My partner Mel and I Spent 8 days exploring the Great Ocean Road and further west towards the South Australia Border. Read below to see what we got up to!
It started with us catching a 7.20am flight from Brisbane Airport with us arriving in Melbourne at 10.45am (daylight savings time). This left us plenty of time to get our rental car from nearby Tullamarine and start the 3hr drive to Port Campbell. Having done the great ocean road a few years ago we decided to skip the windy coast road and go the inland route straight to our base camp at the NRMA Holiday Park in Port Campbell . We arrived to be greeted with overcast and drizzly conditions and despite this we decided to go for a walk down to Gibson Steps and take a couple of moody shots right on sunset.
With overcast conditions early on day 2 we decided to head out to the Otways in search for some of its stunning rain-forest and waterfalls. After an hour drive through the misty hills we turned off down a dirt road and came to our first stop at Hopetoun Falls. This spot was high on my list and certainly didn’t disappoint. The short 15 minute walk isn’t over strenuous but did burn the legs on the way back up the stairs.
Our second stop for the day was at the nearby Beauchamp Falls. This walk was a bit longer but the scenery is breathtaking with huge ferns everywhere and nice little cascades weaving their way through the forest. The falls themselves were just as stunning and even though a bit more flow would have been nice there was still enough on offer to show its potential.
Our final stop for the day was the Californian Redwood forest and after struggling to find it at first we found it was actually only just down the road from Hopetoun Falls. This place was really spectacular with the giant redwoods really making us feel insignificant.
After a long day out exploring we headed back to Port Campbell for an early dinner and with the weather clearing it gave us our first crack at a decent sunset at the 12 Apostles. While the crowd was disgustingly large the scene that unfolded is why it is rated one of Australia’s must see places!
With some high cloud forecast for sunrise i got up early to shoot the 12 Apostles again. The cloud band was lagging a bit behind schedule when i arrived however it came into view just in time to capture some nice pink hues over the apostles.
After capturing a few more shots overlooking the Gibson Steps i headed back for some breakfast before we hit the road on route to Port Fairy. We stopped at Tower Hill Nature Reserve for lunch and went for a short stroll to see what we could find. After a 15 minute walk to the top of a lookout we were surprised to come across a mother Emu with her many hatch-lings following her.
Once we got to Port fairy we went for a walk on East Beach which had stunning turquoise water and looked super inviting. Being Qlders however the water was just a tad fresh for our liking. Following our walk we then settled into our Room at Gum tree Caravan Park for the afternoon, Mel dished up an awesome home cooked meal then we headed out to Griffith Island for sunset. Although better suited for sunrise at the lighthouse i just couldn’t wait to shoot this spot and was more than happy with the results.
I once again ventured out for sunrise, this time at East Beach, Port Fairy. There are 4 timber groynes at the northern end which make a great photography subject. Although there were no clouds in sight that morning i was still happy to get some nice water flow and pre-sunrise colour!
Having Pre- Booked the weekend back in the NRMA Holiday Park at Port Campbell we were back on the road after breakfast which was a shame as Port fairy was one of our favorite spots with beautiful beaches, trendy cafes/pubs and is definitely a lot less touristy than the Great Ocean Road. Before we headed back East we traveled West past Portland to a spot called Cape Bridgewater which was recommended by a local the day before. The day was stunning with blue skies and when we got there we couldn’t believe how nice this spot was. Stunning white beaches and Turquoise water was all laid out in front of a big Grassy headland. The Headland is home to a seal colony which can be reached via the Cape Bridgewater Seal Walk. We were unfortunately short on time so we didn’t get the chance to explore it in full however we did spend a couple of hours down on the Eastern Side looking through the rock pools and managed to spot one of the seals playing in the surf.
We arrived back at Port Campbell in the late afternoon after the 2hr drive back from Cape Bridgewater to have another pre-sunset dinner. I once again headed out to the Gibson steps to get a couple of shots and really enjoyed this afternoon in particular as i had the whole beach to myself with most people sticking to the lookout above.
After a long day i still had one more stop on the way back to the cabin. I decided to go to Loch Arch to get my bearings for the next morning. As i was walking there i noticed the stars were starting to come out and the full moon was lighting up the landscape. Although there were a few clouds about i was happy to add a couple of night shots to the collection.
Because we had a jam packed few days before, we decided to have a well earnt rest day only venturing out after lunch to go for a walk around Port Campbell. Having had a lazy day we thought we had best go and watch the sunset. We picked the Bay of Islands that afternoon which is 20k’s to the West of Port Campbell. Pretty similar to the day before there were a few fluffy clouds around right on sunset which gave us a bit of colour.
After having a sleep in the prior day i got back down to Loch Ard for sunrise. It is more renown for its sunsets but i thought on this particular clear morning there might be some nice pastels in the sky, and i was disappointed.
We decided we would head back up to the Otways after breakfast and went on a hike to triplet falls. It was a nice little walk and the waterfalls were flowing nicely, however on clear warm sunny day it was not great conditions for shooting waterfalls. I only took the one pano image before i packed the camera away and we headed back up hill to the car park.
For Sunset we headed back to Loch Ard Gorge which was a nice end to another great day!
Our last full day on the Great Ocean Road was the best of the trip condition wise. It started with a stunning sunrise at the 12 Apostles with a range of colours from Bright red, Orange and some pink over our shoulder.
Once the sunrise was over we stayed a bit longer to get some surf snaps as there were some nice little waves out the front of the of the Gibson Steps.
After Breakfast we started the journey along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne where we would spent the last night. The temperature hit 31c just after lunch so it was refreshing to be able to spend some time at Wye Beach, even if the cold water did limited us to a quick in and out. During the late afternoon the clouds rolled in so i didn’t manage to get the camera out again in the remaining 24hrs we were there.
We left the Mantra Hotel at Lorne at 9am under overcast skies and made the 2hr drive back to Tullamarine to drop our car off. It was a uneventful drive until 10 minutes from our destination when a loose bit of chipboard flew off a truck collecting the side of the car. Luckily there was only a scratch to be seen.
Besides that minor incident it was a wonderful and jammed packed trip which we thoroughly enjoyed and can not wait to do again!