Road Trip! Great Ocean Road and The Grampians
The Great Ocean Road
Perhaps the most famous road trip in all of Australia is the 244 km stretch of highway running along the Victorian coastline from Anglesea to Allansford known as the Great Ocean Road. This drive produces some of the most jaw-dropping ocean views you’ll ever see as golden limestone rock juts out of stunning blue waters with the highlight for many being the world famous 12 Apostles.
With about five nights/six days off from work, we decided on splitting our time pretty much equally between sightseeing along the Great Ocean Road and then shoot up north to the mountains of Grampian National Park; known for its ancient indigenous artwork and stunning mountain terrain.
Up first was Bells Beach, a world famous surfing location located just after Torquay. What a very Aussie way to start our trip as we sat on the beach sipping coffees while watching in awe as one surfer after another tackled absolutely massive waves. As if that wasn’t a great enough start to our road trip, on the way back to our car an echidna, one of Australia’s oddest looking animals, sauntered right past us!
First Night of Camping
We decided on camping at a spot just outside the beautiful beach side town of Lorne on our first night which as it turned out, wasn’t great. We booked our two nights of camping, the first outside of Lorne, the second in Otway National Park, about a week before we left. Seeing as it was the busy season we were very fortunate to get the last spot at both campgrounds. Now in saying this, we ended up sleeping in our rental car that night because our camping spot was on such a hard pice of ground that I would have had trouble spiking down our tent even if I had Thor doing it for me. With the wind blowing through the site with all of Zeus’s fury (I’ve been watching way too much Vikings) there was no way we could’ve slept in our tent without being blown into the ocean.
So we had two options, the first was to risk getting a massive fine from a park warden by pitching our tent by the side of the road or the other was to sleep in our car. Who knew that Hyundai’s came with such ergonomic seats?
The next morning we pulled into the tiny little town of Kennett River which is famous for one thing…koalas! Although we’d seen plenty while housesitting in the Adelaide Hills we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see these furry little bastards again. Although we do recommend coming here if you absolutely want to see a koala, I wouldn’t come here otherwise. There were tour buses full of tourists at the site and it felt more like a zoo than anything else. Add to this, we were a bit put off by the $6 price tag for a long black!
Otway National Park
After trekking a bit of the sprawling Otway National Park we pulled up to our campground for the night and were pleasantly surprised. It was tucked away on a spacious bit of land right by a river and surrounded by the ancient forests of Otway. Overhead huge flocks of cockatoos made their presence known as they circled the site. Best of all, our site had a soft patch of grass so we could pitch our tent!
A little after setting up camp we started toward the bathrooms and all of sudden Alyse stopped me mid stride and said look up. A few feet above my head a koala was enjoying a bit of lunch.
That night we were awoken by the sounds of what we thought was a sort of man bear pig and were quite ready to open a can of whoop ass/run to our Hyundai when we realized it was just the same male koala looking for a booty call. As cute as they are, they sound terrible when they are horny. Although, in saying that has anyone listened to what guys sound like around 3 am at a nightclub when the lights turn on and desperation is setting in?
The 12 Apostles, The Arch, Loch Ard Gorge & The London Bridge
The final stretch of the Great Ocean Road is by far the most stunning. With jagged limestone stacks, beautifully formed tunnels and seemingly endless electric blue waters, it really does take your breath away.
Beginning with the 12 Apostles which is the Great Ocean Road’s main attraction, the astonishing natural limestone formations come one after another as you make your way west. When the sun is shining down on the limestone rocks and ocean water, the landscape feels positively electrified and because of this there may no landscape more beautiful in all of Australia.
After reaching Warrnambool we drove north to Grampian National Park which is known as being the best place in Southeast Australia for indigenous artwork. On top of this, the series of marvellous sandstone mountains, waterfalls and rich wildlife, made it the best travel surprise we have had in Oz.
Speaking of wildlife…
Our entry into the park was shocking to say the least. As we drove toward of our campsite we noticed that the sides of the road were littered with roadkill. Dead wallabies and emus could be seen everywhere and as the sun began to sink we began to see dozens of wallabies amongst the trees. Alyse was officially on wallaby watch. As I puttered along I began seeing wallabies hopping in every direction and before I knew what had happened a wallaby jumped out of the bush and directly under our car. As I slammed on the brakes I realized it was too late and the poor bastard had already come out the other side.
I hadn’t been in the Grampians for more than an hour and I had already run over an Aussie icon. I got out of the car to make sure that it wasn’t suffering and as if I wasn’t already feeling terrible enough, I looked back over to the woods where he jumped out and noticed his best friend staring at me…
First Day – The Balconies, Boroka Lookout & Mackenzie Falls
The next day as we began driving around The Grampians we quickly realized that we had made the right choice by coming up here as the place was absolutely gorgeous. The sandstone mountain peaks which seem to just come out of nowhere in the Victorian bushland provide stunning views of the forests, lakes and olive plantations below. Mackenzie Falls, found in the park’s dead centre was phenomenally beautiful and if we had more time we would have loved to have done the trek from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the falls.
We were blown away during our first day of exploring and as we reflected on it we came to the realization that the second half of the trip may actually be better than the first!
Something we found interesting was the fact that this site is one of the best places in South Australia to see well preserved indigenous artwork but when we stopped off at the different sites to marvel at them we found ourselves to be the only ones there. Some of the motifs are estimated to be anywhere from 2000 to 5000 years old which as a part of a country’s heritage should be regarded with more importance in our opinions. We’ve learned that some of the Aboriginals in Australia may have arrived at least 40,000 years ago, making them one of the oldest known civilizations on earth.
Our Last Day – Trekking The Pinnacle
For some reason we decided that on our last day we would trek the two hours to the top of a mountain known as ‘the Pinnacle’ in 42 degree heat. There are many points where you are walking on jagged rock with absolutely no protection from the blazing 42 degree sun where you think to yourself “Why am I doing this?”.
But let’s not kid ourselves…the double scoop waffle cone at the bottom was what made it worthwhile. O sweet Jesus it was amazing.
Although we were exhausted as we drove back to Melbourne later that day we were thrilled with all we had seen and done over the past 6 days. We couldn’t recommend the Great Ocean Road and Grampians more.
As always, if you have any questions about our trip feel free to leave us a message and if you’ve done this trip yourself let us know what you thought.
Thanks guys, please like and share this if you enjoyed!
Ross & Alyse