A Traveler’s Guide to the Great Ocean Road

Driving up the Great Ocean Road was something that we really wanted to do while in Melbourne. We hadn’t rented a car and weren’t too thrilled with the idea of sitting in a van with a bunch of strangers for the day, so when our friend in Melbourne said he was going to drive up the coast and offered to take us with him, we jumped at the chance! When his kids got wind of the trip, they really wanted to come too, so we all begged and pleaded until their mom finally decided they could miss school and come with us. I’m so glad that they were able to come because having friends for the long car ride made it 10 times more fun.

Sights.

Bells Beach

Bells Beach was the first stop on our long road trip and it was really fun. If you’ve seen Point Break, you probably think they filmed the famous scene here- but we found out they actually filmed it in Oregon! Because the water was too cold to swim in, we jumped off 10 foot sand dunes until our whole bodies were covered in sand. It was so much fun until our parents made us rinse off in the freezing ocean and sit dripping wet in the van.

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Apollo Bay

After our great fish and chips lunch in Lorne, we headed to the beautiful town of Apollo Bay. Before we headed to the beach though, we had a famous Aussie treat called vanilla slice. Each vanilla slice is somewhat different, depending on the cafe, and I have to say that the cafe we chose was really good. The piece that we all shared was made of layers of pastry and vanilla custard. It was simple compared to others, but it was incredible! After licking our fingers clean, we went to the beach to continue “dune jumping.” Just like at Bells Beach, we had a blast! …until we had to sit in the van all sandy and wet again.

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12 Apostles

Out of all the stops along the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles was my favorite. It was at the end of the 6 hour drive there and even though we were sick of driving, I’m so glad we pushed through to see this stunning sight. After we took pictures of limestone rocks sticking out of the water, we got to play in a little cove that we found. We watched a huge “sneaker wave” take down an unsuspecting tourist and we laughed about that for a long time! We also enjoyed looking at the crazy-long stalactites and hearing the story of a shipwreck that happened here a long time ago. It was a great way to end our journey along the Great Ocean Road.

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Lunch.

Wye River Pub

On the Great Ocean Road, the Wye River Pub is in between Lorne and Apollo Bay and surrounded by beautiful ocean and mountains. At the restaurant, I got their tasty fish and chips and tried my best to savor the delicious ginger beer I had. The restaurant is definitely casual and not crowded and the staff is friendly.

Good to know…

  • Rent a car! From our experience, I can’t imagine doing the drive with strangers. You really don’t need a tour guide because it’s pretty much just a beautiful drive up the coast- kind of like driving up Highway 1 in California.

  • Have a protein-filled breakfast before setting of on the long road trip. Other than lunch places, there are not many places to get snacks along the way.

  • If you are going in the summer, I recommend bringing a bathing suit. If not, don’t bother going into the freezing water.

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