I’m really drawn to places around the world that have managed to preserve vast expanses of their natural land. As someone who’s been living in the beautiful islands of the Philippines for most of her life, constantly combing through its many beaches and mountains, you can only imagine what living in Singapore feels like! Now that nature isn’t as easy to access as it used to be, I thrive on holidays that allow myself to be enveloped in tall trees and the sound of the sea. And because Andre likes the city better, we were glad to have found a good balance of what he likes and what I like in Melbourne.
This is the Great Ocean Road. If it’s your first time in Melbourne, I highly recommend you go on a day tour first, so that you can explore its highlights. On our next trip, we plan to rent a car, go on a road-trip, and spend an evening in one of its lodges. It’s beyond beautiful here—a lovely balance of summit and sea. The swell was also awesome; there were lots of mini peelers, but the break was a bit rocky when we visited. So if you intend to surf, better do it with an instructor or a group. Also, because we went here during the winter, the air was freezing and even so the water. But nevertheless, we were surrounded by good company and had lots of fun.
We booked our Great Ocean Road tour via Escape Discovery Adventures, and they sure knew how to take good care of us! Our guide, Shane, had great energy and was really kind and entertaining. Here are some of the things we did:
Coffee, Tea, Anzac Biscuits, and Tim Tams by the Beach!
First stop after waking up extra early—this beautiful beach! There are benches by the shore where Shane set up some hot drinks (coffee and tea) and biscuits for us to enjoy and prepare us for the long ride ahead.
Anzac Biscuits are popular in New Zealand and Australia and are made with oats, golden syrup, and desiccated coconut. Shane also taught us how to enjoy Tim Tams with our coffee—by biting both ends and using the Tim Tam as a “straw” to slurp the coffee with! Now that I think about it, I should’ve taken photos of our breakfast, but I was too excited to run towards the beach.
Great Otway National Park & Mait’s Rest Rainforest Walk
We spotted some koalas (!), and while I’m not the biggest fan of birds, I fed a few of them anyway. It was fun but slightly painful because they kept clawing through my hair and hands in search for more food since I held seeds inside my palm. I’m just glad they didn’t poop on me!
Then, we walked through Mait’s Rest, which was such a refreshing environment to be in. The trees were immensely tall, and we got to see a carnivorous black snail that preys on other snails! One thing we weren’t able to see, though, were glow worms that normally come out only in the evening.
The 12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles were indeed such a majestic sight to behold. They’re around 10-20 million years old and are made of eroded rocks (such as limestone). It was a tad cloudy when we went there, but it was still a incredibly breathtaking view. The Apostles are known to change colour from dark and foreboding to sandy yellow when under sunlight.
This was a bonus side-trip before heading to Loch Ard Gorge. We drove into what seemed like a campsite where kangaroos were jumping around, wild and free! They were a bit shy, though, but I was able to snap a photo.
Loch Ard Gorge
This gorge has a beautiful story of heroism and tragedy, which Shane told us about (I don’t like spoilers, so I won’t give away the story here!). A good hike down revealed a cavernous space where the tranquil waves rolled in. There are also interesting rock formations such as the Salt & Pepper Shakers and interestingly shaped plateaus that were also carved by erosion. These were all sculpted by Mother Nature herself—isn’t that amazing?
Again, we arranged this tour of the Great Ocean Road via Escape Discovery Adventures. It takes the whole day to go from landmark to landmark, so make sure you allocate an entire day for this. (Also, if you get motion sickness, it might be a good idea to bring some medicine!) Shane was a fantastic host and tour guide, and he managed the group very well. Most tours come in large groups, and one of the things I appreciated the most with Escape Discovery Adventures is that they focus on Small Group Tours, so there were just around eight of us that day (and they accommodate up to 11 persons max). The ride was comfortable and clean, too! I highly recommend them to anyone doing a Great Ocean Road tour.
Price: AUD149 inc GST and all fees inclusive of lunch – no hidden extras
Departs: CBD Hotels between 7.00-7.45am (time confirmed at booking)
Returns: 9.00-9.30pm – to your hotel
Website (for the full itinerary & other tours): http://escapediscoveryadventures.com.au/
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