I can't get enough of food! I'm also passionate about music, dance, writing and makeup!
Published June 6th 2020
Support local and explore our country
I was extremely lucky to have had a chance to travel in regional Victoria earlier this year after the devastating bushfires but before COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. As Australia is doing well and easing restrictions, I highly recommend traveling within rules to explore our own backyard.
Being Australia's most famous drive, the Great Ocean Road was the main reason why I wanted to explore Victoria but we also visited other places.
Halls Gap, located in the Grampians National Park is perfect for nature lovers. With endless hiking and biking trails, you can immerse yourself in the greenery as easy or as hard as you prefer. If you like to chase waterfalls, then there are at least 6 waterfalls in the Grampians and more throughout other regions of Victoria. Mackenzie Falls is one of the most magnificent falls and it also has a perfectly serene hiking trail right along the flow of the water.
There are even Venus Baths, a cool natural spring within a few minutes' walking distance from Halls Gap that is very popular, especially with kids. You can also find more secluded swimming holes amongst other waterfalls if you look hard enough. There are plenty of picnic spots around, or attempt mini golf with a difference at a café that is full of trees and an art gallery.
Kryal Castle at Ballarat is a must for those with young children. Accommodation is roomy, comfy, clean, with a medieval theme and a beautiful view of the town. They have plenty of activities for the kids including archery run by a very knowledgeable archer, knight school, face painting, potion-making workshops, and a joyful jousting show to watch. They also have a lolly shop, a blacksmith shop, a Torture Museum with an additional section for those aged above 12. They have lots to explore amongst their grounds such as a stable, a giant maze, a cemetery, and a Dragon's labyrinth. With so many things to do, you could visit for the day or stay overnight, or even a few nights to completely experience everything at your own pace.
From Ballarat, we travelled south towards the beach to start our Great Ocean Road adventure. As soon as we got on the road, we were immediately greeted with breathtaking views. The great thing about the Great Ocean Road was that there were plenty of pitstops along the way where you could pull over for a photo or let other cars pass. This allows everyone to drive at their own pace to take in the view. There are also spots along the road where you could go down to the beach for a swim directly off the road.
Our first stop was Torquay and Bells Beach Lookout. Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet would have been nice to climb but they were closed that day due to strong winds. We also went to see Teddy's Lookout and Erskine Falls. We stayed in Lorne that night, a green and tranquil town perfect for an evening stroll. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Lorne as it is quite popular.
We drove down to Apollo Bay for a lunch stop, but then opted not to drive along the coast towards Cape Otway, but would go through Great Otway National Park and Beech Forest instead because we wanted to do Otway Fly Treetop Adventure. This was not a regrettable decision at all. As we drove through the lush green forest, the mist from the morning was lifting above the treetops through the sun's rays. It felt more and more surreal and magical as we drove deeper. It was a drive I will never forget.
We reached Otway Fly Treetop and spent the day exploring, hiking and treetop flying. It's a very adventurous experience, especially with kids. Be prepared with warm clothes and a full stomach for enough energy for a thrilling experience.
The next morning, we splashed out and went on a 45 minute helicopter ride to see London Bridge and Bay of Islands. There was also 15 minutes option but I thought that was too short, although the ride didn't feel like 45 minutes at all. It was definitely worth the money. Do it if it's on your bucket list!
Before finishing the Great Ocean Road, we visited Loch Ard Gorge. This is a must if you are tight on time as this lookout has the best views from the ground. You are right in the middle of the cliffs of the Twelve Apostles and seeing it up close. Both sights and sounds were magnificent - a place not to be missed!
Restrictions have just been recently lifted, so make sure you check places are open and available before you go. Some eateries and restaurants also aren't open even though they are permitted to as they chose to close due to lack of profits. However, we all deserve a break from being cooped up at home. At the same time, support local and go see our own country. Be happy, practice social distancing and safe travels!