On one of our last weekends in Melbourne we were lucky to borrow a car from David’s relative and take a 3 day weekend trip to the Great Ocean Road & the Grampians! I had done a day tour of the GOR 2.5 years ago but David hadn’t been so we made the most of having the car & headed off for a weekend out of the city. We left the city Friday morning and drove out of the city past Geelong and along the coast, stopping every 5 minutes at the numerous viewing points along the way! Our first stop was the town of Torquay which is home to alot of surf shops and the nearby Bells Beach where the Ripcurl Prosurf competitions take place each year.
We then carried on driving along the coast, stopping at Aireys Inlet where we took a walk up to Split Point Lighthouse otherwise known as the lighthouse from the TV programme ‘Round the Twist’ which we both loved when we were kids. Definitely worth a stop, you can also do a tour of the lighthouse if you have time.
From here we continued onto Lorne, stopping at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch for some photos.
We then stopped outside Lorne to have a picnic by the beach.
The whole way along the GOR you will find turnoffs for numerous waterfalls. We visited Erskine Falls just outside Lorne, which were lovely & worth the detour.
The views along the way are absolutely stunning, the roads are windy but such a beautiful drive and so many beautiful houses too – so easy to see why it is in the Top 10 most scenic drives in the world.
Another stop was Kennett River, where we had been told to stop to see koala bears in the wild & sure enough it didn’t disappoint. When we stopped before we had even got the chance to walk up the hill, there was a koala sitting in the tree. It sat for a while, whilst we took lots of pictures, and then began to climb down the tree and run away.
After Kennett River we continued along the road, and then took a drive out to Otway National Park. The drive there was long and windy yet spectacular as the trees were huge & the park was bigger than we imagined. Unfortunately the Treetop Adventures part of the park, where you can do ziplining and take a Treetop walk, was closed when we arrived! O well there’s always next time 🙂
Another good spot to stop is Otway Lighthouse where you can also see koalas along the way, though we were too late to stop here.
After a day of driving we stopped in Apollo Bay for the night, where we stayed in the YHA hostel. The hostel was very clean & had a rooftop terrace where we sat & ate our homemade bolognese, drank moscato & took a walk along the beach! Beautiful end to a beautiful day!
The next morning we had breakfast in the hostel & off we went on the road again towards the famous ‘Twelve Apostles,’ off which there are only 6 left. We stopped along the way at Gibson Steps, where we went down onto the beach & had beautiful views of the remaining Apostles.
Our next stop was the viewing point and visitor centre for the Apostles. Here you can take a helicopter flight over the Apostles, which I highly recommend after doing it on my last trip to Australia. It really is a beautiful place & David was very impressed.
After the Apostles we made a stop at Loch Ard Gorge which was gorgeous.
Next & one of our final stops near the Apostles was London Bridge.
After this we made our way to Port Campbell, where we stopped and had fish & chips by the water. A nice stop if you have time or you could stay here for the night for easy access to the Apostles.
We then made our way to Port Fairy, stopping at a cheese factory in Warrnambool for David’s favourite – milkshake & to try and see the whales with no luck!
After this we headed towards the Grampians, and it took us around 2.5 hours to arrive in Halls Gap where we stayed on the Saturday night in the YHA hostel. Again as you would expect, the drive was magnificent & didn’t disappoint. David even saw a snake in the road which I missed as I was driving.
After checking into the hostel, we had dinner in a cafe ‘Base Camp’ and along the way stopped at the oval (football pitch) to admire the dozens of kangaroos that were casually grazing! We even got to see a joey in its mama’s pouch! We then returned to the hostel & chilled out for a few hours before retiring to bed after a long day!
On sunday morning we left the hostel at around 9.30am & headed out to find a few of the well-known viewing points in the Grampians. First we visited the Balconies, which is a beautiful viewing point giving views of the ranges & amazing photo opportunities.
We then made our way to McKenzie Falls where we visited the lookout point as opposed to the base of the falls, due to time constraints.
After this we went to Sundial carpark & had a picnic & then took a 4km hike to Sundial peak. It was a hot day but a worthwhile walk to the top.
After this we left the Grampians at around 2pm and drove a few hours to Ballarat where I met up with a friend, with whom I had worked with 6 years ago at Camp America. We had a drink by the lake & a catch-up before making our way back to Melbourne.
We had an amazing weekend away, and would definitely recommend taking the time out to explore the Great Ocean Road & Grampians & I think 3 days was the perfect amount of time! If you are in Australia make sure and do this, don’t take a day tour unless you really have to! You won’t regret it!