Driving the Great Ocean Road

After we’d recovered from roughing it on Fraser Island, it was time to hop on a plane to Melbourne – our final stop in Australia.

We’d both been looking forward to Melbourne particularly, as we were staying with some good family friends of mine – Pete and Alli. Pete was my Dad’s best man some 30 years ago, and as well as being a talented landscape photographer he is a fountain of embarrassing stories about my Dad – always a bonus.

Co-hosting us were their rather adorable vizslas – Zsiga and Harvey.

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Pete and Alli (plus vizslas) were the most thoughtful, generous hosts we could have hoped for, and one of the (many) lovely things they did was to take us to the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is perhaps Victoria’s most famous road. Constructed by servicemen returning from war, it is roughly a 12 hour round-trip from Melbourne itself. It winds along the coast for 243km and is home to some stunning landmarks – most well-known of these being the Twelve Apostles rock formations.

Before we arrived at the official start for the Great Ocean Road, we stopped at a few sights along the way which were just as impressive. The road leading to the Great Ocean Road also hosts some surf beaches, so we got to watch some Victorians catching a Sunday morning wave.

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While you make your way to the start of the Great Ocean Road, there are a few spots worth stopping at – the surf beaches being the first. Then we came to a lighthouse, which looked oddly familiar. Remember the ’90s TV show Round the Twist?

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There are plenty of places to stop for coffee and lunch – don’t miss the fresh fish and chips!

And then we arrived at the start to the Great Ocean Road. This is the third set of entrance gates to the road, which pay tribute to the servicemen who worked on the construction of the road.

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By now, the weather had cleared and we were able to enjoy the stunning coastline as it rolled out beside us.

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At about 3pm, we reached the star attraction of the road – the Twelve Apostles. A word of warning to avoid disappointment: there are not twelve stacks, and every so often they lose another one to the sea. Very careless, if you ask me. I think the current count is five. Nevertheless, they are pretty awesome.

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Further along the road are additional limestone formations, which again are spectacular. As the information boards pointed out, these formations continue to be battered by the sea, and the formations will eventually disappear. Cliff erosion may even create new apostles for future generations to visit.

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Thanks to Pete and Alli for a fabulous day out!

If you’re interested in visiting the Great Ocean Road
If you can’t persuade Pete and Alli to take you on a personalised tour, you can easily hire a car from Melbourne for a day trip, although an early start is wise! There are also pretty towns and stops along the way if you wanted to make a weekend (or longer) of it.
We also saw options for guided trips, although we didn’t get an indication of prices.

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