The Great Ocean Road! Who does not know about it? It’s world-renowned. It’s always in the bucket list of legions of enthusiastic adventurers of the down-under. It’s dramatic. It’s spectacular. It’s fascinating. It’s one of Australia’s best tourist attractions. And if you visit the land of OZ, it’s a must-see!
You can drive the 244-km length of the Great Ocean Road in a day. Two days will leave you more time to stop at different points of interests both in the coasts and towns. You can opt for three days if you hanker to experience the recreations it offers such as surfing, tramping and meeting the wildlife.
However if time is less than enough, one day in the Great Ocean Road can still award you the leisure and the break you’re looking for. It will also generously provide you hundreds of chances to take instagrammable photos to get your followers to see the inspired beauty of this astounding spot in the planet! (Not that I’m good in taking photos! I’m still working on it 👀). It doesn’t matter whether it’s summer or winter or whether it is drizzly, showery or sunny, the experience will give you the fulfillment and the joy that indeed one of the must-sees or must-dos in your “Itch Lists” as Smriti Modi prefers to term instead of bucket list.
In our brief stint in Melbourne recently, we made sure to allot a day to get a glimpse of the South-West Coast of Victoria. With my husband, Carlo and my friend, Jezel (who is now residing in Melbourne), I hit the road at 7AM under a heavy pouring rain.
Now, let me drift you away in our little escapade…
#1. Bells Beach
Located in the Southern edges of Torquay 100km away from Melbourne, Bells Beach is where the longest running surf competition takes place. If you are up to riding the waves, just beware of sharks. Otherwise, be entertained by the surfers’ amazing tricks and maneuvers or just enjoy the scenes.
#2. Lorne Pier
Continue driving for about 42 kilometers from Bells Beach and drop by at Lorne, which is the largest resort town in the Great Ocean Road. You may grab a cup of coffee, take a lovely walk to the Lorne Pier, bask in the excellent view of the sea or stop and talk to the fishermen. If you are lucky, you can see a whale passing by in front of your eyes. That opportunity did not strike at the time of our visit. However, a young sea lion made an appearance just a few meters from the edge of the pier where we were standing.
#3 Kenneth River
As soon as our GPS brought us to Kenneth River which is a part of the Great Otway National Park, we were literally looking for a river and we meant to see some koala bears. Instead, that went past our recollection as we were welcomed by tons of wild brightly-colored parrots who got more attracted to our bag of chocolate chip cookies. I must say that was the most amusing part of our road trip.
We spotted one koala though up in a Eucalyptus tree busily stocking its fat pot with eucalyptus leaves. In my few days of experiencing the Melbourne chill, I caught some mild colds and cough and the strong natural smell of eucalyptus gave me a huge relief. Thus, the fun continued…
#4 Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay in the Otway is just a little bit over half an hour drive from Kenneth River where we devoured our lunch prepared by my husband – the yummy Filipino delicacy called adobo (with rice). We ate it cold but it didn’t matter. We can eat anything when we are starving, can’t we? The truth of the matter is the trip got better with it!
I think we were never short of luck as after another brief cloudburst, the gloomy overcasts decided to give way to a small zone of bright blue sky. So to speak, we wallowed in the vastness of the southern ocean.
#5 The 12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles is the main attraction of the Great Ocean Road. Actually, there are only eight left in the assemblage of these soft limestone stacks due to erosion caused by the extreme weather and the forceful knocks from the waves. In our entire trip, it is in the 12 Apostles where most tourists flock.
#6 Loch Ard Gorge
Beyond the 12 Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge in Port Campbell National Park. It is also one of the most beloved swing-by-points in the southern ocean adventure and one of the most fascinating rock formations stuccoing the great Victorian coasts. It is eponymous to a clipper from England that met its fateful end in this part of the country in 1878.
#7 The Arch
It was already about quarter past five when we got to The Arch which is only 15 minutes drive from Loch Ard Gorge. We did not really stayed long in the site as dark clouds gathered again, rain started to fall heavily, dusk was approaching and the temperature was dropping. We got a spectacular peek of it though.
#8 London Bridge
An archway by origin, London Bridge ‘came falling down’ 28 years ago. Part of the rocks caved in disconnecting a large segment from the mainland. Although, the surrounding is almost dimmed by the time we arrived to this place, we took some wee time to admire the view.
There were so many things to see (crammed in a day) and our eyes were left more than satisfied. We hope one day we’ll get to experience the details of the great Great Ocean Road.
And if you happen to pass by down under, get this experience of a lifetime too!