Wednesday 1st February – Friday 3rd February 2017
After a day exploring Melbourne and St Kilda (don’t worry, there’ll be a separate post for that), the car was booked and we were ready to leave, bound for the Great Ocean Road, early the next morning. The Great Ocean Road stretches 243 kilometres along the south-eastern coast between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford, although some further along towns such as Port Fairy still class themselves as ‘the final towns of the Great Ocean Road’. There are many famous beauty spots along the route, such as the 12 Apostles, London Bridge and a miltitude of lighthouses and lookouts.
Top Tips for a Great Trip on the Ocean Road
- There are many ways to enjoy the Great a Ocean Road, including joining a tour or simply hiring a car and doing it yourself. There isn’t too much route planning required as the roads are pretty simple, making it one of Australia’s easiest road trips. Basically, you’re driving down a road named ‘Great Ocean Road’ and stopping at each picturesque look out until the end, before deciding wether to come back the way you came, carry on along to Melbourne or Adelaide, or drive back parallel to the Great Ocean Road via the Grampians, an additional national park, in a full circle.
- What is required is a spot of time management, you need to know how long you’ve got to drive the road in or how far along the road you want to get in a day and this then determines how much time you spend at each site. For example, Ben and I drove from Melbourne to Port Cambell in around a day (we were there before sunset and had left Melbourne around 10am) as I knew the main point of the road I’d like to see was the 12 Apostles, a 10 minute drive from Port Cambell which allowed us to spend as much time there as we pleased. On our second day we drove to Port Fairy from Port Campbell and then all the way back to Melbourne along the same route we came. I’d say we spent up to an hour at each view point, really exploring it and of course, making sure I’d taken enough photographs!
- Take lots of snacks and water! There obviously are shops and cafes in each port but you may get peckish in between or fancy a picnic at one of the beauty sites.
- Make sure you take a great playlist. Lots of time is spent in the car so make sure you’ve got some tunes to sing a long to.
Back to our road trip though, and one of the first spots we stopped at was the Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. From the car park we walked up to the lighthouse where we could take in the views of the beach. The weather was looking a bit grim at this point sadly so we were soon huddled back into the car and on the road to the next spot.
From here, the next photo point was the sign, ah the famous sign, and then onwards down a very long and windy coastal road, with stunning views around each corner, until we reached the 12 Apostles. Or more correctly the 7 apostles, which has less of a ring to it however true it may be. Truth is, there were 12 Apostles but over the years due to the sandstone erosion, 5 of them have actually fallen into the ocean. It doesn’t make the view any less stunning though and we spent a long time here, whilst I attempted to stop my hat from taking flight, and even came back for sunset!
That evening in Port Cambell we settled down and played a strange but fun German game involving cards with beans on them, which you had to grow to earn coins. All very confusing but we ended up playing until the early hours and having a great laugh with some new friends. We stayed at the Port Cambell Resort hostel, which was lovely.
In the morning we woke to coffee and pancakes, before heading to our first spot of the day, London Bridge. No, not the London Bridge, a rock formation named so because it looked like a bridge, that was until the first arch fell in 1990. The formation has since been renamed London Arch. Again, less catchy but hey ho. It was incredibly windy up here, hence the photo, so again we didn’t spend too long here, just enough to blow away the cobwebs.
Next stop on the trip was the Grotto, a sinkhole in geographical formation (or a rock with a hole in it) which makes for a great view through to the Ocean. The waves lapping against the rock and the wind was so powerful, yet looked so inviting.
From here, we somehow managed to drive all the way to Port Fairy without stopping at the famous Bay of Islands, simply missing the turning. We knew that we were heading back along the same route though and so it wasn’t the end of the world. We had decided to go to Port Fairy based on the hostel receptionist in Port Cambells recommendations that there was brilliant views and great fish and chips, neither of which seemed to want to be found when we were there. Success, as always. And so back we went, to enjoy the Bay of Islands.
Sadly that’s all for our Great a Ocean Road trip, due to having to take our car back we spent the rest of the day heading back to Melbourne along the same route, stopping only for lunch and snacks. I really enjoyed the trip though and it’s one you should definitely take! Next stop, Melbourne!