One day late to seeing the last of the Ripcurl Pro Surf Comp at Bells Beach but with it being such a famous location we had to check it out. Great coast line, with the perfect cliffs edges for viewing the surf and a great coastal walk along the cliffs to other beaches. A quick stop so we can start the amazing Great Ocean Road further west.
Our camp for the night is not too far out from our next stop in the morning.
Camp Location: Hammond Road Campground, Wensleydale, Victoria
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Bells Beach
Distance Travelled: 57 kilometres
To the ‘Around the Twist’ Light house we go! The famous lighthouse is in a suburb called Aireys Inlet, we head straight to the carpark and walk along the coastline to the Split Point lighthouse (it’s real name).
The start of the Great Ocean Road is absolutely amazing, there is nothing quite like it. Driving along the road right along the blue beaches and cliffs was stunning, definitely something everyone should do in their lifetime. Surprisingly the ‘GOR’ doesn’t follow the coastline the entire way, the initial start is the best and then it starts to flatten out and cut inland. In saying this, there are other coastal roads to detour, stopping in at other small towns.
Camp Location: Aire River East Campground, Hordon Vale, Victoria
Cost = $37.50 (part of a wildlife reserve, meant to prebook and pay vic parks, but for this price no thanks, we did the sneaky)
Travelled From: Hammond Rd Campground
Distance Travelled: 110 kilometres
Today we check out the 12 apostles and other sights around its location, we soon realise there are tons of stops with unique rock formations, some only a short distance away from one another. We soon realise we may be jumping in and out of the car all day.
The first main stop is called The Gibson Steps, where you can see up close the very first glimpse into what the 12 Apostles are like, from the shoreline. You take the steps down to the beach and get a true understanding of the scale of the cliffs at the waters edge and the years of erosion it would of taken to wear back the shoreline.
Next stop, and one that’s been on my bucket list is the one and only 12 Apostles (yes there are now only 8). The lookout walks out onto one of the cliffs and you can see the whole coast line with the Apostles scattered along it. We were lucky enough that the sun was out so the waters were blue and visibility was great!
The only downfall we soon realised was that it was a Sunday and the tourists are starting to invade. So if we ever come back we would make sure we would go mid-week, off-season times of the year. We take our photos and get a move on, next stop being Loch Ard Gorge, and this was packed with people. This was a great location showing caves and a beach cove within the midst of the massive rocky gorge.
Next up and quite close to each other in distance is The Arch and The London Bridge, both similar but both worth the stop to understand how earth can change itself naturally in so many different shapes and forms.
We are now feeling the extent of how many times we are jumping in and out of the car and decide to skip a few sites and stop at 2 more we had previously sussed out further along the way. One being The Grotto, this place was stunning and we would have LOVED to of spent more time here but it was just too busy and even too hard to get a good photo. The holes, cliffs, rocks pools and caves all around the one main site was something special. And the colour of the water just topped it off, a spectacular location, one to see again on a less busy day!
Last but not least we stop into The Bay of Islands, along the way we see a sign for The Bay of Martyrs and soon see a glimpse of that coastal area and wish we would of stopped there instead. The colour of the scattered island rocks were a bright red, as we didn’t stop here we have no photo’s so you will just have to check out this spot for yourself.
Well what a whirlwind, busy day we have had! So many sites seen, so much to process and a lot of driving along the way! Our camp for the night is here:
Camp Location: Sawpit Campground (Narrawong Forest)
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Aire river east campground
Distance Travelled: 222 kilometres
Today is time to make some more distance and get to Mount Gambier (and into SA), we stop in quickly at Portland for free hot showers, and to check out the towns local sights. We find Petrified forest and a cliff walk to a seal colony. This seal colony is the only mainland breeding site for AUS and NZ fur seals and the lookout we see it from is also the tallest cliff in VIC.
We head straight for the SA border and into Mount Gambier. We were originally worried about driving the troopy and caravan up a steep range, we a little to be worried about as Mount Gambier is hardly a mountain. Alot of the town is flat, with the major scenic points not being high up, as expected, but in fact quite the opposite; they were sinkholes and volcanic lakes.
Camp Location: Mount Gambier showgrounds, South Australia
Cost = $15/night (stayed 1 night, inc hot showers)
Travelled From: Sawpit campground
Distance Travelled: 118 kilometres
The Umpherston Sinkhole is the main attraction in the town, and again thinking there was some big cool hike to get to it, you park and walk 50m and you are there. This was amazing, it definitely exceeded our expectations, I would definitely come here for a coffee or to chill if I lived in the area. It is a beautiful sunken garden in a sinkhole that was originally a cave until the top collapsed. Established in 1884, James Umpherston created it (located in his backyard) for his town to enjoy. It moved through generations and is now owned and up kept by the city of Mount Gambier.
We did make a quick stop into the 2 blue lakes in town that were also an attraction but really only good at certain times of the year where the water is bright aqua blue. Time for us to get back on the road, to make headway to Adelaide. We decided to take the coastal road to experience a few other little towns along way, we went by Beachport, Robe and Kingston before smashing out the km’s to our campsite along Lake Alexandrina (not too much further to Adelaide).
This campsite was great, right on the lake, and right next to a free cable that takes you across the lake, I had never seen this so it was pretty cool.
Camp Location: Narrung ferry Landing Camp Area
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Mount Gambier
Distance Travelled: 341 kilometres
All in all, the stand out here was definitely the stunning coastal cliff drive at the start of the Great Ocean Road. We are looking forward to seeing more of South Australia, and are about to meet up with friends to check out the wineries.
*Total Kilometres Travelled: 848 km