Great Ocean Road with the Family

Great Ocean Road is one of the major attractions in Victoria and certainly worth a visit for anyone spending more than a few days in Melbourne. While the drive itself is not terribly long in kilometers, there are numerous sightseeing stops along the way. For the most part I stuck to the successful plan we used during Eija’s visit. Basically a two day trip with an overnight stop in Apollo Bay covering almost all the major attractions. In summer time there was some more flexibility due to extra day light hours. So I added a visit to Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale to the first day and return trip through the Grampians to the second.

We started out in Queenscliff and visited the pier there for some pelican viewing. I also finally had a taste of the Scandinavian ice cream sold in Queenscliff (it was good). Then we moved on to Point Lonsdale for a view of the Port Phillip Heads. The view is even more impressive on a stormy day but even when the seas are flat the view is quite nice. Next we did a short stop at Barwon Heads, just a brief look from the lookout near the Bluff.

After that we moved on to Torquay and the official starting point of the Great Ocean Road itself. After a very pleasant walk on the beaches and some surf/beach shopping we got back in the car and started the drive towards Apollo Bay. We did brief stops at Bells Beach and Point Addis, both have lookouts with great views of the coastal scenery. Next stop was Anglesea Golf course, one of the easiest places to spot kangaroos in the wild.

From there we drove onward to Aireys Inlet and the Split Point light house there. Next up was Lorne and Erskine Falls. The falls were as nice as I remembered and a great spot for some photos. After the falls we moved on Teddy’s Lookout with a spectacular views down the coastline and the winding Great Ocean Road itself. It was certainly lot nicer than my last visit, at this point of our journey with Eija it had already started raining heavily. 🙁 On the way to the lookout we also spotted a lone kangaroo in the middle of Lorne and stopped to take a few photos on the way back.

The last stop of the day was Kennett river and the koalas. There were a few up the trees and I managed to snatch a couple of pretty nice shots. Then it was time to drive the rest of the way to Apollo Bay, check in at our hostel, grab some dinner and catch some sleep.

After at least couple of hours of sleep (we were all sharing the room with Timo 🙂 ) we woke up and prepared for the second and final day of the trip. The day was really hot, so we decided to keep walking fairly minimal. Our first stop was Marriners Lookout in the Apollo Bay itself. The walk up the hill is nice and the views down to Apollo Bay are great.

After Apollo Bay our next stop was Maits Rest where we did the rainforest walk. Even on the hot day the walk was quite pleasant and cool. Then we drove on to Cape Otway for some more koala spotting. Plenty of koalas in the trees, everyone had plenty of chance for great koala shots. In the end no one was too interested in the Cape Otway lighthouse itself so after a brief visit in the tourist shop we drove on.

Next up was Melba Gully. The rainforest walk there is quite similar to Maits Rest, we did the full walk and afterwards had a quick lunch. The next stretch of the Great Ocean Road is perhaps slightly less interesting and we didn’t do a proper stop until Princetown.

The coastline between Princetown and Port Campbell is obviously packed with attractions (and tourists for that matter). Our first stop in the area was the Twelve Apostles, the most famous attraction on the Great Ocean Road. And on a nice summer day also way too packed with tourists and small very annoying flies. A few kilometers further there’s the Loch Ard Gorge, a nice spot with some nice rock walls and of course the gorge itself. It took us a while to get the car park but the walk down to the gorge is certainly worth it.

Then we moved on to Port Campbell itself for a short break and some swimming. I also did some snorkeling around the Port Campbell jetty. There was one large stingray but otherwise not that much marine life.

Our last two sightseeing stops along the coast were London Bridge (or London Arch these days) and Bay of Islands. Both are nice spots for photos and lot less crowded than the Apostles. Then we drove on to Warrnambool covering the rest of the Great Ocean Road.

After some quick dinner there we turned inland and started the return drive. There were couple of quicker routes but I wanted to do the drive through Grampians to finish up the trip. I had only seen the mountains from the distance and was itching for closer look. Obviously we didn’t have time for much proper sightseeing this time either, we were just able to get through the mountains to Halls Gap by the time the sun had set.

I need to get back there some day for the walks and photos, but even this short drive through the region was very nice. We had to be really careful with kangaroos and wallabies though, lots of them around at dusk. As sun had already set there was not much point in picking further scenic routes after Halls Gap. So we just took the quickest road back to Melbourne and I did my best to keep Timo entertained and awake.

My second Great Ocean Road was even more enjoyable than the first, it was certainly nice to have great weather. And the longer summer days also made the two day trip lot less rushed.

3 Responses to “Great Ocean Road with the Family”

  1. Hello,
    In searching for images of Melba Gully (Otways National Park) I came across your image of a bridge at this location.
    Could I please have your permission to reproduce your image with full credit given to you and a reference to your website/image location?
    The image in question is:
    http://www.masasoft.com/wp/wp-content/gallery/2012-12-great-ocean-road/great-ocean-road-199.jpg

    I have a similar image from the late 1970s. I am not sure if the bridge in my image is the same as the one in your image, but they are very similar and it would be nice to compare the two images in my blog (see http://www.peptalkecology.wordpress.com)

    I did enjoy browsing your blog. We recently took our children to New Zealand and revisiting the glaciers after almost 20 years was rather significant.

    Kind regards,
    Perpetua

  2. Masa says:

    Hello Perpetua, you are welcome to use the photo as long as credit is given.

    Matti

  3. Thanks. I’ll send you a link to the page once I’ve finished.
    Cheers,
    Perpetua

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