If you have a driver, rent a car and drive, for the flexibility and the additional hidden but awesome destinations.
Hello from Australia! I’m lucky to be travelling abroad in Australia with my lovely family, and we are on the way back to Melbourne city after spending two amazing days roadtripping on the Great Ocean Road. Prior to the trip, I did my research on scenic spots along the GOR, but our expectations and the actual experience turned out to be pretty different – and hence I would like to document my adventures in the hopes that it will help anyone who’s planning a trip here too.
Our route was heavily inspired from this post (in Chinese) – thanks to my mum who was doing her own research as well. (And thank god we did not follow suggestions from relatives to go on a day tour.)
We started the drive after an hour-long drive from Melbourne airport to Geelong, with car rental provided by East Coast Car Rentals (booked through Skyscanner, it’s a great site, the service of our rental company is another story though). The Toyota Camry Altis we rented had a boot that was large enough for our five carry-on luggages and a lot more. Time check: 12pm (delay at the airport customs + brunch)
From Geelong, the real fun begins. Driving near the coastal areas of the city, we were treated to our first beach sighting near the Torquay area. It was at this point that I realized how cold it was – don’t believe the temperatures reported because the sea breeze really makes everything colder.
After some quality reflection time (ha ha), we continued down the Great Ocean Road proper to our first stop, the Bells Beach.
The beach is famous for its strong waves which attracted lots of surfers. There were a few of them braving the cold and surfing on the beach, much to our horror, as we were all already wrapped like Subway sandwiches 😅 Too bad we didn’t go down to the beach as the weather wasn’t really suitable for beach play.
Continuing our journey, we made a quick stop at Aireys Inlet to checkout Eagle Rock, which is.. a rock. A pretty rock. Haha! There’s also the Split Point Lighthouse, which we thought was the Great Otway Lighthouse at the start! It was closed by the time we reached, though.
Our next destination was the Erskine Falls, which we didn’t manage to visit in the end due to the heavy downpour that started as we drove into the woods, and ended as we drove out. 😑
It was then a race with the sun to reach Apollo Bay before the sun sets, as driving on the GOR without the sun can be pretty dangerous due to the lack of lights. I should also mention that the drive along the GOR is a beauty in itself – for the drive from Geelong to Apollo Bay, you will be driving near the ocean more than half the time, to enjoy the scenic view. A lot of photo-worthy spots as well (though we didn’t stop mostly due to the lack of time).
Luckily, we managed to reach Apollo Bay and our accommodation for the night, Coastal Motel, before the sky went completely dark. Took an hour from the small town of Lorne!
For dinner, we settled for a nearby seafood restaurant, La Bimba. (Daytime in winters are so short T.T)
And that’s it for the day! Note that we haven’t even visited the tourist attractions (12 Apostles, etc.) and it’s already been an eventful day with so much to explore on the Great Ocean Road. One thing I should mention, though, is that if you started the day late, Lorne is also a good place to stay.
Stay tuned for the pt 2 post for updates!
P/S: Please excuse the poor quality of my ASUS Zenfone 2 photos. I guess when it comes to convenient photo-taking with a phone, only iPhones and the Samsung high-end Android phones will make the cut – the Eagle Rock picture was taken by my brother’s Note 5, unedited!