The Great Ocean Road (April 16th-22nd)

Okay, what you have all been waiting for… my time on the great ocean road. Okay, well maybe not what you have all been waiting for, but certainly a trip that I have been waiting for. This post is a few weeks late, but I have been insanely busy trying to work to make up for the week off I took. If you should ever find yourself in Australia, the Great Ocean Road (or GOR as many people refer to it here as) is an absolute must do. Many people do it in three days, but we decided to do it in five and honestly, it was the best decision because we really got to take our time. I went with 3 people that I didn’t know who all just happened to be German, but more on that a bit later. For now, I will just say this, you always run the risk of not liking your travel mates and let’s just say I made the most of my trip once I accepted the fact that we were not going to get along. For now I will just talk about my amazing time on the beautiful GOR.

Day 1: Sydney —> Melbourne

Well day one of our grand adventure started on Monday, April 16, which of course is my birthday. I did not have the best birthday, mainly because it consisted of driving 9 hours to Melbourne. We chose to take the inland (less pretty route) there as it was a lot faster, but I fully plan to take the scenic, coastal route on my big road trip in July. Two of my three travel mates met me at Spaceships Rentals, Kilian and Isabell. We also drove a random third person down to Melbourne who was not going to travel with us, but just needed a ride. It took about a million hours to get paperwork done and get the camper van all ready to go. It was about 11:00 am before we finally hit the road.

I started out driving, which of course I am comfortable driving on the other side of the road at this point. However, the time to switch drivers came and Kilian took over. He had never driven on the other side of the road before and also had never driven an automatic car, we were all scared for our lives. However, I am happy to report, that he did great and we all got to Melbourne in one piece, even though we got there very late. We were meeting the other German, Rebecca in Melbourne who drove there from South Australia. We stayed in a hostel the first night to avoid having to find a place to camp and were ready to hit the road early the next morning.

Day 2: Melbourne —> Torquay —> Lorne

I will start out by saying that the whole GOR is only 243 km (151 miles), so not very long, giving us all the time in the world to stop and look at everything.

We started the first day of the driving to Torquay, the town that is the official start of the GOR. This is where we did our grocery shopping, got fuel and were finally ready to go. We honestly had no idea what we wanted to see or where we were going to camp, which in my opinion is the absolute best way to start an adventure.

We didn’t make it very very before hitting the Great Ocean Road memorial Arch.

And then I decided to crawl on top of the van at a pull off with a beautiful view…

We arrived in the town of Lorne around 3:00pm that first day, not knowing this is where we would camp. When you decide to travel with random strangers, there are things you just don’t think about when you choose your travel mates. The first thing is whether or not they are willing to actually camp. I went into this trip with the intention of choosing free spots, but all the free spots obviously don’t have showers, soooo we paid for caravan parks every night. Not ideal, but it was three against one and honestly something I was willing to compromise on.

And… we ended up finding a pretty spectacular spot.

We decided to have the bday celebration for me that we didn’t get to have the night before, which really only consisted of drinking some VB (Victoria Bitter).

Day 3: Lorne —> Cape Otway

We didn’t get the early start we necessarily wanted; I think by the time we woke up and got the camper all packed up, it was about 10:00 am. That mixed with the surprise hangover I had was a recipe for really needing breakfast. We got breakfast in Lorne, backtracked a little to the visitor’s centre to grab a map, and hit the road again.

We didn’t get very far deciding to stop at Lorne Pier for a few  pictures. There were these three friends who were fishing on the pier, who you could tell this was their regular thing, and I’m kind of obsessed with the picture that I took of them.

Our next stop was Kenneth River, where is notorious for seeing Koalas in the trees, and guess what….

… we saw one!!!

One of the spectacular things about the Great Ocean Road, is there are so many beautiful pull offs that you won’t find on any map of attractions, and we stopped at almost all of them. But, for time’s sake, I will just post pictures of two.

 

After a delicious lunch, a quick walk through Maits Rest Rainforest…

…and a very long dirt, bumpy road, we arrived at our camping spot for the night at Bimbi Park. We drank some wine and ended up having a little visitor…

…a possum!!! Evil little thing, climbed on my towel.

Day 4: Cape Otway —> Port Campbell

Before leaving Cape Otway, we made a stop at the Cape Otway Lighthouse. I took like a million and one pictures of this lighthouse, but I don’t think any one of them can really capture the beauty that we saw, but I will try and pick the best one. It was truly spectacular.

