We decided to do the Great Ocean Road backwards. That is, we took the fast road up to Port Fairy and then slowly made our way down the coast back into Melbourne. We figured that we didn’t want to do a long journey home on our last day of travels. It was the right decision. It took us about five hours to motor up to Port Fairy on the very quiet and peaceful Princess Highway stopping off every now and then in deserted villages to top up on coffee and cake. Bursting with enthusiasm and excitement it was hassle-free even with our two young Singapore kids who aren’t used to long road trips.
We arrive at the Big4 Holiday Camp. Nothing special, but clean, basic and more importantly it had a bouncing pillow, a large inflated trampoline that the kids got ridiculously excited about. Great, time for us to put our feet up and crack open the beer…
In all it took us five nights to make our way back down into Melbourne. We stopped off in a new campsite every night – a new place to explore. This was a holiday with no frills, no shops or fancy restaurants, we went right back to basics. We shook off the city and breathed in the nippy sea air. It was much needed after the confines of Singapore. No computers, no electronic gadgets, our down-time was spent singing and playing cards… a truly bonding experience that left us all feeling much lighter and happier, one of the best family holidays we’ve had… this does come with a caveat, however. Five nights for us was perfect, any longer and we may have been seriously hankering after our own comfy beds…
Who: Mum, Dad, two kids aged 8 and 10.
Where: Great Ocean Road – South of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
How: Flew from Singapore to Melbourne – 7.5 hrs – Singapore Airlines.
Touring in a Maui Campervan hired from Britz –located about half hour from Melbourne airport. www.britz.com.au
Stayed on Big4 Campsites – they had a good Great Ocean Road itinerary on their website which we followed. www.big4.com.au
When: October (daytime temperatures 10C to 20C – nighttime dipped to about 3C some nights)
Stop off and see
12 Apostles – it’s worth muscling your way through all the tourists to get a look at these. They’re magical and breathtaking to see.
Lorne – a beautiful seaside village along the GOR. This has lots of gorgeous cafes and a truly stunning bay. You could sit drinking lattes and watching the waves all day here…
Wye River – this is a spectacular region where the mountains meet the sea. We saw lots of great wildlife here including koalas and kaleidoscopic coloured birds that ate from our hands. We even got to see a Kookaburra.
There’s plenty that’s been written on what you can see along the way so I won’t repeat it, just go to visitvictoria.com
Tips your travel agent forgot to tell you
- Book your campsites in advance. During peak season you’ll struggle to get in, they’re packed to the rafters. We used Big4 and found them clean and safe.
- Our campervan included a shower – in hindsight we might have hired a simpler van – the facilities on the campsite were excellent – there was no way we were using the van’s showers.
- Pack a toweling robe – handy when you’re using the camps showers etc..
- Don’t be too adventurous when you’re planning your route – don’t try to do too many miles in one day. One to two hours driving per day is more than enough. And remember the campervan is slow – you travel at about 30kms per hour along the Great Ocean Road.
- Pack clothes for all seasons – layering up is key. Don’t bother with anything other than jeans and trainers – save the fancy stuff for Singapore. Thermals are a must for the night!
- Don’t forget visas if you need them. It does happen.