Offering spectacular views of one of the most famous coastlines in the world – Great Ocean road is a must see when travelling through Victoria.
Large bushfires around Christmas had kept parts of the road closed for weeks but a few days before we arrived it had fortunately been reopened. We decided to cut the trip in two going from Portland to the famous Twelve Apostles on the first leg and from there to a free campsite near Lorne the next day.
On the way to the 12 Apostles we stopped by a nature reserve and saw both Emus and Koalas. All of them right next to the parking lot so felt a bit like “cheating”.
We also did a 1 hour hike there called “journey to the last volcano” which was supposed to offer both interesting geology and wildlife. We saw neither unfortunately and geology should be a pretty stable thing 🙂
We also stopped in Warnambool to shop and had lunch at the same park where we stopped 12 years ago when Line visited Jesper during his semester in Melbourne. A whole chicken again – mmm delicious.
Though 4th time for Jesper and 2nd time for Line Great Ocean Road did not disappoint. A perfect clear sky and amazing views sums up the first part.
We stopped at Lock Ard Gorge for a swim (pretty much the only beach on that part of the coast where swimming is possible) which is just incredibly beautiful.
The 12 apostles are now closer to 7 or 8 – but still a very nice view.
We stayed overnight at Princetown Recreation Reserve & Camping just a few minutes from the Apostles. At only 30 AUD powered for 2 adults and 2 kids, with hot showers, giant playground and clean amenities it was great for the night. As usual Noah made friends on the playground after a few minutes and where chatting away in English. Kangaroos came closer than ever before but having seen them in the hundreds by now they are no longer considered “breaking news” and we could hardly convince Noah to walk the 10 meters to pose for a picture.
Second leg of The Great Ocean Road took us through some of the burned areas. Both impressive and devastating to see how nature works in a country where trees and plants are built to catch fire.
The coastline closer to Melbourne is less impressive but still offers spectacular views. Coming from the other direction you are however a bit spoiled at this point so we drove by what would normally have been excellent photo opportunities.
One of the day’s highlights was a short 1 hour walk at “Maits Rainforrest Hike” giant mountain Ash trees rising close to 100 meters along with a totally different climate compared to just a few kilometers before, made it an impressive sight.
We stayed at a free campsite called “Big Hill Campsite” about 10 kilometers inland from Lorne. We had read in WikiCamps that you should get there by 5 pm which turned out to be very true. We arrived 4.20 and got a great spot but by 5.30 it was packed and lots of campervans had to stay outside the designated spots with the risk of being asked to leave should a ranger drop by. Lots of parrots inhabited the area and though Noah could not get one to actually sit on his arm it ate straight out of his hand (we know you should not feed them but the other kids were doing it and we were simply not strong enough to say no)
Just before the kids bedtime a Koala walked straight into the camp and placed itself on a tree in the center. A real “show-man” that posed in different positions for about 20 minutes before getting down, walking 50 cm. past a guy and very slowly making its way across the campground and up in a high tree right next to our campervan. Really evident that Australia is a country almost devout of predators.
Next day we skipped the last leg of Great Ocean Road and drove directly to Geelong and Melbourne. Not a very scenic drive on the freeway but Vitus got to sit in the front seat and learned how to draw his first stickman (actually the first thing that looks like something). Amazing from a parent’s point of view but probably not that exiting for anybody else 🙂