The Great Ocean Road is absolutely gorgeous and you should go see it right now.
We left from Melbourne bright and early on Monday morning, and returned even earlier on Wednesday morning.
We started by taking the highway to the end of the Great Ocean Road (which I highly recommend doing, get the boring part over first) in our little red rental car, which we promptly named Firefly Rose. Beautiful, I know.
After a good day of driving (unfortunately I was underage and not able to drive the rental, you have to be 21) we went to Tower Hill and did a hike around the area, which is actually a sunken volcano. Emus, koalas, birds and snakes galore, and some wonderful sights to see as well.
We saw a little bit more of the coast, such as the London Bridge and The Arch, and I took literally dozens of photos of the same thing for forever! It was just so beautiful! It was also incredibly windy, and I was wearing a dress. I hate to say it, but I don’t think it stayed down quite enough the entire time! I ended up tying it into a knot at my thigh so I could take photos without the worry of flashing all the other tourists around me.
We stayed the night in Port Campbell, with a nice American guy we met in Melbourne. He was on his last day on the Great Ocean Road, and on one of his last legs in Australia, so he was splurging and rented himself a villa for the night and graciously invited us to join him. What a nice guy! And what a gorgeous villa! We each got our own bed, and after sleeping in hostels for the past couple of weeks it was literally the comfiest thing I had ever slept on. Ever.
We chased the sunset that night to the 12 Apostles. It was chilly and very windy (intelligent me I kept wearing the dress) but it was absolutely gorgeous, and so worth the quick trip. Seeing the sun set on the ocean is now engrained into my mind, and is something I will never, ever forget.
The next day came early, and we were off again, though in rainy weather.
The first stop was Gibson Steps, where we walked down these huge steps down to the ocean and to a remarkable beach. Unfortunately, no swimming (but after looking at the size of the waves I wouldn’t want to), but walking up and down the beach was lovely. I did desperately want to go surfing on those huge waves though. They were calling my name! The sky quickly cleared that morning, and we were excited to be on our way again.
Our American friend had told us about this place, the Lighthouse, where there were dozens of koalas. Literally. All you had to do was look for vehicles pulled over and tourists taking photos and they would be up in the tree somewhere. Low and behold it was true! The lighthouse itself was scammy – asking $20 to go inside, so we said no thanks and did a small walk around the general area. While pretty, you were surrounded by bush so you couldn’t see the coast. I was much more entertained by the koalas. There was a mama and a baby, and I swear they were posing for me as they were walking along the eucalyptus trees.
We followed the coast in our little car for a long time, on the extremely bendy road, following right along the cliffs edge. The coast line was gorgeous, and we stopped multiple times. But I think the favourite moment of that part of the trip, was when I was in the back seat of the car, and I yelled at Robert to pull over. Of course we’re on the curve and there’s a spot across the road, and pulling in there was a little dangerous, and Robert and Trine are freaking out because I was telling them to pull over.
It was an echidna!
It was the only Australian animal we had yet to see on this road trip, and I was excited! So we ran over to the side of the road to see this funny, porcupine looking thing digging around for some food. Needless to say Robert wasn’t impressed with me. I think it was worth it!
We finally made it to Toquay (pronounced Tor-Kee) for the night, where we stayed at surfer hostel (we were all desperate to go surfing at this point) and went shopping. Bells Beach is home to Rip Curl and Quicksilver, so needless to say they had absolutely huge stores there! I was on the hunt for a surfboard, but wasn’t sure we could fit one into our little hatchback car so I had to leave without one. Sad face.
Having to return the rental car for 8:00am the next morning, we awoke at 4:00am to see the sunrise on Bells Beach. It was amazing. So amazing I forgot to take photos of it. I then promptly slept in the back seat for the rest of the road trip back to Melbourne!
Would you ever want to to do the Great Ocean Road? Do you plan on it? Let me know in the comments below!