There’s nothing like a road trip when you go to Australia. When we went to Australia back in 2013 for our honeymoon (& long before I started blogging) we did a LOT of driving and travelled from Sydney up to Brisbane. When we went back in February 2020 we wanted to do part of the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne along to Port Campbell taking in some of the sights along the way. We did a 3 day road trip so only experienced a small part but it was incredible nevertheless.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Lorne
After collecting our hire car, we started the short 2 hour drive from Melbourne to Lorne. It’s about an hour from Melbourne on the highway and then you join the Great Ocean Road. I don’t think either of us really realised that the road literally hugs the coast line and you’re driving right next to the water. There are SO many photo opportunities that we were constantly pulling over to stop and ‘have a look’.
Before we arrived at Lorne, we stopped at Erskin Falls. This was recommend to us by a friend who’d done a similar journey 2 weeks before us. I’m not sure we would have found them otherwise! The first view point is just 5 minutes from the carpark however if you’re up for walking down the 240 steps to the bottom, you’ll get to experience a view of one of the highest drops in the region.
We also stopped off at Teddy’s Lookout which is on the road back into Lorne.
Sadly the weather wasn’t on our side in Lorne. It was very overcast and extremely windy during our 24 hour stay. We stayed at the Mantra Lorne hotel, one of the biggest in the town. Our room was surprisingly large but was quite basic for a 4* hotel. It’s clear that it’s a well used hotel with many people just stopping for one night before heading off on their adventures again.
Day 2 – Lorne to Port Campbell
After a big buffet breakfast, we were packing up the car again ready for the 2 hours drive along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell. Again you stumble across incredible scenery whichever way you turn. We made an executive decision to stop at the half way point in Apollo Bay for refreshments. Yes it was only an hour since we’d left the hotel but you’ve got to soak up these places whilst you’re there haven’t you! We found a lovely little cafe called La Bimba overlooking the sea and whiled away an hour or so just people watching and soaking up the atmosphere.
It was on this part of the journey that we stopped at the 12 Apostles. This has been on my bucket list since I worked in Going Places (who remembers the high street travel agent!). We’d read lots of different advice on when was the best time to go – some say first thing, some say later in the day for golden hour photo opportunities. We ignored all advice and decided to stop as we were passing at lunchtime. If it was too busy then we were going to go back later or the following morning. Miraculously, it wasn’t that busy plus there are so many view points that it’s easy to get ‘the shot’ without anyone getting in the way.
The photos don’t do the incredible scenery any justice at all.
Port Campbell itself is a quiet little seaside village with a handful of local shops and small restaurants. The biggest draw is of course, the beach and the jetty. We found a lovely bar overlooking the beach and water and had a few local beers whilst again, watching the world go by.
Day 3 – Port Campbell to Melbourne
There were a few other places we wanted to visit before we made our way back to Melbourne ready for our flight to Christchurch. When we were in a tiny gift shop, we were told that we really should stop at Peterborough for a coffee. Honestly, there was nothing there at all!!! After a bit of a giggle to ourselves, we stopped London Bridge and The Arch to see more of the sights alone the Great Ocean Road.
This was probably the boring part of the trip – we chose to take the inland road back (the A1) and there isn’t a great deal to see and do! The weather was absolutely torrential rain but given that we were in the car wasn’t so bad. We stopped at very briefly in Colac for a coffee and have a look at Colac lake but all we could see was mist…so no photographs!
We absolutely loved our 3 day road trip. We saw so much of the Great Ocean Road and all that it offers. A wonderful memory that we’ll treasure forever.