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7 Day road trip down the Great Ocean Road

Day 1:

Starting of the trip from my house, we headed straight for the Great Ocean Road. We knew it would take us several hours to get to where we were staying for the night, so we planned ahead and left earlier than we needed. We knew there would be a lot of stops along the way, and we both wanted to try and see as much as we could.

Our very first stop was at a small town by the name of Aireys Inlet. The main reason we stopped at this town was for its lighthouse. It was quite gorgeous, and it also was quite popular with other tourists. It also happened to be one that I wanted to visit again after being there many years previous.

We made our way further along toward our destination after spending a nice amount of time taking in the sights. At the proper beginning of the Great Ocean Road was the Memorial Arch. It was a fantastic arch that had been rebuilt four times throughout history. It was first built sometime in the early 1900s, and due to fire damage and widening the road, among other things, it was rebuilt.

We stopped off at Lorne for lunch, but before we decided on what to eat, we did a little bit of walking around the town and did a little bit of shopping. After the shopping, we had to get some food. The Asian Tuckshop was where we finally decided to get some food.

Along the way, we stopped off at a waterfall that we had previously heard about. Carisbrook Falls, it was called. It was well worth the short 15 minutes walk it took us to reach the lookout. Since it had been training a decent amount the days previous and a little on the day, the waterfall was flowing with an exceedingly large amount of water.

Before making it to the township of Apollo Bay, we decided to go up to a lookout point above the town. We only knew about this one because in the days previous, I had been looking on google maps for things to do around Apollo Bay, and this lookout caught my eye. The view gave a perfect view of the whole town, although the only thing detracting from the view was the severe wind. Trying to take photos and videos of the view in the icy wind was a nightmare, but we succeeded, but we were thrilled to return to the nice warm car.

After a short drive back into town, we made it to our accommodation in Apollo Bay. Here we would be spending two nights.

Day: 2

Today we only had a small amount planned, but the drive to each location was expected to take us a little while.

Hopetoun Falls was the first of our two stops on the list. Both my girlfriend and I had seen these waterfalls featured on our TikTok FYP’s and just knew that we couldn’t go down the Great Ocean Road without having checked it out ourselves.

The walk down was rather steep, with quite a few steps to reach the bottom. As we got to the bottom of the steps, we realised it was quite cold, as the waterfall spray went far and wide in the valley. It was deafening as the massive amounts of water rushed over the falls.

Only a short drive from the Hopetoun Falls was our other stop for the day, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures. We decided against doing the ziplining for two reasons. One being that my back was quite sore, and we didn’t want to exacerbate it, and two, it was raining steadily for a good portion of the day. We decided that it would be best to leave that for another day when I wasn’t injured and when it wasn’t raining either.

Although we didn’t participate in doing the zipline, we did take part in the treetop walk. The Otway Fly Treetop Walk is the highest & longest treetop walkway of its type in the world. So, of course, we had to check it out.

I wasn’t too fond of certain sections of the walk, the tower that we went up and one of the lookouts. I am not fond of those when there is wind, and they are wobbling slightly. It gave me the jitters, but I survived the ordeal.

That was all that we decided to do for the day as it was a decent drive to and from the Hopetoun Falls and Otway Fly, so we headed back and decided to treat ourselves to getting dinner at a nice restaurant.

Day 3:

We said farewell to our accommodation in Apollo Bay and continued our road trip down the Great Ocean Road.

Our first stop along the way to our next destination was Maits Rest. This was a small boardwalk through the rainforest where you could get up close and personal with nature whilst not damaging any wildlife or fauna.

I was quite looking forward to seeing the next stop on our drive, the Otway Lightstation. But sadly, due to COVID, it was closed, and we couldn’t see it from close up. The best that we could do was walk down a path and see it from a few kilometres away. Although it was still nice to actually see the lighthouse, it wasn’t the same as seeing it from up close. But one thing for sure was that the view of the coastline along our walk was amazing and we were more than happy to get those views.

We made a quick stop at one of the small towns for some food for lunch, and we tried not to dawdle too much as we wanted to get to continue to stop off at as many sights as we could.

The Castle Cove Lookout was on the side of the road not too far out of the Otway National Park. We had driven past it the day before and hadn’t realised it was an actual lookout until it was too late to stop. When driving past it this time, we made sure to note where it was so that we could stop.

The Great Ocean Road has so many little viewpoints that give views of picturesque locations that if we were to stop at them, all our days would drain away so quickly. We had to pick and choose which ones we wanted to see and which ones we could afford to view the next time we came down.

