Travel

Nature’s Drama Unfolds At Every Turn (Australia)

If you love to go on a road trip, you must definitely not miss the Great Ocean Road (GOR) in Australia!

You get to witness the wonder of the world in Southern Australia, from Torquay to Portland. You will never be bored along the road as the nature’s drama unfolds at every turn. It is unpredictable and spectacular. Be in awe of diverse and spectacular natural formations and ever-changing landscapes!

One of my bucket list is to drive and stay in campervan. GOR is one of the best places to do that. As there were three of us for this vacation, we rented Venturer Plus, which consists of a double bed (1.91m x 1.78m), a single bed (1.78m x 0.80m), 3 burner gas stove, pressurised hot and cold water shower and CD/Radio. Our favourite amenity is WC, so we have no fear regarding our bio needs. It cost us AUD$750 for 5 days and we topped up additional AUD$255 for LPG tank, full fuel tank and removal of waste. You can compare various car suppliers via DriveNow website easily.

Should you rent a campervan or caravan? The above vehicle is campervan. Caravan is a vehicle equipped for living in, typically towed by a car. For ease of driving, campervan is a better option. One of the attractions that we visited is Erskine Falls. At the last mile of the journey, long vehicles are not allowed to drive towards Erskine Falls as the road is too steep. There are also other roads that are inaccessible for long vehicles. Before your trip, you can watch these videos to learn about the functionality of campervan.

We planned to stay two nights in campervan and two nights in cabin. But after staying once in campervan, it made us feel claustrophobic. We had to do some housekeeping first before resting and maneuver tight spaces between us. We upgraded our powered site to cabin on our last night for better comfort. Nevertheless, it was an unforgettable experience staying overnight in campervan.

Where We Stayed

Below were the holiday parks that we stayed for our vacation as we drove from Melbourne city to Warrnambool:

At Marengo Holiday Park, we enjoyed our English breakfast while watching the crashing waves and surfers. It was so engaging for us.

At Port Campbell Holiday Park, we love the comfort heated under-blanket as the weather was so cold.

My wife and I were fortunate to travel with my mother-in-law, who was our chef of the trip. We were thankful for her thoughtful personality, asking our food preference and liking when deciding the menu each day.

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Things to See & Do

In Torquay, you can learn about the history of surfing at Australian National Surfing Museum and shop at Surf City Plaza, where you can find the iconic surf retail brands like Rip Curl and Quiksilver.

Along the Great Ocean Road, you will drive to the Memorial Arch to learn about the heritage of GOR. GOR was part of a major plan to create employment for soldiers returning from the First World War. The Country Roads Board later completed the road, which linked all the coastal towns along its 241 km length. Fourteen years in construction, GOR is today recognised as a massive feat in engineering and planning and has been listed in Australia’s National Heritage list. Around 700 ships are believed to have been wrecked along the Victorian coast, but less than a third of them have been discovered. (ref: Tourism Australia)

As we journeyed further, we explored Cape Otway Lightstation that has a stunning lighthouse, secret WWII signal station and prehistoric exhibition. On top of the lighthouse, it was very windy and presented a superb view of the ocean.

If you love animals, you must not miss this Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park, which is a family owned farm! You can pet and feed their friendly Kangaroos, Wallabies, Emu, Dingos and Deer.

The most picturesque scenery along GOR is none other than Twelve Apostles. But don’t miss other spectacular natural formations like Loch ard Gorge, Grotto, London Bridge and Bay of Islands.

Were you halted marching south,
or anchored climbing to the beach?
Did you yearn for freedom through the
endless years.
Is the mystic Southern Ocean,
yours to rule or empire lost?
The mist around your rain or wasted tears?
Are you prisoners or guardians,
at the clash of rock and wave?
Do you feel us gaze in wonder at your might?
You have seen the stars before us,
and beyond us you will stand.
Forever at the edge, through day and night.
– Poetry by Suzanne Howard on Twelve Apostles

If you are in Warrnambool, don’t miss the chance to visit Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, which reveals stories of hundreds of ships, their crewmen and passengers whose lives were claimed by the Shipwrecked Coast in the 19th Century. Additionally, drive to Logan’s Beach and spot whales if you are lucky!

Furthermore, I had taken photographs when we were touring around Melbourne city. Below are some Must-See places there:

  • Melbourne Museum
  • State Library of Victoria
  • Hosier Lane (seeing local arts/ graffiti)
  • Queen Victoria Markets (we visited on Wednesday where it opens from 5 to 10pm in Winter)
  • DFO South Wharf (for shopping)
  • Brighton Beach (for beach lovers)
  • Phillip Island (for penguin lovers; remember to buy your tickets in advance)

State Library of Victoria

Travel Tips

Before you start

  • Before beginning a driving holiday, plan your trip. Find out how long it will take to drive between destinations. Be realistic about how many kilometres
    you can drive in a day and allow for rest stops.
  • Be well prepared for travelling in remote areas.
  • Plan to avoid driving after a long night.
  • Get to know the road rules.
  • Have a good night’s sleep before setting off each day.
  • Ask about the weather and road conditions.
  • Note where the fuel stations are on your route.
  • Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen and insect repellent and wear a hat in sunny weather

On your trip

  • Drive on the left side of the road.
  • In rural areas, it is common for drivers to have their headlights on as they are more easily seen.
  • Wear a seat belt – it’s the law. Children under age seven must be in an appropriate child restraint.
  • Take regular rest breaks every two hours, preferably outside the car.
  • Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking alcohol – strict drink driving laws apply.
  • Drive at a safe, legal speed; obey all speed limits.
  • Take extra care on unsealed roads.
  • Watch for animals straying on to the road especially on rural roads near sunset and sunrise.
  • In an emergency, stay with your vehicle especially in remote areas.
  • When driving through an intersection or crossing the road as a pedestrian, look right, look left, look right again and cross only when safe to do so.
  • Check your mobile phone coverage as some areas within Australia are only accessible using satellite phones. Mobile phones are not for use while driving – it’s the law.
  • Hitchhiking or picking up hitchhikers is strongly discouraged.
  • At the beach, always swim between the red and yellow flags — not outside them.

(from Tourism Australia)

More Photographs 

Click HERE to view the gallery.

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