My Guide: fascination with the Great Ocean Road.
Vibrant life and vast wilderness.
Vast areas, wilderness, dream beaches and teeming life – Australia is truly a country and continent of contrasts. Alongside wonders of nature like the Great Barrier Reef or Uluru, the sacred rock of the Aboriginal people also known as Ayers Rock, you have large cities which are pulsating with life. With the Sydney Opera House, Australia is home to one of the world’s most famous buildings.
But life down under is not just about the exciting cities, the outback, deserts, semideserts, skippies, koalas and wombats. Above all it is the “Aussies” themselves who are known for their open manner and lifestyle.
A small but delightful highlight.
To discover the whole of Australia and get to know all its sides, you would need a whole lifetime or possibly even several lifetimes. For their road trip, bloggers Karen Po Kuen Woo and Tiffany Marie Newman picked out a real highlight which presents a small yet wonderful aspect of life down under. In their Mercedes-Benz C-Class, they are taking a journey down an AVIS Best road, a section of the legendary Great Ocean Road, between the small town of Apollo Bay and The Twelve Apostles.
Only the freshest and best food served here.
Having knocked the sand out of your shoes after the obligatory trip to the beach, it’s time to start discovering Apollo Bay. The place might seem small, but there is an abundance of attractions. And the La Bimba restaurant is the ideal place to prepare for the journey ahead with a hearty meal. Chef Steve Earl only uses the freshest and best ingredients: seafood in all its tasty variations, as well as produce from his own farm or from other local farmers.
And the ambience at La Bimba is just as good as the food: huge window fronts, usually left open to carry the fresh ocean breeze through the restaurant, play their part in this, as does the relaxed atmosphere.
A souvenir with a difference.
A souvenir from the fifth continent and the upcoming journey is a must, of course. Tiffany and Karen recommend having a look in Hawkeye Homewares in Apollo Bay. You won’t find the typical down under souvenirs here. But shop owner Marie is a genuine Australian with a good eye for beautiful items that are much more than merely a souvenir.
Through forests and along the coast.
With the first mementos packed in the car, away we go on the 86-kilometre stretch of the Great Ocean Road. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class whirrs over the coastal road, and even on the tight bends perched high above the beach below, you know you have a reliable companion with which you can master any situation arising on the tour. Karen and Tiffany allow themselves to be carried safely along the road as they follow the route. A small detour to the southernmost point of Victoria state provides a special highlight that no visitor should miss. In Great Otway National Park, which is called Koala Forest by many, you just have to “stop the car, get out and look up”, Tiffany explains. After all, the park isn’t given this cognomen for nothing. If you glance up into the tree tops, soon enough you’re sure to catch sight of one or two eucalyptus fans.
Magnificent view, miles of beaches.
We continue on our way to the ocean. Cape Otway Lightstation is our destination. The lightstation served to guide ships along the coast between 1848 and 1994, and has now become a lookout point which offers magnificent views across the ocean as well as a whole lot of history. You soon get a sense of what it was like for lighthouse keepers to live and work here all those years ago. Following this informative stop and a snack at the adjoining café, we continue on our way. You should definitely plan to stop at one of the sandy beaches stretching for miles along the coast, like Marengo Beach, for example, just one of many idyllic locations in this area. It’s easy to see why Victoria state prides itself on being able to offer the perfect beach for every person and activity.
The Australian Spirit within reach.
The last stop on the route is to be an overwhelming experience. The Twelve Apostles are one of the most frequently photographed sights in Australia. In the light of the setting sun, the rock formation seems to light up itself, so that you feel the spirit and fascination of the whole continent in this one moment – a place of fantasy, dreams and freedom. The origin of the name The Twelve Apostles remains unclear. Nobody knows why these stele formations, which are up to 60 metres high and left over by erosion of the mainland, were given this name. There never were twelve rocks at any point in time.