Where are we going:
Hello again, Maxxis Man here – ready to take you on another exciting road trip! This time (the second in our series) we’ll be exploring Victoria’s famous and spectacular Great Ocean Road. Whether you are a Melbournian or a visitor, this is a great way to spend a couple of days during the holidays or long weekend, winding your way through exquisite national park vegetation, past picture-perfect beaches and the rugged cliffs of the Shipwreck Coast and simply soaking up the magical views of the 12 Apostles (now 8!) rising out of the Southern Ocean. So…if you’re ready for an adventure with a difference, check those tyres, put on your sunnies, buckle up and let’s get going.
What car to drive and the all-important question of tyres:
A large touring SUV, such a Ford Territory, or a Toyota Kluger fitted with Maxxis HT770’s would make this trip very comfortable and being seated a little higher up will enable you to really make most the views over the rugged coastline and beyond (not to mention koala spotting in the national park!) If you’re looking to enjoy the trip in extra style, a luxury sedan (with HP5 or MA511 tyres) would also be an excellent option, while nothing could be more exhilarating than experiencing this iconic road in a sports car or convertible, top down and taking in sunshine and ocean breeze, once again with HP5 or MA511 tyres providing a smooth, safe ride.
What to pack:
The weather along the Great Ocean Road is notoriously changeable, often being very windy and cool (even in December), prone to storms, while sometimes being extremely hot! And what makes it more challenging is that often you get more than one of these weather conditions in the space of a just a few hours. So, before you leave, make sure you check the weather forecast – and even if it’s warm, a light jacket could be the go! You’ll definitely need your swimmers and sunscreen, and if you’re staying somewhere overnight or longer, don’t forget your toothbrush! Remember too, it’s important to be Bushfire Ready, so check fire danger ratings and bushfire alert information before you set off.
How to get there and where to stop:
The 12 Apostles are 275km west of Melbourne, and approximately a 4 hour drive if you are going direct without frequent or lengthy stops. However, there is so much to see along the way (including the legendary Shipwreck Coast), so ideally give yourself at least two days to see all the wondrous sights the Great Ocean Road has to offer. From Melbourne, head to Geelong on the M1, then by-passing Geelong and head to Torquay on the C134. If you’re ready for a break, Torquay is the perfect pit stop for a coffee, an award-winning pie or something more substantial and to take in Torquay’s surf beach (a destination in itself)!
Back on the road, head to famous Bell’s Beach (where the Rip Curl Pro is held every Easter) on the B100 and you’re now at the real start of your Great Ocean Road Adventure. From Bells, follow the coastal road through Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and on to Lorne (another fabulous beach stop) and drive up to Teddy’s Lookout for a stunning view. You’ll then wind your way towards Apollo Bay (approximately a three-hour drive from Melbourne) — a great place to stop for the night. From Apollo Bay, head through the Great Otway National Park (it’s windy but a good sealed road and look out for the koalas in the trees above!) Follow the signs to Princetown, which signals the start of the 12 Apostles National Park. From here you’ll pass the mighty Apostles and on to Port Campbell. You can then make your way to Warrnambool (another option of somewhere to set up camp for the night). Next day visit the Flagstaff Maritime Village (housing stories and artefacts from hundreds of shipwrecks on this treacherous coast), Warrnambool Cheese Factory, and on to the quaint fishing village of Port Fairy — before making your return trip to Melbourne.
What’s amazing about the Great Ocean Road is that the sights and stories just go on and on – with something new around every corner and lots of history to discover. There are numerous lookouts and picnic spots, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Apostles themselves (limestone rock stacks rising out of the ocean) are a majestic sight with their own Visitor Centre (including a restaurant on site). It does get very busy at peak times, so you may want to plan for an early start to avoid the crowds – sunrise and sunsets can be magnificent. If you’re feeling energetic, the nearby Gibson Steps offer an 86 step cliff-face walk, while other notable sights include Castle Rock, Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, The London Arch, The Grotto and the Bay of Islands. The seaside village of Port Campbell is a stunning stop to recharge, with a number of shops and eateries as well as overnight accommodation and a little beach to swim or just sit and reflect. Torquay, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy Warrnambool all also have much to offer if you have more time to explore.
Well, that’s it from me – now over to you! Remember to always do a thorough safety check of your vehicle before you set off (and a final tip — check your tyres are correctly inflated while they are still cool). Happy exploring!
Please note: The information offered in this blog is of a general nature only and should in no respect replace detailed research, travel and safety preparations as relevant to your individual requirements and vehicle.