One of the things we knew we had to do when family arrived was go road tripping down Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, touted as one of the coolest road trips in the world. Even though a direct trip would have taken less than ten hours, we saved two nights for the Great Ocean Road because of the sheer number of sites worth seeing along the way. The main attraction is the Twelve Apostles – of which there are not twelve, nor do geologists think there ever were; it was just a fun term adopted by the tourism board. We found some of the geological sights before and after the Twelve Apostles do be just as beautiful. There were forests and waterfalls along several stops, and we drove alongside surf beaches for quite a ways.
We got a later start than originally intended and drove along those surf beaches for most of the first day. You’re driving west most of the way, so the beaches were constantly on our left. Off to the right of the highway is Otways National Park. They list ten waterfalls within ten kilometers of the highway, but we only made it to one quick one. The next day, the coast morphed into giant rocks and sheer cliffs, keeping surfers away and making for great photography. We stopped at a half dozen viewpoints, admiring the giant rocks rising up out of the beach. They’re beautiful. And the cliffs are pretty magical as well – the drop offs were so sharp and sudden and long. We did all the short walks to the viewpoints and spent a bit of time at each, but it’d be pretty amazing to just camp somewhere along there and do some of the long walks they have posted. We drove into the sunset – with the coast and the fields of grazing sheep and the windmills merging into our view amidst pink skies and beautiful clouds. The next morning, we made it to Tower Hill Reserve – home of emus and koalas. Our first wild emus! One koala was hanging very low over the street, posing for us.
Two nights on the Great Ocean Road is pretty spectacular for seeing the highlights. We have a housemate, though, who spent a full week in the westernmost beach town on holiday with her family – and I am jealous. A full week for beach walks and exploring forests sounds beautiful. John and I intend to return and bring at least a couple other family groups with us – certain eastern sights can be done as a long day trip from Melbourne, so we think we’ll have to make it happen. The drive can be tedious at times – the speed limit never reaches 65mph – but those giant rock formations rising up out of the ocean make it totally worth it!