Graces of Victoria – Harvest Journeys Catholic Roadtrips Pilgrimages

Graces of Victoria

From historic pathways of the early Church, pioneering goldfields and sacred Aboriginal lands, beauty abounds in abundant rivers, alpine heights and charming towns. Follow the trails of iconic characters and enjoy the Victorian story through the eyes of sinners and saints, where ancient and new tales of courage inspire and delight.

Graces of Victoria Map

Highlights

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights
  • Departs 20 March 2022
  • Also departs 14 September 2022
  • Melbourne to Melbourne
  • Daily Mass

Yarra Valley • Tarrawarra Abbey • Healesville Sanctuary • Healesville (1) • Lake Eildon • Mansfield • Ned Kelly Trail • Benalla • Glenrowan • Bright (2) • Alpine Roads • Mt Beauty • Bogong Village • Victorian Alps • Falls Creek • Beechworth • Rutherglen • Yarrawonga • Lake Mulwala • Echuca (2) • Murray River Paddlesteamer cruise • Bendigo • Castlemaine Diggings Heritage Park • Trentham Falls • Daylesford • Ballarat (2) • Sovereign Hill.

Itinerary

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

DAY 1Melbourne via Yarra Valley to Healesville

Theme: Awe & Gratitude
Proposed Mass: Tarrawarra Abbey, Yarra Valley

  • Following a visit at the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre, journey to the Yarra Valley where our first stop is at Tarrawarra Abbey. Tarrawarra is a community of Cistercian monks, founded in 1954 by Mount St Joseph Abbey, Roscrea in Ireland. The monks of Tarrawarra belong to the worldwide Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, popularly known as the “Trappists”. We celebrate our first group Mass here together.
  • Then its onto a local winery featuring breathtaking panoramic views of the Great Dividing Ranges. After a lovely lunch at the restaurant looking out over the vineyards, we take a tour of the historic winery and sample their fine wines.
  • Visit the Healesville Sanctuary, home to over 200 native Australian animal species.

Healesville overnight (LD)

DAY 2Healesville via Mansfield, Benalla & Glenrowan to Bright

Theme: God’s Provision
Proposed Mass: St Brigid’s Parish, Healesville

  • Departing Healesville this morning, we follow the Goulburn River to Eildon for views of Lake Eildon from the Dam Wall and the Skyline Road. Lake Eildon is one of the biggest lakes in the world today and can hold seven times as much water as Sydney Harbour.
  • From here we skirt the lake and make our way to Mansfield, situated in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and known as The Man from Snowy River territory. The town centre has several historical buildings, dating back to its days as a stock route camp in the 1940s and a gold mining service centre beginning in the 1850s. High Street and Highett Street form tree-lined boulevards with gardens along their wide central strip as they meet in the town centre. At their junction is a marble monument which was erected in 1880 as a tribute to a group of constables killed by bushranger Ned Kelly.
  • On our way to Benalla, we stop at Stringybark Creek Reserve. Here Ned Kelly went from petty horse thief to Australia’s most wanted outlaw, when he shot three Mansfield police officers. A plaque in the trunk of the enormous ‘Kelly Tree’ marks what is believed to be the spot of his crime.
  • Arriving into Benalla (whose famous son was Weary Dunlop), we’ll drive around the city taking in some of the Street Art – artists from around the world were brought together to paint murals on bare walls, some over three stories high. We then embark on a walking tour to view the plaque on Arundel Street that describes how young Ned Kelly was charged with drunkenness and riding his horse on the footpath. He eventually gave himself up to the police and was marched across the road to the Benalla Courthouse, which is still in use.
  • Continue on through Ned Kelly country to historic Glenrowan, the site of the Last Stand of Ned Kelly. Here at the Glenrowan Tourist Centre, experience an interactive theatre production that will transport you back in time over 100 years, to witness the events that led up to the capture of the Kelly Gang at the Glenrowan Hotel. Through the brilliance of live special effects and animatronics, you will be taken back in time, to witness the Glenrowan Siege. Also see the Glenrowan Museum.
  • We then head towards Bright, said to be located in the most beautiful valley in the world – the Ovens Valley surrounded by the towering Australian Alps. It has managed to retain its character and charm, thanks partly to its old-fashioned guest houses and historical buildings. The town was first known as Morse’s Creek but in 1861 it was renamed in honour of the British orator and politician John Bright. On arrival we drive to the famous Avenue of Honour for taking photos of the autumn leaves and trees. It’s a living memorial dedicated to the memory of all who served in the fight against terror in Afghanistan and to those brave and selfless Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of freedom and liberty. With each tree symbolising a person, the Avenue symbolises the final journey home of the fallen and preserves forever the gratitude and respect the nation bestows on all those to whom we owe a debt that can never be repaid.

