Date of visit: February 2014
Tour or pre planned: Pre planned
The perfect drive equals the Great Ocean Road….
My partner and I recently did the great ocean road and we only allowed for 1 day, this was a mistake. In hind sight I would recommend leaving at least a full 3 to 4 days to do this trip to the fullest. We hired a car from East Coast car rentals in Melbourne city for a day, they are reasonably priced and are relaxed about the condition the car returns in (within reason). Only powered with our iPhones as a map, we made our journey from Melbourne to Geelong and then towards the first stop I would recommend.
Torquay is a short 20 minute journey from Geelong, known as a world famous surfing town. Here you will find sandy beaches, waves of great strength, and the start of the Great Ocean Road. Also in this town is the home of Quicksilver, Piping Hot and Ripcurl. Next stop is the famous great ocean road sign, a good place to capture the first photograph of the road ahead (see image below).
From this point forward it was hard to find a corner in the road where you would not see a beautiful cliff face and beach views. Winding down the road for the next hour will take you to Lorne (my favourite part of the journey). In the heat of summer, the waters of Lorne beach are crystal clear, with a low wave level and a great place to chill out and swim. I regret not booking a hotel here to enjoy this spot further. After a quick photo or two, we took a diversion to the right along the hilly road to take us to the Erskine Falls. Here you can park and walk down a short stepped path to take you to the bottom of the falls. The detour takes 20 mins each way, well worth it.
The next part of the great ocean road is probably the most spectacular, and dangerous. The roads reach great heights and bend around the cliff faces. Next stop Apollo Bay… here we took a quick bite of lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. You have quite a few options to choose from including fish n chips. Not much else to do here other than zip through. After Apollo Bay is roughly an hours drive through the forest of the Great Otway National Park. We chose to skip the light house at Cape Otway, but the tourist information guide did recommend it for a visit.
At the end of the forest you will finally reach the most famous part of the journey, the Twelve Apostles. Here there are 3 main stops, first being the Apostles visitor centre. This is the spot where you can grab a helicopter tour of the Twelve Apostles for extra expense. We took the path out to the cliff edge and got some great shots of the weather torn pillars (see below). They are a marvel of creation!! Next stop is the Loch Ard Gorge. Be careful not to miss it as the sign is very small, it’s only a 5 minute journey up the road from the visitor centre. Here lies the famous story of the ship wreck were 2 Irish travellers survived a ship wreck offshore, killing 58 others. If you have time this is a great place to chill out, with next to no wind and a great place to swim.
Final stop for us was the London Bridge. Although the road continues, as we only left a day for the trip, the day was at an end and light was dimming. The journey home takes a solid 3 hours’ drive. The road back is found off the Great Ocean Road by turning left on the C164 at Port Campbell.
Key essentials when taking a hire car:
- iPhone car charger
- Aux cable to play music
- A spare map in case 3G isn’t available
- Planned stops along the way, marked on the map
- Snacks for the journey
Enjoy your trip and any questions feel free to comment below
Would you recommend this destination: Yes
Overall rating destination: 5 out of 5