13 October, 2018

[TRAVEL] 7D6N Melbourne Itinerary: Great Ocean Road 1-Day Tour

Let me take you to the Great Ocean Road! 

Oh hello, I am back with another travelogue in Melbourne! Driving around Melbourne has been really fun. From Melbourne Airport to Yarra Valley and Phillip Island, we are finally departing to the Great Ocean Road on the third day of our trip. 

For first timers in Melbourne, this world-class Australian natural heritage is definitely not to be missed! But after my virgin visit along Great Ocean Road, I personally feel that it is a visit-once-and-you-see-it-all kind of place. So yeah...let's begin our road trip now!

Just a quick recap of my 7D6N Melbourne itinerary
(you may click on the links below to read about my itinerary for each day):

7D6N Itinerary in Melbourne
Day 0: KL - Melbourne
Day 1: Melbourne - Yarra Valley - Phillip Island (Blog)
Day 2Phillip Island Natural Parks - Brighton Beach - St. Kilda (Blog)
Day 3: Great Ocean Road (Blog) 
Day 4: Sightseeing in Melbourne CBD - Flinders Station, St Paul Cathedral,
State Library of Victoria, Block Arcade, Docklands (Blog)
Day 5: Yarra River, Queen Victoria Gardens, NGV Australia, Shrine of Remembrance (Blog)
Day 6: Hosier Lane, Queen Victoria Market, Richmond, Southbank (Blog)
Day 7: Melbourne - KL

Waking up early in the morning in St. Kilda, we have a smooth morning drive to Lorne, our first stop along Great Ocean Road which takes us roughly 2 hours.

Lorne is where the lush greenery and golden sandy beach meet, sitting between the sparkling waters of Loutit Bay and the rising majesty of the Otway National Park. For sightseeing purposes, there is actually nothing much in this seaside town apart from the popular Erskine Falls, a scenic waterfall with two lookout points for tourists.

Teddy's Lookout, Lorne
For a more tranquil and peaceful experience, we head to the Teddy's Lookout instead. There is this long walkway at the outskirt of Lorne which leads us to the viewing platform where we are treated to breathtaking coastal views. You can also go for a hike around this area if you don't mind the gushing winds.

What a perfect start of our Great Ocean Road journey. We then make our way to Apollo Bay to hunt for some fresh seafood lunch. With our stomach growling, an hour drive there feels like forever. But along the way, the unbeatable views of ocean and mountains keep us in awe and we just don't recall being hungry anymore.

Apollo Bay is more than just "another coastal town", it is a seafood village embraced by tranquil beaches, rolling green hills and the Great Otway National Park. Located midway along the majestic Great Ocean Road, you'd definitely pass by this spot regardless.

Even if you don't, do drop by and try the famous Scallop Pie at the Scallop Pie Bakery (Website) (I believe that it originates from Tasmania, will remember to have this in my future Tasmania trip!)

Fresh Seafood Brunch
Apollo Bay Fishermen's Co-op
2 Breakwater Rd,
Apollo Bay, 
VIC 3233, Australia.
Contact: +61 3 5237 6591
Business Hours: 11am - 7pm

As we want to try more variety of fresh seafood, we drive further down to the Apollo Bay Harbour where the Fishermen's Co-op is located at. 

Look at my lunch view of the day, how impressive right? This local seafood restaurant is just right in front of the harbour, and we have decided to go for al fresco dining to enjoy the breezy winds and calm sea.

From boat to belly, the Fishermen's Co-op sells local seafood fresh or cooked-to-order for dine-in or take-away. Based on online reviews, it is the best place in town for fish and chips so let's see how good is it!

Fish & Chips for two @ AUD16.00
Fisherman's Basket @ AUD30.00
2 slices of "fish of the day", 2 prawns, 4 scallops, 4 calamari and 1 small portion of chips.

We order a good mix of seafood to try, including the 'fresh catch of the day' which is the white fish, battered and deep-fried into golden brown perfection. I love having my fillet in this way, so crisp outside and flaky on the inside. In terms of freshness, there is nothing more that I could ask for. Simple yet delicious!

*Sauces such as tomato, tartar, seafood cocktail etc are charged separately at AUD1 each.

Travelling Tips:
❤ Apollo Bay is the home for all nature activities you can think of -- scenic forest drives, coastal trails, forest hikes, picnics and relaxing walks.
❤ If you have time to spare, do consider exploring on the soul-comforting, therapeutic adventure here.

Cape Otway Lighthouse
Cape Otway Lightstation, via Great Ocean Road
Cape Otway, Victoria
PO Box 41, Apollo Bay 3233
Contact: +61 3-5237 9240 
Email: keeper@lightstation.com
Instagram: @capeotwaylighthouse 

Business Hours: 9am - 5pm daily
Last admission: 4.30pm

Now we are finally here at Cape Otway Lightstation, the third stop along Great Ocean Road which is also my favourite destination of the day! Although it is quite a bit of detour from the usual Great Ocean Road route, it is worth the 1-hour drive to visit this Australia's most significant lighthouse which has been standing prominently by the Southern Ocean since year 1848! 

Here we get a real sense of standing on the southern edge of Australia!

Ticket Pricing (per adult):
Online: AUD16.60 (You can purchase here: www.lightstation.com/tickets/general-admission)
Over the counter: AUD19.50 
Family Bundle Tickets: AUD42.00 for general admission entry for 2 adults and 4 children

Perched on towering sea cliffs 90 metres above sea level, this 20-metre tall lighthouse has been an iconic landmark which gains thousands of visitors every year. Back in the 19th century, hundreds of lives were lost in shipwrecks off Cape Otway, which led to the lighthouse being built at this remote location. 