We decided to take the long way around to the Twelve Apostles (the main attraction of the GOR), backtracking a little bit on the Ocean Road and taking the tiniest dirt road called Binns Road, that lead us to Triplet Falls.

Triplet Falls was a very pretty site, but we did not have the best car for a long dirt path, and it probably was not worth the hassle getting there.

Right before getting to the Twelve Apostles parking lot, we took a small little pull off and I am so happy we did because the view we got was absolutely incredible…

Photo credit goes to Kilian, but it was took good of a picture not to post.

We finally arrived at the Twelve Apostles and just in time for sunset. I am just going to let the pictures do the talking on this one.

Port Campbell is the last “big” town of the Great Ocean Road. Technically it is not the end of it, but we decided to make this our final destination before heading back. The main reason for this is because one of our travel mates realized she left her prescription glasses in the bathroom at Bimbi Park. Luckily, someone turned them in, but it meant we were going to have to backtrack a little bit the next day. That being said, we bought some sausages to BBQ for out last big night and called it a night fairly early (well I did at least). It makes it a little easier to sleep early when your travel mates literally don’t speak with you (I am not bitter about that one or anything).

Day 5: Port Campbell —> Torquay

So, it ended up being a blessing in disguise that we had to backtrack for the glasses. Our original plan was to finish the GOR and take the inland route back to Melbourne to save some time. However, I am so happy we did not do this because we had missed a huge site! It is this rock formation called the Razorback caused by all the wind-blown spray that comes off the ocean.

One of the other sites on this pull off was the Lock Ard Gorge, yet another breathtakingly beautiful view.

So, it was a very sunny day, but don’t let that fool you… it really wasn’t that warm. However (I am unsure why), we thought it was a good idea to jump in the water. It was probably because the water was so crystal clear and blue, so logically we wanted to take a swim. Well… It was absolutely freezing and 100% worth it.

Backtracking even let us stop at the Twelve Apostles again, but this time in daylight. I think, I liked the sunset view better, but you can’t pass up getting to see this iconic view a second time.

And, let’s be honest… the trip would not be complete without seeing some kangaroos!

We finally arrived back in Torquay, the town where we initially went food shopping at the start of this grand adventure. We camped for the night there and again I went to bed early not partaking in the wine festivities.

Day 6: Torquay —> Melbourne —> Belanglo (Daly’s Clearing Camping Area)

Now that our adventure was over, it was time to head back to Melbourne to drop off Rebecca, who had left her car there. We stopped at the Brighton Bathing Boxes before dropping her off. I had no clue that this was an attraction in Melbourne, but it was actually super cool.

After dropping Rebecca off, it was time to hit the road back to Sydney. It was a long long day as it took probably an hour just to get out of the city traffic in Melbourne. By the time we actually got on the freeway, it was 2:00pm. Luckily, we hadn’t planned to do the entire drive back in one day. It was only Saturday and we did not have to drop the van off until Sunday afternoon.

We (I) decided to camp in this spot called Daly’s Clearing, which was a few miles off the freeway down this dirt road. This was honestly my favorite camping spot, but not my travel mates’. They for sure preferred having toilets and a shower. This one was free, but did not have any facilities whatsoever, causing a little bit of a problem. I chose not to make this an issue on the trip as it was a battle not worth fighting… But, I wanted at least one night of actual camping, so I spoke up for the last night.

Funny enough, we chose the one spot this group was doing a huge forest rave party that lasted… well… all night. I don’t think any of us slept.

Day  7: Belanglo —> Sydney

The last day of our road trip was finally here. We had about a 3 hour drive to Sydney. We stopped at this beach on the way called Hyams Beach, supposedly having the whitest sand in the world. It was beautiful, but out of all the sites I saw, I probably wouldn’t put it in my top ones.

We finally made it back to Sydney, making a quick pit stop at my house so I could change into some work clothes and drop off my bags (sadly I had to be at work at 6:00pm that night).

Of course a road trip wouldn’t be complete without a sexy car wash (Kilian’s words, not mine) for the camper at the end…

Overall, I would say it was a pretty epic week, however (sadly), it was not my travel mates that made it amazing. But hey, that is traveling sometimes, you just have to take it for what it is and make it amazing for yourself… and that is exactly what I did.

Until my next adventure…

Cheers.