This is the third post about our road trip from Adelaide to Sydney (part 1, part 2).The Great Ocean Road led us from Allansford to Torquay and is probably the epitome of an Australian road trip. Not without reason, this route was chosen by CNN travel 2017 as one of the Top 3 road trips in the world. Like a string of pearls, one scenic highlight follows the next. Problem: The 253 km long route can also be booked as bus tour from Melbourne, which means that each spot is pretty packed with tourists (like us 😜).
We had five days to enjoy all these beautiful places while trying to avoid all the rush hours.
From Allansford to Port Campbell
As we came from Adelaide, we started our trip on the Great Ocean Road in the west and it leads a bit inland. But shortly before Peterborough we finally head towards the coast.
At the Bay of Islands we made our first photo stop.
From here, one point of interest follows the next. On the remaining 19 km we make countless photo stops.
From Port Campbell to Cape Otway
Doing an Internet search for pictures of the Great Ocean Road, one of the first results is always the Twelve Apostles. They are the highlight among all the highlights so to speak. But before we visit that remarkable collection of limestone stacks, we stopped at Loch Ard Gorge.
Loch Ard Gorge was named after the clipper (cargo sailing ship) Loch Ard, which sank here in July 1878. There were only two survivors who could save themselves. From the same parking lot you can also reach Thunder Cave and the beach at the Sherbrook River. Not that many other tourist were around here and we liked the short walk very much.
When we arrived at the Twelve Apostles, we were not by ourselves anymore. A big car park and wide roads made sure that we could take great pictures despite the many tourists. And this natural scenery is pretty spectacular.
After the Twelve Apostles the road unfortunately leads back inland, so we only rarely had a look at the sea. At Cape Otway we took the time to look for koalas in the eucalyptus trees along the road. We were pretty successful and on the campinground we stayed that night (Bimbipark) we saw some koalas sitting in the trees right above our campervan. This was a great end to a beautiful day!
Cape Otway to Lorne
Thinking about the name “Great Ocean Road”, a road comes to mind that goes along white beaches. And it didn’t disappoint! After we had left the green area around Cape Otway behind us we came across exactly these white sandy beaches in Apollo Bay.
And that’s why the part from Apollo Bay to Lorne was the one we liked best.
If you are planning to travel the Great Ocean Road yourself, we recommend a trip from east to west. Here (left-hand traffic) no oncoming traffic disturbs the view and the many small parking bays can be reached more easily. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to stop at those parking bays, as we were traveling on the other side of the road. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed the ride!
Little Lorne is probably the most touristic place along the Great Ocean Road. And we might have just driven through here, because when we reached Lorne on an early Sunday afternoon, hell broke loose. We wouldn’t even have found a parking place.
But we didn’t even need to search for a parking spot, because again Australians showed us what “hospitality” really means. In this case Cathie and Phil, the wonderful parents of Leanna. Quick reminder here: When we started our trip, we already stayed for 6 days (!) with Leanna and her family in Sydney (see our Sydney posts here). Leanna’s parents have a shack in Lorne (or maybe more of a cottage) and after Leanna told her mom about us, she offered right away, that we could stay there. After our visit in Sydney, Cathie also started to read our blog (“Hello Cathie” 👋😊) and offered again to “shack-in” 🙂 We were very happy to accept the offer and thus we could park right in front of the shack.
It’s already the fourth generation of the family spending holidays or long weekends here in Lorne. The cosy wooden house is hidden behind large gum trees, oaks and bushes and packed with family history and stories. It goes without saying that we stayed for a while on the terrace, with a nice glass of white wine while reading the cute book about the history of “The Shack” and also the guestbook 🤓.
“The Shack” is within walking distance of Lorne’s town centre, where countless shops, restaurants and bars compete for tourist’s attention. And also we are happy to spend some tourist dollars in the centre and order two big beers, vegetarian burgers and fries at The Bootle of Milk (awesome food and staff!).
After a small after-dinner walk on the Doug Stirling Walking Track (named after Leanna’s great uncle – as I said, lots of family history here!) we had a Gin Tonic as “Schlummifix” (nightcap) in a pub with a view of the beach.
Luckily we could stay two nights in the Shack. And so we used the next day to read a bit at the beach (Christiane!), or to update the “water sport skills” a little (me!).
Afterwards we were still brave enough (despite the heat and bruised ribs) to walk to Teddy’s Lookout and have another great view over the Great Ocean Road from there.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Cathie and Phil for their hospitality. We will always remember “The Shack” and Lorne dearly!
From Lorne via Torquay to Melbourne
On our last day we continued our trip from Lorne via Torquay to Melbourne. There is still a lot to see on this part of the trip, we liked the Split Point lighthouse the most.