Today, the lighthouse is still in operation using automated, solar-powered light beacon. Whether you are here to soak up the natural beauty of the Cape for a few hours, or to stay overnight in the keeper's quarters, I am sure the experience would be amazing.

It's time to climb our way up to the top of the lighthouse!

Look at that breathtaking view! The beauty is just beyond words, really you gotta see it yourselves 

Did I forget to mention that during whale season, you can even watch whales at play off the lighthouse? To make your entrance fee worth, be sure to check out other landmarks / statues around the lighthouse too.

Families are welcomed to picnic in the Lightstation grounds but no BBQs are permitted.

Fun fact: Do you know that dinosaurs have also been discovered
along the coastline apart from the wrecked ships?

Eric the Red Anchor
As a remembrance of Eric the Red who travelled from America in 1880 and struck the Otway Reef in a heavy fog.

Radar Lookout and Whale Viewing Platform
A great vantage point for views and taking photographs of the lighthouse! 

Head Lightkeeper's Cottage 1857 
Cottage-style accommodation strictly for guests only 

Travelling Tips:
❤ There is a lot of see in Cape Otway Lightstation. If you are interested in the history and culture, you'd probably want to stay for a couple of hours to join the daily history and Bush Tucker Talks as well.
❤ But for general sight-seeing purposes, allocating 1 hour would be perfect for this stop.

Twelve Apostles
Twelve Apostles
Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd,
Princetown VIC 3269, Australia.
Operating Hours: 9am - 5pm daily

Our next stop is the world-famous Twelve Apostles which people say is the highlight of any Great Ocean Road trip but I definitely don't think so. Don't get me wrong, I mean seeing the cluster of limestone stacks is a lovely experience but it is not as impressive as enjoying the amazing ocean views 90 metre above the ocean from the top of the lighthouse. 

The Twelve Apostles is only 1.5 hour drive away from our previous destination, but if you are driving straight from Melbourne City, you would need around 4.5 hours via Geelong along the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles.

They even have traffic lights (manual ones I mean) along the Great Ocean Road!

Back in the 1920s, the Victorian tourism has named it the 12 Apostles when there were only 9 in the collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park. Due to the rapid rate of erosion, now there is only 8 but I can only see a number lesser than that.

While the crowd flocks around the viewing area of the 12 Apostles, I actually see many more spectacular limestone formations along the wild coastline. Impressive views like these are even better during winter season because I can feel the cool breezes despite of the strong sun rays. 

Travelling Tips:
❤ If you have spare time along the Great Ocean Road, do drop by at Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge or other limestones / rocks formations.
❤ Don't miss out the incredible wild sights along the way too!

The Grotto
The Grotto
Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia.

While I am not quite impressed by that so-called "main attraction", we continue our journey seeking for the next attraction along the route. The Grotto is not part of our initial plan but since we have extra time to spare before calling it a day, we are glad to leave our footprints there.

Sadly, The Grotto is often an overlooked attraction that sits at the end of the route of Great Ocean Road, but there is a reason why the Great Ocean Road might just have saved the best for last. The Grotto is probably the most enchanting rock formation around this area which is very well worth a visit. 

Part-blowhole, part-archway, part-cave, its shape literally reminds me of a sinkhole, where it creates a peaceful hideout for us to enjoy the panoramic sea views via a decked staircase that leads down from the viewing platform at the top.

Travelling Tips:
For the best view, try exploring the wonders of The Grotto at the eye-level from the lower viewing platform, where the blue horizon, serene rock pools, smooth boulders and jutting rock formations all come alive at one go. 

But remember, going down to the lower viewing platform can be dangerous during high tides and strong winds.

Travelling Tips: 
The best time to visit The Grotto is during sunset or sunrise on a summer day, where you can catch a glimpse of the warm Australian sun through the archway of the rock formation, reflecting gold and pink off the smooth rock pools inside. 

I guess this part of Australia is moving towards spring already!
Couldn't be more blessed than catching this scene unintentionally along our way.

Dinner in Peterborough
Schomberg Inn
2 Hamilton St, 
VIC 3270, Australia.
Contact: +61 3 5598 5285 
Business Hours: Varies depending on season. 

At the end of the route of Great Ocean Road, there aren't many food options around the area. Nevertheless, we have a great time dining in a small, family-run restaurant named Schomberg Inn. It is literally the one and only restaurant cum pub available, but good thing is that it is just across the street of our crib and we can save some energy driving out to hunt for dinner. 

Don't judge this place based on its shabby furnishing and non-descript exterior. The quality of food is pretty decent and more importantly, the dishes are very homey. Price wise, it is not cheap at all - very much comparable with those eateries in the city.

Be prepared to spend roughly AUD25 for food, excluding desserts and drinks. Nevertheless, overall, it is a great venue to dine and drink at the end of a long day. 

Travelling Tips:
During winter, it has very limited opening hours, so be sure to call ahead or visit their Facebook page.

Great Ocean Road Tourist Park, Peterborough
Since it is already getting late, we have decided to return to Melbourne City on the next morning instead. Hence, we check ourselves in to our crib in Great Ocean Road Tourist Park, Peterborough, an extremely sleepy town located towards the northern end of the Great Ocean Road. However, it is the peace and quietness that make it a perfect stop for the night although it is lacking of any major convenient stores (Coles / Woolies) and dining options.

Great Ocean Road Tourist Park per house for 4 pax @ AUD150 (=RM116 per pax per night)

Thank you Great Ocean Road for the memories and I am glad to tick this destination off my bucket list!

Next up: Back to Melbourne CBD and we'll be exploring the city's attractions, coffee and FOOD!

More about my Melbourne travelogue:

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