Bright overnight (BD)

DAY 3Great Alpine Road & Mt Beauty

Theme: Beauty of Creation
Proposed Mass: Our Lady of the Snows Church, Bright

  • This morning enjoy one of the most beautiful drives in this area – through the spectacular Great Alpine Road. Follow the road past grazing land and walnut groves climbing to the Tawonga Gap for a great view here from the lookout. Continue on into the Kiewa Valley through the heart of the Victorian Alps on the highest altitude road in Victoria and taking in panoramic views as far as the eye can see. Stop at Mount Beauty and detour along the Bogong Alpine Way, on the Bogong High Plains Road to Bogong Village, situated on Lake Guy, well worth a visit especially in autumn and spring. Continue on winding sealed roads to Falls Creek a major ski resort in winter and excellent bushwalking base.

Bright overnight (BD)

DAY 4Bright via Beechworth, Rutherglen, Lake Mulwala to Echuca

Theme: Grace Through Trials
Proposed Mass: St Joseph’s Church, Beechworth

  • We head back towards Kelly Country today, taking the scenic route of tree-covered ranges, wild rivers and tranquil rural farmlands to historic Beechworth – one of Victoria’s best-preserved gold rush towns, where Ned Kelly and his mother were tried and imprisoned. On arrival we will visit the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct – namely The Telegraph Station, Town Hall, and Powder Magazine – all part of the collection of nationally significant buildings. These magnificent buildings, 32 of which are listed by the National Trust and the beautiful gardens are a legacy of the gold rush days.
  • The discovery of gold at Beechworth in 1852 bought many miners to the area, many of whom were Irish, who also bought their Catholic faith with them. From 1853 Frs Patrick Smyth, John Kennedy and Daniel Lordon were early priests, and then in 1860 Dean William Tierney became Parish Priest. During his 31year association with Beechworth, Fr Tierney was witness to the formation of many Catholic parishes in North-Eastern Victoria, from the Parish of Beechworth, which in early times extended from Kilmore in the South to Wodonga on the Murray River.
  • Just outside Rutherglen we stop at Gooramadda Olives – an agritourism family business that grows and produces olives and more recently capers and caperberries. The olive grove is perched above the Murray River a short distance from the Rutherglen, Victoria in the Rutherglen Wine Region. Life doesn’t get much better than this and we’d like to invite you to share in our journey.
  • Continue on to discover the historic Rutherglen wine growing region. The region is the unchallenged capital of fortified wines in Australia, yet there are also plenty of robust reds and crisp whites produced here. Visit the wonderfully imposing All Saints Estate, its grand architecture; superbly tended gardens and avenue of majestic elms make for one of the most spectacular vineyard settings in Australia.
  • Continuing our journey west, we drive past Yarrawonga and Lake Mulwala. The Lake is dominated by a vast number of trees standing in the water and is part of the massive Lake Hume project to harness the waters of the Murray for irrigation.
  • Finally drive to Echuca, once Australia’s largest inland port in the late 1800’s and home to Australia’s largest fleet of authentic paddlesteamers. Echuca means “meeting of the waters”.