Along the way, we decided to check out The Gables. It definitely felt off the beaten track as we had to drive down a nice and windy dirt road to get to the car park. I had only known about this one by scouring google maps and thought it was worth checking out. As it so happened, it was worth the drive, and the best thing was we were the only ones there to look at it so we could take out time.

The location my girlfriend and I were looking forward to seeing were The 12 Apostles. I had never seen them before, and I wanted to be able to see them before any more of them collapsed. For those who might ask why they are collapsing, the simple answer would be that the ocean waves are causing erosion of the sandstone rock formation, which we call the 12 Apostles. The erosion is slow and steady, taking a long time to have any effect, but in the end, mother nature always wins.

At current they Parks Victoria states that there are 7 out of the 12 Apostles remaining, and there’s no telling how long these few will last. If anyone is interested in these amazing spectacles of nature, then it would be best to check them out as soon as possible before the chance disappears.

At first, I wasn’t expecting too much from Loch Ard Gorge; previously, I hadn’t actually heard too much about it. Or I might have, and that piece of knowledge was lost in the recesses of my mind, but I digress. I was more than happy to find that there was a whole lot more to this gorge than met the eye.

All in all, there were at least four different walks that we could have taken to view several different areas. One being, of course, Loch Ard Gorge itself. There is the Razorback, The Thunder Cave, Mutton Bird Island lookout, to name a few others. Each of these is a significant walk in the area; however, these tracks had several minor ones branching off of them for you to explore,

We really wished to spend more time here as there were just so many different walks that we could have done. We tried packing as much as we could in a short period of time but still couldn’t see everything. It was getting close to the time we needed to check into our accommodation.

It was only a short drive from Loch Ard Gorge to our accommodation in Port Cambell. After checking in, we went for a walk down the main strip of town to get some food from the supermarket and take in the sights. Overall, the town is rather cute and perfectly fits the idea of what a port town should look like.

Day 4:

Today we had to get up early because we wanted to get an excellent start to the day. We wanted to check out the port in the daytime and walk along the pier since we could not, given the sun was starting to set when we arrived the day before. We had to make sure we knew exactly where to stand because now and then, a large wave would come along and splash certain sections of the pier walkway. Luckily neither of us got wet, but it would have been a funny sight if we did.

We said our goodbyes to the small port town of Port Cambell and headed on our way to Warnambool. We didn’t have a lot of time to stop off at different places because we had to drive a decent way and wanted to check out a few things closer to Warnambool.

We made two close stops along the way to Warrnambool, and that was to check out London Bridge and the Arch. London Bridge is the more well known of these two, but they both were equally amazing to see in person.

The Great Ocean Road formally finishes just short of Warrnambool in a small town called Allansford, but we continued on past this point for another few days.

The first thing we did in the city of Warrnambool was to check out the whale watching platform to see if there were any whales to be seen. There were quite a few other people like us trying to spot any whales, but sadly we couldn’t see any this time. It would have been amazing if we could have.

We skipped past Warrnambool to check out the small town of Port Fairy, which we were very excited about as we had heard plenty of good things from our friends. Our first stop was at Bunker Hill, a fortified section near one of the inlets that would have been used to defend the town should it need it. Military history like this always has a way of exciting me, so of course, this was a location we had to see.

Next to bunker hill was the entranceway for the port/river where the small sailing boats would enter. It also happened to have many docks and holiday houses lining each side of it

The whole town was filled with old stone buildings; each of the main roads was lined with these old cobblestone buildings, many of which were from when the town was created. I have always loved visiting little towns like this where you can actually see the history with your own eyes.

We spent a reasonable amount of time walking through the town and exploring each part, but we needed to return to Warnambool as we still wanted to see a few things there. The main thing had to be the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. The Maritime Village is a historic port village that is set on 10 hectares; it features costumed interpreters, shipwreck artifacts & vessels. This was one of the locations we were most looking forward to in Warrnambool, and we were lucky enough to get in when there weren’t very many people. We could spend as much time looking at all the different areas as we wanted to.

Day 5:

Today we left Warnambool and headed further west to Portland. This was the furthest point that we were going to reach on our trip. Before searching for information about our trip, I had never heard of Portland before, and given how much of a history nerd I am, I was a tad disappointed in myself given the town rich history.

We drove through Port Fairy once again and said hello to all of the old stone buildings but kept going on our way, so much to see and so little time we kept thinking to ourselves.

