If you are planning – or simply dreaming of getting to know the Australia –, cannot fail to include the city of Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road in the script. So here's a step-by-step guide to help with planning.
What is the Great Ocean Road?
It is one of the most beautiful and famous highways in the world! The starting point is the city of Torquay and arrival is in the historic fishing village called Port Fairy – which means approximately 270 kilometers of road bordering the beautiful coastline of the state of Victoria. Did you find it too much? Don't worry, as there are so many stops along the way that you won't even feel the road go by.
How to explore the Great Ocean Road?
Renting a car is, without a doubt, the best option – and it was the one I chose! If you are with at least two other people, it will be the cheapest alternative too.
I chose the company East coast and paid the sum of $95 Australian Dollars, including insurance and fees. Depending on the time of year and in advance, this value can be much lower. In my case, I got the car on December 24th, Christmas Eve, and since demand was high, I ended up paying a little more too.
An interesting – and a little frightening – detail is that the Australia, influenced by English colonization, uses the English hand pattern. That is, they drive on the opposite side of España. I loved the experience, even though I (almost!) went against the grain two or three times!
Tip: pay extra attention to roundabouts! Another important information for those who intend to rent a car is that the Brazilian driver's license is accepted in Australia. Therefore, no other documents are required to drive in the country.
For those who don't have a license or don't want to take a chance on the English hand, there are several options for tours along the Great Ocean Road, departing from Melbourne.
Taking the road
A Great Ocean Road officially starts in Torquay, which deserves an extended visit. The beautiful beaches in this region are famous among Australian surfers. To get an idea of the importance of the city for surfing, the Rip Curl Pro – the oldest professional surfing contest in the world – has been taking place since the 1960s on the famous Bells Beach in Torquay. Have I convinced you to make a stop here? ?
Before going on the trip, I took the opportunity to have lunch and chose the restaurant “The bottle of milk” – ok light!
The second stop is at Anglesey, where beach adventures – such as kayaking, stand up paddle and surfing – are mixed with countryside activities – such as hiking, seeing kangaroos on the local golf course and mountain biking – in addition to shops and restaurants. Tip: to have a nice view of the coast, look for the Point Roadknight.
Leaving Anglesea, you will begin to understand why this route is so famous and beautiful! The next 30 kilometers will provide you with an indescribable view, passing through four mandatory stops for pure contemplation – and some incredible photos, of course: Aireys Inlet (Lighthouse), Eastern View, The Springs e Big Hill.
After this route, you will arrive at Lorne, the perfect place to have a traditional Fish and Chips lunch on the beachfront. The dish is more of an English heritage. With the main avenue facing the sea, you will find several restaurants with beautiful views and great food options.
You could spend the day exploring Lorne – there are trails, waterfalls and even spas – but if you don’t have that much time, focus on the beach and the Teddy’s Lookout. Located just 2 kilometers from the center of Lorne, this is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful stops in the Great Ocean Road. A curiosity: it is very common to see whales in this region, especially between the months of June and August, because of the migration from Antarctica to New Zealand.
Continuing the journey, there are another 45 km of road until reaching the city of Appolo Bay. The next – and long-awaited stop – is the 12 Apostles! If you go straight from Lorne, it's 130 kilometers straight up the road. So my recommendation is to stop at Apollo Bay to use the bathroom or get something to eat. From Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles are about 85 km.
What are the 12 Apostles?
There are immense rock formations sculpted by the action of nature thousands of years ago, which are located inside the Port Campbell National Park. However, just as they were created naturally, the sculptures are disappearing under the effects of the wind and waters of the Southern Ocean. Today, there are only eight of the 12 Apostles. So if you intend to experience this natural beauty, hurry before the other Apostles are gone! But, regardless of this, the feeling of being in this place is indescribable!
A few precautions: the weather changes very fast in Australia. So, be sure to check the weather conditions before your trip to reduce the chances of arriving in this area with rain. take from Spain a portable charger – for both the cell phone and the camera – to be used in the car. There are so many stops and records that many people arrive without a battery. #ficadica
After contemplating the 12 Apostles, be sure to visit other attractions in Port Campbell National Park such as: London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge, Gibson Steps.
London Bridge was a bridge connecting two immense rocks, but it collapsed unexpectedly in January 1990, leaving two tourists stranded outside for three hours until they were rescued by a helicopter. Loch Ard Gorge is one of the most beautiful beaches on the entire Great Ocean Road. The place is named after the shipwreck of the Loch Ard in 1878 in the region. Be sure to visit! Finally, the Gibson Steps is an 86-step staircase on the edge of a huge cliff that takes you to the beach and offers a privileged view of the 12 Apostles.
My Great Ocean Road adventure ended at this point, as my goal was to watch the sunset facing the 12 Apostles. For those who want to complete the route, however, it will be necessary to face another 104 kilometers to reach Port Fairy. But be careful: from this point on, you need to be extra careful on the road, which is more dangerous at night, due to the animals that roam the region.
Interesting facts and information
If you choose to take the same route as me, leaving Melbourne in the morning towards Port Fairy, will catch the sun head-on, which makes steering a little difficult – especially if you are not an expert in English hand. However, if you choose one of the tours, the tip is to sit on the left side of the bus or van to enjoy the best views!
During the summer, the incidence of fires in the region is quite high, which can cause the closure of parts of the road. So, to better plan your trip, it's always good to check for emergency updates, road closures and, of course, have the Great Ocean Road Map on hand.
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Receive a SIM card at your home in España and use unlimited Internet throughout Australia
Are you also tired of only being able to use your cell phone at points that you find Wi-Fi free during the trip? And having to pay per day to be able to use a GPS in the rental car on the trip?
We couldn't take it anymore, especially because we wanted to post real-time photos of our trip on social media. In addition, Google is a great ally to find what we need while on vacation, such as information and places, and you can't just use it where you have Wi-Fi.
So we discovered one of the best solutions to end this problem, that you will no longer have to spend hours of travel in phone stores in the country, speaking an unknown language to get a SIM card. This is one of the tips we love to give our readers: a America Chip.
Write it down: The company sends an international Chip to your home in Spain. When you're on the plane, just change your Brazilian SIM card for this international one. You will arrive in the United States om unlimited internet, using your cell phone at will, as you use in España.
Arriving in Australia, you can use it all day, anywhere. You'll save on GPS rentals, Skype credits, and you'll still be able to use social networks, Google, or search for anything on the internet all day. In addition, you can still call your home to send travel news as many times as you want via WhatsApp or Facetime.
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