We set out on the last day of the Australia Day long weekend on a hot, typical summer's day with the aim of seeing this iconic attraction. Along the way, somewhere near Geelong (the name escapes me) we made a pitstop for coffee, fresh orange juice and snacks. The cafe at this stop had an extremely long line due to the tourists and families passing this way - we were also able to pick up some brochures providing more information about the Great Ocean Road and a map.
The holiday weekend meant heaps of traffic. We had to ditch our initial aim of driving along the Great Ocean Road on the way there to drive through Colac. The way to the Great Ocean Road was at a complete standstill - we could see in the distance the cars there weren't moving either.
It was a long drive but just before we reached the Twelve Apostles we made another stop at Gorge Chocolates, a little specialty chocolate shop. It was small but it had some interesting chocolates and I had trouble choosing between white chocolate-coated jelly or marshmallows! Eventually I went for the firm raspberry jelly ($4.50 for a bag) but it was so hot that we had to eat them quite quickly!
Finally we reached the carpark for the Twelve Apostles Visitor Facility (Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd, Princetown VIC). From there you follow the boardwalk to the viewing area where you can get a great look from above of the Port Campbell National Park and the Twelve Apostles.
The walkway is not too long, but it takes a while to complete with people taking pictures every few steps. Each spot has you going, "This will make a good photo!" until you realise each spot is just as scenic as the next.
After taking numerous photos, we needed to fill up petrol. Unfortunately the closest one on the way back to Melbourne was out of petrol! We didn't think we could last until the next one at Apollo Bay, so had to go back to Port Campbell where there was a little station. Since it was getting late we thought we'd also get burgers from the local fish and chip shop to eat whilst sitting by their cosy, enclosed bay.
Since we missed out on the Great Ocean Road on the way there, the plan was to take it back home. It is quite scenic but there's also a section of the drive that's not by the beach and winding through the forests.
You'll find some stops where you might want to take a breather from driving, get some fresh air and take in the road's deep blue views and jagged coastline.
We stopped by a lookout called Castle Cove and although there was only a small viewing platform, the views were just as breathtaking and enjoyable to take in with less people around.
I definitely recommend experiencing this road once in your lifetime, especially if you live in Victoria. You can make a few days out of it or choose one location you want to go to and enjoy the drive along the way. You can plan it carefully or be spontaneous - maybe just try to avoid peak holiday times and fill up petrol before your trip!