I have got behind with my blogs, so I thought it was a good idea to share teh writing with my sister Leah. This next blog was written by her. I will add my bit to the end.
Thursday 19th August Ruth, Paul and myself took to the road to see the Great Ocean Road. Before leaving on my trip around the world I had never heard of it, but while I was up in the Daintree north of Cairns I met a lady from Melbourne who told me about it. That’s the beauty of meeting new people from around the world, you get to hear about new places to discover. I’m so glad I heard about the Ocean Rd, it was amazing. We hired a car for the trip as there is no other way of getting there and we wanted to stop lots along the way.
We probably could have spent a few days along the Great Ocean Rd exploring the area, as there are lots of walks and areas to see inland from the ocean, but we decided to do as much of it in one day. Our main aim was to make it to the 12 Apostles as this is one of the main sites along the way.
Ocean Road is recognised as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road follows the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west. Stretching 243 kilometres from Torquay, just south of Geelong, to Allansford, just east of Warrnambool, the road winds along cliff tops, up to breathtaking headlands, down onto the edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through lush rainforests offering panoramic views of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean at every turn.
Building the Great Ocean Road
The road was built after World War I by returned servicemen and stands as a memorial to those who served in the 1914 – 1918 war. What an amazing memorial to those who served their country. Not only does it make Victoria’s Southwest coastline accessible, but the views you get to see along the way are breath taking.
We started out just after 6am so we could get to the beginning by sunrise. We have been staying in Seaford which is on the other side of the bay. So we had to make our way up to the city and around the bay before we could even start our trip.
The first stop on our journey was Geelong. This isn’t technically part of the Great Ocean Road, but a nice place all the same, so we stopped on the seafront before heading to Torquey.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our road trip. Although it is winter here in Australia at the moment, until I came down to Melbourne I hadn’t been too cold. Both Cairns and Brisbane have quite mild winters with day time temperatures getting into their 20’s. It could be seen as a very good British summer. However Melbourne isn’t quite the same and I’m told that they are having the wettest/coldest winter in 10 years! Typical! But the sun was shining and was even warm enough for Ruth to take off her jacket and just have her t-shirt on. And as it is winter we didn’t have to deal with the crowds of other tourist that you might get at other times of the year.
This first stop on the road is Torquay, this is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. We stopped here briefly to take a few photos before heading on our way. We didn’t really have any plan about where we were going to stop or when, we just took it as it came. As long as we made it to the 12 Apostles before sun set I was happy As I was driving, which I didn’t mind doing, I kept asking if there was anything I was missing out on behind or to the side of us. I had to keep reminding myself to keep my eyes on the Road and not on the scenery. It was so beautiful, it was hard to sometimes. But the road is by no means straight, so I had to focus.
The Great Ocean Road offers some of Victoria’s most stunning views of the Southern Ocean from lighthouses, lookouts and viewing platforms. Discover the famous Twelve Apostles, rugged cliffs, picture-perfect sandy beaches, islands and ancient forests from some of the best places to stop and savour the panoramic vistas.
Below is listed some of the lookouts and sites to see along the road. We didn’t stop at all of them and once we got to the 12 Apostles we turned back along the inland rd as the sun had gone down.
Torquay to Lorne
- Bells Beach
Ocean and beach views from lookout platforms at Bells Beach Surfing Reserve. Access from Torquay via Bells Boulevard, or the Great Ocean Road.
Impressive ocean, beach and sandstone cliff views toward Bells Beach and Anglesea. Point Addis Road, off the Great Ocean Road, between Torquay and Anglesea.
Breathtaking coastal views from elevated memorial lookout. Just up from the Great Ocean Road, via Harvey Street.
- Aireys Inlet
Drive or walk up to Split Point lighthouse. Ocean views over Eagle and Table rocks. There is another lookout at the end of Boundary Road, off the Great Ocean Road.
- Cinema Point
Spectacular views back towards Eastern View, Fairhaven and Aireys Inlet from one of the road’s highest vantage points. There is a signposted turnout on the Great Ocean Road about 8 kilometres west of Aireys Inlet.
Teddy’s Lookout is one of the best along the road. It provides stunning vistas from its platform high above the coast where the St George River empties into a small cove. Off the Great Ocean Road, at the end of George Street, it is a short walk through the bush from the car park.
Lorne to Moonlight Head
- Mt Defiance
Panoramic ocean views toward Artillery Rocks. Turn out just off the Great Ocean Road, between Lorne and Wye River.
- Cape Patton Lookout
Spectacular views east towards Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek. Off the Great Ocean Road, east of Apollo Bay
Marriners lookout is a five-minute fairly steep walk from the car park, but it’s well worth the effort for its panoramic views of Apollo Bay and far out to sea. Drive a few minutes north from Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, there’s a turn-off to Marriners Lookout Road.
- Cape Otway Lightstation
Built in 1848, the lighthouse stands 91 metres above the ocean. Built to guide ships safely through the narrow Bass Straight entrance, the tower now offers spectacular views of the rugged Otway coast. Located 20 minutes west of Apollo Bay. Entry fee applies.
- The Gable
The Gable lookout has magnificent views to the Moonlight Head. It is a short walk to the lookout platform, which seems to hang off the top of the cliff 70 metres above the waves. Turn off onto Moonlight Head Road after Wattle Hill.
Moonlight Head to Port Fairy
- Twelve Apostles
Parks Victoria has created boardwalks, tracks, and viewing areas to ensure you get the best views of these spectacular rock stacks. Off the Great Ocean Road east of Port Campbell, there are also staircases to the beach at nearby Gibson Steps and Loch Ard Gorge.
- Bay of Martyrs car park
At the outskirts of Peterborough, just off the Great Ocean Road, is this ideal place to see the stunning rock stacks of the Bay of Islands. They are particularly beautiful at sunset when the islands and Massacre Point are backlit by the sun.
- Bay of Islands car park
Just west of Peterborough, off the Great Ocean Road, the Bay of Islands car park provides excellent views of this remarkable group of islands.
Outside Apollo Bay the road winds through the centre of the Great Otway National Park with its beautiful untouched rainforests, before returning to hug the coast for the entire length of the Port Campbell National Park. This is the most famous section of the Great Ocean Road featuring an amazing collection of rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles which have been carved out of the headland by the fierce waves of the southern ocean.
It was beginning to get late and we still had a short way to go before we would reach the 12 Apostles, so we decided we couldn’t make any more stops so we would make it before the sun set. As we were driving along the sun was beaming through the clouds and being the fanatical amateur photographer that I am I couldn’t resist stopping to take a photo, but I knew we weren’t far so thought it would be OK. I guessed we would make the 12 apostles by sun set and maybe this would turn out to be even more beautiful than seeing it in the middle of the day. But as you can see from the photo to the left there is no colourful skies that you usually get with a beautiful sunset. After I stopped to take a photo of the sunset and the closer we got to the coast the winds began to pick up and then the rain started to come down thick and hard. When we stooped at the 12 apostles lookout the rain was coming down so hard and the wind blowing so fast we were almost being blown over trying to take photos. But we had driven too far to not see this beautiful site.
So what had started out as a beautiful day ended up in a storm with strong winds. But it was an amazing day, I’m so glad I got to drive along the Great Ocean Road!
This really was a great drive. We loved every bit of it. It was just so nice to have the car and be able to stop when we wanted. A lot of people reccomended this drive to us and now we can see why.
We will write more about our time in Melbourne soon
Ruth and Paul