17th – 18th December 2016
Last weekend I was lucky enough to tick something pretty huge off of my bucket list – The Great Ocean Road, one of the worlds most scenic coastal drives stretching 243 kilometers along the south eastern coast of Australia from Torquay to Allansford.
Our first stop was Geelong for a quick trip to the shops to stock up on snacks and drinks for the campsite that evening. From here we made our way onto the GOR through Torquay and into Anglesea where we stopped for lunch by a gorgeous little inlet of water.
Just down the road from Anglesea is Aireys Inlet, a popular place to stop to see the Split Point Lighthouse which was constructed back in 1891. We parked down at the entrance and made the 10 minute walk along the coast up to the lighthouse, it was pretty spectacular. I could have spent all day here but with so much ground to cover it was back to the car and onto our next stop Lorne.
Lorne is a seaside town set between Loutit Bay and the Otway National Park where the bush meets the beach. We spent a short while in Lorne on the beach and then walked up into the town for a drink when it suddenly clouded over and started pouring with rain…we all ended up running back to the car and got soaked!
With the weather constantly changing and given the fact we had already covered around 150 kilometers we decided we would head to the campsite for the night. Being cheap ass backpackers when planning our trip we had found a free campsite ‘Beauchamp Falls’ not far off the GOR out in the Great Otway National Park. The section of road after Lorne was absolutely spectacular, with the road hugging the cliff we weaved our way along the coastline for another hour or so before turning off just before Apollo Bay to make our way to the campsite. Now, on the map the campsite really didn’t look that far but we hadn’t realised that the road literally turned to dirt and gravel so for the next hour or so we slowly winded further and further into the middle of nowhere.
When we arrived me, James & Jean set too putting up the tents whilst Dan & Semih went out collecting firewood. We had kind of come unprepared – we had food but no way of cooking it, luckily the campsite lets you have an open fire so the next step was to actually make one which as you can probably guess wasn’t so easy…because it had been raining everything was damp so nothing was catching alight. Many attempts later (and I mean many) and one can of deodorant we had ourselves a blow torch thus a lovely little fire!
What started off as a bit of a disaster turned out to genuinely be one of the most incredible nights. With no cell phone coverage and cut off from all civilisation we spent the evening eating, drinking wine and dancing round the fire. It was so nice to get away from the city and all the comforts of our apartment and to just get back to basics.
The next morning we were up bright and early ready to take on the next part of the GOR down to Port Campbell and for me the highlight of the trip, the 12 Apostles. We arrived in Port Campbell, a cosy little coastal town with a population of about 600 around lunchtime and headed straight for the fish and chips shop. After filling our bellies we headed down to the beach to soak up the sunshine.
Finally it was time to head to what is arguably the most famous point of the GOR, the 12 Apostles. Before seeing the apostles we decided to check out Gibson Steps where you can see the two offshore stacks named Gog and Magog from both a viewing platform and beach level. Although they are not considered part of the 12 apostles they are still amazing in their own right and once down on the beach you really appreciate the enormity of the towering cliff line and stacks.
We headed back to the car and drove the short distance up to the 12 apostles car park where we followed the 600m track down to the apostles themselves. Nothing and I mean nothing could prepare me for what I was about to encounter – I have seen many many photos of the apostles but standing there seeing them with my own eyes was breathtaking.
From the apostles we made the long journey back along the GOR to Melbourne stopping at Apollo Bay for a short while as we didn’t get the chance on the way down and finally made it back into the city late Sunday evening.
The Great Ocean Road was every bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be and it was an incredible finish to an amazing year.