So...it seems I travelled The Great Ocean Road in reverse to 99.999% of people on the internet. However...WOW...continue reading and let me change your mind as to why YOU should tackle one of Australia's Natural Wonders starting from Warrnambool and ending in Apollo Bay. *Full Disclosure* we initially planned (and booked) my Bucket List Road Trip (BLRT) the traditional AB to WB route, however, destiny changed our course (work called, lol), and we had to re-book last minute accommodation. Availability (or destiny?) sent us to Warrnambool first.
More of a watcher than a reader? Click here to watch my Great Ocean Road Trip VLOG (extended).
DAY ONE: We set off from the City of Melbourne early on Thursday Morning. Ya'll know I cannot function without coffee, so latte on lactose free in hand, WE HIT THE ROAD!! Our first stop included the magical wonder of BP Shelford McDonalds/McCafe, so re-armed with a freshie and toasted banana bread, we continued through to Colac. Honestly, we contemplated staying the night at the Austral Hotel, purely based on their lunch menu and insanely cute fireplace inside the dining area, but we pushed on and our final stop brought us to accommodation Night #1 in Warrnambool. Millennial’s at heart, we F hard with Air bnb (not sponsored) and our host Jo was amazing at checking us in. After taking a drive through the town, we counted 15 Churches and 6 Thai Restaurants, so naturally we went to Thai for dinner at Madala 134 Thai Restaurant.
DAY TWO: Friday Morning brought us a sliver of sunshine and whales in the distance at Moyjil/Point Ritchie. On our way into Port Fairy, we stopped at the Tower Hill Reserve Peak Climb to see the expansive green horizon of Warrnambool surrounds (1.1 km return elevated walk). The rain met us in Port Fairy, providing a great excuse to indulge on an artisan hot chocolate from Audley & Hall Artisan Chocolate and some brunch at Bank St & Co. Our reservation for The Hot Springs/Sauna experience was looming, so on exit of Port Fairy we drove to the entrance of the Lighthouse on Griffiths Island, promising ourselves we would return at sunrise the following morning (disclaimer: we definitely did not make it back). Arriving at The Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs we checked in before arriving to our infrared sauna experience. Leaving warm and dewy, we had just under an hour until our Hot Springs session. It was roughly sub 10 degrees and raining, but oh my goodness it was ✨MAGICAL✨. The experience of submerging into 38-40 Degree Celsius water in polar surrounds is surreal. Each spring had a different wellness experience, and thankfully most were enclosed helping break the consistent drizzle of rain. Finishing with walking through the magnesium foot baths, we returned to our room, washing off the salts and sulphur before heading to Izakaya Japanese for dinner and Frost Bite Ice Creamery for dessert.
DAY THREE: APOSTLES DAY BABY! When you think GOR, you instantly think, The 12 Apostles. Starting our decent from Warrnambool, I assumed the main attraction was going to be at the end of the road… but, oh how I was SO wrong. We decided to stop at every ‘brown’ sign and I’m calling it, the best attraction along the GOR is, ‘The Grotto’ . It’s better than the 12 Apostles. There, I said it. The attractions road is filled with 10's of all-natural wonderments, but when you stop at every…single…one...you kind of lose appreciation with the similar elements. Another shocker, there aren’t actually 12 of The Apostles. Leaving confused on our decent into Apollo Bay, we googled, “Where are the other apostles?” Turns out, there weren’t ever 12 to begin with (linked facts here). HOW BIZZARE. Anyway, if you only have a small amount of time, check out ‘The Grotto’s’ and I promise you won’t regret it! Early dinner found us at the Apollo Bay Gin Distillery (BEST FRIES and wood fire pizza) and The Great Ocean Road Brewhouse for dessert.
DAY FOUR: It was my birthday Saturday so no matter what we did it was destined to be an amazing day. We stopped at Waves Café (FYI: menu specialises in crepes) to get an on-the-road breakfast before trying to find waterfalls close to Apollo Bay. We found ourselves at the beautiful Maits Rest Rainforest loop instead, and returned back to the Bay for a drink and few hours of pool/snooker at the Apollo Bay Hotel. Craving the fries from Friday night (I told you they were amazing), we went back for a sneaky bowl and drink before heading to dinner at Dragon Bay Inn Chinese. To finish off a perfect birthday, I was served 3 different variations of chocolate cakes with sparkling candles in bed (picked up earlier at Waves Café unbeknownst to me)…helloooooo 26, you look pretty great so far!!
DAY FIVE: We checked out just before 10:00am to head towards the Great Otway National Park, quite literally chasing waterfalls. In search of Henderson’s Falls, we didn’t make many stops winding our way along the final and breathtaking views of the Great Ocean Road. After parking in the wrong car park, consequently walking 2 km in the wrong direction, praise be for Telstra 4G mini towers that allowed us to search Google Maps for the correct direction. It was well worth the journey once we eventually found the falls. Standing at the foot of these falls was the perfect end to our natural wonderment journey. We left the falls (after a quick outfit change — thank you mud) for late lunch at The Torquay Hotel and a quick view of Torquay. Driving back towards Melbourne with the sun setting in our review mirror and new perspective on this wonderful, beautiful country we get the privilege to live in; I cannot recommend The Great Ocean Road highly enough. Clocking a total of 669 km and 9 hours 8 minutes of driving, bucket list trip: CHECK!
Looking for places to stay, food to eat or things to do along the Great Ocean Road? Click here for the TMC - Tried, Tested & Highly Recommended: The Great Ocean Road Itinerary.