Fun and adventure is the name of the game when you have time to kick back and play on the Great Ocean Road. I have now stayed in a variety of resorts to B & B’s all fun when taking a short break on the coast. March – April is a great time of year to travel, as it isn’t too hot. If you avoid the Easter weekend you should get a good drive down along the windy picturesque coastal road.
Surf Coast walks are the name of the game in this area,, there are a host of walks to do. Pop into a tourist information shop to obtain updated lists from the friendly knowledgeable staff, of working trails. Bells Beach (home to the WSL World Surf League) is one of my favourite walks.
Point Addis to Anglesea (long walk) or the Koori Culture Walk (for a short walk) is only a 2 km walk which highlights Aboriginal history and you can follow signage along the trail which will draw your attention to native bushes, trees or aboriginal tucker (food).
Anglesea is a great launching point for traveling along the Great Ocean Road and is a great place for watersports: SUP, kayaks, canoes etc., along the nature reserves banks. Navigating under bridges and paddling through marsh lands of the national park is fun. You can see ducks and purple hens and hear lots of beautiful banter coming from birds nestled in the reeds or trees. You can hire canoes from Anglesea Paddle Boats.
Lorne offers a superb area to go inland and start visiting waterfalls (Erskine Falls, Sheoak Falls, Phantom Falls, Upper & Lower Kalimna Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Triplet Falls, Little Aire Falls, Stevensons Falls, Carisbrook Falls, Straw Falls, Splitter Falls, Won Wondah & Henderson Falls or Cora Lynn Cascades
Qdos Arts is a lovely art gallery with interesting metal sculptures in their gardens and you can even stay in a Japanese inspired treehouse.
Waterways: Rivers and creeks with charming names are common place along the Great Ocean Road, such as Wye, Kennett, St George, Erskine, Aire, Elliot, Cumberland, Little Stony Creek, Stony Creek, Skenes Creek, Sepration Creek, and Parker Inlet and Aireys Inlet to name just some of the many you can visit http://www.visitvictoria.com
Cape Otway Lightstation is elevated 90 meters on sea cliffs and situated where the Bass Strait meets the Southern Ocean and is one of Australia’s oldest and significant light houses dating back to 1848. It was decommissioned in 1994 and now sits on a wealth of historical heritage buildings with something for everyone (history on dinosaurs narrated by David Attenborough, Telegraph / morse code communications, Aboriginal tucker talks, cafe and more. The staff are very helpful and interesting.
Great Otway National Park houses many waterfalls, 50 km of walking tracks home to California Redwoods, Tree top walks 600 metres long and Otway Fly Treetop Adventures (high adrenaline zip lines 30 metres above the forest floor) this is a must if you have a thirst for adventure, their teams are highly skilled and there are lots of safety checks and training prior to commencing – to say I was impressed doesn’t come close!
Twelve Apostles is one of the most extraordinary cluster of rock formations in the sea which brings tourists to view from around the world. There are plenty of areas to enjoy a picnic with a picturesque view of the ocean & / or cliffs if you have a long drive to reach. Whilst there, do walk along the board walk to the many vantage spots to take your selfie — it is impossible to take a bad picture with such magnificent scenery around. If it is a special occasion do treat yourself to a 15 minute helicopter ride which will give you an aerial panoramic view of the 12 Apostles (actually there are only seven now as the eight sunk and there is a 2.5cm erosion sadly yearly so get there quick before more sink).
Places to stay and where to eat:
Anglesea: Great Ocean Road Resort (105, Great Ocean Road), offers family fun : Pool & Spa (Jacuzzi for non-Aussies), Steam Room, JUMPZ Trampolines (sadly for kids only), Tennis Courts (Rackets and balls supplied – if you would like to enjoy a decent game then take your own balls). Lux Day Spa (check close to your arrival that your massage booking is still in their diary). The rooms/suites are spacious and have been equipped well with superb beds. The Coast restaurant onsite – for casual dining.
One of my new favourite spots is ‘Captain Moonlite‘ – which has signature chefs (Matt Germanchis (Pei Modern, MoVida), Gemma Gange (Jacques Raymond, Stokehouse) and offers a fusion menu; located inside Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club (shame it isn’t closer to Melbourne as think I would frequent it regularly).
Lorne: B & B recommended by Lorne’s superb tourist information centre is ‘Swifts’ (58 George St), which is a truly quirky and enjoyable stay – great value for money and if you are fortunate Tony Swift (below) might pop a cork for you 🙂 – This is up near Teddy’s look out.
Lorne is famous for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale which offers quite a wide variety of art along approx 1km of coastline which takes place in mid-March – early April. Below are a selection of my favourite sculptures I took during the 2018 competition.
Listening to the waves crash on the shore is a very therapeutic pastime of mine and one I would endorse to all. One of my favourite spots is Lorne Pavilion for dinner, it is lovely to sit by the log fire on a cold night and enjoy an aperitif before dinner – the staff offer some interesting banter. Alternatively there is a superb seafood restaurant at the base of the pier which has a good wine list and lovely fish and chips.
Apollo Bay: A Great Ocean View Motel (1 Great Ocean Road), Easy walking distance to the town for dinner. At the weekend the Apollo Bay Hotel has a band playing and the meals are good value. Or if you would like a romantic ‘special dinner’ then I highly recommend ‘Chris’s Beacon Point – they have luxury accomodation with beautiful views.
Do keep to the speed limits as there are many hairpin bends and your safety should be optimum. There is often roadworks taking place as the hillside is being protected and netted to hold in place so this can slow your travel down with a few traffic lights. If you don’t have accomodation booked then pop into a tourist information centre there are many throughout Australia. Lorne has a large one with an area that explains the local history and also a tourist shop and bathrooms within. The staff have a daily list of availability at B & B’s, they post this on the outside notice board to assist passing tourists after hours. To book dining experiences Open table is quick and easy http://www.opentable.com.au Book online for discount on your lighthouse tours. Book at the Tourist information centres to avail of discount on your bookings for the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure.