Tips and tricks for traveling The Great Ocean Road
Driving the Great Ocean Road had always been on my bucket list. Even though I’m not a big fan of driving, The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives in the world, so I was in! I had originally picture driving in a convertible with the top down, the wind blowing my hair, and a scarf wrapped around my head with music blast. However, I was definitely not to rent a car and drive on the opposite side of the road by myself after attempting to survive my first day of jet lag.
With little time I was spending in Melbourne, I decided on a guided tour. The tour range from a day trip to about 3 days to see the whole highway route. You can see everything in a day so depending on your preference it’s definitely doable. I secured a spot with Sightseeing Tours Australia. While I was researching most of the tors had the same itinerary. I choose to go with the one that was picking up and dropping off right from my hotel.
I was picked up at around 7 am by a mini luxury van, and the tour ranged from families to singles to couples. We drove about an hour to a small little town of Colac. The van pulled up to the park and our tour guide provided us with tea, coffee, and biscuits before we started our day. We were able to get out and stretch out our legs and take a bathroom break (public bathroom at the end of the park). There’s also a little bakery if you’re looking to pick up a treat.
From there we hopped back in the van to Loch Ard Gorge. The breathtaking location of the famous shipwreck, Loch Ard. The national park is a few minutes down the road from the Twelve Apostle. The park has three different paths each with its own viewpoints. Razorback and Island Archway looks out onto the rock stack called “Razorback.” “The Wreck,” is the site of the actual Loch Ard ship crash. The final path takes you down a flight of stairs to the beach where the two remaining survivors from the crash were washed up on shore. The tour gave us enough time to check out all three of the viewpoints each was no more than 1200 meters from the entrance.
We continue down on our journey the Twelve Apostle Park where you can view the famous landmark. The main entrance of the park is a gift shop housed with souvenirs, food, drink, and a public restroom. It’s also the main point to walk through to get into the national park. Similar to Loch Ard Gorge, there are different vantage points to check out the Apostles. The park is usually the most crowded area of the tour. Not only are there other tours visiting the park, but other tourists that are driving along the Great Ocean Road. People come near and far to check it out. There was also the pitstop where our tour provided us lunch.
An hour later, we headed back into the van to head to Melba Gully State Park. This is the home of the Anne Cascade Waterfall. A lovely relaxing hike into the forest to take a glance at the cascade. As pretty as it is, there’s not much to see or do here. There was enough time to follow the paved path down to the water and to turn around to come back.
Following the pitstop, we drove to the town of Apollo Bay. A nice beach town to dip your toes in the sand, pick up another Great Ocean Road souvenir, and get a bite of ice cream at the famous Dooley’s. Don’t skip out on a refreshing cone. Dooley’s flavors range from classic chocolate to black truffle, vegemite, and sorbet. This beach town is one of the more crowded ones on our tour. However, it was a nice stopover town for a quick break from driving.
The final stop on my Great Ocean Road tour was Kennett River, home of the Great Ocean Road sign. While most tours start here our driver decided to end here. There is a great view of the ocean here. The photo opportunity to get yourself under the sign is a must, but it is quite a challenge. There is a copious amount of people and cars that are driving through the spot. Don’t worry! There are stands off the side of the road to capture a picture without being in the middle of the road.
My adventure on the Great Ocean Road was a nice check off the bucket list. I think if I had more time, I would have rented a car. The reason being is that I would be able to check it out on my own time. I would have taken the time to have my own adventure at a leisurely pace.