Wow, I can’t believe how quickly January is going! Does anyone else feel the same? I swear the older I get, the quicker the years go by (and now I sound like my dad haha).
Lately, I’ve been more determined than ever to cross destinations off my bucket list, I mean, who knows when I’ll ever get the chance again. I like to live in the now and experience as much of life and the world as I can. So, to start 2019 off right, I placed a big tick next to a destination that has been on my bucket list for a good ten years now. I know, that’s an extremely long time, and you’d be surprised to know that it’s location is only a few hours from where I grew up. I can’t believe it’s taken me 31 years to finally explore this beauty! So where is it? It’s the one and only, Great Ocean Road.
Arrival… reunited with family & summer days
It had been way too long since I’d seen my family and spent some much needed time in the sunshine. Over a year in fact. I mean, don’t get me wrong, London is great, it’s just thousands of miles from my family and those beautiful sandy beaches I love so much.
I managed to get two weeks off work and the minute I landed in Oz I made sure not to waste a single second of it. From family barbecues and games nights, to beach days and coffee catch ups with friends, I was one busy woman! My dad was working the majority of the time I was home, but he managed to get a day off and when he asked me what I wanted to do there was only one answer. To drive along the Great Ocean Road and visit key sites like the Twelve Apostles.
Road Trip Morning… early risers
It’s funny thinking that I had ample time growing up to see the great ocean road, my parents had seen it, even my brother had visited twice, but for me, I just never understood its appeal. A popular destination for tourists and school groups, to me, it was just a long stretch of road that lead to “a bunch of rocks.” It wasn’t until I was older and started travelling that I was truly able to understand and appreciate this natural wonder located right in my backyard.
My dad is an early riser (too early for my liking) and knowing we had a bit of a drive ahead of us he scheduled our departure for just after sunrise. This was actually great planning on his part, because not only did we beat a lot of the traffic, but we also avoided a lot of the tour busses that frequent there.
So with my new camera in hand, and my boho chic outback outfits all sorted we were ready to go.
Road Tripping… the drive
Driving along the Great Ocean Road is an experience in itself. The wide stretch of bushland merging into ocean views and cliff drops. It’s the Australia I know all too well. And after my experiences travelling around the world, I was able to look out the window as we passed one gum tree after another, and see everything with fresh eyes. I was able to truly appreciate the nature that surrounded me and the open space of land I had grown up in, so many years before.
And if you’re lucky like me, you might even spot a koala or two along the way! I’ve seen them before, but it’s always exciting when I come across them just chilling on a tree branch somewhere. I also saw an echidna in the bush, which is more of a rarity, so I was pretty excited about that.
First Stop… Loch Ard Gorge
This is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and definitely the most stunning beach along the Great Ocean Road. It was the perfect summers day, a nice 28 degrees, with a feather light breeze, and as I took the stairs from the lookout point down to the beach, I knew I had struck gold. There weren’t too many tourists around (good job on the early start dad) so it was easy for us to find a spot to just sit and relax and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the birds above and the ocean waves hitting the rocks.
Second Stop… London Arch (aka London Bridge)
So here’s a little history for you. The arch was formally known as London Bridge because of its similarity to its namesake. However, it later changed when part of bridge collapsed, separating itself from the mainland. Well, at least that’s what the sign told us.
Various viewing points are allocated around the arch and the cliff top walks are definitely not one to be missed!
Third Stop… the main attraction, The Twelve Apostles
Located only a few minutes drive from Loch Ard Gorge is the all famous Twelve Apostles. Well actually, there’s not twelve anymore. More like, eight. Over the years mother nature, time and the salty waters have caused several of the apostles to fall. But even so, the remaining eight are an impressive site to see. I was completely mesmerised by these limestone formations, appearing a lot bigger than I had originally imagined. I can say with absolute confidence that this is nature at its best.
We thought we were early enough to avoid the busloads of tourists, but being the middle of summer, it was pretty hard to have the place to ourselves. Reaching the main viewing point, it quickly turned into a sea of selfie sticks, everyone trying to get that perfect shot, so we got a couple of snaps and then continued on. Veering towards the rest of the boardwalk, we took our time walking around the cliff tops, stopping at the various other viewpoints, which in my opinion deserve just as much attention.
Final Stop… Gibson Steps
Literally a few steps away from the Twelve Apostles are Gibson Steps. Leading us down to the beach, the second my toes hit the sand, my candles were off and I was walking forward to get an up close and personal view of these beautiful limestone creations.
Watching the waves crash around the base of the apostles, I felt calmer than I had in weeks. There’s just something about the beach and being by the ocean that relaxes me. My thoughts disappear and I’m feel one hundred percent there in the moment, mind, body and spirit.
We didn’t stay here for too long as the tide was looking a little sketchy. The tide here can often can come in quickly and strongly, so I’d assess before your leisurely walk along the beach, because you definitely don’t want to end up going for an unintentional swim!
Road Tripping Back… the drive home
Taking the passenger seat, I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep. My skin was vibrant from and I just felt incredibly good (no doubt a result of my body absorbing all the vitamin d it was lacking from the zero sun I get in London). As my dad had been doing all the driving, I made sure I stayed awake to keep him company. We listened to music, spoke about all my travels (him trying to convince me to come home) and just enjoyed the landscape around us.
It was definitely a long day, to see everything we did, but it can absolutely be done if you’re strapped for time. However, if you have more time to spare, then a visit to The Grotto, Bay of Islands and Otway National Park is a must. They’re just as beautiful.