The drive to Portland took a little over an hour to get there, but we could get there with plenty of time to spend in the town. Our first stop was at the Portland Cable Trams Depot Museum, where we could ride on one of the replica cable cars that went around the town. It travelled along the town’s port; from the carriage, we could get the best view of the entire township and the port itself. It finished at a lookout point where we got a good view of a massive coastline section and then headed back along the same route to the museum.

The next stop on our list was Portland Maritime Discovery Centre, where they had a skeleton of a 14-metre Sperm Whale. This was the main reason I wanted to go there, to see this skeleton up close and personal, but we stayed to view all of the maritime histories in the museum.

After driving more around the town and checking out all the old buildings, we headed west away from the town to the Petrified Forests site. To the unsuspecting person, the entire area looks like it was once a forest and, over time, had become petrified; I was one of those unsuspecting people. As I found out, the formation is a collection of hollow tubes of limestone that have been eroded by millions of years of rainfall.

Only a few hundred metres from the Petrified Forest was the Bridgewater Blowhole, and of course, we had to check this out because who doesn’t love seeing those things. The waves in this section of the coast reached so high up the sea walls.

We tried to visit the seal colony close by the Petrified Forests on the way back, but the walk there was incredibly long. However, we were more than willing to do that to get a glimpse of the seals, but someone who had already gone to the end told us that they spent a while there trying to see any seals, and there wasn’t very many that they could see. So we decided to head back to the car and make our way back to the town.

We stopped off at the Cape Nelson Lighthouse along the way back, given we were unable to see the Otway Lightstation up close, so this was our next best thing we thought. Luckily for us, there weren’t many people here either, so we took our time walking around the whole area and taking as many photos as possible.

After all this adventuring and driving through the day, we were exhausted, so we headed back to our accommodation and crashed for the night. Knowing we had a long day ahead of us tomorrow, we wanted to get as much sleep as we possibly could.

Day 6:

We had another big drive ahead of us today. We were heading from Portland all the way over to Lorne, which would mark the last night’s stay of our trip. For the drive, we headed inland rather than follow the cost as it was going to save us a considerable amount of time. It was a several hour drive from Portland to Lorne, so we had to make a few stops along the way to break it up a little bit.

We stopped along the way at a little viewpoint called The Crags, and it was a nice little spot to stop and rest for a bit before we continued down the road.

We made a quick stop at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, which was a crater lake created by a volcano millions of years ago. We walked around the area for a little while, but we couldn’t do too much given how strapped for time we were, but we had a destination that we needed to come back and see.

The little trip that we took inland was quite nice; it offered us some different scenery than we had experienced over the last few days, it was nice to break it up. From the inland highway, we headed back towards the coast to check out one waterfall, in particular, Erskine Falls. We ended up driving through the forest through a series of wide dirt roads in order to reach our destination, which might have taken us a bit longer than we intended, but it was all part of the adventure.

Erskine Falls was set down in a massive valley that was only accessible by one slightly windy road, but this one was built to allow cars to pass one another. Once reaching the bottom, we set out and looked at the waterfall from above, and it looked quite nice, but we wanted to see it close up, which is why we followed the path and descended into the valley.

We were right to decide to see it from up close; it was amazing, and we were able to get quite a few nice photos of it without too many people disturbing us. But after the little relaxing time in the valley, we had to trek back up, which was more tiring than expected, given how easy it was to come down.

After getting back to our car, we decided it was time to check into our accommodation for the night, but our adventure didn’t stop here for the day. We had to check out one last waterfall that we had driven past a few days earlier, Sheoak Fall; this one was a perfect stop to finish off the trip.

It was only a half-hour walk there and back, but the scenery was perfect, and we got to take everything in slowly as we happened to be one of the only people that were there at the time. The area around the waterfall would have been perfect for a picnic.

After finishing at the waterfall, we realised the time and thought it best to head back to the accommodation, given we still needed to sort out what we were actually going to do about dinner.

Of course, we had to finish last night of the trip by treating ourselves to a nice dinner; it also seemed that plenty of other people had the same idea as us, but we managed to get a spot. It was a good way to end the trip.

Day 7:

It was saddening to admit that this was the last day of our trip, but we had to make our journey back home. There wasn’t much that we decided to do on our journey home apart from once again taking in all of the scenery of the last leg of the Great Ocean Road. Although we had to make one stop along the way and that was at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Safe to say that we spent a little bit of money here and we were now stocked up on chocolate for a little while. This was a very nice way to finish our amazing little trip down the Great Ocean Road.

Kyle Warford

I am an Aussie traveller who wishes to travel the entire world. I have currently been to 29 different countries. That is including my home country. I want to bring everyone along with me on my adventure.

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