It was Australia Day over a month ago and it happen to fall on a Friday. So, most Australians enjoyed a three-day weekend. Naturally, most Australians took this opportunity to go on road trips, visit places that they have been wanting to see for a long time, spend precious time with their family and friends or simply had a barbeque in their backyard to celebrate Australia Day (a very Aussie thing to do!). We, however decided to go camping. I was pretty excited about this as I have only been camping once and it was quite an adventure (and I loved eating warm gooey marshmallows).
We did not know exactly where to camp in Victoria but we were hoping that it would be near a beach or waterfall. After some research and calls to Parks Victoria (the ranger/guide on the phone was very helpful), Dorian decided that Beauchamp Falls Reserve would be the best place to camp. It was near a waterfall, in the Great Otway National Park, had acceptable toilet facilities (not that this would be much of a problem) and the campgrounds had no fees. There are some campgrounds that you need to book in advance and pay a fee and these campgrounds tend to have better facilities. If you have young children, these campgrounds may be more appropriate.
We ended up spending two days on our road trip and camped for a night at the Beauchamp Falls Reserve. We did not spend a second night camping as I wanted a day to prepare and get organised for the work week ahead. So, this itinerary may be a little condensed, but feel free to spend more time at any of the stops/places I am about to mention.
In summary, if you are looking for a 2-day, 1-night camping trip on the Great Ocean Road, this is my suggested itinerary:
· Aireys Inlet – see the Split Point Lighthouse, walk along cliff top tracks;
· Anglesea – stop for quick lunch/snack;
· Great Ocean Road – stop at a scenic lookout for breath-taking views of the coast;
· Apollo Bay – walk up Marriner’s Lookout for a view of Apollo Bay; and
· Beauchamp Falls Reserve – do the falls reserve waterfall walk;
· Johanna Beach – enjoy a stroll along the beach and take in the beautiful view;
· Port Campbell National Park – see the Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and 12 Apostles;
· Cape Otway Lighthouse; and
· Lorne – stop for some fresh fish and chips.
Before starting our road trip, we had a little detour to the supermarket to get some food/water for the trip. If you are planning a similar road trip, I recommend buying food locally rather than the towns near the campgrounds as they can get expensive and there are limited grocery choices.
We took the Great Ocean Road instead of the highway (although it’s a longer trip) as Dorian loves the coast and wanted to see and smell the ocean as we drove past. The Great Ocean Road starts near Torquay, a seaside town and home to surf beaches such as Bells Beach. Given it was the long weekend, Torquay was already busy with surfers. The road continues to Anglesea, known for its white beaches and trail walks. There are many scenic lookouts along the Great Ocean Road that you can stop at to take in the breath-taking view of the coast. We stopped at Aireys Inlet, approximately 10km from Anglesea to see the Split Point Lighthouse and walked along cliff top tracks. Our next stop was Apollo Bay, a beautiful village at the foothills of the Otway National Park. We walked up Marriner’s Lookout where we got a panoramic view of Apollo Bay. This is just a short 10 minutes’ walk-up hill from the carpark and worth the views from the top.
Then, it was time to make our way to the campgrounds. We drove through the Otway National Park for approximately 35km before continuing our trip on a dirt road for 4.5km and arrived at the campgrounds at 4pm. Given that it was the long weekend, there were already many groups with tents set up and fireplace going at the campgrounds. However, we were lucky enough to find a ‘quiet’ spot on the east side of the reserve. After setting up our tent and getting organised, we did the falls reserve walk towards the waterfalls. It is about a 45-minute walk (each way), with some steep stretches along the way. The waterfall itself is spectacular but you cannot swim in it. We sat on the large rocks across from the waterfalls and enjoyed the serenity of the reserve.
Then, it was time to head to our tent and get dinner going. We boiled some corn and sweet potato, made a delicious ham and cheese sandwich and had grapes and chai tea for dessert. After a satisfying meal, we read for a bit before falling asleep under the stars in the sky.
The next morning, we had a quick breakfast and left the campgrounds for our next adventure. We headed to Johanna beach, which is approximately 30 minutes from Beauchamp Falls Reserve. The views from this beach is simply breath-taking! I have never seen anything like it. You are not allowed to swim or surf at this beach, so we walked along the shoreline taking in the tranquillity of our surroundings. Johanna beach has a campground but there is a fee (AUD 34 per night). However, with a fee comes better facilities and less crowd.
After enjoying ourselves at the beach, we headed to the Port Campbell National Park. Our first stop was Loch Ard Gorge. Words cannot explain the beauty of this gorge. Then, we headed to London Bridge. Again, more picturesque views that money cannot buy. And we saved the best for the last and headed to the 12 Apostles. It was very busy at the 12 Apostles as it was lovely summer’s day and everyone visiting the region had the same idea to take in the beautiful views of the world known heritage site. We wanted to do the helicopter ride but there was a long queue for this. Instead, we enjoyed the views that the 12 Apostles had to offer. But the helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles is definitely on our bucket list and we will be back soon.
After a full day of visiting world-famous places along the Great Ocean Road, it was time for us to head home. But we made a slight detour to Lorne to enjoy some delicious fish and chips. Yum!
What is favourite camping spot?