Road tripping in Australia? Think endless beaches, loads of parties, snorkelling at the reef and loads of backpackers all along the east coast – or the civilized, cool beauty of the Great Ocean Road and the endless wine gardens of South Australia.
Start your road trip in Melbourne (they say it’s the most European city in Australia) and set the tone: With a flat white and a smashed avo toast for breakfast before you pick up your van. It can’t get more Aussie than this!
Then it’s straight off towards the Great Ocean Road, where the asphalt snakes it’s winding way next to cliffs and beaches, through fields and laid-back villages. The possibly prettiest road on the planet officially starts in Torquay, a town nicknamed the “centre of surf”. Hit some waves at legendary Bells Beach, or just enjoy the sun and the colour palette of blue and gold.
Hit the road, jack… And don’t come back!
Just follow the road, keep passing through or stopping in villages like Anglesea or Lorne. Locals are friendly and cafes will dish up delightful plates – but beware: Inbetween towns the only thing that will nourish you is the view, so stock up on snacks and water, on gas and road maps because the internet connection along this legendary road might be as moody as the waves!
Up in the enchanted forest
Make your way to Apollo Bay by the end of the first day and take your pick of one of the idyllic campgrounds along the way – or go on an adventure and turn inland just before Apollo Bay. Up the hills, along narrow serpentine roads, deep, deep in the forest lies the hidden campground of Beauchamp Falls. Here you won’t find fancy amenities or even cell phone service, but instead sweet peace, the idyllic yet wild sounds and smells of the Otway National Park and trails leading to waterfalls hidden in green fairytale forests. Make sure you cozy up with a sweater and warm blankets at night because it does get chilly, even in summer!
The next morning starts with a drive to the Cape Otway Lighthouse, mostly inland, but spectacular nonetheless. Think wide green fields, inhabited by cows of all colours and sizes, think rolling hills and hairpin bends, blue, blue skies and yes, you will – more than once – catch a peek of the wild stormy coast. But those glimpses won’t prepare you for the breathtaking views that await at the Lighthouse. The entrance fee might seem a bit steep (25$) but after all, you’ve come so far, so in you go. And be amazed! Climb up the lighthouse ladder and hold tight to everything near and dear, because the wind up here is a force not to be messed with. Spend some time exploring ruins and aboriginal huts and enjoy the crisp, fresh air with a cuppa from the local cafe.
There they are – the legendary apostles
There’s 12 of them (even if you can’t see them all) and yes, they are beautiful and pristine and worth stopping for, but you will hardly ever be the only one admiring those spectacular rocks’ beauty – and you might have to share your photo spot with numerous selfie-stick-posing Asians. Too crowded for your taste? Head further along the coast for a glimpse of London Bridge – the arc that so unfortunately collapsed a couple of years ago and is now better observed from a safe distance.
Ready for part two? Read here for the best of Wildlife and Wine!