After two weeks in Melbourne I was starting to get comfortable with my new surroundings, but was very much aware that everything was about to change.
We swapped our Airbnb for a good old camper and the plan was to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. We hired the camper from Travellers Autobarn and it came with all the living equipment we needed.
We were able to download their app which mapped out all the free, low cost and high cost campsites in Australia. Another good app for this is WikiCamps.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret, I’m the worst front seat passenger you could ever come across, so driving 1000km (one way) was going to be a treat for Farley.
Despite the odd lovers tiff, caused by me telling Farley how to drive, I had the most amazing experience and wanted to share the journey with you. You never know it may come in handy. So here goes…
Starting point: TORQUAY
We drove from Melbourne down to Torquay and did a quick food shop. It saved us a lot of money along the way and it meant snacks for the journey!
Another handy hint, make sure you’ve got a good playlist sorted because the radio signal is SHOCKING along the GOR and Australian outback! Unless you like classical that is.
First stop, beautiful Bells Beach. Great place for a picnic!
SPLIT POINT LIGHT HOUSE
From Bells Beach we drove to Split Point Light House. A lovely spot to stop and take a short walk up to the lighthouse. There is also a gorgeous beach with rocky caves that are worth exploring. Try not to fall in the sea like Farley and ruin your clothes.
We were just about to leave when the campers engine warning light came on…brilliant, that’s the end of the trip, back to Melbourne we go.
We waited almost 2 hours for the engineer to arrive to tell us that he hadn’t got his equipment with him to be able to diagnose what was wrong with the car. Therefore all he could say was go carefully, it may break down and if it does, call again. SAFEST CAMPER EVER.MEMORIAL ARCH
I was expecting the famous arch to be nearer to the start of the GOR and thought we’d missed it by accident but it’s about 30 minutes away from Torquay.
You’ll turn a corner and it will be straight in front of you. I was very excited when I saw it, hitting Farley over the head! Poor guy. There is plenty of space to pull over and get that classic picture.LORNE
You will drive through Lorne and if you have time it is worth stopping. There are a lot of little shops and cafes, a beach, and an information centre which always help plan a journey. Lorne also makes bathroom break.
JAMIESON CREEK BUSH CAMPGROUND
This is where we decided to base ourselves for the night. A free campsite approx 20 minutes from Lorne. As it was free I found spaces filled up quick, so it’s best off I getting there early evening.
I guess you could say it was convenient but the main issue was that there weren’t any facilities. This meant that some parts of the forest smelt like what I can only describe as a dirty rabbit hutch.
Although there were a lot of people around us, I felt rather unsafe, almost like I might not make it through the night. Farley reassured me that it was just for ONE night (please remember this)…DAY 2
In the morning we drove back to Lorne to shower and freshen up and then headed 10 minutes down the road to Sheoak Falls. A fantastic place for a morning walk that takes you past some scenic waterfalls.
Once we reached the top of the climb, we stopped for a breather, overlooking the waterfall. Down below we could see a young man appearing to be enjoying an early morning swim in his leopard print budgy smugglers. He was chatting away filming himself on the rocks, doing a little dance and before we knew it, off come the smugglers! It didn’t take him long to turn around, see us, jaw drop and quickly put those smugglers back on. Little disappointing as I was ready for a show! KAFE KOALA AT KENNET RIVER
After our morning entertainment we headed for a hot drink at Kafe Koala. Here you can see Koalas in the trees and also an array of tropical birds, which if you have food they’ll eat out your hands!APOLLO BAY
Our last stop of the day before heading to camp was Apollo Bay. We visited Apollo Bay twice during our road trip (once on the way to Adelaide and again on the way back).
The weather the first time round wasn’t great and didn’t do the beach justice so I’ve uploaded a picture from our second visit so you can see just how beautiful it is!
With it raining, we wandered around the shops, ate some delicious fish and chips in Apollo Bay Hotel and then tried vegemite ice cream after being recommend it. I really like vegemite but the ice cream gets a big fat thumbs down no from me! Apollo Bay is gorgeous and worth staying if you get the chance. We didn’t stay the night but take a wild guess at where Farley chose to spend our second night…bloody JAMIESON CREEK, need I say more. Off we went, back to the 5* creepy bush campground.
