The craze over the Thai Milk Tea ice cream produced by the famous local brand Cha Tra Mue is real – to the point where it broke the ice cream machine at the Terminal 21 outlet. But does it live up to the hype? I had the opportunity to find out on Friday.
The Cha Tra Mue outlet in Don Mueang Airport is located at the waiting area sandwiched between the international departures section and domestic departures section, at Level 3. (It’s not together with the food and beverages section at Level 4!) Took me a while to find the shop, so if you’re there, do look for the blue seats and white tiles as seen from the picture above.
Being a fan of their Thai green milk tea, I opted for the mixed flavor. I loved how the soft serve retains the strong flavor of the tea leaves and the shiokness normally experienced when drinking the original tea. Furthermore, the ice cream itself isn’t overly sweet – so I guess there’s less calories! (I hope.)
However, I do recommend getting the individual flavor instead of the mixed version, as I couldn’t distinguish between the two flavors through the later part of the ice cream experience when they are mashed together – which was a letdown.
If you’re arriving at or departing from Don Mueang Airport, at 45 baht and without the nasty queue at Terminal 21 there’s no reason to try the Cha Tra Mue soft serve and pamper yourself a little. And a little tip – flag down a taxi at the departure dropoff instead of the normal arrival taxi waiting area for a much shorter queue!
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 bestsight 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.
The unpretentious hut
With a delectable selection of sweet chocolates
And flavoursome hot chocolate drinks 🙂
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! 😄
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!