I can’t believe that it’s been 5 months since we came back from our Down Under adventure in Australia!
I’m a little late to the party writing this post on the Great Ocean Road but better late than never!
The rest of the Australia trip can be found here:
- Apollo Bay – this was such a picturesque little town and reminded us of Cornwall or Norfolk with the small town by the sea vibes. There were so many boutique shops I could have spent hours exploring.
- Dinner at The Sandy Feet Cafe – this restaurant was suggested by the owners of the B&B we were staying at and it was so good! They had a selection of Australian bush foods and local seafood which were all very tasty!
- Koala spotting off Kennet River on Grey River Road – I’d suggest getting there early and parking up at bottom of the road and walking up to take your time trying to spot the koalas.
- The drive from Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road – just pulling over and having a look at the view or walking along the many beaches…
- The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie
- Erskine Falls
We got a very early flight from Cairns to Melbourne and picked up our car to drive the Great Ocean Road. We used East Coast Car Rentals as they were the most affordable rental company we could find with ok reviews. As they were quite cheaper than other ones (Hertz etc.) we paid extra for cover. We had to call them when we got to the airport for the shuttle to come and get us so if you’re looking for convenience this might not be one for you. The rental company is based about a 10 mins drive from the airport so not really walkable especially if you have big suitcases. We were then given a car which we walked around with the employee and noted down all the chips etc (there were quite a few!) and then set off. A couple mins into the drive we noticed the exhaust was making a funny noise so went back and changed over cars. We then had to wait another 20 mins for a new car which we then went back around again and noted all the marks/ scratches/ cracks in the windscreen etc. It was a bit of a faff but we eventually got on the road to the Great Ocean Road! The cars were all pretty old models which is probably another factor to take into consideration if you go with East Coast – for us it was fine for a couple days but if we had it for longer might have gone for something a bit more comfortable/ better model.
The Great Ocean Road:
We drove the Great Ocean Road the opposite way to what was suggested so that we could start at The Twelve Apostles and then go to Apollo Bay and have a chilled evening. This meant we could then set off early and have a full day enjoying the rest of the Great Ocean Road. This suited us as we were staying in Apollo Bay and we wanted to have a little explore.
The Twelve Apostles:
It took us about 2 hrs and 45 mins to get to The Twelve Apostles and we couldn’t believe how busy it was! If you want to enjoy the view I’d suggest getting there early or go late to avoid all the crowds… Some people just don’t understand personal space AT ALL… I am not a fan of having my personal bubble invaded by strangers. So we got our pics and walked back to the car. It wasn’t the best first impression of the Great Ocean Road and the next part of the drive didn’t impress us too much either… we naively thought that the Great Ocean Road would all be along the coast but driving from the Twelve Apostles to Apollo Bay didn’t have much ocean road and more forest. We’d been expecting views the whole way like Route 1 on The Big Sur so were a little disappointed. We were more impressed from Apollo Bay and the whole way towards Lorne is Ocean Road so that made up for it!
I can imagine the Twelve Apostles looks amazing at sunrise or sunset and would be more enjoyable with less tourists there so you can properly enjoy the view.
Driving through Apollo Bay we knew we’d love it and it was the perfect stop over for the night. First stop was our B&B. We had originally planned to stay at an AirBnB but they cancelled after we booked which worked out perfect for us because we came across this B&B which was dreamy! It’s called Captains at the Bay and It was a bit of luxury for us – I mean just look at the free standing bath, views, shower – it was all amazing! We also got breakfast included the next morning which was delish!
We would have loved to stay here for longer but there was lots to explore and do!
There’s one main high street in Apollo Bay and our hosts suggested a few different places for us to try for dinner. We ended up settling on The Sandy Feet Cafe and we weren’t disappointed! It had such a chilled vibe (just like you’d expect in Australia!) and the food was so good. We started by sharing some bread which came with different homemade dips (humus, olive spread and a sun dried tomato paste) and some arancini – both were delish and we polished off the lot!
For my main I had the sea food curry while Tim had Kangaroo – again both were amazing and not a single bit was left. We shared a yummy bottle of Aussie wine and had a slow stroll to the beach before walking the short distance back to the B&B.
The shops in Apollo Bay are so quaint and we stumbled across one little shop where we brought the most divine smelling candle – burnt fig. I find that candles are so much more affordable over there so we got a double wick one which came in a lovely glass jar. Every time we burn it, it reminds me of our holiday 🙂
The Great Ocean Road – Day 2 – Apollo Bay to Lorne:
We had an early-ish start so we could fit as much as we could in. Our B&B hosts suggested we started the day with a drive up to Mariner’s Lookout. It’s a short 10 minute hike up a hill from the carpark but the views were worth it over the Bay – the sea, beach and town all below make for a gorgeous view to start the day.
We then jumped back in the car and got on the road to see the Great Ocean Road in all its glory. We were on the road by 8:30 so we could take our time enjoying the views without too many people about.
Along the road there are lots of little laybys to pull into to jump out and enjoy the view. Some we just jumped out the car and admired from there and others we could walk down to a beach to explore. Take your time and enjoy! It was quite misty to begin with but it lifted by lunch time so we could enjoy some sun.
This was our first proper stop on the drive and was a must for us to go and see the koalas! We parked up near the café at the bottom of the road and decided to walk up Grey River Road. We loved trying to spot all the koalas going up and then back down the road. We saw most of them all on the right side of the road as you walk up and not many at all on the left side. I took way too many pics but here are some of my fav 🙂
Our B&B hosts suggested that we stopped off at Erskine Falls if we wanted a little walk and to see a waterfall. We’ll never say no to a waterfall so made sure to stop by. We didn’t end up stopping in Lorne and instead took a left turn in the middle of the town and made our way into the forest. Once we found a parking space, we started descending the many many steps to get to the bottom of the waterfall. It was a pretty waterfall and made for a good photo! The walk back up all the steps wasn’t as enjoyable but we made it back up!
We decided to pull over here as we saw a chicken shop and we were definitely getting hungry! The Hot Chicken Projectjust does chicken (as the name suggests) – Tim had a burger and I had some tenders. Both came with a slice of bread (a bit weird!) fries and a pickle. One thing I couldn’t get over was they didn’t have any ketchup or mayo so I had to suck it up and have it without!
We then grabbed an ice cream and went for a walk along the beach.
This was our final stop on the Great Ocean Road before heading back to Melbourne Airport to drop off our car rental. Again, it was another suggestion from our B&B hosts and was much better than we expected! The place is a massive chocolate shop and they have glass screens to see into where they make all the chocolate. We tried lots of chocolate including some divine ruby chocolate and ended up spending $60 on chocolate! We’re just about to finish a tub of ruby chocolate covered dried raspberries and a pack of ruby chocolate pastilles which are delish! We recently melted down some of these pastilles to dip strawberries into – YUM! If you love chocolate make sure to stop by here!
And that was our 2 days on the Great Ocean Road… it was definitely jam packed but we wouldn’t have changed it – well definitely not the 2nd day! The Great Ocean Road had some amazing views and you can see why you’re told to drive there if you’re in Melbourne – it’s definitely worth the trip if you can! Some of my favourite pictures from the trip are from driving along here. I guess it’s like the Big Sur of California!
I’ll make sure to write up our final bit of our Australian Adventure in Melbourne soon and not make you wait another couple months! Seeing as we won’t be travelling anywhere anytime soon I’m enjoying reliving all our travels and looking back over all the pictures we’ve taken…
Have you been to the Great Ocean Road before? What was your favourite bit?