I always wanted to do a road trip because you always see them in American movies. Well, last August I got my chance, and I picked a classic location.
All true Aussies have done the Great Ocean Road at least once. This was my second time, only I got to be behind the wheel for this drive! Originally I was aiming to go from Melbourne to Adelaide and back, but decided that it’d be quicker and cheaper to just do the classic segments of the Great Ocean Road and then fly.
If you’re an international guest and want to tackle the road without doing an overcrowded tour, you basically have to rent a car. There are numerous sites for this, but watch out if you’re under 25; you’ll get a big insurance surplus. AirBnb also helps split the drive into two (or three), and is by far the most inexpensive yet extensive accommodation available. Some towns that offer more accommodation for this are Apollo Bay, Warrnambool, Port Campbell, Lorne, and Port Fairy, of which I’d recommend the first two.
Because you don’t want to waste time traveling on the same road twice, you have two choices. The first is to take the long, scenic beach road there, with the freeway back. Or you can take the freeway there if you’re in a rush, and spend the rest of the time slowly traveling along the beaches and cliff sides home.
The Great Ocean Road is a pretty extensive and bendy journey, but the best part is you can just pull over at any point and find a beautiful beach. I stopped at Johanna Beach in the evening and shared it with a single fisherman and his dog. It’s not everyday that you can get your own private beach.
The most famous parts have the most tourists; Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge, so it can take a few minutes to get that picture right. But as you can see when you do, it’s perfect! The plus side is there’s generally always someone there to take your picture for you.
All of these destinations are within a 20-minute drive of each other. They’re part of what is known as the “Shipwreck Coast” due to all the boats that crashed between the violent waves and the jagged coastline in the 1800s. Port Campbell is the closest major town if you need a place to recollect your energy or make a pit stop. They offer some nice, tasty meat pies for lunch, and have a nice quiet beach too. You lil’ rippa!
Weather is best when it’s sunny, accompanied by a little wind. This really gives the ocean waves a wild characteristic that makes for the worthiest photos. If you’re happy to journey an extra hour, then nearby the town of Warrnambool is the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. Here you can find all sorts of Aussie animals as you drive around Lake View Road. Might want to add it to your list!
If you make a short pit stop at Kennet River, near Lorne, then you can almost always see a Koala as well as these friendly King Parrots at the caravan park. You’ll know the location when you see it as there’s just about always a tour bus or two. The next-door store sells pies and sandwiches, as well as birdseed if you want some company. Although, the birds will come to you regardless.
King and queen of the parrots
I recommend stopping somewhere in the Great Otway National Park and attempting a bush walk or two as well. These are quite enchanting in winter, after some rainfall to get you the rainforest atmosphere. Cumberland Falls, Erskine Falls, Maits Rest, and Beauchamp Falls are all excellent for scenery. The green shrubbery is a nice change from the blue ocean and yellow sand. Each walk takes from 20-mintues to 2 hours, return. It can get quite muddy if there’s been rainfall, so if you plan to tackle one of these you should bring boots or suitable footwear. Keep your eye out for koalas too!
Some of the wondrous scenery you’ll see in the Otways
I spent two whole days exploring around the Great Ocean Road, but could easily spend another. If you research into what tours do, then most opt for two days as well. The Great Ocean Road is of course busier on weekends and school holidays as it is a nice family trip. Prioritise going in good weather and plan wisely!! Please leave any questions in the comments