As I mentioned in my ‘Travel Update‘ post a few days ago, we flew into Melbourne, Australia on 18th April 2017 and immediately picked up a hire car to start our journey along the ‘Great Ocean Road’. I always get hugely paranoid when going through customs in a new country, convincing myself that someone’s managed to put illicit drugs into my luggage without me knowing and fully expect to be carted off to the nearest prison every single time. Australia was no exception, especially after watching the sniffer dogs on ‘Border Force’ hard at work. However I was extremely surprised to find that custom checks weren’t nearly as rigorous as they were when we entered New Zealand, in fact the guard didn’t even want my luggage put through the X-ray machines! We were out of there within half an hour and picked up our car with ease.
We only found out when returning the car in Melbourne 8 days later, but while the rest of the rental cars were silver, white and black (you know, normal car colours), ours was the only one to be mustard yellow. It stuck out like a sore thumb and while this was great for finding it in a carpark, it wasn’t so great getting stares that blatently said ‘why the hell would you choose a car that colour’. No cool coastal photos of us and our car then.
The drive from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road is a mesmorising one, with hugely varying sights and stays along the way. I used southaustralia.co.nz to work out a rough itinerary of where to stay enroute but apart from that we left a lot to chance, allowing us to take our time and drive as much or as little as we wanted day to day. We ended up stopping for nights at Geelong, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy and then in the very outskirts of Adelaide before heading into the centre. If you don’t like driving 6-7 hours a day I would advise you add in another night between Port Fairy and Adelaide as on hindsight it was a bit too much.
The Great Ocean Road mostly hugs the coastline, with around 160km of forest drive just before hitting the 12 Apostles. You get beautiful views of waves smashing into the cliffs and rocks below and there are plenty of view points to stop at along the way! Long stretches of road are punctuated by small seaside towns, all which have great personalities and a family feel about them. We searched Geelong’s coastline for the famous vibrantly decorated bollards, jogged around Apollo Bay and watched the sunset over the harbour, and had the best hot chocolate in a little cafe in Port Fairy while rain thundered down around us.
Not forgetting the 12 Apostles; AKA the reason most of us do the ocean road in the first place. Huge and beautifully intimidating, they make for a great travel photograph and it was amazing to be able to see them (many are beginning to crumble).
The drive is a long one but is also not to be missed. If you love the coast, exploring beaches and visiting tiny little charming places along the way, the Great Ocean Road is definitely one to add to your bucket list.