Great Ocean Road Day 1, Melbourne to Peterborough

Great Ocean Road Travel Blog

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Bells Beach

I went over to Budget to pick up my car first thing in the morning. I had wanted a convertible but it was going to be too expensive for the weather forecast. If it was supposed to be 30 degrees I would have splurged but low 20s and overcast wasn't screaming out "rent the convertible!". The rental guy gave me the keys to a Toyota Camry sedan. Although it would have been nice, I thought I'd go with something a bit more funny, not to mention fuel efficient! So off I left Budget with a Holden Astra in baby blue, a very stylish car a must say.

Cale met me at 9am and off we went on the highway to our first stop in Torquay. It's the first major town on the Great Ocean Road and I thought it would be a good idea to get some tourist information so we didn't miss anything along the way.

kangaroos at Angelsea golf course
There are tourist info stations in pretty much every town so you have no excuse for getting lost or missing out on the sites. Just when we were leaving the info centre, a woman came in saying she had called the cops because someone had left a baby sleeping in a locked car in the parking lot. A very embarassed woman said the baby was hers and ran out the info centre. I was pretty impressed with how quick someone called the cops.

Here's a recap of the busy day. I'm sure I'm going to miss something because it seems like we stopped somewhere every 10 minutes or so!

I have to say, the only problem with the GOR, is that there are "scenic lookouts" pretty much every 300m. So trying to get to your destination takes a long time because there is so much to see! I think the first place we stopped was at Bells Beach, which is where the movie Point Break supposively shot some surf scenes.

Airleys Inlet lighthouse

The next stopover (not counting pulling over at the last second to take pictures while driving past an awesome view) was Anglesea. The handy dandy "Great Ocean Road Snapshot" the info centre gave us said there's a golf course with 1000 resident kangaroos living in the area. Naturally, I had to make a stop there and finally see a kangaroo in the wild. The first thing you see when you pull into the golf course parking lot is a sign telling people they are not allowed to go on the course just to look for kangaroos. After parking we did just that. It didn't take long to find a really big group of kangaroos hanging out in the shade. There were a couple female kangaroos with babies in their pouches which was pretty cool to see.

I think we stopped next at Airleys inlet for some photos.

Erskine Falls
The "snapshot" said there's a really famous lighthouse so we drove up to check it out. They have tours every 45 minutes or so to walk up the lighthouse but we were content checking in out from the outside. The weather was a bit cool compared to what I was used to and I think this is the first time I really wanted a sweater thanks to the very cool sea breeze!

We definitely made a stopover in the town of Lorne because it was pick up something to eat for lunch time. There are some waterfalls called Erskine falls about 10km inland from the town so we drove there to have a picnic lunch. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk to the falls. The climb back up the two hundred stairs was not as much fun! We walked along the rocks to the waterfall and ate some lunch and had a German couple takes some pictures.

waterfall stop number 2
The guy had climbed up to the base of the waterfall, took his shirt off and got his girlfriend to take a picture of him. It looked very much like an Irish Springs commercial.

The next stop was at a pier just outside of Lorne where people were in wetsuits swimming in the ocean. On Saturday they were having a big swim from the pier to the pub so I guess people were out practicing. The swells looked pretty big and tough to swim in (not to mention the water looked freezing!).

Having enjoyed waterfall stopover number 1, we went for waterfall stop number 2 at a place called Sheoak Falls. The brochure described the waterfall as a "natural amplitheatre". And well, after seeing it, I can see how they came up with the description. After a bunch of proding, Cale went for a swim in the pretty dang cold and muddy brown water while I stayed nice and dry.

koala about 2 metres up the tree
A dad, mom and kid trio walked up to the area where we were, took one look and walked away. They probably thought Cale was skinny dipping or something haha

We made a quick drive through Apollo Bay. After that town, the GOR goes into the forest for a bit, until almost to Port Campbell. There were a few places where people had pulled over and were looking up in the trees. We stopped at one and a man pointed out where some koalas were sitting up in the trees. I was quite excited to see a koala in its natural habitat. But what was even more exciting was a little while later, we were driving and a koala was walking along the side of the road. We pulled over about 20m down the road. By time I had walked back, he was about 2 metres up the tree so I had a perfect view of him.

up at the top of the lighthouse
Mr. Koala bear must have been about 1.5 to 2 feet big. I just stood there and watched him climb the tree. Once he noticed us looking at him, he started a staring contest for a while (and he won).

