Australia is much bigger than most of us appreciate. If you took all 7 billion people on Earth and moved them down under, we’d still each have more room to roam than the current residents of London, Paris or New York enjoy today.
And with such a huge continent-sized country comes a spectacular diversity of scenery and climates, far too beautiful to miss by staying in one place. That’s why we, along with thousands of Brits who’ve delved down under, strongly recommend hiring some four-wheeled freedom and acquainting yourself with Australia by automobile. One of the most picturesque routes we’ve taken is, without a doubt, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. If you’re planning a stay in Melbourne on your Australian adventure, then we have the perfect 500 mile road trip for you.
Melbourne accommodations don’t come much more elegant than The Langham. Stylish and sophisticated inside and out, The Langham’s Terrace Rooms offer magnificent city vistas and provide a perfect appetiser for the eye-pleasing attractions you’re set to discover along the journey. Once familiar with Melbourne’s many marvels, you can collect your car from one of Avis’ three premises in the city and head south for the Great Ocean Road. After ninety minutes of driving through Australian countryside, passing through the town of Anglesea, you’ll reach your first stretch of uninterrupted ocean views as you cruise along the winding road that hugs the coast, by which the scenic seaside town of Lorne awaits – a place once visited by Rudyard Kipling and the inspiration for his poem, Flowers.
Just 28 meandering miles further along the coast is Apollo Bay, a popular village with Australians, owing not only to its beautiful beach but also due to its location amongst the foothills of Great Otway National Park. This 103sqkm park is an important site for Victoria’s wildlife and presents a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, from cycling to camping, along with fishing, horse riding and, during open season, hunting. Along the coastal areas of the park sits Cape Otway, where the rustic and rural Great Ocean Ecolodge resides. Secluded, serene and perfectly placed to help you catch a close glimpse of Australia’s famous marsupial wildlife, Great Ocean Ecolodge sits in the grounds of a solar-powered conservation centre, which provides a safe haven for koalas, kangaroos and bush babies along with other curious creatures.
From Cape Otway, once you’re back on the Great Ocean Road, we recommend that you make Port Fairy your next port of call. About halfway along the hundred mile scenic stretch between these two destinations are the ever popular geological wonders, the Twelve Apostles. Surprisingly, there aren’t and, as far as scientists can tell, never have been twelve of these iconic limestone stacks, but perhaps aboriginal ancestral legends could tell a different story. Even when they were first discovered by colonial pioneers of the 19th century, there were only nine, which fell to eight, when one spectacularly collapsed into the sea in 2005. Once you reach the quaint coastal town of Port Fairy, the tranquil retreat of Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel, sitting on the banks of the Moyne River, makes for an idyllic end to the Great Ocean Road leg of your journey. The town, with a population of less than 3000 people, has its own beach, along with a number of galleries, restaurants, bars and pubs for you to explore.
With the Great Ocean Road suitably explored, it’s time to turn your attention inland and head for the stunning Grampians National Park. A history steeped site of unparalleled beauty, the park has been likened to America’s Grand Canyon, but greener and more fertile. As well as being the ancestral home to many Aboriginal tribes for tens of thousands of years, Grampians is another hub for a wide and wonderful array of wildlife. Visiting this spot of natural beauty, which is over three times the size of the Isle of Man, we recommend you give yourself at least a couple of days to get the most out of its offerings, and there’s no more cosy and calming a way to do so than by staying in Dulc Cabins, not far from the jaw-dropping Halls Gap.
From Grampians, it’s just under a three hour drive through the heart of Victoria before you’ve gone full circle and arrive back in Melbourne, ready to return to more cosmopolitan pastures. Even after discussing all of the aforementioned attractions, we’ve barely covered an area less than a thousandth of the vast diverse Australian landscape. Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to discover, our well-travelled team of experts are at hand to help make your dreams of down under become a reality.