Before moving to Copenhagen, Marc and I visited his family over Christmas/New Year of 2016/2017. In an effort to make sure that we weren’t too disheartened by the return to reality following our holiday, we planned another quick little get away for late January 2017 to Melbourne, Australia.
We did lots of cool things in Melbourne city, such as visit the famous hipster coffee shops, walk around the botanical gardens, and we even went to watch Federer v Warwinka in the Australian Open semi-final (that’s a story in itself!). But, the main event of our trip down south was to complete the iconic Great Ocean Road.
Because I had limited leave stored with work following our Christmas holiday, we went down to Melbourne over the Australia Day holiday weekend. There were 4 days in total, but because we had to take into account our flights and driving time, we realised early on that this meant we only had 1 day to see everything that we wanted to along the Great Ocean Road.
In all honesty, this was all we needed – and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way! If you’re keen to have an adventure filled trip with limited breaks and amazing views, keep reading to see how this can be easily achieved.
Stop 1: Bells Beach at Sunrise
We left Melbourne CBD (the location of our accommodation) extremely early to get to Bells Beach for sunrise – if I can recall correctly it was around 4am… but I wouldn’t really trust my recall that early in the morning (lucky Marc was driving!)
Bells Beach was the first pit stop we set our sights on very early on in the planning stage. It is an extremely popular surfing beach not too far out of Geelong and I could certainly see why. The jagged cliffs and rolling waves make for an incredible backdrop for your morning surf.
It was certainly worth getting there early enough to see the sunrise, as the soft morning light made it just that much more magical. Have a look for yourself!
Stop 2: Erskine Falls
This waterfall is not the most highly publicised stop along the Great Ocean Road, but in my opinion it is a must see. The waterfall itself is nestled under a thick canopy of greenery and surrounded by gorgeous rocks at its feet.
For those worried that they will have to do some hectic wilderness walk to reach its location: don’t fret. You can park your car right at the top of the hill and it is a quick walk down to the water’s edge.
If you’re a keen instagrammer you will also really enjoy this spot. It makes for great camera angles and backgrounds for your next pic – just take a look at this one I took of Marc for inspo.
Stop 3: Lord Ard Gorge
The Loch Ard Gorge is a best-loved stop-off point along the Great Ocean Road – and for good reason.
Stairs allow visitors access to the beach and a pathway allows access to the eastern side of the gorge. Once you have ascended the stairs and stand on the beachfront inside the gorge, it’s almost as though you get the change to peer through a naturally-crafted tunnel to the ocean. Piece this together with a gorgeous clear sky day and this will quickly become one of your most cherished holiday memories.
If you have a little extra time, I would suggest setting up camp on the beach for a while and going for a swim. That’s what a few other tourists were doing as we were passing through and I was so jealous – absolutely sweltering in jeans!
Stop 4: The twelve apostles (round 1)
Only a mere 3 minutes drive east of Lord Ard Gorge lies one of Australia’s most famous natural icons – the twelve apostles (well, there are actually only eight left today with the last one collapsing back in 2005).
It was incredible to see these spectacular rock formations in real life after having seen so many pictures and learned about them in school.
My one complaint? It is a very tourist dense area. And it is equipped for it – with state of the art viewing platforms, a gift shop and proper toilets. But Marc and I have never been a fan of visiting somewhere when it is too crowded, so we decided to only spend a few minutes here in the first instance.
A must do is going down the Gibson Steps onto the beach that runs adjacent to the apostles. It is an excellent way to gauge the immensity of the formations and also to get in a bit of fresh air away from the people-dense areas!
Stop 5: The twelve apostles (round 2)
After a quick dinner break, we returned to the twelve apostles in time for sunset. This was a much more enjoyable experience than the tourist-bus ridden afternoon. There was a lot less people and the soft light made the apostles much more appealing.
Plus – it is a photographer’s dream. Literally. Marc was on cloud 9 and we happened to be surrounded by about 30 other photographers on the viewing platform as they all competed to get the best shot they could of the apostles.
I might be biased but I think the picture that Marc took below is one of the best I’ve ever seen <3
END OF DAY ONE
I know I’ve titled this post “how to do the Great Ocean Road in 1 day” and that we did (see above) Buuuutttt…. we did do something rather exciting the next day that was too good not to share.
After having a good night’s sleep, Marc and I got up really early the next morning to go on an 8am HELICOPTER TOUR of the biggest sights along the great ocean road (including the Apostles, London Bridge and more).
We decided to do this because we had a bit of extra time before we had to head back to Melbourne for our flight and simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to get a bird’s-eye-view.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on this one…AMAZING.
I couldn’t recommend this trip more. Especially if you’re an Aussie – it’s such a great way to see how beautiful our country is!