As one of the most iconic road trips in the world the Great Ocean Road is simply a must do for backpackers in Australia. Somewhere in history this road, which was built in memory of ex-servicemen, received an extra adjective which announced that this road was no ordinary road. What you get is exactly what is suggested, a great ocean road.
To experience one of Australia's highlights, it is possible to spend the day with Bunyip Tours and sample the best places along this iconic road trip. Like all great tours you have to do them with the local people who know what they are talking about.
The start time is early but you can rest assured that you will be handling the early morning a little better than our pick up driver who was perhaps not a morning person. A small trip through the early lights of Melbourne is a little treat before we meet Tom, our master for the day, a Melbourne born and bred but well-travelled dishevelled gentlemen. The energy turns up a notch, not in a happy clappy camp fire band camp kind of thing but more of a leisurely let's have a great day on this incredible coastal road kind of thing.
I must be honest, I did sleep for the first hour but was pretty pleasantly surprised to wake up as we were driving past Bell's Beach, the beach that the surf film Point Break made famous.
Bell's Beach is loved amongst surfers and is home to some world class tournaments and is an awesome beach hidden amongst the cliffs in Torquay. These gorgeous sites are also home to the world-wide surf companies Quicksilver & Rip Curl. Your guide will enlighten you on the surf legends & history of the area!
Does anybody remember the TV Show 'Round the Twist', this is mostly beneficial to the British backpackers. Well if you were also a big fan of the wacky and of the whole sitcom then make sure you do this Great Ocean Road Tour as you drive past the very same lighthouse that features in the TV Show (Split Point Lighthouse). Forget the filming locations for Australia or Mad Max, this is the only filming location that matters. If you really were a fan of the show you will leave with an overwhelming urge to watch an episode as well as the theme tune well and truly on repeat in your head for the remainder of the day.
A little more awake, it is back on the bus to snake our way along the impressively rugged coastline until the township of Lorne. Aside from a couple of popular festivals throughout the year, Lorne is a sleepy coastal town with some quirky brightly coloured houses and a good lookout to catch a glimpse of what is next to come.
It is pretty easy to tell when you hit the official part of the Great Ocean Road, the bus will stop at the big sign, but remember to check out the beach next door and look back at the cliffs behind you because that's where the real good photo ops are. You have officially hit the Great Ocean Road that is known to remember the servicemen that fought for their country, and it is impressive and the coast is mesmerising as you hug the cliff side continuing through endless coast on one side and towering cliff edges on the other.
Along the way to the 12 Apostles, there is a turn off to visit the lighthouse. It's amazing how many animals you see along the way there! Koala's are just chilling on branches above the street! Trust me you'll be pulling over every 2 minutes to take photos! We saw Kangaroos, a cow crossing and kookaburras flying past. It was a great animal retreat from the city!
About mid day, it's time to refuel with a traditional Aussie BBQ (vegetarian options available too). A great benefit of Bunyip is their exclusive visit to the Cape Otway Lighthouse for a lunch stop. Enjoy the beautiful 360 view from the top of the tower then relax by the cliffs or pump up with a lovely cafe coffee.
No trip to the Great Ocean Road is complete without seeing the iconic sights of Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles. What I love about the Bunyip Tours Great Ocean Road trip was they saved the best sites for last.
Although it is amusing to discuss why we don't call it the eight apostles, as four have sadly bitten the dust, and the infamous London Bridge has in fact fallen down... these structures are still iconic symbols of Australia. But to add even more reason to see the Great Ocean Road, is these gorgeous sites are literally collapsing as time passes. Some day they will be no more - but YOU WERE THERE! You saw these massive natural structures. Ever so often nature throws us something spectacular and the Victorian coastline happens to be one of them.
As it becomes very dark, we make the trek back home with a stop for dinner in another famous Australia town, Colac. Colac is the home of Toadfish Rebecci, a wannabe hotshot lawyer who has a distinct lack of luck with the ladies and has since moved to another famous Australian destination, Ramsey Street.
If you have the time, it is worth spending a few days exploring the Great Ocean Road but to see the coast and it's highlights in one day the Bunyip Tours Great Ocean Road Day Trip will fill your day with as much as possible and only in Melbourne do day trips really mean a day trip, with fourteen hours pretty much a standard day.
Regardless of whatever coastal roads you may have driven before, the Great Ocean Road is iconic and you really will end your day incredibly glad you decided to take it all in.