Each of our road trips start with either blasting out or belting out (depending on whether we’ve been fortunate enough to get the iPod connected or not) a song called Never Tire of the Road by Andy Irvine. I had never heard of the song or singer before I met a certain someone but now it’s sort of become our road trip thing… and one which never seemed more appropriate than when we were speeding out of Melbourne towards the Great Ocean Road. Mr Irvine melodically proclaims that he will “never tire of the road… never tire of the rolling wheels, never tire of the ways of the world, way out yonder is calling me…”, and we always enthusiastically sing along in agreement. Because it’s true: I don’t think we will ever tire of jumping in the car, driving somewhere new, and seeing what we can see!
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most famous road trips, with people travelling far and wide to get a glimpse of Victoria’s rugged coastline, expansive forests and friendly villages. The region has a lot to offer, making it the perfect destination for families, couples, and friends alike, and for those with or without the luxury of time on their hands. We gave ourselves three days for the round trip from Melbourne to cover just the main sights along the coastline; I’ve heard of people doing it in just one or two days but that seemed far too rushed… with three days we were able to see everything we wanted to and do it at a leisurely pace! If you’re looking for some inspiration to take your own Great Ocean Road adventure, perhaps you’d like to follow our route…
Day One: Melbourne – Torquay – Aireys Inlet – Apollo Bay
The journey out of Melbourne was more straight forward than we thought and once we got on the motorway it was full speed ahead to our first stop, Torquay. We arrived at this cool seaside town just in time for lunch at Fisho’s where we wolfed down their incredibly fresh fish and chips and fish tacos, before getting back on the road to Aireys Inlet. We were here to check out the Split Point Lighthouse and get our first real glimpse of that famous rugged coastline which was made even more spectacular by the strong winds and crashing waves. A quick detour inland was next on the route as we headed towards Erskine Falls, a 30m cascade which is just one of the many waterfalls in the region, before ending our day in Apollo Bay!
Day Two: Apollo Bay – Twelve Apostles – Warnambool
We got back on the road nice and early with the hopes of just beating the busloads of other tourists heading towards the Twelve Apostles and other sights along the way… we didn’t quite avoid them, but thankfully the traffic and crowds were fairly free-flowing at all the main attractions. We started from Gibson Steps but many people just head straight for the Twelve Apostles Visitors’ Centre where you can get the best views from the multiple platforms. While there are only eight of the twelve rock formations left, it is still quite magnificent – their sheer size, formation and surroundings alone were absolutely worth the road trip.
I was already floating on cloud nine but my amazement didn’t stop there… we spent the rest of the afternoon stopping at the other well-known sites such as Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, The Arch, The Grotto and Bay of Islands. They’re all very well signposted, come with parking and well worth a look, so as long as you keep your eyes peeled, you won’t miss them. My favourites were The Grotto, an eerie sinkhole type formation, and the collection of rock towers at Bay of Islands! At the end of our long but eventful day of driving, we treated ourselves to dinner at the Pickled Pig, one of Warnambool’s best restaurants. Come here for a taste of modern Australian cuisine in a cosy and inviting atmosphere!
Day Three: Warnambool – Portland – Melbourne
A lot of people would stop their Great Ocean Road trip here but we decided to start our day with a walk around the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve where we spotted a wallaby, a koala, and plenty of emus, before going a bit further along to Portland. This was another quaint town, but just outside of it lies Cape Bridgewater with its impressive blow holes and Petrified Forest. The blow holes are formed from basalt and scoria purple rock and create some rather violent spurts of seawater when the waves crash against them. They were oddly mesmerising and if it wasn’t blowing a gale, and starting to rain I could have watched them for ages!
A short walk away is the Petrified Forest which is not as scary as it sounds… the name comes from the fact the area looks like a set of fossilised tree trunks, though no one is entirely sure how they came about. Our final stop was going to be a brisk jaunt out to the seal colony but as the rain got heavier and the fog rolled in, the prospect of a 10km hike was quite unappealing so we took that as a sign to call it a day and head back to Portland. The best place to eat in town is definitely Clock by the Bay; we settled into a table by the window with a couple of glasses of wine and beautifully cooked dishes of beef cheek and kangaroo, toasting to the end of our fantastic Great Ocean Road adventure!
Have you visited the Great Ocean Road?
What was your favourite part?
Pin It For Later?