A Long Weekend on the Great Ocean Road
Hello, hello and welcome to my first post of 2019. Just an aside – I’m going to try to commit to posting every Sunday now so we’ll see how that goes! I may also post more often – we’ll see. I’m mixing things up a bit today and writing about an adventure I had in Victoria. Although my blog has focused largely on things I’ve done in Queensland, I’ve actually spend most of my time in Australia in Melbourne and it’s time that we talked about it. This particular trip is one that I remember with fondness. It was when I truly fell in love with camping, and at that time it was something I really needed in my life. I had been camping before but in a campervan on a 2 week road trip, but more on that later. This was my first time camping in a tent, though.
It turns out that hostels on the Great Ocean Road are expensive, so Conor suggested that if we camp then we can splash out on going out for food, so I agreed somewhat reluctantly. I’m so glad that I did because I discovered how truly relaxing and enjoyable camping can be. Many people living in Melbourne head to the Great Ocean Road for various amounts of time – some just go for a day out, whilst others spend a couple of weeks driving all the way to Adelaide and back. I did my research and planned an itinerary, and most of it was amazing but there’s still some things that I would have done differently. So I’ll share with you the four day itinerary that I wish we’d done, so that hopefully it will help someone else to plan the perfect trip.
Day 1: Melbourne to Lorne
We had to leave pretty late as we were waiting for some friends to get home from their camping trip so that we could borrow their camping equipment. We left at 1:30pm and this was fine. Around 3pm we arrived at Bells Beach, known for hosting surfing competitions on its impressive waves. It’s definitely worth stopping off at this stunning beach.
Our next stop was Anglesea, only about 10 minutes down the road. We stopped here because we’d heart that it’s a good spot to see kangaroos as they hang out on the golf course there. We did see plenty of roos (through the metal fence), but we got a much better view of plenty of them at our campsite later, so it’s not necessary to stop here.
Next we went on to Lorne, which was about another 45 minutes away. . We stopped in this lovely little town for fish and chips and a wander up the beautiful beach. After that it was time to head to Hammond Road campground. This free campsite is about 10 minutes from the main road, up a washboard track. It is accessible by 2WD but your car won’t necessarily thank you for it. It has drop toilets, fire pits and picnic tables, and space for both tents and cars. We made friend with the other tenters as we all sat around the campfire together, drinking beer and chatting. We were joined by plenty of kangaroos and even spotted a koala in the tree. When we slept we were alarmed and amazed to experience the loud grunting sound that those cute little koalas make.
Day 2: Lorne to Port Campbell
We were both awake uncharacteristically early the following day, so we decided to head back to Lorne for breakfast. I’m glad that we did because the sea and the sand in the early morning sun was just breathtaking. Many things aren’t worth getting up at 6am for, but this truly is.
After brekkie we headed for Apollo Bay, stopping at Kennett River on the way as we’d heard that this was a good place to spot koalas and king parrots. As we slowly drove up the road, we started to notice several koalas high up in the trees, which was amazing. They’re hard to spot at first but once you start to notice them, it gets easier.
When we arrived in Apollo Bay we went to Mariners lookout for some beautiful views, then relaxed in the sun at the beach. I had booked us a boat trip with Apollo Bay fishing & adventure tours at 2pm to see some seals, so we excitedly boarded the boat and set sail. A shipwreck was pointed out to us, before we were taken to where the seals are. It was lovely to relax and watch them all in their natural habitat.
Overall the boat trip was one hour. When we returned to Apollo Bay we pressed on towards the 12 apostles, which took about an hour. After stopping for some obligatory photos we headed for Port Campbell, stopping various other sights on the way.
If you see a sign for somewhere you can stop, it’s always worth it – there were so many beautiful places.
In Port Campbell we enjoyed a chicken parma and scooner of Bulmers, then we went to our campsite. We stayed at Princetown Recreation Reserve, which was $20 per night. However for this price there are flushing toilets, hot showers, and laundry facilities (which obviously we didn’t need). You can also make campfires here.
Day 3: Port Campbell to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve to Great Otway National Park
Our final day began with bacon and eggs for breakfast in Port Campbell, before heading to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, which was about an hour away. We parked the car and went for a walk around. We saw some Aussie wildlife including emus and a little echidna, and we walked up to a stunning lookout.
This place is definitely worth stopping at. We went onwards to Port Fairy and also visited Koroit, an Irish style town, however neither of these things are must-sees. We realised that there wasn’t much in Port Fairy, so we decided to start making our way back towards Melbourne so that there would be less distance to cover the next day.
There are plenty of places to camp in Great Otway national park, all costing $29.80, which needs to be paid online before you arrive. We chose Aire River West as it looked nice and allowed campfires in the fire pits. We enjoyed watching koalas in the trees around our site. This is a basic campsite with only drop toilets and no other facilities and no phone reception, but it’s lovely.
All good things must come to an end! We stopped for breakfast in Anglesea as we had just loved it there the first time. We were both quite sad that such a lovely trip was coming to an end, so we decided to start planning our next camping trip to the Grampians as soon as we got home. But that’s a story for another time.
If you’re considering doing this trip yourself, I have to say it’s definitely worth it. I hope my post can help you to plan the perfect road trip.