Victoria Journals

The Great Ocean Road

An August 2002 trip to Victoria by Tim G

Warrnambool Breakwall Photo, Victoria, Australia More Photos
Quote: Breathtaking cliffs and ocean views, rainforests, pleasent beaches and seaside towns, wicked surf, and even whale watching. Victoria's southwestern coastal route has it all.

The Great Ocean Road

Overview

Quote:
WHALE WATCHING: Southern Right Whales can be seen from the beaces near Warrnambool. LOCH ARD GORGE: History and stunning history combine to make this perhaps the best place to stop along the route. TWELVE APOSTLES: Truly spectacular, even with all the hype. OTWAY NATIONAL PARK: Beautiful rainforest, worth a visit in itself. SEASIDE TOWNS: Whether it be Apollo Bay, Lorne, Anglesea or Torquay. Excellent beaches and pretty local resort towns. Especially lively in summer, nice and quiet during winter. Quick Tips: Take your time. Don't feel like you've got to drive the thing in a day. Spend at least 1 night somewhere along the way. Even more if you've got the ti...Read More
Quote:
We stayed in a "holiday unit," which was A$79 + taxes. It would have been $101 during peak season (summer). There were three of us and this unit worked well, with plenty of space. There were two single beds and a double.

It had a decent heater and electric blankets for those cool southern winter nights. There was a small fridge, dishes, microwave, and stove. And like all good Australian motels, they provide you with fresh cream when you check in for when you make tea. The place was also quite clean.

There's also a tennis court and a heated pool (open Oct-Apr).

Nothing overly special about the place, but it is good quality accomodation at a good price.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Warrnambool Holiday Park
Corner of Raglan Parade and Simpson St.
Victoria, Australia
(03) 5562 5031

Warrnambool Breakwall Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
This is a casual walk, in fact it needn't be much of a walk at all. You could simply stand atop the breakwall and watch the waves roll in and smash against the wall--or you could walk the breakwall and do the same. Either way, it is quite impressive as massive waves come in, particularly when whipped up by a storm. They often kick back off the breakwall and collide with incoming waves. Fun to watch. Even funner is when you get a huge wave come in and spray you. Kids will love it. I could have stood there and stared at the ocean for hours . . . or at the huge underwater forests of seaweed in the water below. The waves come in with great force here and I'd gather that it's impressive for...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Warrnambool Breakwall
end of Bryant St.
Victoria, Australia

Logan's Beach - Whale Watching

Attraction | "Whale watching at Logan's Beach"

Logan's Beach - Whale Watching Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
Between May and October, southern right whales can be seen in the surf at Logan's Beach. These days it is a protected nursery. Back in the day these were prime whaling waters. Therefore, the southern right whale was near extinction and rarely seen here. Not anymore, as they have returned. And you can stand on the boardwalk and see them. The depth must drop off sharply as they seem way too close to the beach. Nonetheless you'll need binoculars to get a real good look. If you're patient and willing to get your eye in you will probably see them. There's often other people there who've already spotted them anyway, so you can just look where they're looking. The whales can get quite active, blowing w...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Logan's Beach - Whale Watching
Logan's Beach
Victoria, Australia

Grotto

Attraction | "the Grotto"

Quote:
The way the ocean has carved away at these limestone cliffs is one of those sights that seems almost surreal, like you can't believe what you're seeing. These are wild spots, like what you usually see only in pictures, yet there you are. The Grotto is such a spot. A path leads you from a clifftop down to a rock pool beneath an archway. It's quite cool. And the vegetation down there is cool, too. It's chockfull of frogs. But you may not even take the time to notice that as you gaze out through the arch watching the breakers come in. And occasionally they come in with enough force that the water comes right through the arch in spectacular fashion--spray and white water everywhere--although more of...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Grotto
just east of Peterborough on the Great Ocean Road
Victoria, Australia

Bay of Islands

Attraction

Bay of Islands Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
A sanctuary for seabirds, these islands are huge slabs of limestone in this bay that is continually being eroded away by the ocean. It really is stunning. There are two observation platforms and a path down to a cave. There's several sinkholes along the rock here, with water getting into them. If you go down to the cave, you get a good view of all this white-water action. Back up at the observation platform, whales are sometimes seen. You'll see a colony of muttonbirds out on the "islands." There are plenty of seabirds everywhere, and it is quite a spectacle. This stop is the best place to see this formation, but if you stop at the Bay of Martyrs, you get a look at it from th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Bay of Islands
east of Warrnambool on Great ocean Road
Victoria, Australia

London Bridge and The Arch Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
The ocean has worn away large holes in the cliffs here, forming arches in the process. The Arch is just that--a large arch in the rock with water occasionally pounding through it. The scene is moderately impressive. The key stop though is at London Bridge where what's now an island was once connected to the mainland by a bridge that collapsed in 1990 and formed the island in question. The sight is still impressive today, mind you--the island left behind has another arch-like hole worn through it, and one can easily visualize where the land bridge once was. When you're here, take the lower path to view a small waterfall. Just below this waterfall is a beach frequented by fairy penguins ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

London Bridge and The Arch
west of Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road
Victoria, Australia

Loch Ard Gorge

Attraction

Loch Ard Gorge Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
It was here that the Loch Ard, an iron-hulled rig carrying immigrants from England, went down at the cost of 52 lives. Apparently a charting error was made and the captain didn't give the cliffs a wide enough birth and hit a reef as a result. The ship went down in 15 minutes. Two teenagers, Eva Carmichael and Tom Pearce, survived and were washed into the gorge, where they found shelter in a cave until they were rescued. There is a walk that recounts the tragic story, starting at the wreck site and culminating at the cemetary. Other walks show scenic beauty, of which there is plenty. Majestic rock formations and the gorge itself are magnificent. The Blowhole is a parti...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Loch Ard Gorge
east of Port Campbell on Great ocean Road
Victoria, Australia

Twelve Apostles

Attraction | "The Twelve Apostles"

Twelve Apostles Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
This is one of the most well-known natural wonders of Australia, and rightly so. The Twelve Apostles are gigantic limestone pillars rising as high as 150 feet out of the ocean. They retreat in rows. And they are magnificent. A path takes you right onto a cliff where you can observe them. The views are most stunning, particularly if the weather is clear. Sunsets would be particularly beautiful. It was misty the day we visited, but they still looked magnificent, and the misty conditions kind of added to the experience in a cool way. There's a visitor center with bathrooms and an exhibit which explains what is happening here. The coastline is gradually eroding way. Apparently cliff faces ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Twelve Apostles
west of Princetown on Great Ocean Road
Victoria, Australia

Mait's Rest

Attraction

Mait's Rest Photo, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
As you drive through this area of the Otway Ranges, the road leaves the seaside and takes you through green pastures where you'll see cattle and sheep. You'll also see some small (and disturbing) clearcuts but, mostly, you'll drive through some incredibly dense and wonderful forest. A good place to get out and see the forest up close is 'Mait's Rest.' Here you can take what is supposed to be 45-minute walk through some of the thickest parts of the rainforest; it's the sort of verdure that used to cover the entire Otway Ranges. That said, the walk is much shorter than promised: I think it took us 20 minutes. Anyway you'll see some impressive growth, moss over everything, and a nice st...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 1, 2003

Mait's Rest
17km west of Apollo Bay
Victoria, Australia