oceania · travel

What’s So Great About the Great Ocean Road?

Exhibit A: Gorgeous beaches that will blow you away

Growing up in an archipelago of kick-ass beaches, a look-see at the shorelines of other countries usually isn’t the highlight of a trip for me. A mental image of Boracay would almost automatically pop up every time, and pride would make me go, “It’s okay, but I’ve seen better.” But then, I caught a glimpse of Australia’s coastline:

So Australia, yes, I concede — your coastlines made me gawk. Stunning strips of amber and aquamarine. No sound for miles except for waves crashing into the shore. An oceanfront view, sometimes all to yourself. Simply sublime.

Exhibit B: Authentic Aussie roadside surprises

Our Bunyip tour coach pulled up by the side of the road to let the big giddy kids-in-disguise (read: ME) loose in the eucalyptus forest, striving for that perfect koala photo. Now, so far, all the koalas we’ve seen were too busy ignoring us as they doze off or gnaw at the canopy. Good thing one of us spotted something moving about in the trees; seconds later, we were going deeper into the grove and there he was, a wild koala, wide awake and (gasp!) not eating! Watch the vid above and see how koalas could easily fool us into thinking they were real live teddy bears.

Side note: Did you know thatkoalas are NOT bears? As they’re part of the marsupial family, the term ‘koala bear’ is gravely erroneous. I know, it was a shock at first — like finding out there was no Santa Claus. (Kids, if you’re reading this, I’m only kidding about the last line.)

Yup, this kiddo in our tour group was pretty adorable too.

Exhibit C: Iconic lookout points

Cape Otway Lighthouse

After hours of gazing at the shoreline from our window during the drive, our coach steered us into Cape Otway for an Aussie BBQ lunch — by the lighthouse! Gazing at the coast from a 91-feet elevation makes for a majestic sight.

View from the lighthouse

Aside from being the oldest surviving lighthouse in the mainland, the locals claim that it was Australia’s most significant one as well. I think the fleets of European immigrants, whose first sight of land after months at sea was the Lightstation, would no doubt agree.

Geebee waving from below the lookout ledge.

But wait, there’s more!

For first-timers along the Great Ocean Road, it’s almost compulsory to drop by and pay homage to the Twelve Apostles.

Well, technically, there are only eight of these wave-sculpted limestone stacks left standing (the most recent ‘Apostle’-collapse was last 2005). Before the road trip, the thought of looking at big chunks of rock didn’t really seem that appealing, but not until we drank in the sights for ourselves. For that extra oomph, helicopter rides are offered around the area for you to take in a bird’s eye view of these impressive natural works of art.

For Joy, Malen and Chenai --- new friends we made during the tour. It turned out that we would be visiting the same group of friends later on in Sydney! Small world!

GREAT. OCEAN. ROAD. If that doesn't spell out an epic road trip, then I don't know what will.

More photos over here: 2012-01 Great Ocean Road – Picasa Album

2 thoughts on “What’s So Great About the Great Ocean Road?

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