The Twelve Apostles seemed to have become rusted in their craft (ha ha), shadowed by the more magnificent views of Loch Ard Gorge and the Bay of Islands.
Please read pt 1 if you haven’t! The Great Ocean Road did not fail to amaze my family with its scenic views, and after our rest at Apollo Bay we were ready to move on for the big shots.
Disclaimer: Our trip heavily references the suggested itinerary from this link (in Chinese).
It was rather coincidental that the Day 2 drive on the GOR was vastly different from Day 1 – the path from Apollo Bay onward covered more forest and farmland areas, leading to us observing a lot more flora and fauna and less of the sea. More plants meaning better air! 🙂
Our first stop was the Otway Lighthouse, one of the more famous attractions on the GOR. We drove through the narrow road in the forest and encountered lots of really fat cows on the roads 😂 no really, they look like they are pregnant!
The lighthouse area is ticketed and costs roughly $20 to enter. The area’s actually more like a historical site, with preserved tools and hardware used when the lighthouse functioned in the 19th century, an aboriginal heritage area, and of course the lighthouse itself. You need to climb a steep set of stairs to reach the viewing area above; and that’s when the ticket price is redeemed by the stunning view atop.
After spending about an hour at the Otway Lighthouse, we next travelled to Johanna Beach. The Johanna Beach is, in my opinion, the best sight we have seen on the GOR. A combination of its relative desertedness and the strong waves made it the perfect chill out spot, without any tourist distractions.
Do take note that if you plan to drive in, the Blue Johanna Road is a gravel road that’s not so comfortable to drive on – you might want to consider going in and out both on Red Johanna Road.
Before the main attractions, we stopped by Gorge Chocolates, which was a slight detour from the GOR.
Now to the main dish. Twelve Apostles – we were pretty unlucky as it was raining quite heavily, and the number of tourists really ruined the whole experience. I felt that the view of the eroded rocks wasn’t as pleasing when compared to the other natural formations on the GOR. But again, it might be because of the rain and strong winds.
Loch Ard Gorge, on the other hand, was a nature-made wonder. I don’t even know how to explain what this place is, it’s just.. spectacular.
This area also has a lot of tourists, but not as much as the Twelve Apostles to suffocate us from claustrophobia. Haha!
We stopped by Port Campbell for petrol top-up, noting that the price here is lower than that in the city previously. Just like in Geelong, we drove past the edges of the city close to the sea, and managed to get a treat of a flock of seagulls that lined up the moment my mum attempted to feed them. (I do not support feeding wild animals, but my mum enjoyed it a lot.)
Port Campbell is actually a recommended place to stay as the (arguably unnecessary) drive to Warrnambool after all the attractions is a long hour.
Next up: London Bridge. By now the sun was already starting to set, and it’s been a really long day.
One thing that really enhances the viewing experience of the places of interest is that there are multiple viewing spots for a particular attraction – which made the secret photographer-wannabe me attempt to catch the shot from all possible angles 😁
Our last destination for the day, as we again tried to beat the sun in the race, was the Bay of Islands. Unluckily it was pouring again, and thus my brother and I were the only ones to brave the rain to take a look.
And we deem the Bay of Islands the most underrated attraction on the Great Ocean Road.
Seriously, it’s much better than the Twelve Apostles. /rant
By the time we reached our motel at Warrnambool, the sky was already completely dark. We stayed at Blue Whale Motor Inn & Apartments, which offers a homely two-bedroom unit 😄
Now we were in a huge vegetable debt. (Why are all the food here so lacking in greens?) Thus we decided to cook our own dinner using ingredients from the local supermarket, which turned out pretty tasty!
We also bought burgers from Kermond’s Hamburgers, which had thick and juicy beef patties – definitely recommend the Calabrese & Chili Burger for those passing by.
And that concludes our two day trip on the Great Ocean Road! (We then spent three long hours driving back to Melbourne 😂)
All in all it was a fantastic experience for my family as all of us love nature. We were also really lucky to have followed the guide mentioned above, to check out the less touristy areas that turned out to steal the show during our tour. I hope this helps anyone who wish to plan a trip to the GOR, and strongly recommend a self-drive. Cheers! 😄