When visiting Victoria for the first time, many travellers make the common mistake of rushing through the Great Ocean Road. It’s understandable really, considering that you have the London Bridge and Twelve Apostles to look forward to. Breathtaking limestone rock formations aside, the 250 km drive from Torquay to Warrnambool has a lot to offer the first time Victoria traveller. Summer is just a few weeks away mates, so make sure you are enjoying your self-drive through the Great Ocean Road to the fullest. Here are a few tips that can help make that happen.
Tip #1 : Keep Calm And Drive On
Yep. Keep calm. Don’t freak out. The Great Ocean Road may look intimidating especially if you are making the drive for the first time. The road is narrow and there are many areas with only one lane. However, this stretch of road provides the most beautiful views in Victoria and you really cannot say you have experienced the best of the state without driving through the Great Ocean Road.
Plan ahead and carefully study maps to determine which parts of the drive can be a little tricky. If you are still a little worried about making the drive yourself, ask a more experienced driver to take the wheel. This way, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Tip # 2: Stop To Admire The View
Don’t just pass by that breathtaking scenery. Stop by the side of the road, get out of your vehicle and take in the sights of the beautiful coastline you are about to drive along. You can actually do this before you start down the road, so feel free to breathe the fresh air and take photos from the cliffs of Anglesea overlooking the ocean. With the stunning views, it is no wonder that many people opt for a great ocean road holiday.
Now, get back to your vehicle and drive down the highway to Devil’s Elbow where you will experience the most challenging part of your drive. Expect single lane roads and dense treetops from the national parks surrounding the area.
Before reaching Lorne, take a well deserved rest stop and – yes, congratulate yourself on your exceptional driving skills at this point – take more photos. Please remember though, that the area surrounding the Great Ocean Road are mostly national parks and the government is doing its very best to preserve the area’s natural fauna and flora. Do your part and keep the national parks safe for the plants and animals by properly disposing food containers, plastic bottles, and other rubbish.
Tip #3: Explore The Coastal Towns
There are several towns along the Great Ocean Road and all of them has something to offer the adventurous traveller. Do you want to go on a weekend hike with your friends? Angelsea has several cliff and beach hikes you will enjoy. If you love trying local cuisines, Lorne has several restaurants that serve fresh seafood all day, every day.
Bell’s Beach at Torquay is the place to go for avid surfers. If you’re travelling this way during Easter, do not miss the annual Ripcurl Pro event. Go fishing on Apollo Bay and immerse yourself in the town’s culture. Not only do you make the most out of your self-drive through the great Ocean Road, you also give your mind and body a much needed break. This way, you are refreshed and more alert when you get back behind the wheel.
Tip#4: Take Your Time
Unless you have a very tight schedule, take your time and do not do all your sightseeing in one day. Chances are, you may miss tourists gems like Airey’s Inlet Lighthouse. Take your time driving to every town along the road and ask the locals about their most recommended activities and places. You’d be surprised at how much more Victoria has to offer. Remember, you are on a holiday and the best way to make the most out of your Great Ocean Road trip is to stop in every town, and take photos of the sights that capture your heart.
Whether you’re visiting Victoria for the first time or have travelled in the state before, Salamanda Travel helps make your trip more memorable. Ask us how by visiting our site, liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter today!