East Coast Australia Road Trip – The Great Ocean Road & Melbourne (Part VIII)

Our time in Australia has sadly come to an end. Over the last eight weeks we’ve clocked up nearly 3,000 miles travelling by motorhome from Cairns to Sydney and then via car to Melbourne with my Mum on what has been a truly unforgettable East Coast Australian Road Trip.

Some of my favourite highlights include cuddling a koala; snorkelling and sleeping on a pontoon in the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands, watching kangaroos at sunrise, the hippy lifestyle of Byron Bay, the iconic sights of Sydney and most recently, the stunning views from the Great Ocean Road.

Day 53 (cont.) – Contiki Catchup & Start of The Great Ocean Road

After hot air ballooning over Yarra Valley at sunrise (yet another highlight), we headed 100 miles to the beach town of Torquay – the official start of The Great Ocean Road – officially voted as one of the world’s most famous road trips. To read about our incredible flight over this wine region, click here.

Before embarking through rugged coastal vistas, dense forests, national parks and beach towns, we arranged to meet up with Maddy – another friend we had made when travelling together on Contiki’s Canada and the Rockies Tour for lunch at the Pond Cafe.

Shortly after starting the drive, we got a picture with The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch and then came across the Cape Otway Lighthouse and Split Point Lookout. By now I’d been awake for over nine hours, so I had a quick power nap in the car before we continued onto the beach town of Lorne.

Here, we went on the Shockwave Zip Coaster at the Live Wire Park, which is apparently ‘the most extreme zip line in Australia.’ This was my Mum’s first time zip lining, but she loved it.

For us, nothing will ever beat zip lining across snow-topped mountains in Whistler, Canada. (Read more by clicking here).

Afterwards, we walked along the Canopy Circuit with views of the Otway Ranges in Great Otway National Park before then bouncing and fooling around on trampolines and in ball pits in the Spring Circuit.

Cramming even more into the day, we hiked down to Erskine Falls and then checked out Teddy’s Lookout before continuing to Apollo Bay – our base for the next two nights.

Day 54 – The Twelve Apostles & other Great Ocean Road sights

Unfortunately, the weather was rather bleak, but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. A lie in was much-needed after being awake for 18 hours yesterday, which we all enjoyed. We then set off to Gibson Steps and the 12 Apostles – a group of limestone sea stacks, just before Port Campbell.

These are undoubtedly the most popular attraction on Australia’s most famous stretch of road.

Nowadays, there are only eight apostles left due to the weather taking its toll over the years and with erosion more will gradually cut down and fall. Like the Great Barrier Reef, I’m grateful that we’ve seen them because one day, the likelihood is that they will no longer be there.

Carrying on were the stops of Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and The Grotto, which we checked out before driving back. Admittedly, we didn’t complete the full stretch of the Great Ocean Road by driving the extra 62 miles to the historic fishing village of Port Fairy.

Tonight was all about the biggest game of the season – Blackpool vs Preston. Luckily for Emily and my Mum, we won 4-2 in what was a thrilling encounter. Watch below for my reaction to the fourth goal!

Day 55 – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Princess Theatre, Melbourne

Our final three nights were spent in the hussle and bustle of Melbourne, which reminded me a great deal of London. It was a three hour drive to the coastal capital of Victoria from Apollo Bay, which put a limit on what we could do when we arrived at our AirBnb near Chinatown.

We ambled around the shopping district and then booked to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre in the evening lasting a whopping three hours.

It was between this or seeing India vs Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup at the MCG in front of a capacity 90,000+ crowd. I didn’t mind too much because it wasn’t England playing and besides, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Cricket anyway. In the end, we probably made the right decision.

We’ve seen our fair share of shows and The Lion King has always been our favourite, but this ran it VERY close!

Day 56 – Melbourne sightseeing

Unlike Sydney, Melbourne doesn’t have many iconic attractions. Aussie’s have said that people typically tend to prefer either Sydney or Melbourne more than the other.

Before handing our hire car back, we eat what has been voted as being ‘the best croissant in the world’ at Lune Croissanterie. In fairness, it was pretty damn good. It had layers and it was puffy, but it could have done with some butter and jam. Maybe that’s just a British thing?

Later on we checked out Melbourne’s most popular sights, firstly by walking around the Royal Botanic Gardens and to the MCG – the 10th biggest stadium in the world and then to the area where the Australian Open is played.

We then made the most of Melbourne’s free tram system by going to see Fed Square, Flinders Street Station, St Paul’s Cathedral and the graffiti on Hosier Lane, which were all rather underwhelming.

Day 57 – Melbourne Zoo

Today, we got the tram to Melbourne Zoo – ranked #1 in Australia. To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered about looking around another zoo but there wasn’t a great deal else for us to do. I preferred the iconic sights of Sydney more, whereas Em preferred the busier buzz of Melbourne.

From crocodiles, dingoes, kangaroos, koalas, quokkas, wallabies and wombats, we’ve seen almost every single Australian animal in the wild, but we were yet to see a cassowary and platypus. Seeing them in a zoo was our next best option.

Day 58 – Another Contiki catch up before flying to Bali

We got up and said our goodbyes to my Mum early in the morning as she had a 09:00 AM flight to catch.

Em and I had a few more hours to kill before our 7-hour flight to Bali at 17:50 PM, so we found a currency exchange, bought some snack food and then arranged to meet up with Caleb for lunch – also on Contiki’s Canada and the Rockies Trip.

And with that comes the end of our time in Australia. Our next adventure is in Bali, Indonesia where we’ll be spending the next three weeks.

We’ve got a week in Kuta and Seminyak next, which should give us enough time to recharge our batteries in time for Wanderlands’ 13-day tour of Bali and Lombok starting in Canggu on 2 Nov, which we’re both buzzing for!

Returning to Asia for the first time since Pre-COVID is daunting because of the change in culture in what will be a completely different travelling experience but it’s something we are both ready for.

As always, if you’d like to keep up-to-date with our adventure, you can either enter your email at the bottom of this article to receive instant notifications every time I post a new blog; click the Follow ‘Al’ Around The World link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @AlecW95 or @alatw95.

Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.

Thanks for reading, until the next time…

Al

Published by alatw95

26 | Freelance Journalist | Travelling the World 🌏

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