Surf Coast, 12 Apostles, Kangaroos & ‘Real’ Australia
Visiting Melbourne? You must visit the Great Ocean Road! The scenic drive has been named among the world’s top 10 and is home to famous Australian surf beaches, wildlife & the 12 Apostles.
As the end of the Great Ocean Road is located 4 hours from the city of Melbourne, an overnight tour option is the best. If opting for an overnight tour, why not throw in the Grampians National Park as well?
Our 3 day adventure with Bunyip Tours began with a pick up from Base St Kilda. After picking up the other travellers in the city centre, we made our way towards the Great Ocean Road. Immediately our drivers Matty & Shaun had us laughing and introducing ourselves to the rest of the group.
Our first stop was Torquay – a famous surf getaway for Melbournians & home to Bells Beach – a popular beach for keen surfers across the globe. After grabbing a coffee, we began our journey along the coastline through Apollo Bay & Lorne – stopping at a few lookouts & beaches for some amazing photo opportunities along the way. We soon reached Cape Otway Lighthouse for lunch – the oldest surviving lighthouse in Australia. Make sure you walk to the very top for some great views.
The Great Ocean Road is lined with Rainforest – absolutely stunning! Our guide took us on a 20 minute rainforest walk to explain how the eco system worked. We then took a detour to spot Koalas in the wild before venturing towards Loch Ard Gorge – a hidden beach nestled between two colourful cliff faces. Next, to the 12 Apostles – a highlight and a must do on the Great Ocean Road. We joined hundreds of fellow travellers to watch the sunset over these strange rocks that stand side by side in the ocean. The sight was amazing.
We then arrived at our accommodation for the night followed by pizza, pool & a few drinks at the pub across the road. Those of us who were keen, chose to camp outside in tents.
We woke up bright and early to revisit the 12 apostles (for more great photos) and London Bridge. We had the opportunity to take a helicopter flight above the 12 apostles for just $95 and I couldn’t resist! This is an experience not to be missed! The views of the coastline were breathtaking and the helicopter flight itself was an adrenalin rush – not to mention, this is one of the cheapest places to take a helicopter flight in Australia.
Buzzing, we continued our journey along the Great Ocean Road, stopping at the Bay of Martyrs & the Bay of Islands – unique rock formations off the coast. Soon we arrived in Warrnambool to pick up a few things for lunch, before heading to Tower Hill – a volcano and wildlife haven.
After lunch we arrived at the Grampian National Park: rich with aboriginal history, walking trails, tall rock formations & wildlife. We took a scenic walk through the ranges as our guide described the significance of the area.
We arrived at our accommodation, the Asses Ears, which was literally in the middle of nowhere – this was real Australia. We saw Kangaroos & Wallabies jumping around and Phil, the owner, made sure we felt at home on his property. We had a BBQ Dinner (and the option to try Kangaroo) outside in the shed, marvelled at the stars above and relaxed with a few beers.
Quad Biking! The tour is optional and a great way to explore Phil’s property (and spot for Kangaroos). We were given mud proof clothing and quad biking lessons before zooming around acres and acres of Aussie bush... so much fun!
After breakfast Matty & Shaun took us to Brambuk Culture Centre – rich with aboriginal history. Matty gave us a didgeridoo demonstration and showed us some of the tools utilised by aboriginal communities in the past. The centre was interesting and gave us an insight into the history & culture of indigenous Australia.
We left the Grampians after a few photo stops and headed towards Horsham. The 3 Day tour gives you the option to continue through to Adelaide and if you choose this option, you will be dropped off in Horsham for a connecting coach. After a scenic drive through farmland Australia, we said goodbye to half of the group, exchanged Facebook addresses and made our way back to Melbourne.
On the way we stopped for a wine tasting tour at the historic Seppelt Winery before arriving back in Melbourne at about 7:00PM. Most people will tell you that the guide or driver on a tour will ‘make’ the trip – Matty & Shaun were no exception! They overloaded us with information, had us laughing the entire way & gave us a pretty unique taste of Aussie culture. Each of us on tour had made new friends (which tends to happen on overnight tours), which added to the experience... an overall unforgettable journey!
The Great Ocean Road & the 12 Apostles are a must do when visiting Melbourne and is Victoria’s top tourist destination. The best way to really experience the scenic coastline is by an overnight tour as you then have the option to watch the sunset over the 12 apostles and really soak up the beauty. The Grampians will allow you to experience ‘real Australia’ – farmland, locals, Wallabies, Koalas, Kangaroos & the peacefulness that comes with being ‘in the middle of no where.’ The national park is absolutely stunning and a playground for adults if hiking, walking or exploring is your thing.
Bunyip Tours also operate 1 Day Great Ocean Road Tours if you are really short on time. For more information, email [email protected]