The Great Ocean Road

Planning on traveling along the Great Ocean Road soon? Here is what you need to know.

Not planning a trip but want to see what all the fuss is about? You can stick around and take a virtual road trip with me ☺️.

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FAQS

What is The Great Ocean Road?

It’s the 151mile (243km) drive between Torquay and Warambool in the Australian state of Victoria. It is known as most of the most scenic roadways in the world. It was built as a memorial to the soldiers that lost their lives in World War I.

How do you get there?

Torquay is an hour and a half drive from the Melbourne CBD. You can rent a car (what we did) or if you don’t feel comfortable driving there are also tour buses that can take along the route. If you are staying in the city and want to rent a car, there are multiple rental agencies off of Franklin Street, walking distance from many hotels.

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How long does it take? 

If you were to drive straight from Torquay to Warambool on the B100 (Great Ocean Road) without stopping it would take just under five hours. That being said, you will want to stop many times. We spaced it out over a day and a half but depending on what all you want to see and do you could manage it all in one day or take up several days. If you want to take a more direct route on the way back, the A1 which will cut off a couple hours (but won’t be as scenic).

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What’s there to see and do anyway?

I am so glad you asked, I have included activities and other recommendations for each town on the drive. These are compiled from my personal experience, friend’s advice and other research I have done.

What to See/Do/Eat…

Torquay

Torquay is known as Australia’s surf and beach capitol and is the birthplace of surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver.

  • Grab brekky and a coffee off of the Esplanade to fuel you for the journey. I would recommend Cafe Moby– great food and perfect place for families to let their kids run around. Other top breakfast picks for the area are Scorched and The Pond Cafe

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  • Stock up on your beach brands at Surf City Plaza shopping center.
  • Head over to iconic Bell’s Beach and watch the surfers catching an early morning wave or two.

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  • Visit the Surfworld Museum if you want to learn more about the sport.
  • During the warmer months, snorkel around the Point Danger Marine Sanctuary.

 Anglesea 

Just a short distance down the road is the quaint beach town of Anglesea.

  • Follow signs for lookouts to get the best view of the stunning beaches

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  • To see the views on foot, follow the signs for the Surf Coast Walk.
  • Follow the 2.5km Mosaic Walk to see local art work inspired by the sea.

Airey’s Inlet

Next stop on the B100 is the picturesque town of Airey’s Inlet.

  • Follow signs to the Split Point Lighthouse.

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  • There are tours you can take or you can walk around yourself and admire gorgeous views of the coastline.

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  • Stop for a restroom break and enjoy a truffle (or treat of your choice) at adorable Willow’s Teahouse located conveniently near the lighthouse car park.

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  • Check out the Blazing Saddles Horse Trails and go for a beachside ride.
  • Just past Airey’s Inlet you will pass the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, one of several monuments recognizing the soldiers along the route. Stop to check out the lookout and get your picture with this historical marker.

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Lorne

As you enter Lorne, you are also entering the beautiful Otway National Park.

  • As you drive into Lorne, follow signs taking you to the Erskine Falls and Teddy’s Lookout. Both have walks you can do as you take in the breathtaking scenery.

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  • Lorne is a cute, little beach town with plenty of shops and restaurants along the esplanade to explore. Make sure and BRING CASH as I noticed many places do not accept cards.

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  • Grab a burger from Bottle of Milk (soooo good), or pack a picnic lunch and eat at one of the many picnic tables along the beach.
  • There are also many accommodation options if you are looking for a place to spend the night along your journey.

Apollo Bay

The drive to Apollo Bay provides plenty of photo opportunities so keep your camera handy.

  • Just before you reach Apollo Bay, stop at Kennet River for koala and parrot sightings.
  • Explore the rain forest through hikes, zip lining or a mountain bike ride.
  • Take a tour of Cape Otway Lighthouse– Australia’s oldest lighthouse.
  • Stop along the road at the lookouts for breathtaking views of the hills and farmland.

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Port Campbell 

Port Campbell is the perfect base to see the Twelve Apostles and the other formations. Read more about all of the formations and their locations here.

  • Capture the famous limestone formations, The Twelve Apostles, at sunset.

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  • Driving the short distances between them, check out the other formations- Gibson Steps, Bay of Islands, London Bridge, The Grotto and Lord Ard Gorge.

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  • Grab dinner at Karoa– the adorable little restaurant has the perfect ambiance and a mouth watering menu.
  • Spending the night? We stayed at Eastern Reef Cottages. Clean, quaint and only 1km from the center of town- the perfect place to relax after a long day of driving.

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  • Grab a cup of java at The Alcove Cafe (opens at 6am) and enjoy the views all around Port Campbell.

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Warambool 

The last stop on the Great Ocean Road, we chose to turn back around at Port Campbell but here is what you can expect to see/do if you choose to go that far.

  • Former bustling port town and sight of Shipwreck Coast.
  •  Learn about the history of the area at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.
  • Scuba dive through Shipwreck Labella or many of the other popular spots (found here).
  • Whale watch (June-October) from Logan’s Beach.

Hope you enjoyed a virtual journey down the Great Ocean Road! Let me know if you have any other tips or attractions I should add.

Linking up with Travel Tuesday!

An Ode to Melbourne

Oh, Melbourne you captured my heart last October, and upon my return I fell full blown in love with you. We only had a brief 24 hours to soak up your glory before we headed off on our road trip, and you left us pining for more.

