After our first stretch of Great Ocean Road and a magical night under the stars at Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park, we were ready for our second leg! Highlight of the day was supposed to be 12 Apostles at our end point, but the pitstops along the way were equally enjoyable.
The drive between Lorne and Apollo Bay was, in my humble opinion, the most scenic part of the trip. The roads hug the coastline tightly, winding through steep cliffs that drop dramatically, resulting in a mostly unobstructed view of the horizon.
Things to do from Lorne to Port Campbell:
Drive into Grey River Road at Kennett River and look out for furry lumps among the gumtrees. We saw some munching, one climbing and most of them sleeping. Lotsa tour buses stop at the car park for tourists to walk up, but the road stretches quite far in so drive up (slowly) if you can.
After awhile, it became like a koala-spotting competition between me and KT. We spotted 11 different wild koalas in total!!
Lunch at Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-op
We were craving for some fresh seafood and a quick search on tripadvisor brought us to Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-op on Breakwater Road. It’s a small shop tucked away from the town area, right beside the harbour. You can choose from a variety of fresh fish over the counter and sit outside by the bay, but beware the lurking seagulls nearby. We both enjoyed the food and ambience
Cape Otway Lightstation
The lighthouse was not really worth the 1hr detour since we didn’t want to pay the AU$19.50 entrance fee (we only found out upon arrival). Apparently you can have breathtaking views of the ocean (though not unique) and a historical tour of the area, with some very good kids activities.
This is also a good place to spot wild koalas (although nothing beats Kennett River for me :))
Port Campbell National Park
The ‘first Apostle’ can be seen from Gibson Steps, where you can also descend down to the beach. The Twelve Apostles Visitors Facility is just another 3 min drive down where you can walk to the lookout point to see the rest of the wave-sculpted limestone formations.
The apostles were formed by wind and waves erosion, cutting into cliffs to form caves that turn into arches, which ultimately collapse to become high stacks. Initially known as the Sow and Piglets, it was renamed Twelve Apostles recently in 1922, although there were only nine stacks to begin with. Now there are eight after one collapsed in 2005.
We were told sunset is the best time to be at the apostles, but unfortunately couldn’t catch any due to the cloudy skies. However, we stayed past nightfall and managed to catch some returning penguins (at about 8.30pm), although it was extremely far away and the penguins appeared more like moving black spots. Probably best to get some night vision binoculars next time.
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is the site of a shipwreck of clipper ship Loch Ard. There are a couple of trails around to explore the beautiful area, including steps down to the beach.
Sherbrooke River Beach
The trail at Loch Ard Gorge towards Sherbrooke River beach was one of my favourites of the trip, walking across the vast land towards the ocean. One of the few places to get up close with the thundering waves.
We ventured out a little with some rock-climbing on the cliffs…
About 15 min drive from Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge got its name because it used to be a double-span natural bridge until the arch nearer to shore collapsed in 1990. The natural, single arch is still a sight to behold and worth a quick stopover if you’ve the time.
Our home for the night was… by the creek in Port Campbell Caravan Park! (AU$34/night)
Thankfully, we drove to Port Campbell to check in first before coming out to watch the sunset and penguins at Twelve Apostles. Else, we would have been stranded as it was pitch dark by the time we returned (closed at 6pm like most other caravan parks in Aussie).
Next day, we woke up to the sound of kookaburras singing by the creek!
What a great way to start our day as we mark the end of first leg on Great Ocean Road, hitting the roads again up north to the Grampians!
Next: Grampians National Park