The coasts of Australia are stunning, but there's something special about the Great Ocean Road region in Victoria.
Some friends and I decided that we wanted to get away for a couple of days in the heart of winter and get back to nature. All of us are big fans of the outdoors and we love finding new and beautiful places to explore.
We decided on Torquay, a seaside coastal town at the beginning (east end) of the Great Ocean Road. We got a great deal on accommodation at the lovely Peppers The Sands Resort which is only a short walk from the beach (which was ideal for us).
On our first day there, before we even checked into our hotel, we did some sight seeing around the main part of Torquay which is well known for the surf shops and outlet stores. We did quite a bit of damage to the hip pocket, picking up bargains in a number of shops and generally just having a wander around the streets.
Afterwards we headed to the hotel to check in and get settled in our room. After getting our stuff stowed away and making sure we knew how to get to the beach for our walk the next morning, it was time for dinner, and we knew exactly where we were going... Fisho's Torquay!
This place is basically an institution and has the best fish and chips in town. It's this really cute, rustic little place that's quite quirky with amazing food. A box of fish and chips for one person with a side of homemade tartare sauce will set you back about $21. All their ingredients are locally sourced and all the sides are homemade. (As a side note, they're also ranked as #2 out of 108 for places to eat in Torquay.)
After stuffing ourselves full of delicious fish and chips, we nodded of for a good night's sleep because we had an early morning the next day. While day one had been dedicated to exploring the town and the shops, day two was all about nature.
We had agreed that we wanted to watch the sun rise at the beach which meant a very early start. So at some ungodly hour the next morning, we hauled ourselves out of bed and bundled up in our warmest clothes (including beanies, scarves and gloves because in the middle of winter, let me tell you, it's COLD) before walking the 10 minutes to the beach. There were a surprising number of people already there for so early, but the view was absolutely worth it.
After our morning walk, we headed back to the hotel for hot showers, before venturing out to find a spot for breakfast. The day before we'd seen the sign for Surfcoast Wholefoods and we'd made a mental note to check it out for breakfast. So off we went for some avocado on toast, acai bowls and poached eggs and bacon. To top it off there were cold pressed juices and fresh smoothies.
Now we were ready to head off for a day of exploring the wonders of nature, and first up was Anglesea. Only about a 30 minute drive from the hotel, Anglesea is just brimming with gorgeous places to explore. We picked a random lookout area and left the car before venturing down onto the beach. We were surrounded by stunning cliffs and views out across the ocean. I even managed to find a little zen...
After a while walking along, taking photos and generally just feeling the calming vibes of the surrounding area, we jumped back in the car to continue down the Great Ocean Road to Airey's Inlet.
Airey's Inlet is a perfect mix of serenity, tranquility and fun, with lots to see and do. It is also home to some of the best views along the GOR, with spectacular cliffs, beautiful beaches, a picturesque river valley and the Great Otway National Park. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do all of these, so we headed straight for the beach. The first and most important part to visit is the lovely Split Point Lighthouse, which is the main tourist attraction at Airey's Inlet.
The walk up to the lighthouse is quite steep in some areas, so be sure to wear good footwear and walk at your own pace. You can drive to the top, but there's no parking so you can only be dropped off before your driver will have to head back down to the car park area.
Afterwards, we headed down onto the beach and really this was my favourite part. Whilst there were quite a few people on the beach, the further along you go, the quieter it gets and with the cliffs surrounding you, it becomes almost magical. I really felt like I was back in the days of the pirates, looking out across the seas and exploring the rock caves (I was hoping to find some long lost treasure, but alas, no gold or jewels for me). What I did do was climb up some of the rocks and find myself a lovely little spot to sit and reflect and just take in the serenity around me. I dubbed it, Think Rock.
The above photo is looking out towards the ocean with the cliffs behind, but if you look back the other way, you'll see that the lighthouse is right above us...
All in all it was a fantastic weekend away, and I can't wait to explore even more of this gorgeous area. The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most famous and impressive natural wonders, so if you're in Melbourne, whether you live here or you're just visiting, make sure you take some time to see as much of it as you can. I will most definitely be heading back as I've barely scratched the surface with all the things there are to see and do in this beautiful part of the world.
Until next time,