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Your graffitied alley ways, giant markets, gorgeous museums, quirky rooftop bars and old fashioned trolleys are only a few of the things that make you so charming. We didn’t have time to make it to your beaches or picturesque wine country on this trip, so looks like we will be back soon.

Until next time, Melbourne.

A Texan in Melbourne Part 2

When we last left off I was in Melbourne visiting Erin. We had explored the city, climbed 1,000 steps and wandered through cute little hillside villages.

Friday started out a little slower with both of us sleeping in and laying around most of the morning watching our favorite Today show host get a spray tan (which you can watch for yourself here). Then we headed about 20 minutes away to the Yarra Valley to have lunch at the Zonzo winery.

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IMG_0706IMG_0708The weather was absolutely perfect so we sat outside and chatted for a couple hours over lunch and a glass of Sav. Afterwards we decided to head down the road to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie.

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We were pretty stuffed from lunch still but how can you not get a treat when you are at a chocolate factory?! It was a school holiday so there were families everywhere enjoying the perfect weather with this gorgeous backdrop.

IMG_0749Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon…

IMG_0750Next we headed home to get cleaned up for dinner. We met some of Erin’s friends to eat at local tavern and went out for drinks after. Sadly none of this actually happened because I didn’t take a single photograph #picoritdidnthappen.

Saturday morning came quite early and we headed out with Erin’s family to the South Melbourne Market for breakfast and browsing.

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IMG_0725Being that we go to a farmer’s market in Brisbane every week I figured I knew what to expect. Shockingly- I was wrong. The South Melbourne Market is a permanent (and indoor) market. They had everything from produce and seafood to underwear and home decor. Everything was a real store not just a tent like at most markets and they had some REALLY cute stuff. Travis should be thanking his lucky stars I only brought a carry on or I would have been coming home with some goodies.

After the market we drove around the city some (and Erin and I fell asleep like five year olds) and then got dropped off at a friend’s apartment. We went from there to St. Kilda which is a beachside neighborhood just a few miles from the city. It reminded me a lot of Austin- very eclectic (and great people watching) with lots of cute stores and restaurants.

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IMG_0727Sidenote: We knew it was supposed to be warm that day but clearly underestimated the climate because all three of us were in jeans and it was HOT. Like we were sweating, a lot.

After they gave me a tour and Erin and I chugged (iced) coffee so we wouldn’t fall asleep again we headed to drink some ciders on the foreshore of the beach surrounded by appropriately clothed people.

IMG_0734Some more of their friends came and met up with us and we watched the sun set over the ocean.

IMG_0732We ended the night at a nearby restaurant before heading back to the burbs to call it a night. Wearing jeans in bathing suit weather really wears you out and we were asleep by 9pm.

The next morning I woke up and hopped on my plane back to Brisbane on a high from such a great weekend. When I arrived I was greeted not by my husband bearing flowers and a sign with my name on it (one can only dream) but by the sweltering heat/humidity, a cancelled train and an uber driver who informed me of the murder that occurred across the street from us.

I guess the weekend couldn’t be all sunshine and sauvignon blanc. Kidding aside- Melbourne was so much fun and I can’t wait to go back- I might even bring Travis with me next time. In the mean time I am planning Erin’s first visit to Brissy… and anyone else who wants to come see us! 🙂

A Texan in Melbourne

Almost two weeks ago I went down to Melbourne to visit my friend Erin. We went to school together in Katy for a few years before Erin moved back to Australia, where her family is from. In high school we always referred to her as “the Aussie” as having an Australian friend was a novelty. The tables have now turned and I am the novelty, “the Texan”, in a country full of Aussies.

I got to Melbourne Wednesday morning and even though I was warned I didn’t realize how much colder it really is compared to Brisbane. In case you are wondering how the two relate geographically- here’s a map I found on google.

MapAustraliaIt’s technically Spring in Australia right now. In Queensland (the state we live in) temperatures have gotten up into the 90’s already. In Melbourne it was still scarves and boots weather (yes, I classify weather by clothing options). It was fun actually getting to wear my boots that currently just take up space in the guestroom closet.

We spent the day wandering around the business district. I didn’t realize how BIG Melbourne is, the downtown itself had so many side streets, alleys, restaurants, casinos etc. The downtown here is just offices and shopping and could probably fit into Melbourne’s several times.

One of the many little alley ways with cute little shops and restaurants

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Watching candy being made…IMG_0740 We stopped for lunch and a glass of wine at Madame Brussels, the most adorable rooftop bar. It’s decked out in all pastels and looks like a 60’s themed garden party complete with the waiters wearing old school tennis outfits.

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We ended the day back at Erin’s house eating dinner with her family and looking through a shoebox full of pictures from high school.

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Thursday morning we got up early (stupid internal alarm) to workout. Erin told me about this place nearby called the 1,000 steps. It’s 1,000 stony steps built into the side of a hill that serves to give a sense of what Australian soldiers felt climbing Kokoda Trail in Papau New Guinea during World War II.

I figured since I have been working out regularly they should be a breeze. Ha! I have not felt so out of shape in a long time. It was exhausting!

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We spent the rest of the day exploring cute, little towns up in the hills. It was really chilly up there! We ended the afternoon with a coffee and a view of the entire city.

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That’s all for now- I didn’t want to overload you. I will write about the next two days later this week. Stay tuned 🙂