On my last trip to Melbourne, there was only one thing I really wanted to do: see the Twelve Apostles! The Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic drives in the world, will take your breath away.
The Twelve Apostles are limestone pillars that sit on the shore of the Southern Ocean on Victoria’s Port Campbell National Park. Originally, they were connected to the cliffs, but rough waves and strong winds carved them into columns. There are only eight apostles left, with the last one falling in 2005.
With only 50 hours in the city, I was determined to see this iconic Australian landmark, so after a couple hours sleep, my friend Sarah and I set off at 3am to reach our destination for sunrise. The early bird gets the worm, right?!
The drive along the Great Ocean Road takes 4 1/2 hours, but with limited time, I decided to drive past Geelong and through Colac to make it to the Apostles in just 2 1/2 hours. It was an easy drive, but was really foggy in certain areas. We also passed quite a lot of gas stations and fast food eateries on this route.
The 12 Apostles was our first stop. I looked and sounded like a kid who had just seen magic for the first time when I saw them. Pulling up to the carpark, I was surprised with how many people were around that early in the morning, especially for how cold it was (it was FREEZING!).
The walk from the carpark to the viewing platform is only a couple minutes long, and provides a stunning 180 degree view of the Apostles. When we arrived at the main viewing platform, there must’ve only been three other parties there – a significant difference to the crowd size at midday! After spending about half an hour at this location, we were ready to head to Loch Ard Gorge.
Loch Ard Gorge is only a short drive west from the 12 Apostles. It gets its name from a ship called Loch Ard which struck the reef and sunk. Only two passengers survived the wreck, with most of those that died buried at the cemetery next to the carpark.
Follow the path from the carpark to the viewing platform to reach steps that lead down to the beach. The weather got extremely hot around this time that I had to change into shorts when I got back to the car. I wish I had brought my swimsuit though!
Our next destination was The Arch before our final stop on our little Great Ocean Road tour: London Bridge. You can’t see it in the photo below, because it collapsed in 1990, but the cliff on the left used to be connected to the land behind me by a natural “bridge.” Before the collapse, you could walk across it freely.
After taking in the stunning scenery, we left to go back to Melbourne at around 10am. I’m so glad I got to tick this off my bucket list and highly recommend you see this spectacular wonder of Australia for yourself if you’re ever in the area.
If you have time, there are some great parks along the way from Melbourne that you should stop at, including Cape Otway and Kennett River for a chance to see Parrots and Koalas, Angelsea Golf Course for Kangaroos, Lake Elizabeth and Mount Emu Creek for Platypus’, and if you’re lucky, you may even see whales while driving along the coast! There are also waterfalls and walking tracks throughout the Otways and Lorne.
Because it’s one of the busiest tourist destinations in Victoria, there are a lot of accidents on the road. There are signs all around the Great Ocean Road to remember to drive on the left hand side of the road, so be careful if you get behind the wheel. If driving isn’t your thing, there are numerous day tours you can take.