I just walked in the door, unpacked and put a load of washing on and thought it a good time to fill you in on our long weekend. We headed off down the Great Ocean Rd for 3 days, even though it was winter I thought it was still as good a time as any for a visit. Nothing like taking an independent Great Ocean Road tour and stop when you like and stay for as long as you like.
Its been over 15 years since I visited the 12 Apostles down near Port Campbell and I was super excited to get back there with the kids. Plenty has changed down there, mostly to accommodate the crowds that now visit this beautiful bit of Victorian coastline. I was amazed at the size of the car park and the number of tourists there considering it is the middle of winter.
The 12 Apostles are an hour and a half drive from Apollo Bay where we were staying, if you were leaving from Melbourne it would be close to 4 hours going inland, if you were to take the scenic route via the world famous Great Ocean Rd it would be close to 5 hours provided the traffic was good. Its a very winding road and I had to ask Craig to slow down a few times, the kids felt sick a different times as well.
The 12 Apostles are located in the Twelve Apostles National Park. Since I was there last there has been some pretty awesome changes. You now turn inland off the highway where there is a big car park that is 3 times the size of the original one. There’s a kiosk with some merchandise and cafe with a toilet block which was great. To gain access to the 12 Apostles you walk through a purpose built tunnel under the Great Ocean Rd along a concrete path out to the viewing area.
There were loads of people there, but out at the viewing area it didn’t seem crowded which is great. There was plenty of room for viewing and taking different shots and plenty of room for moving around. We set up right at the prime viewing area and met a professional photographer, she was lovely and gave us a few tips. She has since followed us on Instagram and I checked out her amazing work. She has some amazing shots a iconic Victorian tourist spots.
Best of all, this is a free attraction, there is no fee to view the 12 Apostles, this might be because it is a national park and can be viewed from the road anyway. I hope that it stays like that for generations after us but somehow I’m not sure that it will, also note that currently there is no fee to park in the car park.
We got in about 4.45pm, I had checked the weather channel that said sunset was approx. 5.10pm. It had been a freaky mild winter weekend in Melbourne, it was more like autumn. We’d had a week of typical freezing Melbourne winter weather the few days before. There was very little cloud all day and I thought we were going to get a pearler of a sunset.
Unfortunately in the final hour the clouds rolled in and it wasn’t the sunset I had hoped for. I was hoping for some pinks or orange glows, we did get a couple that had the sun just peaking through the clouds but I will let the photos talk for themselves.
Because we wanted to be at the 12 Apostles for sunset, we visited Loch Ard Gorge first. Its approx. 4kms past the 12 Apostles from Melbourne. I think everyone else had the same idea as there was a few people around!
We went down to the water and had a look at the caves which are now fenced off. We used to be able to go into the caves but for whatever reason they are now closed to the public. We had some fun trying to get the kids to jump while we took a photo of them, after take 783 we still didn’t have all 3 jumping at the same time.
The Great Ocean Road a.k.a the Surf Coast Highway, is an iconic Victorian tourist attraction. It was opened in 1932 and is 243kms long. It beings at Torquay and finishes at Warrnambool. It was built by returned soldiers between 1919-1932 and was dedicated to soldiers killed during World War 1. The road hugs the coast line and travels through various holiday towns that are popular for Victorian holiday makers.
Also located along the Great Ocean Road is the famous Bells Beach, among other big surf beaches which are known for the massive breaks. The houses are a mix of old fibro shacks to some of the most elaborate roof to ceiling windows with drop dead views of the coast. The price of anything along the Great Ocean Road is now well and truly over the $1m mark. I would love to have a holiday house somewhere along the Great Ocean Rd.
Other activities we did include Cape Otway Lighthouse, make sure you look out for koalas along here, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures and if you have time head down to Port Fairy just a little further along past the end of the Great Ocean Rd, beautiful town and it’s worth staying a night if you can.