Echuca overnight (BD)

DAY 5Echuca discovery & Murray River cruise

Theme: Food for the Journey
Mass: St Mary’s Parish, Echuca

  • Today is all about exploring the bustling river town of Echuca. Situated on the river-banks, it flourished as a town because of the beauty and bounty of the Murray River. The Murray is the lifeblood of the agricultural industry for much of inland Victoria and is often referred to as the ‘food bowl’ of Australia. Echuca’s historical wharf and port are recognised as one of Australia’s finest heritage icons and this morning we have the opportunity to uncover its history at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre.
  • Take to the water during a lunch cruise and experience the magic of the mighty Murray River cruising on a Paddlesteamer, soaking up the peaceful river atmosphere as the grassy banks of the Murray River glide past us.
  • In the afternoon we visit the Echuca Chocolate Company which has long been a favourite destination for locals and visitors to Echuca Moama. The shop is situated in the old Echuca Port precinct, a short stroll from the paddlesteamers on the Murray River. They craft exquisite, fresh chocolates with beautiful decoration. Each and every one is made by hand, using artisan, chocolatier traditional techniques, using only the best quality, natural ingredients and Belgian chocolate and stock a wide range of handmade chocolates, boiled sweets, hampers and Chocolate Liqueurs.
  • Finally, we visit the Echuca Farmhouse Cheese where we are able to taste more amazing local produce.

Echuca overnight (BD)

DAY 6Echuca via Bendigo, Castlemaine & Daylesford to Ballarat

Theme: Springs of Living Water
Proposed Mass: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo

  • Departing Echuca today, we head south and stop for a visit of the picturesque town of Bendigo. Located roughly in the geographical centre of Victoria, the town rose to prominence during the gold rush boom which can be seen in the opulent architecture of the buildings, public sculptures, fountains and garden. An influx of migrants from around the world, especially Europe and China, built the rich cultural and religious heritage the city is known for today. The early missions in the area were established in response to the rapid movement of people to the gold rush centres in Victoria and later to the opening of rich pastoral areas north of the Great Divide.
  • We celebrate a group Mass in the English Gothic Sacred Heart Cathedral Bendigo – one of the largest churches and the third tallest in Australia. The much-loved Australian-Maltese Bishop Joe Grech is buried in the crypt. Here we also view and pray in front of the St Mary MacKillop statue in the church yard.
  • We then embark on a Bendigo Tram Tour and are delighted by the remarkable sights and sounds of Bendigo, as our tram shares entertaining stories about the golden past of the city founded on one of the world’s richest goldfields. This tour stops throughout the city allowing us to explore many of the parks and attractions that Bendigo has to offer.
  • Then take a trip back in time to the Victorian Goldrush at Castlemaine Diggings Heritage Park. Located at the heart of the central Victorian goldfields, this is a rare place where you can see authentic traces of days gone by. Explore abandoned mines and settlements among shady Box-Ironbark woodlands.
  • Continue on to visit Trentham Falls Scenic Reserve to see the spectacular 32-meter Trentham Falls, Victoria’s highest single-drop waterfall, formed some five million years ago.
  • Finally, we come to the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs region, rich in cultural history. The indigenous people of this land, the Dja Dja Wurrung, recognised the area for its healing waters and as a place of deep spiritual and ceremonial significance. Gold was discovered in the region in the 1850’s with settlements springing up at Wombat Flat and Spring Creek which later became Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. Many beautiful historic buildings from the 1800s are still standing today. When walking through the streets, you can admire the well-preserved architecture which is predominantly influenced by Swiss-Italian design as many of the early gold miners were from the Swiss-Italian border region. Villa Parma, the old Macaroni Factory, the Town Hall and historic Post Office are a few of our favourite buildings. We discover more about the history of the town at the Daylesford Historical Society Museum.

Ballarat overnight (BD)

DAY 7Ballarat & Sovereign Hill exploration

Theme: Hope & Inspiration
Proposed Mass: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat

