Asia/Australia 2013: Great Ocean Road coastal sights

by | Feb 23, 2013 | International Travel, Travel

From Melbourne we drove about an hour south through dry countryside before hitting the first views around Torquay. With a beautifully sunny day we had views in every direction.

Bells Beach

Bells Beach Bass Strait views

Along the road we followed signs to the Split Point lighthouse in Aireys Inlet. The parking lot was fairly full but we were able to grab a spot from someone who was just leaving. Unfortunately for us, this and several other spots were designated no parking, which we found out the hard way when we returned 15 minutes later to a sizable parking ticket. Only then did we notice the small, partially covered sign placed unusually high… this seemed like a pretty clear case of scamming the tourists to us, and we’d recommend skipping the town altogether.

Split Point lighthouse

Split Point lighthouse – tourist trap and sleazy parking schemes all rolled into one

We pressed on and continued to enjoy views along the road that were quite reminiscent of the coast of South Africa.

view from Airey's Inlet

Great Ocean Road

much like Chapmans Peak in South Africa

Eventually we made our way to Apollo Bay and our B&B and rested up for more adventures the next day.

Day two was supposed to be warmer and sunny so we were on the road after breakfast. We continued along the coast another two hours over a surprisingly bumpy road with dips and bumps rattling our little rental car, and thus us, around. Since it was the summer the grassy hills were quite dry

dry landscape

Gibson’s steps was one of the early coastal stops of the day with views Gog and Magog. The views from the top are great, plus there is a steep staircase that takes you down to a wide sandy beach.

me in front of the Twelve Apostles

Leandra enjoying the beach and covered up for the strong sun

Twelve Apostles (looking west)

the famous 12 apostles (a few of them anyway)

Twelve Apostles (looking east)
Looking back east toward the beach we were on

Whew the sun was strong! Polarized lens and sunglasses were the order of the day.

One part of the experience these photos don’t capture are the insane number of flies, especially at the 12 apostles parking lot. You were simply bombarded anywhere outside which makes it hard to relax and enjoy the amazing views. Presumably they aren’t as big a problem in the winter?

We stopped for an orange and pineapple ice and then continued on to additional lookouts. Thankfully, we found fewer flies at these other sites, although we were never left along for long.

Razorback panorama
Loch Ard Gorge with Razorback

Island Archway (well, used to be)
the former Island Archway

Around 3pm we turned around and headed inland to seek out a few waterfalls.

Day three we awoke to very windy morning- garden pots blown over, trash cans aside, etc. Seems a cool front was coming in and brought lots of clouds with it. After breakfast we packed up the car and got back on the road to make our way to the Melbourne airport. The sunshine of the previous two days had clearly spoiled us, as we both agreed the views weren’t nearly as good with the cloud cover.

Sidenote: Australia seems to have a California-like nanny state mentality with lots of signage. For example, in several spots we saw “Trouble concentrating? Power nap now” on the road to and from Melbourne.

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Long Island, NY (July)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)
Grand Rapids, MI (Nov)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)