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www.railaustralia.com.au www.oat.net.au a song. Downtown Winton also offers the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Display, housed in a store that has hardly changed over the past half-a-century. In the evening, another side of Winton is introduced through what Big Al calls his ‘ultimate progressive dinner’. It starts with trip to the Rangelands Scenic Rift Valley, where guests watch the sun go down as they enjoy ‘happy hour nibbles’ and a glass of wine or juice. Then its on to Winton’s historic North Gregory Hotel for the main course, and a Waltzing Matilda sing-along in the same room that Banjo Patterson’s song was fi rst performed back in 1895. The ‘progressive dinner’ ends with a visit to the Royal Mail Open Air Theatre, where armed with an ice-cream, guests sit back in canvas chairs and watch some nostalgic fi lm clips and cartoons from the 40s and 50s. Overnight accommodation is at the Boulder Opal Motor Inn. The dinosaur stampede The following morning, the tour leads out to Carisbrooke Station, with its breathtaking lookouts and unique rock formations, and then on to Lark Quarry, for a trip back in time to the age of dinosaurs. Lark Quarry boasts no less than 3,300 prehistoric dinosaur footprints, made thousands of years ago during a ‘dinosaur stampede’ – the only such stampede ever recorded anywhere in the world. After Lark Quarry, the Legendary Longreach & Winton tour returns to Longreach, where guests check into the Albert Park Motor Inn for the last two nights. Accommodation at all three properties on the tour is extremely comfortable, and all offer a full Australian buffet breakfast, which, like the lunches and dinners, are included in the tour price. The last full day of the tour starts with a visit to the Longreach School of the Air (now known as the School of Distance Education in this Internet age) and some time at the Australian Agricultural College, where you will meet up with budding jackaroos and jillaroos. The Qantas connection Then it’s off to the Qantas Founders Outback Museum, to learn how today’s Australian national carrier started with humble beginnings in the Queensland Outback back in 1920. After an afternoon at leisure in Longreach for some ‘retail therapy’ it’s time for the ‘grand fi nale’ of the tour: a sunset candlelight dinner cruise aboard the MV Long Reach Explorer. Enjoy the Thompson River and majestic fl oodplains as the rich colours fade into the starry Outback skies. Most guests depart the next day by train (early morning) or QantasLink (early afternoon) to Brisbane – train in, plane out is the recommended way to go. Click here for the Spirit of the Out back Sheep-herders bunkhouse timetable. Spirit of the Outback J u l y 2 0 0 7 w w w . S E L L I N G D O W N U N D E R . c o m 5

TOURISM VICTORIA T R AV E L U PDAT E Visitors heading for the Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s top scenic drives, should take time to explore some of Victoria’s most stunning rainforest scenery in the Otways, a little less than three hours easy driving from Melbourne. The Otways begin just past Lorne, a seaside village on the Great Ocean Road that boasts a lively café culture, colourful shops and a wide variety of accommodation. Further along the Great Ocean Road the charming villages of Wye River and Kennett River are popular holiday spots on the way to Apollo Bay, which nestles in the picturesque green foothills of the Otway Ranges. A highlight of the region is the spectacular Otway Fly Tree Top Walk (near Beech Forest), which is the longest and tallest elevated walk of its kind in the world. It varies between 20-37 metres in height and is over 600 metres in length. The Walk provides fantastic views through the canopy. For more adventure, follow the Great Ocean Walk, which stretches 91 kilometres from Apollo Bay to Glenample Homestead, close to the famous Twelve Apostles rock formation. The walk can be done in short stages or as a journey of several days. Useful Websites www.greatoceanrd.org.au www.greatoceanwalk.com.au www.greatsoutherntouring.com.au www.lightstation.com www.naturaltreasures.com.au www.theoverland.com.au DISCOVERING THE OTWAYS 6 w w w . S E L L I N G D O W N U N D E R . c o m J u l y 2 0 0 7