Our guide book said something about a famous lighthouse in Cape Otway, aptly named the "Cape Otway lighthouse". The lighthouse is basically south of the GOR when it is the most distant from the ocean. So it was about a 40 minute round trip. We got there and found out it was almost $15 each to see the lighthouse area. The "park" consisted of the lighthouse itself and the old keepers cabin and a cafe that wasn't open when we got there. Oh and how can I forget the portable toilets. At least we got a chance to go up the lighthouse this time.

drinking some vino, waiting for the sunset
When we were leaving, the guy working in the lighthouse asked us if we had any questions and I said "no". He replied with "why not?". So then I started asking him a bunch of random lighthouse questions that I didn't care to hear the answer to. It was a little strange haha

After the exciting lighthouse stopover, seeing Australia's oldest lighthouse, we head back towards the GOR.

By now it was about 6ish pm. Deciding that the sunset at the Twelve Apostles would be way more fun with a bottle of wine, we stopped first in some random village because a sign said "bottle shop" but it was closed although the woman in the restaurant was willing to see us booze to go. The next town was Princetown which consisted of a restaurant and a convience store. I found out that they will call pretty much anything with one store a "town" in this area.

Twelve Apostles
The next town was Port Campbell, so we drove past the 12 apostles park and went into the town. We got some food to go and a bottle of australian wine. I actually planned ahead earlier in the morning and bought wine glasses so we were all set for a fantabulous sunset.

We got to the 12 apostles lookout about an hour before sunset (around 7:30ish). The clouds were pretty thick and were threatening to cancel the amazing pictures I was going to take. We cracked open the wine and had a lot of jealous looks from other people there waiting for the sunset. After a couple glasses of vino and a bunch of pictures it was getting pretty cold up there and the clouds were pretty much completely covering the sun so we figured it was time to pack up and head over to Peterborough where we were staying for the night.

I thought it might take awhile to find the motel, but Peterboroug consists of one "hotel", a motel and a restaurant / cafe. The motel ended up being pretty close to the beach which was nice.

We covered lots of ground in one day and saw lots of stuff but there was still stuff to see on day 2!

traveleverywhere says:
Very well written. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure. I will be doing Great Ocean Road soon..can't wait :) Cheers
Posted on: Oct 11, 2012
bhush2006 says:
Nicely written. Great Ocean road is one of my dream destinations :-)
Posted on: Sep 05, 2012
Horus380 says:
that's a great road trip
Posted on: Jan 15, 2009
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Bells Beach
Bells Beach
kangaroos at Angelsea golf course
kangaroos at Angelsea golf course
Airleys Inlet lighthouse
Airleys Inlet lighthouse
Erskine Falls
Erskine Falls
waterfall stop number 2
waterfall stop number 2
koala about 2 metres up the tree
koala about 2 metres up the tree
up at the top of the lighthouse
up at the top of the lighthouse
drinking some vino, waiting for th…
drinking some vino, waiting for t…
Twelve Apostles
Twelve Apostles
Bells Beach
Bells Beach
Camper van parked at Bells Beach
Camper van parked at Bells Beach
Airleys Inlet lighthouse
Airleys Inlet lighthouse
It was a bit breezy at the Airleys…
It was a bit breezy at the Airley…
typical curvy road
typical curvy road
sign at the Erskine Falls entrance
sign at the Erskine Falls entrance
near the base of the Erskine water…
near the base of the Erskine wate…
view near Lorne
view near Lorne
view near the lorne pier
view near the lorne pier
curvy highway near waterfall
curvy highway near waterfall
koala bear in a tree
koala bear in a tree
our car parked looking for koalas
our car parked looking for koalas
Cape Otway lighthouse
Cape Otway lighthouse
view from the top of the lighthouse
view from the top of the lighthouse
view from the Cape Otway Lighthouse
view from the Cape Otway Lighthouse
nice view from the lookout
nice view from the lookout
sunset before the clouds overtook …
sunset before the clouds overtook…
waiting for the sunset
waiting for the sunset
one of the many signs along the way
one of the many signs along the way
Great Ocean Road
photo by: Morle