city of Wollongong, the centre of the scenic Illawarra coast. You travel north along this magnificent Pacific coastline before being set down at your Sydney hotel in the late afternoon.

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