By Jade Johnston
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most famous drives. The drive can be done in as little as 2 days, but a minimum of three is recommended. Even more time will be needed if you plan at stopping at some of the great little surf beaches along the way.
Stretching for 243 kilometers between Melbourne and Adelaide, the Great Ocean Road is famous for it’s rugged natural beauty, pounding surf beaches, and Aussie animal encounters. The following is some of our highlights from our three days driving the Great Ocean Road, in our spaceship camper van, Fanta Pants.
Koalas are one of Australia’s most iconic animals, and are some of the easiest to spot in the wild. Koalas only prefer to eat one type of tree, making them easy to find in the branches of the Eucalyptus tree. Also, a diet of strictly Eucalyptus leaves is not particularly nutritious, meaning that Koalas are often content to sleepily observe you from their perches above.
However, due to habitat destruction and a high Koala fatality when crossing roads to find more food sources, it can be difficult to spot them in large numbers in the wild.
Cape Otway is one of the best places to see a plethora of grey furry bums. Turning off from the main road, it is a 12 kilometer drive towards the Cape Otway lighthouse. However, just before the lighthouse you will pass through a large patch of Eucalyptus trees.
We opened up our Spaceship’s two sun roofs, craning our necks to look upwards. Soon the camper van was full of our excited exclamations. Dozens of Koalas… everywhere! Some where even so low down in the tree branches, that we could pose with them (while being careful to stay out of claw range).
*Note, I have been informed by a reader that these birds pictured are actually Crimson Rosellas! However most guide books refer to them as Lorikeets **
Lorikeets are friendly and highly curious parrots which are famous for their brightly coloured plumage. We pulled into the town of Kennett River because we heard there was good Koala spotting grounds nearby. However, we were instead completely distracted by a large flock of Lorikeets.
A tourist bus had pulled up in front of us and were feeding the birds little bits of bread and seed. Soon though, they had to leave in order to stay on schedule. But we had the freedom of our own transport and got to spend quite a bit of time with the birds.
All you had to do was stand with your arms outstretched and it wouldn’t be long until you were being used as a perch by several Lorikeets. Even people’s heads were fair game. This was fine as long as I was left out of the action – I was content snapping photos of Dan and Lauren and their new feathered friends. However, one bird decided that my curls looked quite appealing as a potential nesting spot and quickly made his way straight for my head.
I made one of my signature high pitched squeals that I normally save for whenever an insect (no matter of size) touches me, to the great amusement of my travel partners.
Bell’s Beach was made famous by the film Point Break. Of course, word on the street is that it wasn’t actually filmed here at all! However, it is still the location of the annual Rip Curl Pro surf competition, which draws surf lovers from all over the world. If you are a surfing fan, then this is a must stop. If not, well it is still a beautiful place to get out and stretch the legs.
It is impossible to spend any time in Australia and not see the Twelve Apostles on calenders, brochures, or postcards. And for good reason – they are a stunning natural feature.
You might not actually know that there are not Twelve Apostles at all! There are actually only seven, as the others have been warn down by the elements. The viewing platforms can get awfully crowded, so OurOyster.com recommends spending one of your nights in Port Campbell – the nearest town – where you can easily nip out to view the apostles at sunrise.
The Gibson Steps were created in the 19th century, by local Hugh Gibson. He carved the steps into the cliff side entirely by hand, in order to access the beach below. The steps are now concrete and feature a safety railing, but you can still appreciate the massive amount of determination and effort that Gibson must have put into creating the original steps.
Gibson beach is a definite highlight and must see… it was one of the prettiest beaches that we saw on our Great Ocean Road trip, although swimming is not recommended due to strong currents and undertows.
The above listed five Great Ocean Road highlights, only mention just a few of the wonderful vistas, beaches, and little towns that are worthy a stop along the Great Ocean Road. Although these five are not to be missed, OurOyster.com recommends trying to stop at as many Great Ocean Road attractions as possible!
For our Great Ocean Road trip, we received a discounted rental from Spaceships, however all opinions remain our own.