Australian Road Trips: The Great Ocean Road, Day One.

Ever since I heard about the great ocean road I have wanted to drive it.

The winding roads, the picturesque beaches, quaint little towns and national parks, it is every travelers dream.

As we are in Melbourne for a little while we didn’t do it straight away but last week I decided I needed to do it soon, I needed a break off work and I needed to get out the city and back to travelling.

We only found out we had Monday and Tuesday off late on the Sunday night so we quickly jumped to planning and organizing the road trip.

There is something about the buzz of a road trip that gets me all excited.

First things first we needed transport.

Initially we wanted to do the whole camper van thing, get a van with a bed and tent, cook our own food, but due to the short notice this couldn’t happen.

Lucky for us really, as it actually rained half the trip.

So we scoured the internet for a good car rental company. What we found is that they were all pretty similar prices.

We ended up picking Budget car and truck rental, located in Melbourne CBD.

Budget car and truck rental

I am 21, and the annoying thing is if you are under 25 it is way more expensive.

So for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday drop off at 14:00pm it cost $260.

Our liability was at $2000 (which means if something happened to the car, our fault or not, we were legally responsible to pay that amount), so we made the decision to pay an extra $30 a day in order to get it down to $0 if anything happened. For us we felt that it was better to be extra safe, it put our minds at ease.

So add that onto the $260, it was around the $360 mark.

Due to being backpackers we of course popped to the nearest Aldi for snacks!

The car.

Well, what can I say about the car? They gave us a Fiat 500, bright red. We (well me and Alice) decided to name him Frankie, Franko for his aussie nickname, of course.

We were undecided at first, but in the end, we loved him.

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Franko was also an automatic. I had never driven an automatic before, actually I hadn’t driven in three years..so you can imagine how I was feeling to start with.

But once I got used to it, it was true what they said, automatics are easier. We did however miss driving a manual.

Our route.

Well there is only one route really, start at the bottom of the great ocean road and work your way along, it is up to you where you stop on the way or how far you go.

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We began at Torquay and went all the way to Port Fairy.

Day 1: 

On day one we drove first from Melbourne to Torquay.

That took around an hour and a half.

Torquay is a small beach town at the beginning of the great ocean road, famous for being a surfing capital, birth place to huge names such as Rip curl and Quicksilver.

It was a spectacular start to the road trip, the beach was beautiful and full of surfers.

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After the quick stop in Torquay to stretch our legs and admire the scenery we hopped back in the car and headed to a place Luke had always wanted to visit.

Bells beach.

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Bells beach is a world famous surf spot, it is where the worlds longest running surf competition takes place, the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival.

It is also the setting of the beach in the film Point Break.

Going from the waves in Melbourne to the waves in Bells beach there is a huge difference. Melbourne is situated in a cove, so there aren’t really any waves. Bells beach had some of the largest swells I’ve seen, I can certainly see why surfers love it.

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We decided to stop at Bells beach and sunbathe a bit, Luke even attempted to go in the sea, which if you could see the waves coming into shore you would know why I decided against it.

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We then got back onto the great ocean road and carried on through Anglesea (yes there is a lot of places here named exactly the same as back home).

We stopped next at Lorne.

We only really stopped in Lorne for a coffee (to give us an energy boost), but found it was a lovely place.

The coffee shop was cute, situated right on the front with a view of the beach and sea. The coffee also did the job.

We would’ve liked to spend more time there but we were on limited time.

After Lorne you start to notice the scenery change a bit, this is where you start to see the forests of the great ocean road.

What we also noticed was the aftermath of the recent forest fires in the area, It was very strange to see the blackened dead trees in stark contrast to the bright ocean. Sat right next to little groups of houses that narrowly missed getting burnt.

It made me think how serious Australia’s bush fires are and how they can really affect anyone.

After Lorne the next place  the road will take you is Apollo bay. We really needed the toilet mainly (I blame the coffee), so it was a brief visit as we planned to go on the way back.

By now we were approaching 5 o clock and wanted to see the twelve apostles on our way through to our Port Campbell hostel so we put our foot down after Apollo bay.

After Apollo bay is one of the biggest forest you will see on the great ocean road, the Great Otway National Park.

As national parks go, it was pretty impressive, and very vast. At one point we were wondering if we’f ever get out of it.

But there is something about the winding roads, tall towering trees and farm land that makes you feel like you really are on a proper road trip.

As it got to 7 o clock on Monday we finally made it to the twelve apostles.

We soon realized the weather may be a bit different there. Windy and cold.

Well more windy and cold than we have experienced before.

It was the first time I wore my jumper in Australia.

It just shows how quickly the weather can change here, which really makes it very similar to Britain in that sense.

We jumped out the car eager to see the famous twelve apostles, whilst also trying to hold my hat on my head, yes I was also wearing my favourite hat for the first time.

We managed to snap some crazy windy pictures before the rain came and we were forced to sprint back to Franko

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My personal favourite of Luke.

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We were still in awe of the twelve apostles despite the only brief encounter and decided to pop back in the morning, as our hostel was only a 10 minute drive away.

Now, one main tip I can give is if you want to stay in a hostel around the great ocean road is book in advance. You don’t have to be overly in advance, but we booked our Monday night hostel on Sunday night, and it was a good thing as they were fully booked when we arrived.

We wanted the freedom to do what we wanted but really we got that anyway and ended up staying in the best hostel I think I have ever stayed in.

Port Campbell hostel, where do I begin?

I could talk about how great this hostel is all day.

I feel I can now say I have stayed in my fair share of hostels, so I can make this judgement.

The hostel is nestled in the small village of Port Campbell right next to the sea. Owned by a dutch couple, the lady who greeted us was so friendly and welcoming.

The inside decor is peaceful and chilled, cute little decorations and ornaments everywhere. Interesting pieces that had us discussing them.

Comfortable sofas with blankets that made you instantly feel at home on a rainy and dark night.

The facilities felt more like a mini hotel, the kitchen was well equipped with free tea and coffee (what more do you want?!) and the bedrooms were clean and tidy.

It makes you question why every hostel isn’t like this? It seemed effortless.

After checking in and wandering around the area for food and beer we tiredly returned to the hostel to a yummy $10 pizza, better than any deal we’d seen down the road.

After a long and eventful day we welcomed the chilled atmosphere of Port Campbell hostel, listening to their amazing playlist and drinking peppermint tea, it felt like the right way to end the day.

The end of day one road tripping the great ocean road.

I think what we can all gather, the great ocean road has some amazing beaches and views.

On day one we left the city at 11:30am and arrived in Port Campbell at around 19:30pm, that is with all the stops and getting used to the car.

In my next post I will continue our road trip with day two and three of what we got up to.

‘Til next time. Happy road tripping. ?

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