Day Tripping: Great Ocean Road

School holidays just started for us here in Victoria but as the current pandemic confines us to our home country we decided we would explore our surrounds with day trips. Unfortunately, Melbourne’s recent outbreaks of the virus will soon confine us to our home again. Sigh. We managed to pack up and head out for a bucket list trip to the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road before we were told not to leave the area again.

Many people take up to 10 days to explore the Great Ocean Road, enjoy the beaches and visit all of the unique towns along the way. We didn’t have the luxury of time on our side so a day trip would have to do. If you travel the inland route to the coast it’s an easy 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne. A road that is uneventful and straight to Colac, a small but vibrant town situated adjacent to Lake Colac. Perfect to grab some take away coffee and a quick bite to eat. From Colac, the road meanders slowly through the countryside until you reach the coast.

We made one quick stop at Gorge Chocolate on the way to the ocean. A small artisan shop on an alpaca farm. The chocolate was so-so but the warm and cosy alpaca socks were a bonus find for the winter weather we’ve been experiencing lately.

The visitor’s centre at the 12 Apostles park was closed due to the virus but we were still allowed to walk out onto the viewing platform to take in the incredible views of the limestone coastline. It was just after 3pm when we arrived and the sun was starting to settle, casting brilliant shadows and colours for us to enjoy. There weren’t a lot of people there so it was quite easy to keep our distance – an ever important part of life these days.

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Viewing platform

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Dogs are not allowed on the beach or anywhere in the park near to the 12 apostles so we didn’t stay long. We drove 45 minutes to Johanna Beach which allows dogs on leads. It was us to the west and a bunch of surfers at the other end of the golden stretch of shoreline. A little cheeky, but we let our little foxy off his lead and let him chase the waves and our kids as the sun set in peaches and pinks over the cliffs. It was crisp and windy but oh so good to get out of our house which we’ve been in since March. What a joy to be somewhere outside with the peace of the ocean and no one else.

One last pit stop before we left the area for the night. We traveled twenty minutes to Melba Gully – part of Otway National Park. Melba Gully is known for viewing glow worms after dark in the rainforest, not in a cave. I don’t like confined spaces and have done several mining and cave tours to satisfy me for the rest of my life. I was quite happy to find this little treasure that enabled us to have the experience of the glow worms in an open space. The brilliant blue pin pricks of light they cast makes you question what you are really seeing in the black of night. I expected more as the pictures online (see photo below) show long chains of blue worms hanging freely in the trees. In reality, it was more like the tiny specks you see when looking at stars in the sky (see our photo on the left). It was cool though and I’m glad we stopped to check it out.

Two and a half hours later we were back at home. Messages rolled in from the government about door to door Covid 19 testing taking place in our neighbourhood this week and an email from the school that is was being shut down for decontamination. Ugh. Back to the reality of life in 2020.

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