As far as travelling goes, a roadtrip is a pretty awesome way to do it. Stack a car or two with mates, tunes, and as much food and drink as you reckon you’ll manage. Easy. So, the best roadtrip? Well I’ll be honest, Australia’s East Coast was pretty special, but here’s a slightly more manageable one. The Great Ocean Road. **SPOILER** It lives up to its name.
Actually started on Anzac Day, with a sunrise that was heaps special: not just because of the date. We’d actually stayed by the ‘coolest picnic table in Victoria’ the night before, and were in Torquay soon after sunrise, though we did chuck in a couple of beaches and lookouts en route. Torquay is the start of the Great Ocean Road (GOR or Road from now on), but it seemed a shame to skimp on the scenery.
Torquay itself has beautiful views across into the ocean, and a memorial for us to pay timely respects. Thing is, though, almost each stop along the way could be for a minute or a few hours – you wouldn’t get bored of it, I promise. I may study geography, but you don’t have to study that at uni to appreciate the beauty of the coastline (or the ocean).
So yeah, while this is gonna be the trip I did – albeit with 8 others, I promise I’ll try not to be too biased 🙂
We threw in some stops at Split Point lighthouse, Jan Juc and Bells Beach, and there were a heap of dope old classical cars up round Spit Point to boot. Every cloud.
Where we spent a while, though, was a sick beach that none of us had even considered. Guess that’s the beauty of travelling. Apparently, there was some kind of lagoon between the headlands. Wasn’t quite as impressive as we’d hoped, but the rest of the road compensated, and the rocky scramble was a good laugh, even if a couple of us did get a little damp.
The Big Hill was up next, just before Lorne. Aussie names really do capture the imagination. Teddy’s lookout in Lorne was sick, too, and we could see a quiet bay beach – perfect for standard roadtrip scran and a dip, with time to dry off in the Australian sun #whoshowersanyways
Solid spot for lunch, 10/10 would recommend.
The roads along from here were fantastic – and I actually wasn’t driving them. I really enjoy driving, so this was a bit of a shame, but we had to share it. Also, looking back, guess I got to appreciate the spectacular views from Wongarra and Cape Patton a little more.
So, at the end of day 1 along the road, we wound up at Apollo Bay beach for a pretty nice sunset and some chills by the beach. Reflecting on the day was sick – especially given where we were. Wow. Sunrise and sunset were pretty damn good, along with the stacks and coastal features (can you tell I study Geography?).
We’d been going at our ow
n pace, but was sick to meet the others for a
n Anzac beach bonfire, and some classic roadtrip dinner – some of the communal cooking looked a little questionable, mind. The red moon was incredible, though. I could’ve stared at that (and the amazing view of the stars) all night, but it did start to chill off pretty quickly, so wound up packing up after dinner and packing everyone into the van before going to our
campground for the night, by Beauchamp falls, to allow for a morning hike the next day before getting on the road once again. First day impressions? Incredible.
Day two: incredible (obviously). We kicked off with the hike to the falls in the woods, which was a heaps nice start to the morning. Who doesn’t love chasing waterfalls?
We also saw some trees that fit together like Tetris pieces, which was pretty cool. Not as cool as the waterfall itself, but still.
So, dirt road and hairpins down, we were back along the GOR, with a sea lookout setting the backdrop for breakfast, and a stop to check out what Princetown had to offer too. Bit of a contrast actually, it’s not exactly along the coast, but the river meanders were cool. As views go, it still has some rather good ones.
Meandering along into Princetown
Thing is though, we were there for the coastal views, and so, Gibson’s steps were a major plus. The coastal views were back, and better than ever. Not only were the sea and the landform stacks – along with the cliffs beautiful, but being able to go down onto the beach really put a sense of scale on things. Being that close was incredible – despite how small and humble (and kind of insignificant) I felt. One of my favourite parts of the trip, without a doubt.
Just up from here was the main event – the 12 Apostles, or what’s left of them. Though you can’t get as close as at Gibsons steps, the experience was out of this world. Had to throw some selfies in there, but I can’t describe how fantastic it was to see. Breathtaking. Not sure how else I can sum it up, so that’ll have to do: I’m so lucky to have experienced it.
As we continued along the road, there was no letup in amazing views. Loch Ard Gorge was special without a doubt – plenty of cool stalactites, and the Island Archway wasn’t too shabby either.
The Razorback was so packed with beautiful features, though – I was in awe of it.
Still, we had to move on at some point. The car was only ours for a while, and so having stopped at Port Campbell for lunch (following the exposed stop at the cliffs), we hit up the road once again. One thing I will say, though, is standing out right on the cliffs definitely makes you appreciate the power of the sea. If nothing else does, that’ll make you feel alive.
Lunch on the beach was nice despite the seagulls, giving time to think about the unbelievable day so far, but also the pace at which you can go from forested to arid land. Oh, and how good the coast was – the day just kept getting better, the memories will stay without a doubt. They’ve lasted until now, and that doesn’t feel like it’ll change.
There was time to experience and appreciate a couple of the smaller things: I had a swim and then a full blown shower at the beach. Clean, sunny and relaxed. The. Dream. Kind of what I associate with my time abroad really. I didn’t have a worry in the world.
So from here it was on to a golden arch that is undoubtedly better than McDonalds, and then to London Bridge – which, true to the name, fell down in 1990 and left people stranded out there. While everyone was safe, it does make you (at least me) think about coastal erosion somewhat.
Nothing from the day quite prepared me for how I felt pulling up at the Bay of Martyrs, though. Stopping the car gave me probably the most spectacular look at the bay I’d seen. It was the first time I’d been legitimately speechless all day, and all my life I think. At least at other points I’d been able to say ‘wow that’s sick’ or ‘look at how that rock has eroded.’ Here, I just gaped in awe – I could’ve happily sat there all day, night, until now (probably). Maybe it was the sun reflecting off the water, being able to see such an impressive coastline and landforms, but I feel I can’t really describe how I felt and I just hope a picture (or two) can really paint a thousand words.
The beach there was something else, too. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get a second perspective on it: it was amazing, but we then headed to the Bay of Islands. Probably the more famous actually, but my pick was the Bay of Martyrs.
Either way, both were utterly class – and with the sun setting very brightly, photos were mixed, but the view itself was unreal. Childers Cove was our sundown spot, where we once again chilled on the beach and met back up with the others. Sunset wasn’t quite as we’d hoped, given the lie of the land, but the Cove itself was cool as. Can’t quite believe how many sick parts the road had.
So, the Great Ocean Road actually ends in Warrambool (unfortunately) – though our trip didn’t. The town itself had some sick murals, just to cap off the incredible experience. Seeing really was believing. There’s a reason it’s dubbed one of the best Australian roadtrips, you know.
Great Ocean Road? Completed it mate.