Whilst I’m on the subject about overnight stays, a great place which is only 30 minutes away from Apollo Bay in Cape Otway is Bimbi Park Campsite. We stayed here on the way back from Adelaide, treated ourselves to a cabin and camped under Koalas! DAY 3
MAITS REST RAINFOREST WALK
It decided to heavily rain in the morning, but that didn’t stop us from a rainforest walk. Raincoats on, we chose the short walk which took 30 minutes but there are options to go for longer. If you have time, it’s a very pretty walk that’s worth doing come rain or shine.
Melba Gully is meant to be another good place for a walk. We didn’t get time for this but if you ever go let me know what it’s like! GORGE CHOCOLATES
Next we headed to Gorge Chocolates which had been recommended to us by our tour guide from the Grampians trip. It is signposted just before the Twelve Apostles.
Anyone that knows me will know I’m addicted to chocolate, so I wasn’t going to be leaving empty handed. So far in Australia I have found that their chocolate does not compare in the slightest to English chocolate but this chocolate was GORGE! See what I did there…
Further up the road is Apostle Whey Cheese, which we didn’t visit but if you like cheese then I’d check this place out! THE TWELVE APOSTLES
Very busy! As you can probably imagine. One of the most famous tourist spots along the GOR and it’s really worth stopping to see it. Even on a rainy day the view is spectacular.
LOCH ARD GORGE AND CEMETERY
This was probably my favourite view along the GOR. Not as busy as the Twelve Apostles and you are able to walk right down onto the beach. I must warn you, watch were you step as there are A LOT of crickets hiding in the sand.
We also checked out the cemetery at the top of the Gorge. It’s only small and worth seeing whilst your there. PORT CAMPBELL
Our next place to call home for the night. We paid $15 for a pitch which made me feel safer and they had cooking facilities, toilets and showers!
From our campsite it was a 10 minute walk into Port Campbell town which was lovely. There are a lot of places to eat and drink, so if you’re driving through, you might as well stay the night, enjoy a drink and some fish and chips. That’s what we did!
Another day of visiting iconic landmarks! It would be rude not to stop at each one.
THE ARCH LONDON BRIDGE BAY OF MARTYRSBAY OF ISLANDS PORT FAIRY
We stopped in Port Fairy for lunch before crossing the border into South Australia. Another cute Australian town with lots of gift shops and places to eat. UMPHERSTON SINKHOLE
Located in Mount Gambier, South Australia, the sinkhole was better than we imagined. I wish we stopped for longer in Mount Gambier and visited the Blue Lake. Has anyone been? MILLICENT LAKESIDE CARAVAN PARK
Our final home before Adelaide. A lovely campsite run by a very friendly English couple. We stayed here for one night on the way to Adelaide and then again on the way back to Melbourne. The site had great facilities, a swimming lake, was very local to the town and superb prices too!
On our second visit they were kind enough to give us one of the cabins with a kitchen, lounge, bedroom and bathroom. Camping like a Queen! Overwhelmed at their generosity, I couldn’t help but give them a hug.
The final leg. We stopped in Meningie for a bite to eat before completing the journey to Adelaide. The bakery there has the best Nutella Bomb doughnuts…one was just not enough, I should have brought more, and I’m still regretting that to this day. Just past Meningie is a Pink Lake which I had high hopes for. However over summer the lake has dried up leaving a very disappointing view. No pink lake in view.
From here we drove the last stretch to Adelaide and enjoyed a well deserved
largeglass bottle of wine on Glenelg Beach. Despite having to sleep in the back of a not so comfy camper for most nights, it was the most incredible road trip and I’m so glad we did it by ourselves and not through a tour operator. It gave us a lot more freedom and allowed us to see so much more.
Be prepared to see a lot of wild animals along the way, dead and alive. I strongly advise not to drive early morning or at night, both for the animals safety and yours.
Yes, a road trip can be a pricey. The initial camper hire and fuel will be your biggest expense. But if you buy food to cook yourself instead of eating out you’ll save a fortune!
Like us, take your time with it. It’s a long and windy road so don’t go too fast and take a break if you need it. Be mindful of drivers behind you, there are plenty of opportunities to pull over and let them pass so that you can take in the view at your own pace.
You cannot come to Australia and not see The Great Ocean Road. It is remarkable and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat!
If you have any questions about camper hire or the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide just shout. I’d be happy to help!
Catch you later
Miss Health & Safety aka Steph