  • Today we explore Ballarat, derived from two Aboriginal words meaning “resting place” and renowned for its Victorian architectural heritage. The faith played a significant role in the life of the gold fields with the first Mass being celebrated at Ballarat diggings in 1851. Following WWI, the Murray irrigation scheme brought a wave of new communities and parishes to the region, and again there was a wave of migration from Europe after WWII.
  • We stop here to have our first group Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, dating back to 1891, Australia’s oldest consecrated Cathedral. Mary Mackillop visited Ballarat and stayed as a guest of the head of the Loreto sister, Mother Gonzaga Barry, and worshipped in St Patrick’s Cathedral.
  • Discover the City Built by Gold on this fully guided walking tour of historic downtown Ballarat. Explore grand Victorian era streetscapes of opulent architecture and become captivated by the history behind the facades. True tales of rebellion, tragedy and triumph, fortunes won and lost, along with the city’s highest achievers and world-famous visitors.
  • Afterwards we have time to wander through the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, which were established in 1858 and are considered one of Australia’s best examples of the 19th Century gardenesque style landscape. The Gardens comprise the South Gardens Reserve with the Australian Ex Prisoner of War Memorial, the central gardens precinct and the North Gardens Reserve, with its wetlands and indigenous plant collections. The 11-hectare central gardens are famous for landmark architecture, including the cast iron Statuary Pavilion (1888) and Robert Clark Conservatory (1995). The twice-yearly bedding plant displays create explosions of colour and texture with 40,000 seedlings in Spring and early Autumn. The Prime Ministers Avenue displays bronze busts of each Australia’s heads of state.
  • Lunch today is at the legendary Australian gold-rush era hotel of Craig’s Royal Hotel. Opened in 1853, it was host to poets, princes and prime ministers over its 150 year history. It therefore seems very fitting for us to indulge in a wonder High Tea of exotic teas, accompanied by classic finger sandwiches, savouries, scones so light they may float away and the most luscious petit fours!
  • After lunch we are off to Sovereign Hill, to catch a glimpse of the vigour and excitement of life on Australia’s 1850s goldfields and hear the story of an important time and place in Australian History, and the people who lived it. On Main Street there are working shops, hotels and a theatre – all based on original Ballarat businesses. See goldfields tradespeople in action and take a ride around the township in a horse-drawn coach. For the brave hearted, journey underground on a goldmine tour.

Ballarat overnight (BD)

DAY 8Depart Ballarat

Theme: Empowered to Shine
Proposed Mass: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat

  • Depart Ballarat today and travel back to Melbourne.

* All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.

Post Tour Extension

Footsteps of St Mary MacKillop

With Fr Michael Dyer
  • March Post-Tour Extension26 March - 05 April 2022
  • Melbourne to Adelaide
  • 10 Nights

Dates & Prices

Dates
Chaplain
Tour Cost
20 - 27 March 2022
TBA
AUD $3190
More info
BOOK NOW
GV2201
20 - 27 March 2022
More info

Dates

20 - 27 March 2022

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $3190

Tour Code

GV2201

Single Room

AUD $990 Supplement

Air & Tour

-

Start/Finish

Melbourne/Melbourne

Prepaid Tips

n/a

14 - 21 Sep 2022
TBA
AUD $3290
More info
BOOK NOW
GV2202
14 - 21 Sep 2022
More info

Dates

14 - 21 Sep 2022

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $3290

Tour Code

GV2202

Single Room

AUD $990 Supplement

Air & Tour

-

Start/Finish

Melbourne/Melbourne

Prepaid Tips

n/a

* Prices are indicative and remain subject to possible changes in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases or minimum group size contingencies.

Inclusions

  • Accommodation at superior standard 3 – 4 star hotels with breakfast and dinner daily
  • Lunches as per the itinerary
  • Deluxe Air-Conditioned Touring Coach • Professional Driver / Guide throughout the program
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer (as applicable)
  • Accompanied by a Harvest Tour Director
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as listed
  • Quality Harvest pilgrim pack including Harvest backpack, Pilgrim Journal and Travel Wallet.

Not included

  • Airfares
  • Other meals not listed
  • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc.
  • Travel insurance - ask Harvest about its preferred Travel Insurance

Enquiries


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  • Let us all resign ourselves into His hands, and pray that in all things He may guide us to do His Holy Will… When thoughts of this or that come I turn to Him and say: “Only what you will, my God. Use me as You will.

    St. Mary MacKillop
  • When I want something very much, I thank God beforehand for I feel God will certainly grant what he has been thanked for.

    St. Mary MacKillop
  • Courage, courage, trust in God who helps you in all things we feel our crosses hard at times, but our courage should rise with them. 

    St. Mary MacKillop

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